A Letter to my (Future) Daughter

Daughter,

As I sat, enjoying my morning tea and catching up on yesterday’s news, I stumbled across what was meant to be a totally harmless (and probably satirical) post. It was titled “How I went from Basic to Bad Bitch in 30 Days.” While I was fully aware this article was intended to be a joke, it still made me sad. I wouldn’t consider myself an expert on much, but I think I have learned a few valuable lessons I can share with you. I have loved well and lost. I have seen and known pain, some of wich I felt deeply and some I packed away in places I still do not wish to visit. I’ve accomplished a few things of which I am proud. I’ve made many mistakes and I am sure to make many more. With all of this in mind, there is one wish in particular I have for you:

Daughter, I hope you feel proud. I hope that if I have not raised you to be this way that you have found your way here on your own. I’m not sure what colloquialism kids your age are using to define you but I hope you rise above it. I hope terms like basic bitch and manic pixie dream girl have gone out of style.

People will want to put you in boxes, millions of tiny little boxes. And that’s okay. This is just a part of human nature. Society has this inane need to categorize everything; it tries to give everything a name, a label, a place. What’s important is that you live beyond those boxes and that you recognize that those boxes were created for you by people who are made uncomfortable by your uniqueness. They were not created by you.

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In truth, as a young woman I always said I never wanted a daughter. I did so because I was scared. I was so terrified that I wouldn’t be able to protect you from all the pressures I spent my young life drowning in. I was sure I would let you down. I feared I couldn’t show you to be strong or that you were beautiful. I feared I couldn’t show you that it’s okay to be weak and smart and complex and confused and stoic or whatever it is you’re feeling. One of the most beautiful and equally challenging parts of being a woman is that by our very existence we do not fit into a box. Women and men alike will look at you and tell you who you are or who you should be. They have all these preconceived notions of what a girl like you can be in her life. They may not think you are capable of accomplishing certain things, or that you can’t have all the things you want. They might tell you that have to choose–because you are a woman. I hope this makes you laugh, my dear. I hope you laugh at the small-mindedness you meet. It might even make you a little sad but don’t get caught up in the frustration and pity of it all. Just never stop daydreaming about what ever it is that makes you dream.

Further, I hope the way you feel about yourself and the person you are (or want to be) is never discouraged by those words that people will use. You may love to wear a certain sweater and not everyone will like that. But if you’re cold, I hope you wear your favorite sweater and walk tall. That particular sweater will not be anything of great cosmic importance, but know that society might assign a certain value to a person based on the clothes they wear, the foods they eat, the shape of their body, the books they read and so on. I hope you do those things in your own interest with confidence and with love. People may try and give you a name. They may tell you that you are a certain kind of person for doing those things. Please don’t listen to those people. You can’t control the way other people perceive you, no matter how hard you try. A painting can’t shift it’s shapes for the critics and either can you.

Love,

Your -future- mom.

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