Love, Her

Do not treat your daughter how your mother treated you. Teach her that her body is not the enemy. It is a home for a soul and not what’s important. It will be a rotting corpse someday, but your mind is your own; you are part of a constellation contained in a body; this is not you. Teach her to be strong, when the boys push her down on the playground don’t bandage her knees and kiss her tears and tell her that it just means he likes her. Tell her to push him back, tell her to teach him that that is not how you treat a woman, that is not how you treat me and you better learn before you get yourself into trouble. Teach her how to take care of herself, how to fight for herself, for what’s right, how to not let people walk all over her. Teach her to love herself and be proud. Don’t teach her to be beautiful. Teach her to be ugly. Be what you need to be, baby, be fierce and cold and angry, you don’t have to be soft curves and silence be sharp edges be jagged corners be screaming shouting no I won’t f***ing sit down you listen to me loud. Don’t make yourself smaller for them; expand. Be kind until it’s time to fight. Teach her how to live without making the mistakes you made. Choke down your disorders, chain them back, don’t ever let the words you used to think come out of your mouth. Teach her that her words have power and when she writes don’t tell her it’s nice, don’t tell her it’s cute, don’t tell her it’s beautiful. Tell her it’s important, tell her it means something, tell her she can change the world. Tell her she will. Don’t tell her that an english degree doesn’t mean anything, don’t tell her that art isn’t a real career. Don’t teach her to be better than you were. Teach her how to be happier. Above all: understand.

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