There is so much I want to tell you. Things that I was not told. Things I wish I had known. And maybe a few things that I was told – but quickly ignored. As we do in youth.
I want you to know that a day will come when you walk down the street – and no one notices you – and it won’t feel nearly as peaceful and freeing as you imagine. I want you to know that when you wear revealing clothing, men will avert their eyes – if they bother to look at all – but you’ll take no joy or solace in it.
At some point, someone will ask you to put your bits away…just like they do today…but not for remotely the same reasons.
I want you to know that it will be disorienting. That you will look back on the time you spent fighting against sexual harassment with an awkward nostalgia, and secretly, you will long to be harassed again, just once, for old time’s sake.
And when a man does look at your breasts – and apologizes for being rude – you will let him know in no uncertain terms that if you put them out and he doesn’t look, you will be infinitely more offended. You will mean it.
I want you to know that your relationship to sex will change in ways you can’t fathom now. That your worries about technique and shaved legs and getting him to commit or wishing he could find your clitoris without you having to do the incredibly annoying job of pointing it out to him — will vanish.
I want you to know that, when you do, finally, surrender, it won’t be to a man – it will be to your own feminine nature. It will be beautiful. It will be powerful.
I want you to know that underneath the political rhetoric, the religious terror, the impossible double standards, the cruel repression, the rape culture, the entitlement, the sheer stupidity of misogyny…this power we hold is at the heart of it all.
It is exactly what the world fears about us. It is, even, what we fear about ourselves.
I want to encourage you to locate and live from THIS place – because it is what the world so desperately needs. Even though everything you see and hear would have you believe otherwise.
I want you to get wise to shame. Right now. As if your life, and your children’s lives, and the survival of the fucking planet depends on it.
Because it does.
I want you to know that the end of your fertile years is neither a blessing nor a curse. It does not need to be feared or celebrated – only greeted. The way the ocean responds to each changing tide. The way the day surrenders to night.
As your body burns off the heat of your unmet desires, new desires will appear. When your body whispers, listen.
You’ll regret spending the next 10, 20, 30 years complaining about the way men see you and treat you, all the while treating yourself and your sisters just as bad or worse.
You’ll regret retreating to the dark for your lovemaking. You’ll wish you hadn’t counted one too many hurts and let the scars win. And you would be foolish to cling to youth at the expense of wisdom.
I’m not going to lie to you – not one bit of this will be easy. And I’m not going to lie to myself – you’re not going to listen to this letter. Maybe I’m not even writing it to you.
Maybe this letter is really to myself. To the young beautiful woman I’m leaving behind. Because she’s a little sad sometimes. She has her doubts, her regrets, her shames.
Most days, I know that I’m gaining more than I’m losing. Most days, wisdom seems better than beauty. Most days, I don’t want to kill you.
But today, and every day, I do want you to know. I want you to reach past your own experience and tap into mine. I want to funnel it into you – to expedite your journey in a way that I couldn’t my own.
Today and every day, I want there to be no rift between us. No competition – for men, for resources, for attention. Today and every day, I want to love you and see you and embrace you and celebrate you. And I want you to do the same for me.
And for the absolute last fucking time – your ass looks awesome in those jeans, your tits are perfect, all the women in magazines are air-brushed, and anyone who cares about the distance between your thighs should only be making sure that their head and hands and tongue can fit there, upon request, in the most pleasurable way possible.
Beyond that – just let it go.
© Monica Day