​Dear daughter; lessons on love and friendship.

I chuckle at the irony of what I’m about to do. Truth be told, I don’t know much about love and friendship. Attempting to talk about it, would be like Hitler giving a lecture on tolerance. I’ve only ever had a handful of friends and up until I was twenty, I did not understand these two concepts. I would like to believe that I have grown; that in just two years, I have acquired knowledge I should have amassed in twenty two years. But really, the jury is still out on that. So let’s see.

Friendship as I know it is the purest form of love. You are going to grow up in a society that will make you believe that a sexual relationship is the height of all relationships. But you are my daughter, and as you will find out, I am not in the business of raising you into a cliché. You will be a rebel, an outcast, an outlier before you ever are ordinary. So take it from me, if you screw up all the relationships you will ever be in, if you’ll break the hearts of everyone you set your sights on, pick one friend that will know every bit and crevice of your soul. When you find this person, it doesn’t matter gender what they’ll be (because people will try to tell you that you can’t be friends with male people. Another myth I’ll debunk), be good to them. Endeavor to unravel every bit of their being. Learn the difference in the quivering of their voice when they are about to cry from happiness or sadness. If you can’t do anything else for them, never let them forget that you love them. Be vulnerable, be honest be raw. Because really, out of all the things you could give to people, the greatest will always be your uncensored self. That and your time. So if they ever call you in the middle of the day saying they are having a bad day asking to talk for a minute, please say yes. Because you can always finish your homework an hour later. What you shouldn’t do is let your friend go through the day thinking they are a bother to you. If you ever have the power to make someone feel better, do it. And as you get older, you will find that these are the things that truly matter.  

In your lifetime, you will come across people that you will be inexplicably drawn to. The sad thing about life is there won’t be a lot of these people. So when you do come across one of those people, drop everything and see what shore that current dumps you on. These people will come in various forms; family, friends, strangers on the street. They will serve different purposes for different periods. I hope you will be selfish enough to enjoy these people, especially the ones that are not permanent (actually nobody really is because we all die.) But just because people aren’t permanent doesn’t mean they aren’t worth it. Some of the best memories will be made by people you shared a bus ride with, people it didn’t even occur to you to ask their names. 

Finally, I hope you know what kind of treatment you deserve. Don’t ever be too busy loving and supporting other people you forget to do that for yourself. No one deserves to be happy more than you do. If you ever are to choose between people, pick the ones that put in an effort over the ones that claim they love you. Because not everyone that loves you will try. But people that try will always love you. Pick the friend that listens to you. Pick the friend that knows all the different ways to put your pieces back together because they’ve seen you fall apart so many times. Pick the friend that cherishes, you’re A-Zs, your skin to your bones. Pick the friends that knows all your scars and the story behind each one. Pick the friends that calls you just because. God, pick people who try. I cannot tell you how important that is. And when you have chosen this person, try for them. Try even if it kills you.

And when all is said and done, not all relationships last. There are people who for whatever reason will hurt your feelings. Please forgive those people. If I should leave you with anything, may it always be an unwavering assurance that people’s actions are not a reflection of your self-worth. This is in no way saying that you are beyond reproach. We all need a little shaping. What we do not need however, is a crumbled sense of worth stemming from someone’s indecency. If you ever have to listen to such misconceptions, if your only choice is to sit and watch your life and everything you stand for be reduced into a vulgar misunderstanding spewing out of even more vulgar mouths, I hope you know not to turn the pits of your stomach into a graveyard; a dark dreary place to bury every judgement passed, every door slammed. But above everything else, may you always find the light inside you. That you will use this light to illuminate your shadows of self-doubt and turn them into reflections of beauty and joy. That you shall always put your happiness above all else.

​On Complements.

I think I was ten when I read somewhere that men like women who know how to take a complement. My ten year old self thought, “that’s great. Men like women who know they are smart and beautiful.” I thought men liked it when you agree with them when they complement you. 
As it turns out, that is not always the case.

Yes, there are men who don’t like it when you don’t “accept” a compliment. I don’t think anyone likes it when they tell someone they are beautiful and have them say something like, “you don’t really mean that.” Yes, I mean it. Why else would I say it? I think it is sad, especially for women, to be unaware of their good qualities. Because society more often than not, will tear us down. You cannot afford to do that to yourself. I think everyone needs a sense of pride. I think everyone deserves to believe it when they are complemented.

A lot of times, when a guy says, “hey, I think you are beautiful” and you respond with a “thank you. I know”, they will take it back. They will tell you to not be cocky because you are not even that beautiful to begin with. That they were only complementing you to start a conversation. You’re probably thinking, no one likes an arrogant person. But why is a woman knowing she’s beautiful arrogant? 

I find this ironic because our culture conditions women to care so much about their physical attractiveness but doesn’t place the same emphasis on men. Men grow up knowing that their looks play little to no role in their lives. So why is that we shame women for believing they are beautiful? Why is it that women who spend time and money on their outward beauty can only be shallow and superficial and dumb? Why can smart girls only be ugly?

I got one word for you. Patriarchy.

Patriarchy requires women to be led (read oppressed), to have no control over their lives. To not know what they want. Patriarchy requires women to be ashamed of their sexuality, that or she is a slut. Patriarchy expects women to be timid and take crap, that or she is a bitch. Patriarchy requires women to be beautiful but somehow oblivious to it, that or she is superficial.  

It might seem insignificant that a man would get offended that you are aware of your beauty, but what he is really saying, is I’m threatened by you. Because a woman who knows she’s beautiful and strong and smart, knows she’s deserving of equal rights. And that is a threat to a culture that profits from women doubting themselves. Case in point, would you imagine the hit the cosmetic industry would take if women woke up one day and decided their bodies are perfect? That their stretchmarks didn’t need removing and their hair didn’t need straightening.  That the acne on their face is only proof that they are humans capable of communing and being impacted by the elements. That whatever shape, size and form and bodies take as we go through life is just but a testament to our strength, that we can take on life, wage and win wars(mostly against ourselves, but still) and when all is said and done, we’ll only grow and morph. 

So when people tell you, “don’t be cocky”, what they are really saying is, reign in your power. Dull your shine, don’t blind us. But it shall never be your responsibility to accommodate ideals that break you. May we always be the women that refuse to blush, may we always be the women that say “thank you very much. I noticed my banging ass too.” 

 

The sound of other people’s lives. 

I spent most of today fighting the urge to yell “shut up” in people’s faces. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t hear what they were saying, on account of my ringing ears, or maybe not even talking at all. Everything just seemed so loud. 

Everything feels loud these days. I can’t seem to still my brain.

It could be argued that a loud mind is my fundamental building block and in a lot of ways, that argument would be correct. I don’t know how to live outside my head. Reality is too disappointing.

But every once in a while, I feel the need to numb my brain.

Every once in a while, I want to indulge my sister in small talk, or a classmate about an assignment. Every once in a while, I want to focus outside of myself, if not for anything, then to avoid how vividly red the darkness in my head feels. This is an endeavour I fail at more often than not. My mind on such days only feels hotter, so much so, it makes my eyes sting.

So I retreat into my head, the only place that feels familiar, the only place that feels like home. Oh the irony of that. And in the end, I’m still a snub, even when I’m trying not to be. Especially when I’m trying not to be. 

But really, the routine of existence exhausts me. People going about their lives; telling their jokes, grieving their losses, celebrating their triumphs simultaneously enrages and numbs me. It feels like white noise that has long overstayed its welcome and no longer motivates and/or accompanies me as I go through life. I’m bored and tired and I just want a hug from my best friend. 

I am immensely sad and for the life of me, I cannot explain why. I just want to sleep for a really long time. But then again, I’m wide awake at 1.30am on a school night. So maybe if I’m irate, it’s not because I’m sleep deprived. I could sleep if I wanted to.  My soul is tired, my spirit is battered. Sleep remains only an escape, a foolish indulgence, for a few hours at best. And what kind of grown up would that make me, if I solved (avoided really) all my problems by taking a nap?

More than anything, I want everyone to stop talking. I want the world to slow down. I want my head to stop spinning. I want my eyes to stop stinging.

I miss feeling happy.