Dear future daughter,
When people ask me about the most important thing I’ve learned thus far, I can’t help but think about how destructive I was as a young teenager. If the old saying is true, and the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, you will be relentless, vicious and (secretly) scared to death. I think I can help you.
I know that all of a sudden, you’ll go from being the class nerd, to the girl all boys want to feel up at parties. You’ll go from wearing limited too tracksuits and looking like a character from a bad sitcom, to wearing nothing but shorts, fishnets, crop tops and winged eyeliner. You won’t have a clue about what the fuck goes on around you.
One day, someone will hurt you. One day, some 19 year old predator will fix his eye on you. One day, you’ll feel like the bones in your body must stick out even more. You’ll learn to hate yourself, to avoid your reflection, to count calories and skip meals, to mutilate your own skin.
I need you to forget about all this shitstorm around and think of your best friend for a minute. What would happen if he or she ever told you that you looked disgusting? How would you react to them pinching whatever amount of fat you have on your body? What if they suggested you should grab a razor and slash your wrists up? And how would you feel if they pointed out that barely noticeable pimple or scar or whatever imperfection on your face, and told you it completely ruined you? What if your best friend ever told you that you were not worthy of being loved, or cared for, or an incredible human being?
Let me answer those questions for you. You would cut that bitch out of your life for being cruel, cold and critical. You would be outraged at them for daring to treat you with such a blatant lack of respect and disregard for your feelings…
And yet I know that you will do all of the above to yourself. You are not your enemy. Treat yourself like a friend, and do not tolerate doing to yourself what would be unspeakable if someone else did it. What you say to yourself in front of the mirror or when you shut your eyes to sleep at night is no worse than what a toxic friend could possibly tell you. Don’t tolerate all that negativity inside you: You are worthy of being loved, worthy of inner peace.
If you manage to make that inner voice your friend, and find peace within yourself, I promise, you will come to find that facing the world outside of your head becomes a million times better, and way more gratifying.
Aisling, and (in theory), your mother.