This little girl looking out at us with a Mona Lisa smile is growing up faster than we can document. She had dressed for picture day, her style all her own. She donned a bright green shirt with a rainbow peace sign, and teal colored leggings under a turquoise and silver peasant skirt. She wore white socks and her brown dress shoes. She was "theme dressing" (her words), and the theme was "ocean". Here are the things I want to say to that girl before she embarks on her journey into womanhood:
1. Never, ever listen to anyone who tells you that theme dressing, or any other style you want to imprint is silly or stupid. It might be both, it may be neither, but it sure doesn't hurt anyone else if you have style.
2. Always be as comfortable with your body as you are today. Don't fall prey to the "chicken parts" mentality that too many women subscribe to. ("I'd be happier if my thighs were smaller, my breasts were bigger, my legs were longer") You are wonderfully perfect. Your body is strong and healthy and is just the vessel that carries around your huge brain, massive heart and beautiful spirit.
3. Know your values and be ready to stand by them. Ignorance and bigotry like to wear costumes, but not the good kind. Beware when they dress up as politics, social standards, and policies that exclude.
4. You don't need to have all the answers. You are swimming in a sea of beings, and you have a connection to each of them. Sometimes books give us the answers, and sometimes experience teaches us. Some lessons are hard. If a person shares his wisdom from a place of pain, hear him. True intelligence knows which information to retain and which to simply allow to wash over us.
5. Even though the idea strikes you as icky now, you will someday find someone you love in a romantic way. When you do, love with all the warmth, loyalty and passion you can muster; but don't forget your friends. There will be many times when your peace of mind is restored over a cup of tea or a good laugh with a friend.
6. Every day is a gift. Some days are harder than others. Some seem like they'll never end. The good ones fly by like the fleeting Mona Lisa smile of a little girl dressed in "ocean". Capture them. Savor them. Buy the portraits...you won't regret it.