100 Things: A List To Live By For My Daughter, My Inner Child, And Yours.
My mother died tragically of overdose when I was 20 years old. Five years later, I gave birth to my only daughter.
Both experiences were startlingly (and paradoxically) similar, as they each required more of me than I felt entirely capable of; shook my concept of self to its core; and left me raw, vulnerable and seeking clarity in my new identity.
Fast forward 10 years to a time I spent living half of a life, empty and heartsick after losing my little girl — the collateral damage of divorce. Fast forward five years more to this day, when I recognize these losses as sacred gifts. My greatest catalysts for growth.
Living as a motherless daughter, a daughterless mother, taught me everything my own inner child needed to know. Everything she never realized she knew all along.
100 Things: A List To Live By For My Daughter, My Inner Child, And Yours
1. Don’t knock it ’til you try it.
2. Send Thank You cards for every act of hospitality — except another Thank You card.
3. Travel light through life. Keep only what you need.
4. Put cinnamon in your coffee, and twice as much when you miss me.
5. It’s okay to cry when you’re hurt. It’s also okay to smash things; but, wash your face, clean your mess, and get up off the floor when you’re done. You don’t belong down there.
6. If you’re going to curse, be clever. If you’re going to curse in public, know your audience.
7. Seek out the people and places that resonate with your soul.
8. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
9. 5-second rule. It’s just dirt. There are worse things in a fast food cheeseburger.
10. Happiness is not a permanent state. Wholeness is. Don’t confuse these.
11. If you’re staying more than one night, unpack your bag.
12. Never walk through an alley.
13. Be less sugar, more spice, and only as nice as you’re able to without compromising yourself.
14. Can’t is a cop-out. Don’t want to is perfectly acceptable.
15. Hold your heroes to a high standard. Be your own hero.
16. If you can’t smile with your eyes, don’t smile. Insincerity is nothing to aspire to.
17. Never lie to yourself.
18. Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight.
19. Your body, your rules.
20. If you have an opinion, you better know why.
21. Study your curiosities and practice your passions.
22. Ask for what you want.
23. Wish on stars and dandelions, then get to work.
24. Don’t skimp on good sheets.
25. Fall in love often. Particularly with ideas, art, music, literature, food and far-off places.
26. Fall hard and forever in love with nothing but yourself.
27. Say Please, Thank You, and Pardon Me, whenever the situation warrants it.
28. Reserve I’m sorry for when you truly are.
29. Naps are for grown-ups, too.
30. Question everything except your own intuition.
32. You have enough. You are enough.
33. It’s never too late to make amends.
34. Respect the earth. Respect its inhabitants.
35. Use your blinker, not your horn.
36. Magnify your strengths and accept your shortcomings.
37. Marriage is a contract. Love is a gift.
38. Belong. To yourself.
39. Under no circumstances should you ask a woman if she’s pregnant.
40. Think solutions, not problems.
41. Learn to laugh at yourself.
42. Animals die. We are all animals.
43. Death is natural and is not the enemy.
44. The enemy is stagnation.
45. Invest in your hobbies.
46. This, too, shall pass. The bad and the good. Nothing is permanent. Relax into this knowledge, accept and rejoice in it.
47. Always ignore the camera.
48. Never toot your own horn except in a job interview.
49. Give credit. Accept blame.
50. Keep a bottle of champagne in the ice box. Celebrate the sweet stuff. And Tuesdays.
51. Do all you do with a willing heart, or not at all.
52. Buy fresh flowers for your apartment every week.
53. Be afraid. Do it anyway.
54. Rescue stray animals. Do not rescue people.
55. If you’ve made your point, stop talking.
56. Eat until you’re satiated. Then stop.
57. Move your body for the sheer joy of it.
58. Look people in the eye when you thank them.
59. Use cloth napkins and pretty china, especially when you’re eating alone.
60. Never, ever answer the phone at the dinner table.
61. Forgive yourself for your mistakes.
62. Wear bloomers underneath your A-line skirts. You never know when you might want to do a cartwheel.
63. Tattoos are art. Except when they’re not. Know the difference.
64. Learn how to nourish yourself — inside and out.
65. A woman is no less a woman when she isn’t being ladylike.
66. Love is no respecter of gender, age, race or socioeconomic status. Love true. Love well.
67. Make your bed every day, first thing — except on Sundays. Sundays are for languor.
68. Sex is not a bad word.
69. Fuck is not a bad word either. Words are given life by intention. Remember that.
70. Spend time alone. Cultivate your relationship with You.
71. If you don’t understand, ask. If you still don’t understand, research.
72. Don’t lose your cool. Especially at work.
73. Education is life. Live and learn.
74. People will show you who they are. Pay attention.
75. Keep your word or keep your mouth closed.
76. Read poetry. Write poetry — even just a phrase. We are living poems, all of us.
77. Respecting authority isn’t synonymous with obeying authority.
78. Red lipstick looks lovely on a fresh complexion. It looks lovelier as a love note on the bathroom mirror.
79. Get up and try again. And again. And again.
80. Get lost in nature, in antique stores, in used bookshops and in your dreams.
81. You will show others how to treat you by how you treat yourself.
82. It’s perfectly acceptable to pay someone to change your tire and your oil, as long as you know how to do it yourself.
83. Be kind. Everyone has a hard fight ahead of them.
84. Words are powerful. Speak them with good purpose.
85. Read more books.
86. It doesn’t matter whether you can carry a tune. Sing. But if you are going to sing out loud, do the artist a courtesy and know the lyrics.
87. You won’t always be the strongest or the fastest. But you can be the toughest.
88. If you need more closet space, you have too many things. Period.
89. Don’t label other women slut, bitch, or any derogatory term. They are your sisters.
90. Dance naked beneath the stars. It’s best to do this in the middle of nowhere as opposed to downtown.
91. Always wear a bra. At work.
92. Learn healthy coping mechanisms, like solo dance parties.
93. Bring enough to share with everyone.
94. Give what you most need.
95. Sun, sand and the sea. It’s in your blood as much as these mountains and trees.
96. If you have to fight, punch first and punch hard.
97. Give to the needy. You will be in need one day and The Universe will give back to you.
98. If it’s not on this list, look inside yourself and you will know.
99. You’re never too old to need your mom.
100. Your mom won’t always be there, but will always be part of who are and are becoming. She loves you all the way up to the moon.
I can’t dry my mother’s infinite tears or stop her from swallowing those pills, any more than I can protect my daughter from all the cruelties of this world… but, I honor them both by living. Living by heart, living as art, wide-open and out loud, sharpened by pain and softened again in peace.
Love your losses. They have so much to teach.
Sara LeeAnn Pryde is a writer, artist, philosophical instigator and lover of liverwurst sandwiches. She believes in brevity. And unicorns. Find her on her website.