I am the proud Mama of two daughters.
In my decade and some of being a parent, I have made it my mission to be as honest with them as possible. I remind them that they are beautiful, smart and capable of all that they wish. In the coming onslaught of puberty/preteen/teenage angst, I now have to have conversations with them which–in complete candor–I don’t want to have.
I don’t look forward to telling my oldest daughter (soon to be 12), because her body is changing, people will start looking at her. There will be boys as well as men looking at her. Through no fault or provocation. I will have to tell her how to defend herself from someone’s son whom may try and touch her. I will have to assure her that her body is hers, and she has complete ownership of it!
I will have to tell her that because she is tall, she will never look her age. I will have to tell her when men approach her, to limit her eye contact and always be aware of her surroundings, and where people are in conjunction to her.
I have to tell her how to stay safe when Mama Bear ain’t there.
I have to tell her what it means to be called fast, because she still has a grandmother of a certain age. For that reason, her grandmother will think the best way to keep her safe—is to over criticize. Minutely critique. Just as her mother did to her.
I don’t look forward to the cloud which may form over her bright hazel eyes. She’ll be thrust into a world that wants to devour her, while she still loves reading, sneakers and the MCU.
I don’t want to watch that residual spill over to my younger daughter (now 10). I don’t want to have to repeat this information to her. I don’t want to tell my bold, intelligent baby girl that the fact she is so shapely, some boy may try to touch her. Or think she’s available, because she is thicker than her sister.
But, this must occur. I have to have these conversations. I have to arm them. I must arm them. The world I desire to change (and I may leave them), will not tell her these things. They will not tell my daughters their value aside from their sensuality or esthetic. The world will evaluate, rate, like, share them only as it relates to what it can get from them.
And be quick to call them names if something happens to her. I arm my daughters with self-honor and undeniable truth. In that power, with that power, do I allow my daughters to truly become everything they desire. Telling a girl that, is more powerful than you can imagine.