A Letter To My Daughter
Dear Little One, As I write this, I am strolling through the makeup aisle of a local store. Words have power and the words on display in this aisle have deep power. Words and phrases like: Affordably gorgeous, Infallible, Flawless finish, Brilliant strength, Liquid power, Go nude, Age defying, Choose your dream, Nearly naked and Natural beauty.
When you have a daughter you realize that most people won’t see her for who she is. They’ll see her as a pretty face and a body to enjoy. And they’ll tell her she has to look a certain way to have any worth or influence. Words do have power and just maybe, the words of a parent can begin to compete with the words of the world. Maybe a parent’s words can deliver a daughter through this gauntlet of institutionalized shame and into a deep, unshakeable sense of her own worthiness and beauty. A parent’s words aren’t different words, but they are words with a radically different meaning.
Brilliant strength: May your strength be not in your fingernails, but in your heart. May you discern in your center who you are, and then may you fearfully but tenaciously live it out in the world.
Choose your dream. But not from a department store shelf. Find the still, quiet place within you. A real dream has been planted there. Discover what you want to do in the world. And when you have chosen, may you faithfully pursue it, with integrity and with hope.
Naked: The world wants you to take your clothes off. Please keep them on. But take your gloves off. Pull no punches. Say what is in your heart. Be vulnerable. Enbrace risk. Love a world that barely knows how to love itself. Do so nakedly. Openly. With abandon.
Infallible: May you be constantly, infallibly aware that infallibility doesn’t exist. It’s an illusion created by people interested in your wallet. If you choose to seek perfection, may it be in an infallible grace for yourself and everyone around you.
Age defying: Your skin will wrinkle and your youth will fade, but your soul is ageless. It will always know how to play, pray and how to enjoy; how to revel in this one-chance life. May you always defiantly resist the aging of your spirit.
Flawless finish: Your finish has nothing to do with how your face looks today and everything to do with how your life looks on your last day. May your years be in preparation for that day. May you be aged by grace, may you grow in wisdom, and may your love become big enough to embrace all people. May your flawless finish be a peaceful embrace of the end and the unknown that follows, and may it thus be a gift to everyone who cherishes you… Be yourself.
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