My little sister went away to boarding school when she was 14. My other sister and I, then in our ’20s, put together a “how-to” guide on surviving away from home. We emailed hundreds of women what they would say to their little sister. We asked our relatives, our friends, women I’d interviewed, even Oprah (who did not, by the way, reply). It could have to do with anything, we said. Boys, drugs, clothes, food. It was all relevant.
Then, we bought a pink leather journal and wrote it all out for her (while we drank wine on a balcony in Cyprus, as I recall).
I came across some of the old emails the other day. Here are some of my faves:
- Life always moves. All the bad stuff, it passes.
- Some people are assholes. That’s it. There’s a great Indian proverb that goes: The cobra will bite you whether you call it Cobra, or Mr Cobra.
- Humans have deep need to be liked. This helped me understand the weird things people do.
- You can eat cereal for every meal.
- Stand up straight. It makes you look prettier, skinnier, smarter and more confident. All of which attracts boys. I didn’t know this until I was 25.
- Eat vegetables. If you don’t, you turn pasty and a shade of green. Also did not know this one until I was 25.
- Boys who like you will call. If they don’t, it’s their loss.
- Boys who like you will wait. They’ll wait for you to pick a movie … to change your shoes because they don’t go with your last-minute outfit … to pick which dessert you really want… to decide how far you want to go. The good ones will wait.
- Stay focused on your goals in life and always maintain your integrity. One never regrets a decision if you know in our heart you are “doing the right thing.”
- Clear nail polish stops runs in your tights.
- Hummus, chickpeas, black beans and tofu will make you fart.
- Be nice to everyone…that pimply faced geek may one day be your plastic surgeon.
- Take breaks from work to hang out with your friends, eat oreos and watch TV.
- A pickle only has nine calories.
- When working out, only buy the best workout pants. Most cheap ones give you butt crack sweat — not a pretty site when scoping the scene in the weight room.
- Buy the cheap trail mix at the bulk bins, but top it up with a spoonful of smarties from the smartie bin. Label it trail mix.
- Remember what your parents taught you. (Editorial note: That was from my mom.)
- Shoes matter.
Have a great long weekend!