When you work daily with girls in the 9-18 demographic, you see just how shitty the world can be to them. You watch them struggling with conflicting messages about how they should act, what they should wear, who they should like, what their bodies should be like, what dreams they should have for the future, on and on and on.
So when my friend shared this open letter with me, I couldn't help but relate. It's by Mur Lafferty and is writing to her 9 year old daughter about how the world views her...
You show them by being more than your looks, even if that’s all people comment on. You show them by your independence. You show them by being more than they expect to see. You show them by not taking their shit.
When I think of little girls, I think of you. I think of perfect math scores, a passion for science, a love of My Little Pony, swords, dressing up as Cleopatra, and having absolutely no shyness or fear. I think of someone with a sharp wit, and frightening skills with a stunt kite. I think of someone with determination – even if you don’t know it yet, I’ve seen it. Whatever you’re determined to do, you manage to do it.
I also think of someone who suffers confusion when kids make fun of her for liking “boy things” at school, but hearing that “girl things” are bad. You like them both. You like anything that interests you, the rest of the world be damned.
I hope someday I can fly a kite like a girl. And do kung fu like a girl. And draw like a girl. And you know what? I wish I could cry like a girl. You get it all out, and then you look for the next thing, bouncing back with amazing speed. You don’t do like me, hold it inside as long as possible, letting it fester, bringing me down for days. You are not bitter.
So they hate you. But fuck ‘em. Because you are a force of nature, a powerhouse of emotion and talent and stubbornness and potential.God, how awesome. I really wish I had someone saying these things to me when I was growing up and the messages got so confusing. If I have a daughter someday, I'm going to do everything in my power to be a parent who gives these supportive, but not overbearing, lessons to my girl...
On that note, I'm happy to announce that earlier this week, my brother and his partner had their first child, a lovely little girl. I'm going back to Indy to visit them and meet her and so I won't be blogging for a bit, unless something comes up that I absolutely cannot wait to comment on and I steal access to a computer.
Wish me luck as I make an attempt to establish a "cool aunt" vibe while simultaneously living 1100 miles away...