For Amelia—What I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Turned 10
1. When a boy is mean to you, it doesn’t mean he likes you. It means he is mean. Don’t hang around with mean people.
2. Listen and observe the rules the adults make, but be sure to keep a part of you wondering why they made these rules. Allow yourself the space to figure out for yourself if the rules are good. If you think they aren’t, you might (now or later) suggest (politely, or impolitely) that the rule could and should be changed.
3. Think very very hard about getting a tattoo. They might be cool now, but in 2030 you might deeply regret it. And they might be totally out of fashion. (This was the case in 1980, when I was a teenager.)
4. Love your brother and your parents even when they are annoying.
5. Stretch! Try something you might be really bad at. You might surprise yourself. (And then go back to what you are good at.)
6. Read a lot, but observe the spirit of Rule #2: People who write books do not know everything.
7. Never ignore the smell of freshly mown grass
8. When you are sad, write down your thoughts and feelings in a journal where no one can find it. Better yet, keep writing great songs. (OH! Also, write some bad songs.)
9. Girls your age are going through a lot and might be really terribly afraid and therefore behave poorly or in ways that disappoint you. They also might be working really hard to not seem afraid, so you might not guess that that is what is going on. Don’t compare what they seem like on the outside with what you feel like on the inside.
10. Be yourself. Be yourself. Be yourself!!!!!! Keep being the best Amelia you can be!
11. One to grow on. Do not ever smoke a cigarette. You will thank me later.
Love, your aunt and godmother,