To the Young Women in My Family

Dear Nieces,

It has been a real privilege watching you grow. I hope you all know just how much of a joy to see all of you grow up to become beautiful people. I hope someday you will grasp the kind of joy you brought to us.

Someday, each of you will have struggles that you don't always reveal to family. I know because we all went or are going through it. Some are harder than others'. That's okay. No matter how open and close you are to the rest of us, it is always healthy and, perhaps, necessary to discover things on your own and create a world in which we don't exist.

There are some things, however, I hope you keep intact regardless of where you end up. Many of these things I forgot, or choose to forget, when I was taking the journey you are now embarking on and that's how I know the consequences could be tragic.

#1- Remember

It really boils down to moments. We spend millions of seconds alive but in the most critical of times, we go back to moments that matter to us to get us through... the last time your parents were together holding hands and smiling at each other... the first time you rode a bike without training wheels... that boy from third grade to whom you gave Chocnut everyday... when you were up till 2am watching the stars at the rooftop with your cousins... getting tickled by a school of fish eating bread from your hand... the disgusting smell of your uncle's fart... the last time you ate so many fishballs you had to throw up... your grandmother's signature fried rice.

Those are the moments that really matter. Those are what matter.

So remember them. Whenever you find yourself in those moments, soak in it and try to remember every detail. Take photos but not too much that you become a viewer instead of a participant. Write about it on your journal. Mark it in your life's calendar.

Remember those moments for the rest of your life.

#2- Know the Minimum Requirements for You to be Happy

It really doesn't take a lot for us to be happy, if you think about it. No matter how bad it is, there is always something that could make you laugh or smile or just forget even if it is just for a brief moment. It could be that silly Three's Stoogies comedy show or that cheap ice cream available only in your hometown or the sunset or an hour of bike ride.

Those things will come in handy. When you get your first broken heart and the pain is too deep for anyone else to understand, that cheap ice cream will crawl your insides and caress your aching heart.

When you get fired from the job you planned on staying 'till you retire, Bob, Marley and Curley will be your bestfriends. When the world decides to f*&# you over, that bike will feel like a time machine to another dimension.

#3- Act What You Deserve

It is true that everyone deserves to be respected. The mere fact that you are a human being affords you certain rights that no one can take away. That will always be true.

However, basic human rights only guarantee basic survival. The quality of your life is up to you. You cannot expect people to afford you the kind of treatment you believe you should get by simply showing up. If you want to be treated like a princess then act like a princess, with grace and finess. If you want to be looked at like an equal of men, play the field fairly, justly and be sure to win. If you want people to trust you with major projects, then make sure all your minor ones are spotless. If you want men to see you as the woman they would want to bring home to mama, then be a decent woman. Don't sleep around like rabbit whore.

You can't expect people to be in awe of you if you are not awesome. Act who you are and the world will act towards who you are.

#4- Don't Settle just to Settle Down

Our country is ruthless to women. So much emphasis has been put on our right to be afforded the same rights as men and we have come far but not far enough for our families to realize that happiness, not a wedding and procreation, is the ultimate goal for each of us.

You might go through the same pressure I am going through, to get married and settle down. For some reason, they think that getting married is the ultimate pay off, the end-all and be-all of being a woman. Wanting to settle down is okay but don't lower your standards just as so you could settle down. You know in your gut the kind of man that you need and want. Don't settle for less just to get married. Believe me, finding someone willing to marry you is the easy part. Living with yourself with the choices you make is the real bitch.

#5- Don't be Scared of Failing

Don't be scared to 'love and lost'. A broken heart will heal but missing the chance to find the right guy means missing the chance to find perpetual happiness.

Don't be scared to ask for what you want. Getting rejected doesn't mean you are not good enough or maybe it does but you can still get better and someday be good enough to deserve it but sometimes, the only thing it takes for people to give you want you want is to realize you want it.

Don't be scared to go to auditions or go for that promotion or join that contest or answer that question. You may get it wrong, you may lose, you may get rejected.

The only thing more tragic than failing is being a coward.


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