My intention to write this is as old as time! (How cheesy!).
I have typed and deleted this post not less than sixteen times in the last three years… Unsure, unprepared, feeling ‘not good enough’ and afraid of letting the world tread into my own battles. I have been scared of laying the ground bare for criticism by letting the world read this letter instead of carefully tucking it under your pillow when you are of age…
I go through tough times and think that I should let my daughter know that this path leads nowhere, she should try another route. I go through thought provoking sessions with a nod, occasionally smiling to myself and thinking ‘Wow, I’d love my daughter to know this; it would help her’. And for every wrong turn I make as a daughter, I take a mental note for my future daughter. I somehow have always found myself in this state: of taking notes and making hushed wishes for a child unborn. But with a life as flawed as mine, I have always held my thoughts for the fear of sounding like a botch too conversant with the script, obviously trying to make up for her mistakes by defining the path for her daughter: which would be utterly unfair.
But I feel ready today, more like I feel ready now!
I am writing to you, unsure whether I will have a daughter, or a son; but hopeful enough to have your name ready, Kimberly. (As you grow older, we will mutually agree on who will be Kim and who will be Kimmie between the two of us; without prejudice and without rivalry.*cliche now but deal). I am unsure if I will be able to raise a child in the right way, but equally feeling consoled by the fact that the books I have read and the movies I have watched so far have taught me that there is no one right way of parenting. And by extension, there is no one right way of being a daughter. But then I want you to grow up knowing these things that I am about to share with you. It has taken me 25 years of life experience to learn this, so do not feel any pressure; I just want you to grow up knowing that it’s okay…and when the tides hit you hard, because I know that they will, I thought that this would help you steady your anchor.
- Love thy body: There will always be something about your body that you will not like. Be it the freckles under your eyes (Assuming that you will take after your great grandmother), the half/uneven eyebrows (which you will most likely inherit from me), the 8-acre forehead, the struggling hairline, the introverted/shy hips or the extroverted tummy, the kinky hair that just won’t grow or your complexion that will elevate the whiteness of your teeth in the dark*if at all you will be a dark berry. You will be colossally insecure and bleakly jealous of other girls, and especially those who seem to be perfect by your gauge. (You will serve yourself to a glass of jealousy slightly in your teenage years, and largely when that marriage bloom hits; because you will subconsciously feel that men will pick the finest girls first)… I just wanted to let you know that it is okay to be flawed and imperfect. I want you to know that there is no one right body template, and I hope that with age, you will be able to stand up for the package that you are and do justice to that version of you. That you will know that you are the finest in your lane and that in the end, it was never a competition, it never was a battle for recognition really…
- Boys will confuse you and men will disposition your ideologies.
I want to let you know that it is okay. The confusion, the heartbreaks and the fantasies. I grew up with a script that idolized my body as a woman and taught me that when it came to men, only the best deserved me! It failed, I deviated- I was bound to! The script of good boys never appealed to any of my senses: rather the bad boy thrill. I expect you to be an ordinary pretty kid, with a diamond heart ….one that will only get finer with the heat. I guarantee you that the heat will come, sure as sunrise it will. And when you fall in love, you will become a stupid girl and an expert in irrational decisions. I hope that I will have the grace to watch you grow through this phase to the point that you will know how to love with an amorous heart but a sober mind. You will meet someone to whom you will mean everything, and someone to whom you will mean nothing. Reality is, no matter how beautiful you will be, you will neither be an idol nor a goddess; so drop that ideology that men will worship your ground. I also want you to know that you when it comes to boys and men, you will be hopelessly needy, intellectually handicapped and emotionally unstable; and that is totally acceptable. But child, take the world of men with an ounce of caution.
- Study, read, learn… I will be proud if you get those As academically. But I will be more pleased if you score that A in life. I want you to know that academic As mean nothing if you are not street smart.
- Define your purpose and stay true to it. You need to know your purpose in life, and stay true in your pursuit of this purpose. (Thank you Catherine). The society will have an opinion on who you should be and how you should be you. It will have dogmas on how to be a woman and how to use your intelligence, possibly in a ‘lucrative’ career acceptable for your calibre. Ignore them! I want you to make your mistakes, to make the wrong choices, to experience pain, joy, success, failure… and to ultimately find self-awareness. Until you become self-aware, the society will devotedly misguide you on how you should be. I want you to define ‘society’ and to ask yourself what the society is to you; and in the same breath, ask yourself who you are to the society.
- When it comes to friends, CHOOSE! It is that simple. You will not be a victim of circumstances, and you will not be the low lying fruit. And that is just that. Surround yourself with good company and be deliberate in your circles. And if the time to part with seasonal friends has come, part with them honourably.
- Know how low you can stoop, and learn how high you can jump. You will be desperate at one point or another; and this is when I want you to have predefined limits of how low you are willing to stoop. In moments of self-doubt, take a few minutes and remind yourself who you are, and what you are capable of. You sure will have so much potential I know. Unfortunately, you will doubt yourself every so often I already pity you! But writing this now, I realize that you might not be able define how high you can jump, and even more, in what direction your high should be…You might try to be a Jack of all trades, but at least be a master in one!
- You will want to love without needing. You will probably buy to the script of a strongly independent woman. But truth is, no matter how successful you get, you will indefinitely be needy of a man to take the lead, and to provide direction for your children. And naturally so. If you are lucky, you will get one such man. But I am not a strong believer of luck. I expect you to come to the realization that men are not super humans. They are just as perfectly flawed and needy as you will be. That said, allow yourself to grow with someone whose vision you will buy and believe in.
- Seek not to be great, but to be a little better every day. It has taken me 25 years to learn that success does not lie in major milestones but in small consistent actions in the right direction. So rather than waiting for your big break, seek to be a better you every single day.
- Beauty does not earn you respect, character does. But even character cannot guarantee you societal acceptance. We live in a society that is keen on people’s failures and capitalizes on one’s shortcomings. But we also live in a world that applauds success. So rather than seeking to be accepted, seek to be successful in whatever course you pursue.
- And above all, I will be your truest of friends. I do not want to be the mother who is too much into your affairs. But I want you to grow up and old knowing that I will always be your truest of friends.
This is to my God-daughter, Adora, my future daughter,(Kim/(mie)); to all the daughters who constantly improvise their script by continuously learning from their mistakes, and to all mothers who are wise enough to know what is right and wrong, but are patient enough to let us be! This is also to my Mom, Tina, for being such a Mom who has abidingly been there through the years and has graciously held my hand through the tides.