Written By Brianne Quintero - Full-time mother and government lackey, lifetime video game and book enthusiast, frequent writer and procrastinator. Twitter: @BriMcD44
Teach her to find her voice amid the noise and the clamor. Teach her to know the sound of it when the world is shouting over her, trying to drown her out. Teach her to listen to that voice and to trust it, to find it when she’s lost or unsure or when she’s almost given up hope. Teach her to use it.
Teach her to be wrong and to have the courage to make bold mistakes. Teach her to have the kind of bravery that allows her to own each failure and that allows her to embrace them with introspection. Teach her to accept the consequences of her actions with wisdom and with grace and that failure is not the end but merely a new beginning, the next step in her adventure of self-discovery.
Teach her how to line her lips and shadow her eyes, how to curl her hair and how to shape her brows. Teach her how to find the right makeup to match her skin tone and what colors look best with the shade of her smile. Teach her that she is beautiful with or without effort, that she is beautiful when she feels comfortable and at peace with herself. Teach her that she is more than how she looks.
Teach her to be kind, to empathize with those around her, but teach her that she is the master of her story, that she creates the world in which she lives. Teach her kindness, but not compassion at the expense of her individuality.
Teach her to be careful with her heart but to give her love without conditions. Teach her to see people as they are and accept them with an understanding that they have their own battles to fight, their own lessons to learn. Teach her to love and to let go and to stand on her own but to make room when the time comes, when she’s ready.
Teach her that she is not the labels the world has already defined, nor the cage which has been created for her. Teach her that she is not defined by anyone but herself, by anything but that which makes her heart beat fast and her mind sing. Teach her to look beyond the images on the screen and to understand what lies beneath.
Teach her to be irreverent and shrill. Teach her to give the finger to anyone who tries to place her on a shelf and tell her how to be or who she is. Teach her to laugh loudly and chew messily and disregard the place someone’s carved out for her, to mark her own space, her own path, her own soul. Teach her to be unapologetically herself.
Teach her softness and introspection. Teach her to match her shoes with her dress and how to style her hair when she wants to wear a hat. Teach her she doesn’t have to wear a dress, or a hat, or a pair of heels, or even the name she’s been given. Teach her to wrap herself in and surround herself with the things that speak to her that make her feel more. Teach her that she is no less a person when she wears too little or wears too much and that she belongs to no one but herself.
Teach her that happiness is fleeting, that it will come and it will go, but that its irregularity makes it no less worthwhile. Teach her to appreciate the sad times, the difficult times, the times when nothing seems to go her way. Teach her that happiness and joy is found in unexpected places, places she may have overlooked or dismissed, and that every sad moment is a chance for learning and for growth.
Teach her and then let her go.