Katie Kish

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A message for my daughter (and other lovelies that may come later)

It’s funny how the birth of a life has you thinking more about death. I’m not sure if this is universal or if it just relates to my loss of a parent at such a young age. While I don’t necessary ‘fear’ leaving my child, I am saddened by the thought of missing out on anything. On those nights when I can’t sleep, when I used to think back to all the regrets I have from high school, I now think of all the details of mine and my sibling’s life that I’d like to share with my dad. All the things that would make him proud and excited… from babies to condos and from musicals to hacking. Then I start to think about what I might miss of my little Nora’s life if I were to leave too soon. I can’t control that, but I can control passing on a note to my daughter (and any other future kiddies that may or may not grace us with their loving and wonderful presence) of all the bits of advice and thoughts I have for her (them). Here goes:

 

1. Listen to music. Listen to loud music and listen to music loudly. I’ve made you a Spotify list called “NK must know”… it has everything from 1950’s jazz to 1970’s classic rock and modern indie rock to outdated metal music. Listen to all of it and love every different type of music for what it is. You’ll enjoy some more than others, but really appreciate the work and art that was put into each song. I spent hour making that playlist and intend to put more hours into it in the future – it is your guide for musical joy. Music really is joy.

2. Don’t make fun of people. Instead, be the person that shines with kindness and love. In a world that can go cold and black so quickly, be a warm and steady light that others will consistently gravitate towards to feel better and see the world more clearly. Don’t worry about being cool, when you’re 30 – no one is cool anymore. Just worry about being kind.

3. Always tell stories and allow yourself to got lost in fantasy, fairies, and magic. There is no reason why flowers can’t be homes for tiny little fairies that watch over us day-to-day. Or many Fillory exists. Just believe.

4. Learn how to fix a car and change your own oil. Appreciate old cars and always remember that a 1967 Chevy Impala is the absolute best (for at least 2 reasons… *wink wink*).

5. Run fast, lift heavy, stretch daily, and sit up straight. Take care of your body and love every inch of it. Love your legs for carrying you every day. Love your hands for helping you interact with the world. Love your fat bits for keeping you warm and cuddly. Love your muscles for making you strong. Love your scars for the stories, your face for lighting up rooms, your hair for twirling, and your mind for dreaming. Eat a lot of veggies – don’t eat a lot of processed crap. GMO’s aren’t bad for you.

6. Be friends with people you absolutely love – if you walk away feel drained, stressed out, and sad, find someone else. If you find yourself struggling to find the ‘right’ outfit to wear in front of them because you’re worried you’ll be judged – you’ve picked the wrong ones. Pick the ones that make you feel like a fucking goddess when you’ve shown up in your dingy dirty shorts, a ripped shirt, and decade old cons stained with grass and dirt from living an actual life. Pick the ones that will sit in a basement with you for three days straight eating chicken wings, now showering, and playing video games. Pick the ones that feel comfortable and like you can be your real genuine self with them – even after not seeing them for years.

7. Be messy and dirty. You can always wash up. Dig in the dirt and grow your own vegetables even if you’re shit at it (I totally am).

8. Question authority and norms that don’t feel right to you. Be brave and stand up for yourself and the people who are marginalized and abused. So many people in this world have been given the shit end of the stick and they’ll need a strong, kind, and intelligent person to help them out – be that person.

9. If you don’t understand something, don’t pretend that you do. Ask questions to better understand. In general, ask questions. When you meet someone new, ask them questions. Ask more questions than you answer. Ask genuine questions – don’t ask “how’s it going” in passing – instead stop and ask “how is your day going?” and then listen. Listen intently and laugh honestly.

10. Be proud of your voice and what you have to say – the more I let go of the filter between my brain and mouth, the more I walked away from situations feeling good about my reactions (and often – it made me memorable and made other people laugh).

11. When someone tells you cursive writing is a useless skill – know that it helps to fine tune motor skills and increases creativity. Never give in to new norms because of efficiency… old processes and activities have value even if a computer makes them obsolete. Be outside in nature, keep your eyes away from the screen more than it’s on it, use a pen and paper, make things yourself, and play board games with friends.

12. Always read for fun. But sometimes, look for deeper meaning. The most simple books may hold insanely valuable lessons like “Oh the thinks you can think” and “because a little bug went kachoo” and “stu the cockatoo went to the zoo” (ask your father, he’ll explain). Books are the backbone of the world and of the mind. Appreciate that you can read and that you’ve been surrounded by books for your entire life. You will never run out of books to read – which means you’ll never run out of new worlds and minds to explore!

13. Host often and treat your guests like rockstars. Always go the extra mile when someone comes in your front door.

14. And finally – always remember that I love you more than all the stars.

 

 

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