My sweet girl,
There are mornings when I wake up and see you for the first time, and it looks like you’ve grown overnight; you’re taller or your face seems different in ways only a parent would notice.
It steals a little of my breath because reminds me how fast time is moving, how quickly you are changing, how soon you will be a young woman. And as you grow, life will surely become more complicated—that’s just how life works.
One day it may be difficult to remember some things that are so very simple right now, and I wanted to make sure I said something in case you ever forget it.
I wanted to remind you about your body.
I want you to remember that your body is yours alone.
It belongs solely to you.
This is all for you to decide.
It is not up for debate with another—though I reserve the right to offer counsel until you’re out of high school.
Your body is your soul’s home for the duration of your journey here. It is meant specifically for you, so that you could experience every beautiful thing this world has for you:
The taste of chocolate.
The feel of the earth passing beneath your feet as run.
The exhilarating shock when you first dive into the ocean.
The smell of the grass as you settle into it and stare at the sky.
The sound of music that makes you dance involuntarily.
The dizzying rush of kissing someone you love.
Your body is the sacred space in which you will spend every second here—and you get to determine each of those seconds. Do not waste a single moment allowing someone else to decide for you.
There will be times when others will believe they can cast a vote regarding your body; how you dress or dance or show affection, or simply how you move and choose within in. Do not allow them this because it is not their right. You don’t require anyone else’s permission to live even a breath of this life.
And this is important: Even if someone tells you that they love you, even if they do love you—your body still does not belong to them. Never be coerced or shamed or bullied into doing anything other than what your heart fully desires. Those who really love you will always yield to your yes and your no—and those who do not, do not deserve proximity to you.
When you are a young woman, I hope you celebrate your body as much as you do right now. Never be ashamed of its shape, or its size, or its specific idiosyncrasies, because these are all proof that you are a once-in-History, never to be repeated masterpiece. Your body, for certain, is not all of who you are—but your body is part of you and that makes it beautiful, important, and entirely yours.
Enjoy every fleeting second of this life in your body, my sweet girl; feel and think and fight and work and love and embrace and find pleasure within it as you decide: not because I or anyone else said you can, and not as I or anyone else desires—but because you say you can, and because you desire it.
Photo: Getty Images