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Dear little girl

Dear little girl,

I’ve known you since before you were born, but not in a metaphysical way. I knew you then because I knew your mom when she had you in her belly. What a mom you have, you know that? She’s smart, strong, wise. She loves you so much, and I see how she looks at you when you’re acting up. Part of her loves you unconditionally, and part of her fears for your future based on how you’re acting now. But I understand that you’re acting the way you do because it’s been 15 years since you were born and teenagers are going to be teenagers.

Believe it or not, there are people in the world who think that you are less of a person because you were born female. I’m not one of those. You could call me a “feminist,” but I’m more of a person who believes that everyone should be treated equally — and equally well — because we are human. Treating just one of us badly for whatever reason diminishes us all. You’ll learn all about this as you get older and interact with more people in this world. Because the world is getting smaller, and I can only imagine the things you’ll see in your lifetime, the places you will go.

I also am all about supporting women in this world because I was born from a woman and raised by her and several women. Grandmothers, aunts, cousins and total strangers took it upon them to be motherly toward me and teach me to be a good person. I hope one day, when you’re older, toward your own children or children of others, that you get that same urge to care for a young one and teach them to be good people… Because you are a good person. That trait is already visible on you.

Speaking of traits, if someone ever starts a compliment by mentioning your looks, be a little suspicious. Sure, you’ll look pretty, there’s nothing wrong with that. But you must always make sure that your intellect and your charm come through first ahead of looks. Because physical beauty fades with age, but that inner beauty that radiates and makes people see you in a different light will not fade away… Unless you want it to. I hope you never let it fade, because it would break so many hearts if you turned out to be angry, resentful, broken.

And if you ever are broken, trust others to fix you. Never deal through a hard choice or situation on your own. Not only will you have your family, but you will have your friends, those friends who will have seen your inner beauty and want to restore it. There are also other people, professional people, who you can pour your heart out to and trust that they’ll give you some good advice. I can’t emphasize enough that you don’t go through bad stuff on your own.

The way that the world works, chances are that you won’t be alone. You’ll find that person who sweeps you off your feet and makes your head go up into the clouds, at least for a while. After a few weeks or months or years, it will be necessary for you and them to come to terms with reality. “True love” doesn’t pay the bills, so don’t hook up with someone who is unemployable and/or lazy. “True love” won’t bring you chai tea to the office when you’re having a rough day, so be with someone who listens to you and knows exactly what to do — even years into your relationship — to make you feel better. Also, “true love” survives your mutual biological urges… But that conversation is for a later time. You’re still too young for that talk, and I’m in no position to give you that talk, especially in a blog post.

Then again, have that talk. Look for a woman whose all grown up to have that talk with. It can be your mom, a doctor, a teacher. As long as it is someone you trust. That talk can literally save your life.

Most of all, dear little girl, know that love is out there and will always be out there. However, it needs to come secondary to all those things that make a life worth living. Go to school, learn, get okay grades, or even bad grades. Heck, if you’re up to it, get good grades, but learn. Go to college. Travel the world. Get outside your comfort zone and be one of those people who makes the powerful and the privileged uncomfortable. Be a troublemaker, in the good sense of the word. Don’t take anyone’s bullshit, and don’t bullshit anyone.

After all that is done — or maybe while you’re doing it — then work on that wonderful relationship with that wonderful person who will not keep you from all those things, from all your dreams.

But trust me on that whole thing about looks. I’ve met plenty of beautiful women who turn out to be monsters because of their withered souls. Shine from the inside, and let that light be so bright that no one can see your flaws, so you can light the way for others who walk in darkness to one day join you in the sun.

Dear little girl… Be a Supergirl.

Featured image via Scott Swigart via Flickr (cc by 2.0)

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René F. Najera, DrPH

I'm a Doctor of Public Health, having studied at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.
All opinions are my own and in no way represent anyone else or any of the organizations for which I work.
About History of Vaccines: I am the editor of the History of Vaccines site, a project of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Please read the About page on the site for more information.
About Epidemiological: I am the sole contributor to Epidemiological, my personal blog to discuss all sorts of issues. It also has an About page you should check out.

2 replies

  1. Thank you for writing this. It’s something I’d like to share with my own daughter in a few years when she passes that teen threshold.

    Liked by 1 person

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