Friday, January 13, 2012

Letters to Sunshine

Little M is a morning person.  This concept is beyond foreign to me.  I'm reasonably pleasant (pleasant enough, anyway) over the course of the day, but I hate virtually everything about the first hour that I'm awake.  Over the years, I've found that trying to be nice in the first 60 zaps me of energy for the whole of the day, so I pretty much stopped trying.  It's best for everyone that way.

Most adults that I've lived with have learned to ignore me entirely in the morning, or to opt for the oh-so-effective reverse psychology approach.  Want me to be nice in the morning?  Be mean to me.  Works like a charm- I become a fetching, if bedraggled, bundle of sunshine, rainbows, puppies, chirping birds and hearts in no time flat.  I'm still learning how to adapt to the little girl living in my house who is constitutionally unable to sleep past 6 AM---with a mouth that is fully operational from the second her feet hit the floor.

Transcript from this morning, circa 5:45 AM.

Little M (at top of lungs):  WAKE UP, MOMMY!!!!!  IT'S MORNING TIME.
LMS (whining):  whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?
Little M opens LMS's eyelids with her fingers.
LMS:  no.
LMS:  (grumbling)  Maybe in France.
Little M:  FEED ME, MOMMY!  I'M HUNGRY!!!!!!!!!!!!!  AND I WANT TO DANCE!

(On a side note, I realize that lots of people like to dance.  Some people are good dancers.  Many people magically become good dancers after 3-12 drinks.  I am none of these people.  There is no simply no quantity of wine in this world that I can consume and subsequently think "Wow, I am a GREAT dancer.")

So, I drag my sorry self out of bed and stumble to the kitchen.  Little M informs me that she wants candy bars and sprinkles for breakfast.  She gets the candy bar.  Note that I am not completely unfit as a mother--about a year ago, I had an "aha!!!" moment and told her that the organic cereal bars that were collecting dust in the pantry and more closely resembled paperweights than breakfast food were actually candy bars.  Anyone who tells her anything to the contrary will have some serious hell to pay.

Anyway, I'm awake, so I may as well write.  Recently, I came across a book entitled "Letters to My Younger Self", which is exactly as it sounds.  I did recently say that a guidebook to life would have been  hugely helpful, and I'm fascinated by and wholly supportive of concept of the It Gets Better Project, so here goes.  With no further ado, please welcome the guidance I wish I received when I was 12, 16, 23, 30 and 36....

Dear Tiny Miss Sunshine,

You spend so much time worrying about how to make yourself the kind of person others like that you're going to lose yourself in the process.  The path to conformity is a dead-end and rigidity is going to be the death of you.  While we're on the topic, stop wasting time:  stop wasting time worrying, stop wasting time beating yourself up, stop wasting time trying to re-invent yourself as something that you think others will like.  Just stop.

Forget about money- time is the most precious and finite commodity at your disposal.  Every second you waste trying to fit in is a form of cheating.  You're cheating those people who like who know who you really are and like you, as is, no exceptions.  Most of all, you're cheating yourself and the person you could become if you'd just have enough faith to believe in yourself and follow through.

There will be people in this world who dislike you.  If they dislike you because you are unkind, unmotivated, unreliable--hear the truth and fix it.  Now.  Get better.  If they just don't find you to be their cup of tea--that's fine.  Move on.  You will have more than your fair share of people in your corner, and it's those people who have your back when you're periodically an unloveable pain in the ass that matter.  There's a world of difference between constantly striving to be the best version of you and constantly striving to be someone else.  Know that subtle difference and carefully tread that fine line.

In life, there's a place for pragmatism and responsibility and there's a place for excitement and beauty.  Live within your means, but don't let your means constrain you. Buy beautiful shoes and clothes and experiences---because they're beautiful.  They're not going to change who you are as a person, but if they make you smile, they're worth it.  Appreciate the beauty in things, but realize that at the end of the day, they're just things.  Appreciate the beauty in people more.  Appreciate the beauty in life the most.  Things are nice, but it's people who matter.

Oh, and I know that you like math, but life isn't an equation.  Stop using > and < in defining yourself in your relationships.

By the way, you'll never grow to be a respectable size.  That's okay.  There are certain benefits to being a portable adult--plus, there's usually a great selection of items on the sale rack in small sizes.

I wrote this letter and now I can't find a freaking stamp,

Little Miss Sunshine

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