Today’s post started from a brief Twitter Conversation with Melinda Anderson @mdawriter : She definitely helped my brain get going on these ideas. And of course, thank you to the amazing Lauren Michelle Allen @MichelleHux for always being funny, thought-provoking, and warm to one of the thousands of people who follow her daily.
Part Two is up here
There is a common trope in black literature that is heartwarming but also borderline redundant: Letters from black men to their sons. While I would have liked my father to write me an instruction manual, I realize that our daughters are often neglected. So, the following is a letter to my daughter (That doesn’t exist).
First and foremost, I want to say I love you. That is the most important thing I want to impart on you before I start talking about anything else in the world. You will always come first in my life and I will die for you. Especially in a world that constantly teaches you how to hate yourself. I want you to know that I will always love you every part of you because you deserve it. Not because of anything you do, but because you exist and that is enough for me.
Now, that is not to say that I don’t want you to strive for excellence. I do. My goal is to make you into a woman who far surpasses the best your mother and I are. But, what you do does not define who you are. You can run for President or became an artist that backpacks across the nation; I will still show pictures and brag of you to everyone I meet. (There are some jobs I would prefer you to avoid, but we can talk about it down the line)
Secondly, I am writing you this before you were formed in your mother’s womb. This will even predate your mom and I meeting. This way before we started sitting up late nights, wondering what type of life we want to build for you and your siblings. So, some things may change and mature as I grew and I learn to share my life with another.
Daughter, you are powerful and complete. There is nothing that this world can give you that you don’t already have. No man can fulfill you. No degree can validate you. No job can define you. No amount of money can buy you. Just as God created you in mommy’s tummy for 9 months, He picked all the gifts/skills you needed to go on your journey. He will bring the right people into your life when the time is right. Don’t rush life. Everything you will do will happen at its own time. You do not need ANYONE or ANYTHING.
Mommy and I will be here, to the best of our abilities, but there will be times when we cannot be there. You will have to make big decisions using your own heart and mind. You may be physically alone, but remember, God is with you. Say a prayer, then follow what your spirit tells you. That’s been the most important lesson I’ve learned in my life and I am entrust that to you.
You are a Queen baby girl. You are from the royal lineage of God, Himself. He created you in His image, meaning that you were born with unimaginable power to change the world around you. Your mind is the most powerful weapon you have against this world. Do not be afraid to use it to outsmart and mold the world to your liking. These are some pieces of advice from daddy.
Know Your Worth: You are the most valuable thing on planet earth. You were made from glory of the sun and the strength of the earth. Your eyes are onyx and diamond. Your skin draws in energy from the sun, absorbing its warmth and power. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. You are not pretty for a _____ girl. You are gorgeous because of your existence. The world will try to devalue your skin, hair, lips, and shape. But, I will tell you a secret: People only tear down and mock things they are envious of. America has been trying to make black women ashamed of who they are for centuries while simultaneously adopting skills, looks, and lexicon from you. They treat us like Africa, mine us for everything we have valuable and then call us worthless. Do not let them do it to you.
Less is more: I know we are in a time where everything needs to be broadcasted to the world on social media but less is more. Specifically as you start to plan your dreams, you cannot tell everyone what you want to do. Many people will use the knowledge of what you are doing to make their moves or use them against you. This also applies to how you carry yourself. In this world of showboating and grandstanding, the people who are truly powerful don’t say it. They stay in the background and exercise their strength behind closed doors.
I was told by an old friend that your words have equity: the more you use them and readily available they are, the less value they have. This goes for everything in life. Relationships, exposure, thoughts, appearance, you name it. The less available you make yourself to the world, the more they crave to know what’s behind the facade. That’s not to say don’t have a life and enjoy yourself, but nobody needs to know your business unless you want them to know.
Speak Up: Never, I mean, NEVER be afraid to speak your mind. You have amazing ideas and thoughts that deserve to be heard. You have feelings that need to be acknowledged. Don’t let no man or woman silence what you feel in your heart. Now, that also doesn’t mean that there isn’t something called tact. There are times and places for certain things to be said. Don’t make scenes in public because people have fragile egos, and situations will get out of control quickly if someone feels slighted. Talk in private, you can control the pacing and manage messages better.
I knew that I wouldn’t be able to advise my daughter for life in less than 1000 words. So, I will continue this letter tomorrow with Part 2. Any advice you all have for young women growing up in America? As always, leave comments below!