Things I want my nieces to know

Being a woman can be scary. These are some things I wish I'd learned earlier.
  1. It's more important to be safe than to be polite.
  2. Never sacrifice for a partner who isn't willing to sacrifice for you. Every relationship is a two way street.
  3. Always be yourself and always be proud of who you are.
  4. You'll never be perfect and you don't need to be. Be your best self. Love yourself and to hell with anyone who doesn't like you.
  5. Don't easily give your trust. Trust is something that needs to be earned.
  6. People who try to talk you into things you don't want to do are not your friends.
  7. Take care of yourself first.
  8. You can do anything you put your mind to and fuck anyone who says otherwise.
  9. Don't hide your intelligence to seem less threatening. Don't hide your anger to seem more ladylike. Don't ever pretend to be less than in order to soothe someone else's ego.
  10. Be alert. Be aware. Don't accept rides or drinks from strangers. Don't impair yourself in the company of people you don't know and trust. Assume that nobody else is going to look out for you and look out for yourself.
  11. Bad things may happen to you no matter how smart and careful you are. Don't let anyone victim blame you.
  12. No smoking. Gross.
  13. Don't trust that boys of any age have your best interests at heart until they've proven it.
  14. 'No' is a complete sentence.
  15. People on the internet can be shitty. They're extra shitty to women. Don't engage. The block button exists for a reason.
  16. Listen to your instincts. If you think someone is following you, do what you need to do to keep yourself safe. If someone gives you a creepy vibe, stay away from them. It's better to feel silly and be safe.
  17. You don't owe anyone your time, your attention, or anything else.
  18. Strange men will tell you to smile throughout your life. It never gets less annoying.
  19. Always be able to support yourself. Don't rely on someone else to take care of you.
  20. You'll have a lot of friends throughout your life but the number of true friends you can always rely on no matter what will be much smaller. Hold onto them.
  21. You'll have your heart broken. There will always be someone else out there.
  22. Don't settle.
  23. Follow your heart but use your brain. Be brave but not reckless.
  24. Don't show weakness to people who will take advantage of you. Carry yourself with confidence even if you feel unsure.
  25. You have people who love you unconditionally. People come and go, family is forever.
  26. Learn early how to stick up for yourself. Learn whose opinions matter and whose don't.
  27. Listen to your parents. You'll think they're dumb when you're young but when you grow up you'll realize how often they were right.
  28. If anybody ever hurts you, tell auntie Karen. I'm not your mom and I don't have to set a good example.