Tuesday, November 8, 2011

New Moon Girls: Sister to Sister

I have the opportunity to be an older sister-esque mentor for New Moon Girls , an awesome website and magazine for girls ages 8 to 12. I write advice blogs for the girls about once a month, and here is this week's!

Sister to Sister- Take Your Own Advice

I had one academic goal for high school: to be on Principal’s List every quarter. Principal’s List is our school’s highest honor roll, with all averages above 94.45%. I wanted to be on it so badly. I worked so hard, and when I was up studying past midnight or ditching lunch to do homework (neither of which I recommend whatsoever), I would just remind myself of the goal: Principal’s List. It became this elusive, enigmatic way of epitomizing all of my goals. It was my proof that I was smart. It gave me a right to say so- or else, I would just be like everybody else, and to me, that seemed awful. Then, the very final quarter of my sophomore year, the unthinkable happened: a 94.38. Yes, that was my fourth quarter average, everyone. 0.07% off from the goal that I had defined myself so intensely by. What the heck was I supposed to do now? I had tried as hard as I possibly could, and I had failed. I’d always been told, by parents, teachers, even New Moon Girls, that if I tried my hardest, I could achieve whatever I wanted. But I didn’t. I was heartbroken.

I’m not seeking pity here. And I’m not complaining. I know so many people have so, so many worse things to deal with. I’m using this experience of mine to serve as a metaphor for the first time you try so, so hard to do something, and you can’t do it. Sometimes, this has to do with competition with others. For example, even if you try your very hardest for a part in the school play, someone else could get the role. That’s different, though, because people other than you had control. It’s so hard when so much is on you, when they standards even you set for yourself become too tough.

After my academic average fell short of my expectations, one of my close friends reminded me that the same thing had happened to her last year. She had been about the point off from the same goal, and I had consoled her, saying that it didn’t make her any less smart. It didn’t make her any less deserving of praise. It’s not like her parents, or even colleges, would care about one little point. This system of defining us, I had said, was stupid and baseless.

It wasn’t the first time stuff like this had happened to me, either. When I was in middle school I was very concerned about my weight and appearance. I thought that I was overweight and that if anyone else “noticed,” they wouldn’t like me anymore. Don’t get me wrong- I knew how silly that was, at least logically. Yet at the same time, I was on the Girls Editorial Board and spent tons of time on New Moon telling others that everyone was beautiful and that weight didn’t matter- and I believed it, too. But much like with my friend and our averages, I couldn’t manage to apply it back to me.

I don’t know if this is only a female issue, but I think that it has a certain relation to self-esteem that exists with primarily girls. Whether it’s natural or nurtured, girls are often empathetic, or attuned to other’s emotions. We understand what it feels like to go through such troubles, and are great at consoling each other. Yet, sometimes we can’t take our own advice.

I just wanted to remind you girls not just to treat others how you’d like to be treated, but yourselves, too. Imagine how much we could all get done if we focused on our awesomeness instead of our supposed faults.


  1. I love this. This horrifying obsession we have with being perfect is utterly destructive. It leads to everything from sleep deprivation to not voicing that someone has hurt you to eating disorders. And while I understand that this affects both males and females, the differences in these effects need to be examined. There needs to be an open discussion and full realizations so we can stop destroying ourselves in order to appear flawlessly constructed.
    Love, a stressed-out caffeine-addicted hypocrite who wishes she were made of steel ;)

  2. Good on you for recognising this so early and passing it on, sister-nerdfighter.

  3. Johannah- Thank you! I agree that this needs to be more of an open discussion, and I hope that my writing (as well as yours!) can start something.

    Claire- Thanks, and ohmygoodness DFTBA! I don't think I've ever had a Nerdfighter comment on my blogg before, and I'm honored ;)