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Middle school can be tough at times. Your body is changing and everything is awkward. You have lots of new freedom too. Freedom you’ve never experienced and will definitely enjoy. But, don’t get too carried away with it or take advantage of it.

These are the beautiful years when you really start to learn and figure out who you are. The best part isit’s all up to you. You get to choose who you want to be in this world. It’s also up to you to not allow bad influences to change the good girl you are.

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Avoid drama at all costs. It’s not fun or as cute as it may seem. Talking about others behind their back doesn’t make you look cool. Remember, if the words you spoke appeared on your skin, would you still be beautiful? Be the one who makes everybody feel like somebody. Also, don’t waste time following trends or anything you see on social media (which you shouldn’t be involved in anyway). Just be you. Be unapologetically YOU. 

One day, you will see that the opinions of people around you don’t matter at all. So, don’t listen to it or entertain it. Be confident. You are worthy. You are loved. So, don’t worry about being perfect. I once heard, “real people aren’t perfect, and perfect people aren’t real.” And this statement couldn’t be more true. There will be times when you feel nervous and insecure. When you are, just remember one thing everyone around you is feeling the exact same way. 

Middle school also happens to be the time when you learn the hard way to choose your friends wisely.

You are judged by your own actions, but you will be judged based on the actions of your friends as well. The people you thought were your friends will likely be the first ones to stab you in the back. Which is OK. Why? Because you can learn from it, and you must learn from it. Hold on to people who make you feel good. People who encourage you and push you to be better. The right decision is usually the hardest one to make. But, choose it anyway. 

It doesn’t matter how many boys like you because that’s not what makes you pretty. And if lots of boys like one particular girl, it doesn’t make her prettier than you. It doesn’t mean she’s doing something right and you’re doing something wrong. Being pretty comes from within . . . and like I always tell you, the most beautiful thing you can be is kind. 

Speaking of boys, having a boyfriend won’t make you happy. I promise. Boys are cute and fun to look at, but they aren’t the best part of life. You can conquer the world and achieve every goal and dream you have without a boy by your side. Because boys will come and go. They will break your heart and make you cry. They will tell your secrets and break your trust. Then one day, when you are least expecting it, a boy just like your daddy will walk into your life and stay forever. In the meantime, don’t rush it, pretty girl.

Enjoy being you and loving you.

Because in all actuality, you can’t love someone else if you don’t learn to love yourself first. Everything will fall into place in God’s perfect timing and according to His plan. If in doubt, just think about your dad and me. 

RELATED: Dear Daughter, Middle School is Hard But it Won’t Last Forever

Here’s what you should know about your dad, too. He can be the best friend you’ll ever have. Trust me, I know. Everything he says and does is to protect you, his oldest baby girl. He will always be there to protect you from crying or to punish those who made you cry. Just kidding (kind of). He will always hold your hand and have your back. He loves you so incredibly fiercely, and his number one job will always be to protect his children. Be patient with him. Even when he is annoying you. I can teach you to be a lady, but he is the one who will teach you how a lady should be treated. 

I know it’s hard, but try not to rush through life and grow up too fast. Take your time and be patient. One decision can change the rest of your life. Middle school will be over as quickly as it started. Then you’ll be in high school, and it’s over pretty quickly too. Believe me. It’s a bittersweet symphony. 

Lorin Hawks

I am always searching and frequently confused. I seek to find the good inside of every person I encounter. Endlessly in deep thought, collecting stories, and trying to figure people out. Step-mom to two beautiful girls, and mommy to one precious baby boy.

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