I don’t know what happens before we’re born. Whether we hover somewhere in an infinite blank space somewhere far out there, or if there even is anything before we’re each brought into the world. So I don’t know where you are right now or if you’re even anywhere at all.
But I do know there are so many things I want to tell you, my future daughter. So many things I already want to teach you, despite the fact that we haven’t met yet. Things I wish that someone had told me before I set out on this journey of trying to properly navigate life.
A life that you in no way have to be afraid of entering, even though you may move alongside others who will tell you that the world we live in is a scary and awful place. Please don’t believe them. Know that while the world can be difficult to wade through at times, it is inherently good.
So are people.
It’s only those who have become so beaten down by life, the ones who have forgotten what it is to look towards the light, who choose to see the world as a negative place. And these people aren’t bad, just broken. So learn to see past the occasional casualties of the world. Learn to forgive those who are cruel because of the pain that they carry. Love them, despite their flaws and false thinking.
But above all, you must learn to love yourself and the body that carries you places.
I can’t emphasize how imperative that is. To you, as a girl in our society, as a future woman who will attempt to leave her mark on the world.
Realize that your body does not have to be anything more or less than what it is in its purest form. Know that your body is beautiful in its functionality, that it is a miracle in and of itself.
It will be hard not to compare yourself to others. To girls you know who will try to make you feel less than. To those you’ll see on television and plastered on the covers of magazines. But please know that none of that is real. That society will try to rewire your beautiful mind into believing that there is only one way to have a body.
I know that I won’t always be able to protect you from self-doubt, no matter how badly I want to. But when you hear those voices, the ones that tell you you’re second best to someone else, please hear mine as well; the one that will always remind you that you’re stunning and adequate and enough.
I want you to dream. Even if the things you most desire seem impossible. I want you to know that the scarier something seems, the more you should chase it with everything you have inside of you.
For some of your life you will be young and it may seem that you have all the time in the world to go after what you want. But please don’t wait. Don’t be fooled by moments that seems to stretch out before you.
The truth is that life is so fleeting, so easily extinguished and over too quickly. You will be fooled into thinking that you can put off chasing your dreams. But everything is finite, our years limited and we must make the most of them.
So follow that vision you’ve had for as long as you can remember. Ignore anyone who tells you that your goals are too difficult to reach. Be a doctor or a writer or a world traveler. Follow wherever your passions take you and never stop chasing them.
And while you’re following the path that you’ve laid out for yourself, remember to be kind to people. Be understanding. Know that no one is perfect and that everyone makes mistakes, even ones that seem unfathomable and unforgivable. Humans are not superheroes and we don’t always do the right thing.
Sometimes it’s easy to hold others to a higher standard than that which we hold ourselves to, but you’ll learn that all of us are in the same boat, navigating a complicated sea with the fear of capsizing. Don’t be someone who stands by while others drown; help be the wind underneath their sail and you’ll realize that you are given back what you put into this world. That when you’re gone, all that will be left are the memories that others have of you.
Let them be good ones.
Let your legacy be that of someone who held others up, especially when it comes to other women. Don’t let society pit you against them. Don’t covet what you don’t have in comparison. Build them up instead. Form a community around you, a sisterhood. Celebrate the differences and the things that make you unique.
And that brings me to my last piece of advice to you, which is to always be open, to live your life with arms wide and thrust outwards. As a woman and a daughter and a citizen of this world. Travel outside of the place you’re most comfortable and see how others live their lives.
Don’t isolate yourself. Talk to people and make friends with those who challenge and inspire you. Don’t burrow inside yourself when things inevitably become rough.
Don’t wilt, but bloom.
I want all of these things for you, always. Even though you are not yet a concept come to fruition, but for now just an idea. A hope. A glint in the eye of the universe.
Please know that when you one day do arrive, I will do everything I can to guide and protect and show you the ways of the world. To navigate being a girl in a society that will try to teach you all of the wrong things.
I’ll meet you one day, daughter. But for now, enjoy wherever it is that you are.
You’ll have your time when you finally arrive.