Things My Mother Never Taught Me
She did not tell me that there are many roads to God. There was no convincing her that many paths lead one to the promise land.
The fact that sex is not what they make it out to be. She really didn’t teach me about sex, period. All she made known was that it was something I shouldn’t be doing till I’m lucky enough for a man to marry me. She didn’t tell me what to do when I feel like I should. What to do when I fall in love & need passionate ways to express it.
Mother didn’t tell me what to do about the fire in my chest. She did not tell me that it would burn so much. So much so, I'd fear it would consume me whole. I have never been taught what to do about it—how to control it into the slight flaming of embers and how to expand it into a roaring inferno.
How to be my own person has never come into question. There has never been the mention of how to be me for me. "Me" is a concept that exists only in the space of other people—me for the husband, me for the children, me for the parents. Never me for myself. She never told me to value my independence. To wear it like a crown on my head. Instead, I’m subtly told to diminish it. To reduce it until I’m just barely enough to exist.
Mother still hasn’t let me know what it feels like to be whole. I’m afraid she herself isn’t aware. I’m concerned that she has shared herself with too many to come together.
Things I will teach my daughter:
Love comes in all forms and packages—sometimes when you least expect it. To embrace her feelings and not stamp them down as wrong or evil.
To be unafraid. To roar with a voice as loud as any other. To be unapologetic in who she is and who she wants to become. To hold her head high even when life tries to break her neck.
To smile at strangers. To be kind even when the world doesn’t recommend it. To not mistake meekness for gullibility. To be soft-hearted when necessary.
To embrace self-expression. To dance even when everyone is watching. To sing at the top of her lungs even if she sucks at it. Twirl when she feels like it. Scream if she wants to. To not be affected by silly airs & graces. To be whatever version of herself she likes best.
To abhor ignorance. To question whatever she feels is not right. Make a change no matter how little. Get lost in fairy tales and history books. To understand that brains are an asset & not an inconvenience.
Most importantly, I will teach my daughter that she is not less than because she is a woman. That she can exist without the shackles of gender and its complexities. That she can do whatever the hell she wants without fearing first that she is a woman. To be because she is.