Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Educate Yourself: a letter to my daughter

Dear Olive,

When I was a little girl, I was taught a simple truth. Everyone must look within themselves to find confidence and happiness. I was kind of goofy and awkward with big ears and a big cheesy grin on my face All. The. Time. So, my confidence was a bit shaky. Funny, because now I think those features are beautiful as I see them in you.
I'm sure I don't need to point myself out. 

I stayed awkward for a very long time. Sure, people would tell me I was "cute" but I always thought of that as an abbreviated way of saying "I find your looks agreeable, but not to my taste." It didn't help that my older sister (Aunt Sarah) has always been incredibly beautiful and smart to boot, who can compete with that? Of course, now I realize that okay, I wasn't a model, but I was unique. I was a total goofball straddling the line of social embarrassment and it made me different and interesting. I like to think that I have finally learned to appreciate my beauty. 

But this isn't about now. This is about the time before that. I'm talking about when I decided my lot in life would be centered around making myself as educated as possible. I would live my dream life even though I wasn't blessed with the Movie Star Looks. A lot of fairy tales start with a "beautiful princess" with some kind of flowing hair or sparkly frock or something. Why can't they start with a "wickedly smart princess" with a high-powered career?
 I made some goals for myself. Some not so realistic, mostly because I was under the age of 10. I'm sure you will come up with some crazy awesome goals, too, and will accomplish most if not all of them. You are my child, you know. It's important to have goals, they remind you what is important. 
You too can be this smart! 

One. I would go to a really good college. Two. I would become a doctor of some sort, perhaps a brain surgeon (not sure why I picked that one, maybe because it seemed to be the most difficult?) Three. I would adopt a child because the thought of childbirth totally grossed me out. I would teach her several languages. Four. I would marry an incredibly handsome and mysterious man who was some kind of wealthy artist (HA!). Five. I would use his wealth and my wealth to buy a stable and horses for my sister, in case she didn't already have it, being a world famous equestrian horseback rider. 

Accomplished Goal #1 with your Daddy and Aunt Sarah by my side.
So there you have it, the actual career was switched out periodically, but it was always something that would require a LOT of education. I enjoyed school. I was pretty good at it. It didn't matter what I looked like, it was a way for me to feel good about myself without the subjective eye of others. I felt incredibly confident in my "smarts" mostly because my parents did a good job of praising me when I had good grades. They didn't pressure me too much but knew when I needed a kick in the pants. This is what you can expect from your father and me. When you find something that makes you feel good about yourself, we will support you 100%, no matter what it is. The best way to find what you love, is to educate yourself. READ lots of books. At least once in your life, spend the whole day in the library just exploring all the different genres and build yourself a fortress of novels to read all summer. There are seriously entire universes to explore in those things! GO on adventures. Go to the zoo, to the museum, or a painter's studio. See what other's are doing with their lives and it might spark something in you, too. OPEN your mind. If you let anyone tell you that you can't do something because it's too hard or just plain weird, you might miss out on something good. Want to join the circus? That's pretty awesome. So awesome, someone might feel jealous and tell you to scale it down a bit. You know what you do? Go out and practice your cartwheels, you're gonna need them for your audition. 

Our Wall of Education (hard to see, but that's Sherlock)

So, essentially all this ranting is to reiterate the advice that I am giving you... educate yourself, my dear. I'm not going to tell you that you need to go to college to be happy, because that is a lie. There are a lot of really smart people doing really awesome things without a college degree. It is up to you. You may be just as goofy and awkward as your mom, but you will have the tools to live out your goals and find the confidence within yourself. Your goals will change a lot with time, and while mommy never did become a brain surgeon or buy horses for Aunt Sarah, she did have you which is SO much better than any goal she could have dreamed for herself.

To my greatest accomplishment, I love you
Tracey (Mama)  

1 comment:

  1. Tracey... I love this. Your becoming an awesome blogger!!