It feels like just yesterday you were a precious newborn in my frail 20-year-old arms. And now, you're on the cusp of becoming a teenager as a 12-year-old. It blows my mind how fast time has flown by, and I wish I could relive and savor each moment of your childhood just once more.
The dating years are fast approaching (even though I'd like to think they are light years away) which means you're growing up. Most of your girlfriends in school are at that age, just like you, where boys will pass you secret notes and ask you to the school dance. You'll forget to mention boys to me for the entire school year in fear that you'll get in trouble for dating. But, I want you to know you never have to hide anything from me.
I'm not ready for you to grow up just yet, but I know that there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. I want to make sure you enter the world feeling confident in who you are, what you stand for, what you should accept into your life, and most importantly, what you deserve.
The boys will come knocking because you are so beautiful inside and out. You radiate joy, which is insatiably attractive and will make all the boys fall in love with you. You're hilariously funny, charismatic, a beautiful artist, and a brave young woman. Don't ever forget it.
But please remember these 8 key tips when it comes to dating:
1. Never pick a boy who doesn't notice your inward beauty first. The perfect boy will look deep into your heart and tell you that he finds you funny or that you're a beautiful artist first and beautiful outwardly second. This world is full of superficial dating where teens and even men and women date because of mere looks. But looks fade, sweetie. Don't accept anything less than a boy who appreciates your inner beauty.
2. Never let a boy objectify you. When it comes to looks and compliments, believe me, boys can definitely be flattering. It feels uplifting and exciting when a boy tells you that you're beautiful, but remember, true beauty isn't just skin-deep. The perfect boy will never call you demeaning words that objectify you. In case you ever doubt yourself, I want you to know that you are beautiful, angelic, spirited, and intelligent, and anything less than a boy who appreciates that isn't worth your time.
3. Never fall for a boy just because he's good-looking. I want you to know that even the most handsome boys can be the wrong fit. Instead, I want you to look for integrity. If you settle for anything less than honorable character it will lead to heartache and disappointment.
4. Never tolerate being called names. It'll break your spirit, and over time, you'll actually start to believe it. Instead, I want you to be brave enough to walk away from anyone who is making you feel like anything less than a beautiful, bright young woman. You deserve more; you deserve better. The songs on the radio demeaning girls are wrong, and I never want you to do anything you aren't entirely comfortable with just to look cool.
5. Never give in to peer pressure. It takes courage to strike out on your own instead of following the crowd. Your uniqueness makes you stand out from the crowd naturally. Embrace it. That's something that may take time for you to realize, but I promise you that you were born to shine and to influence the world, and this begins with the relationships you develop and the woman you become as a teenager.
Be the girl that sets the standard for other girls.
6. Never tolerate abuse. This is one of the most important things I always want you to remember. Abuse shows up in endless forms, from name-calling, controlling behavior, physical harm, and at times, it may be more subtle psychological and emotional abuse, which is harder to recognize. If I ever tell you that I believe someone is hurting you, believe me then instead of coming to the painful realization later, after the wounds have left their mark. I hope we never have to face a situation like this, but in a world full of dating, relationships, and abuse statistics on the rise, it's a possibility -- one that I hope you never have to face.
7. Never settle for an "I'm sorry" if a boy ever puts his hands on you. You are forgiving in nature, so this may not be easy, but forgiving still means you can walk away. Nowadays, girls put up with groping, pushing, and even demeaning soul- crushing words like "bitch" like it's acceptable or normal. It's not okay.
Nobody deserves this treatment, especially you.
8. Never let a boy cheat on you. Cheating has become so common that people don't realize what a betrayal it really is. It's popular for boys to be "players." But understand that you are not a "plaything" to be used and tossed aside just to bolster a boy's reputation or popularity. Go find another "game" where you end up the winner because you don't deserve to be cheated on -- ever. Trust me, I've dealt with all of these things in my past, which is why I'm telling you now so you set your standards sky high because you deserve to be treated like a queen.
Here's the most painful lesson of all: The "perfect boy" doesn't really exist. All boys -- all people, in fact -- have their quirks and shortcomings. But you'll know when you've found the "right" boy because he will make your soul soar, not sink. That's how you'll know he's the "one."
You're a force of nature, Jaelynn, and I want you to remember this above all else: You are the true love of my life, and I loved you first.
With all my heart and soul,
Michelle Wisdom-Ellis is a New York based copywriter and marketing strategist at Organic Copywriting Creative, Inc. who works with female entrepreneurs to help make their stories come to life and their profits increase with honesty that sells. Her specialties include engaging web copy, compelling stories, guaranteed-to-be-read marketing emails, and captivating sales pages. Michelle infuses character and soul into every piece of writing she creates. She owns a thriving business doing what she loves, is happily married to her soulmate, and has 3 children that light up her life. You can take advantage of her priceless (and free) writing and marketing tips by signing up for a bi-weekly dose on her site.