Everywhere I turn, women are writing advice letters to their teenage daughters. It’s not a new idea, but one that’s been given a vigorous revival of late. Angela Mollard kicked off the latest round with a lovely one in Sunday magazine a few weeks ago, encouraging her daughter to be loyal, laugh and respect her body.
Since then, every time I checked my emails/the blogosphere, someone else has followed suit.
I’d been resisting joining the wave – despite severe bouts of writer’s block – until I finally saw the first episode of Puberty Blues last night (pic above). It gave me horrible flashbacks to being a teenager in the ’80s. Especially slaggy Cheryl, who kept throwing Sunny Boys at Debbie and Sue and telling them to “Shut up, molls”.
(Though it was “moles” at Kotara High, for some reason – not entirely sure why we were calling each other brown, furry creatures/skin blemishes.)
And I decided I really should write some advice for my daughters. Something that will help them negotiate the minefield that is high school.
It was pretty brief: Girls are bitches.
Then I thought: That’s not terribly helpful, it’s just an observation.
So I added: They will make you cry many, many times more than boys. They will mess with your head. They will call you awful names. Try to ignore the mean things they say. It’s because they have low self-esteem. Feel sorry for them instead. Know that you are smart and kind and lovely. And what they are doing is not.
(And I wondered: Why are females so horrible to each other? It starts so young and it just doesn’t stop. I’m in my 40s and many of my contemporaries are still messing with each other’s heads, which means I can’t even tell my daughters it’s just a stage they’re going through and everyone will eventually grow up and be nice to each other.)
Fortunately, my girls, it’s not all doom and gloom: When you do find friends who are smart and kind and lovely – and you will – hold onto them. Because they are precious and they’ll enrich your lives. They’ll make you laugh. They’ll comfort you when you cry. They’ll collect your kids from school when you are sick. They won’t mess with your head.
Oh, and this is really important: You’ll always have your sister. She’s the best friend a girl can ever have. (So for fark’s sake stop bickering with her in the backseat of the car. It’s driving Mummy insane.)
As for the bitches: They’re the molls/moles, not you. And karma will get them in the end. Always does. You just have to be patient.