YOUNG LADY

First and foremost, you're not a Princess –

or a Jedi.

Set a table with the forks on this side and the cup on this side.

You have to take out the trash in the morning.

You have to walk slowly –

and for God's sake don't get your white tights so dirty.

Stop using those words –

where did you hear them anyway?

And watch where you're going –

so put down the book when you walk.

You have to look at other people when you talk to them.

You have to smile when you meet someone –

even if you don't like them.

You have to do what your teachers tell you.

You say thank you when someone at church tells you your dress is pretty.

Oh God –

why did you tell them you're training to be a Jedi Knight?

Because they're always the good guys. Can't I be one of the good guys?

You can sing to the music –

but not THAT song or that one either.

Sing to that one –

but not too loud –

and not when people are looking at you.

You have to stop using that tone of voice –

your sister's starting to pick up on it.

You have to get dressed on your own.

You have to pick socks that match your shirt.

No – oh God – NO –

don't wear the striped shirt with the plaid skirt.

Read the instructions on any recipe and it'll work.

Stop twirling your hands when you read those fairy tale books.

Stop talking to yourself.

Why don't you use that wonderful voice of yours to talk to the OTHER children –

to make friends?

You should read –

but why are you reading Tolkien?

Read something more appropriate for children your age.

You have to put peanut butter on before the jelly.

You cannot make sandwiches with just jelly –

they'll fall apart before you can eat them.

If you just ate slower you wouldn't DRIP jelly on your shirt.

Why can't you be neater?

Your sister's already as bad as you.

Aren't you ashamed to be such a bad influence?

But, she's smart enough to think for herself – I'm not making her do anything.

You have to try and talk to other people –

you'll need to get along with them when you grow up.

You have to let the boys win –

they won't like you if you brag about your math test or if you ignore them to write stories.

If you have to write those stories can't you at least make them nicer stories?

Why do you always have to write such depressing things?

Adults aren't always the enemies –

you'll be one of them, too, someday.

Don't interrupt when someone's talking to you.

Explain yourself clearly when you talk.

Wait – hate to cut you off there –

but you're not making any sense.

You have to listen.

You don't know everything –

you'll be better off if you listen to other people.

But other people don't listen to me.

Stop acting like a Rebel Jedi fighter –

no wonder you don't have any friends.

Your brother's classmates are already making fun of him for how you act.

You need to treat your classmates better.

You already know they're going to make fun of you –

you're only encouraging them by dressing like one of the Blues Brothers.

They'll stop teasing you if you stop drawing attention to yourself.

If someone insults you ignore it.

If someone throws something at you ignore them –

but tell the teacher.

If someone yells at you don't listen to it.

Don't you dare ignore your father when he's talking to you –

you're the one who misbehaved and now you have to face the consequences.

Look him in the eye when he's talking to you.

Look other people in the eye when they talk to you.

Smile and look at someone when you meet them –

but don't stare.

Staring is rude.

Treat people the way you'd want to be treated.

But I do. It's just that nobody else wants to treat me the way I want to be treated.

You shouldn't wear white pants on the fifth day of every month.

You should keep an extra pair of undies in your backpack.

You can ask your teachers for now –

but you should learn to be prepared.

You can't eat the Lays or Ho-Hos.

But you need to eat SOMETHING –

God – you're so skinny – everyone thinks you're being starved at home.

But don't eat that –

you don't want to look like your Nanna, do you?

Why do you have to be so skinny?

Don't you eat anything?

Ignore the recipe and add an extra tablespoon of garlic.

Watch your butter and the flame when you're cooking eggs.

You can leave out the walnuts if you don't want them in your banana bread.

You have to really squeeze the press when you're making spritz cookies –

otherwise the dough gets stuck.

You always make a batch of gingerbread with just red hots for your Poppa –

you only see him once a year.

This is why you shouldn't care about donating money to this cause.

This is why you should donate to this cause.

You shouldn't like that Senator –

he's a pervert.

You should be sure you only talk to boys who aren't perverts.

You will be talking to the boys, right?

If they want to talk to me, that's their business. If I want to talk to anyone – or not – is mine.

You need to set an example.

You need to understand why this is right.

You need to understand why that is wrong.

Why do you insist on reading those Communist books –

they're all garbage you know.

Mix up your reading a little.

Listen to some better music.

Anything but these singers who dress themselves up like whores.

That's not how YOU want to look –

no it isn't.

There are people who don't want to work.

There are people who do bad work.

Don't talk to someone unless you know they do good work and they're happy to do it.

Some people are stupid –

don't dress like they do.

Some people are pretentious –

don't think like they do.

You should walk with your knees together.

You should sit with your knees together.

Don't say you want to be friends with that girl –

she's a hippie.

Or at least say you're JUST friends.

That would be better.

This is because you're listening to Madonna and Lady Gaga –

you'll just be a slut like them.

Don't wear pants that are too baggy –

you know that girl in your class got kicked out.

Don't wear that small shirt –

you can see your bra in that.

What do you mean you won't wear a bra?

The black girl in your class who didn't wear a bra got pregnant –

do you want to be like her?

That's pretty cruel. I don't think I'll do that.

You're not a Jedi –

stop saying those things.

Stop acting like you are.

You're not morally superior – don't say you won't judge other people –

because you will.

You won't be smarter with those radical books you read –

don't say you'll get a degree in philosophy when you can't get any good jobs with that.

Stop being so full of yourself –

and don't try saying you'll swear off material goods or meat –

it's just a phase like everything else you do.

Reading all those books on philosophy won't help you be wiser –

and quoting all those buddhist or zen-ist sayings just makes you sound trite.

You have a wonderful face and a great figure but you could just be so much prettier if you just tried – what do you mean you're swearing off makeup and shaving your legs –

and those pearl earrings your Poppa gave you for Christmas?

Next you'll be saying you want to make a necklace out of men's severed –

Mom...

Talk to your father about your day when he asks you –

but he didn't ask to hear about what candidate you're voting for in the fall or why.

What made you into such a bad girl?

I will do what I must. I will think about it.

And remember, most important –

Be yourself.