To my (future) daughter,
On the edge of 22, having passed a year in which I have begun some form of relationship with five men, I am learning truths which I don’t yet fully comprehend.
But I know that boys and men alike will tell you things. They will expect things, and ask for things, and sometimes they will act without asking, and someone will always try to tell you that you put yourself in that vulnerable position, so what else were you really expecting?
But I never want you to feel at fault for putting your trust in another human being. To trust, that is a beautiful thing. Don’t lose faith in trust, and don’t lose trust in people because I promise that the world is essentially good but as with everything, there are the elements which are not so enticing. Don’t be wary of people. Never lose your ability to trust and to love because they are the most beautiful and human things that you can ever do, but take care never to lose faith and love in yourself. Remember that you cannot know love until you realize that it entails respect, dignity, faith, and reverence for yourself.
It is not your relationships that define you, but the way that you relate to the people in those relationships. This year, I have declared to myself that I am not judged on the success of one relationship or another, but on the way I love. To value myself based on this love, based on how I enacted this love, that is what I am learning to do. I am learning to value the love that I give to others so that I can put my trust in someone else who values this love just as much as me.
Relationships will not always work and there won’t always be someone who was at fault. Sometimes, you will just realize that the paths which you are traveling no longer run parallel. And sometimes your partner will wear you down and break you. But our relationships are part of a constant process of assessing and re-evaluating how we relate to the world around us and where we stand in relation to that world. I may sound over-optimistic, but I must take this view – not because it’s the only one which stops me from feeling terrible about myself and my experiences, but because it is the only one which makes sense.
Never be afraid to trust. But also, never be afraid to learn.