Today, I took Little Woman to the mall for a window tour of school clothes and shoes she may be interested in. If I were to add up everything she says she "needs", I'd have to re-mortgage the house.
NOTE TO SELF: Don't ever take your pre-teen to the mall for a window tour of school clothes and shoes she may be interested in. Ever. Again.
Now that she is preparing for junior high next month, things have changed. I’ve noticed an increase of showers and bathing products. I’m receiving more and more requests to go make-up shopping for “hauls”, which she quickly documents on YouTube. My iPhone disappears multiple times a day so she can Facetime with her friends. She recently asked me to take her to Target so she can pick out wallpaper for the interior of her new locker.
“Mom, if you want to be cool in junior high, you have to have Swag.”
Um…what the hell is Swag? At first if I questioned it as if it were an STD or a severe limp.
But then I was quickly schooled that it was a level of coolness. How you look, how you present yourself, the clothes and shoes you wear, how respected you are, how you are treated by others, how many friends you may obtain, popularity within the classroom, cliques you might be begged to join and what boys may pay attention to you.
Basically, a level of superficiality that may prevent you from getting your ass kicked by fellow classmates and determine whom you will marry in the future.
See, I don’t get that. Sure, I’m happy to see that Little Woman is taking more pride in her appearance. It sure is a huge difference from the baby and toddler I raised that would projectile vomit her formula, crap up her back, climb trees and play in the dirt for hours-on-end.
This growth is cool. As a girly girl myself, I’m happy to witness this transition. But what I’m not so thrilled with is her obsessive determination to “have Swag.” Yes, waaaaay back in the 80’s, when I was in junior high, I always wanted to fit in, be one of the “cool” kids. But I don’t remember it taking over my life like it is hers. I was a short girl with dark auburn hair and big-rimmed glasses. I played in the band, participated in drama and listened to Duran Duran. In essence, I was a dork. But I had great friends and was happy just to BE. Little did I know, but all my worries at that moment wouldn’t matter as I became an adult.
Times were different back then, and things were simple. I hope to pass this sense of self-acceptance and simplicity on to my baby girl. I find myself telling her time and time again that in the end, these worries that plague her now won't matter, that she is already a beautiful person, inside and out. To speak her mind, be original, refuse to fall in the pitfalls of others, do her own thing and stand her own ground. Don't be afraid to ask questions, challenge people and follow her heart.
Growing up, my mom never gave me this advice, because she didn't care enough. I had to learn all this shit on my own. But as long as I'm here on this Earth, I will do everything I can to empower my daughter. Because it is my job, it is my right, it is my honor.
Hey, is it too late for a 42-year-old mama to have Swag?
Eh, yea. Thought so.
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