TO THE GIRL
WHO READS BY FLASHLIGHT
WHO SEES DRAGONS IN THE CLOUDS
WHO FEELS MOST ALIVE IN WORLDS
THAT NEVER WERE
WHO KNOWS MAGIC IS REAL
THIS IS FOR YOU
Ten years ago today, you were born.
Ten years ago, the porch of our little red house in the woods was piled high with throngs of gifts from friends, family and fly fishermen in anticipation of another Oyster baby.
Ten years ago, a week before your due date, a “little voice” woke me up in the middle of the night.
“Something is wrong,” said my little voice.
Then it quieted…yes, something is wrong. The air around us had been apocalyptic for quite some time now. The economy crashed, we had just moved to an area where we knew NO ONE, people all around us grew more frightened each day, we had recently taken enormous financial risks to grow our little company, gas was being rationed all over the country, Oprah had “tent city” episodes on a loop, The National Guard was brought in to protect Atlanta’s water supply and…well…we had some neighbor issues.
“Something is wrong. I have to have this baby today.” Now my little voice was a roar and I was heading to the car.
Ten years ago, I drove myself two hours to the hospital with my mother next to me in a torrential downpour.
“No, Shannen…we are all full up.” My midwife said no…the maternity floor was packed and “You are fine.” …(something about being hormonal and hysterics was mentioned)…
However, I didn’t budge off the exam table. Seriously…I was an immovable object. I called your father and told him to drive down and sat there until I was admitted into maternity.
Ten years ago today, I held you in my arms for the first time while the doctor explained to me that my placenta had torn away from my uterine wall (look it up…not good) at some point in the “recent past” and we were all “very, very, very, very very lucky” that we “happened” to be at the hospital.
Ten years ago, I learned (or confirmed) that “little voice” was a persuasive thing.
And because I know you already hear whispers…
***EDITOR’S NOTE*** I do realize there may be horrendous advice dispersed to a ten-year-old below...so, there’s that.
First, KEEP your promises…unless they are dumb then own up and move on.
Never, ever look at yourself in fluorescent lighting.
Mean people suck. They just do. DO NOT MISTAKE MEANNESS FOR STRENGTH. Don’t try to understand them. Don’t try to change them. I cannot stress this enough. WALK AWAY.
Tip big, pay compliments, tell people when they do something well…be sincere.
Listen to Bjork.
Always have enough emotional endurance available for a friend in need.
Your standards are just that…yours…have them, push them to your edge but do not press them upon others to validate your choices.
Leave no trace of your garbage (literally and emotionally).
Don’t date the drummer in the band …be the drummer.
Never go empty handed to any event you have been invited to…
Fill a room with your vast amount of innate joy. Leave any crappy attitude at the door.
Listen to Prince.
Do not wait on leaders to make your decisions for you. They have their own agendas. THINK FOR YOURSELF.
Lighten up. There is always tomorrow.
Don’t get off on others misfortunes…and more importantly, genuinely celebrate other’s accomplishments.
Passion is not exclusively good…own the darker side as well.
Listen to Patsy Cline, Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Garth Brooks (yep, I said it) and Dwight Yoakam
Ignore the presumptuous and arrogant – people, things and most importantly…in yourself. It’s the 8th deadly sin. Yuk.
Here’s the deal about friends…don’t expect them to be perfect. You are not perfect…No matter what I say. Your greatest allies will be stronger than you in nature and be equally as annoying.
Surround yourself with people who you admire.
Invite imaginative ideas into your conscious every time you get the chance…life will inevitably clutter it up with nonsense. Focus. Your memory is your most valuable muscle.
Spend time in some form of nature…EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Nature will center your being, open your conscious and humble you all simultaneously. There are no truer words. None.
Surround yourself with annoyingly talented people.
The way you see others and the way you judge them is a direct reflection on you.
Music is medicine.
Art is medicine.
Laughter is medicine.
Reading is medicine.
Listen to Willie Nelson.
Listen to Tom Waits and Vic Chesnutt but not until you are sad…about three songs in…
Listen to The White Stripes. Dig in. Find Jack White’s projects. He is one of the most over/under rated artists of our generation.
You are NOT a victim…life can just be hard sometimes. Don’t justify your reaction to an uncomfortable situation by putting yourself in a victim role. Give every failure life entrusts to you the respect it deserves…ride it out and grow.
Listen. Talking is fine…(we do a lot of that) yet…you must listen.
Do regrettable things.
HEAR ME…people are not perfect…your expectations of others are just that…yours. Accept people for what they DO. Never judge people for what they do NOT DO…that’s trying to change someone and who they are…it marginalizes a human. Try and care about others for whom they are…not whom you WANT them to be…you never know…you may just get the relationship you NEED.
Nature is medicine and our universal language.
Leave a LEGACY OF KINDNESS wherever you go in life.
LAUGH every day. Laugh at yourself and never at the expense of others.
Girl, you be YOU. There is nothing more beautiful.
As I sit here and write…
Another voice pulses through me…
Until I knew you, these voices were sounds barely a whisper.
Ten years ago…Veronica…my love…
YOUR little voice WOKE me up…
I thought I knew things…and then you were born and hurled them all into focus.
Veronica Flower Oyster
YOU ARE MY LITTLE VOICE.