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A love letter to my future (in honour of the Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women)

Dear love,

Historically, women and girls have faced discrimination.

Many people will tell you that you cannot do certain things because you have a uterus.

Many people will tell you your worth is found in your physical qualities; you must look a certain way to be admired, that all you are good for is to clean and procreate.

Sometimes you will tell yourselves these things, too.

People will grasp at you with greedy eyes and dog whistles as you walk down the street. You will not do anything to provoke them except exist.

You will be unable to go to certain areas of town at night for fear of being featured on a late night news special.

You will try not to be like those “other girls.” You will feel pressure to be “one of the guys” or think “like a man.”

You will be condemned as a horrid hairy-armpitted liberal feminist for suggesting that maybe women and girls should have more equality and rights to education.

You will be more likely to be sexually abused, raped, trafficked and enslaved.

You will feel the weight of the world on your shoulders AND your heart.

Dearest love,

Sometimes I feel like I don’t want to be a part of the human race.

Do you think lions or wolves or prairie dogs abuse their mothers or sisters?
Do baboon fathers slap their little baboon daughters and leave bruises on their tiny baboon faces?
Do tiger shark children not want to swim home at night?

Sometimes, we see the darkness and we ignore it because we don’t have time or we’re afraid of making waves.

Sometimes we just want to give up.

But dear one, I want you to know that you are valued.
You are loved.
You are beautiful.
You are everything.

You can clean and cook and swear and love and fail and read and study and teach astrophysics and engineer subterranean systems and paint landscapes and hold hands and write sonnets and skydive and wield machetes and sing opera and spit gangsta rap and breathe fire and grow gardens and whatever else the hell you want to do.

If someone hits you, don’t let them stay in your life.
If someone hurts you, don’t let them stay in your thoughts.

If you want to stay home and take care of your kids, do it.
If you want to be a CEO of a multi-national corporation, do it.

If you want to do both, by all means, please do.
You can do anything you set your mind to do.

You will face obstacles.
You will face challenges.

You do not have superpowers because of this.
But you are pretty damn powerful.

Violence will always be in your history and ancestry and on the peripherals of your everyday interactions.

But that doesn’t mean that a better world isn’t in your horizon, love.

A change is going to come.

I love you.
I’m proud of you.
You are a warrior.
You are a queen.
You are loved.

And you don’t have to be a certain size or speak a certain way to achieve this.

You just be.

I love you, dear one.

Mum

Comments

lydiagcallano's picture

Reassuring!

This piece is so warm, touching, encouraging and reassuring. As it was signed as "Mum", it made me imagine that it was my mother talking to me, uttering words of comfort and affirmation.

Frankly speaking, I was able to relate to the piece because the points raised also happened to me. I have experienced being used and abused by partners and later by my husband. When I could not longer endure the psychological pain, I ran to my family. My father did not say a word but I knew he felt my pains too. It was my mother who had the courage to articulate her thoughts. She was hurt because I was hurting. Not wanting me to languish in pain for the rest of my life, she advised me to leave my "baggages" behind and to move on. Just the same, whatever decision I would make, she would be there for me.

I thank you, Ashleigh for reminding me that the strength of a mother is in her reassuring soft voice.

Lastly, I do not only appreciate the message of your piece but also its form - so poetic! You are a poetic voice of women! May there be more of your kind!

Ma. Lydia G. Callano
Iloilo, Philippines
+63 33 3158137 or 5138830

Ashleigh Lauren's picture

Lydia, Thank you for your

Lydia,

Thank you for your kind words of encouragement.

Thank you also for sharing a piece of your story with me.

I am glad you were able to use the support and comfort of your mother to move past pain.

I know the healing process probably hasn't been easy, but I thank you for standing strong and inspiring others who may have experienced what you have.

I don't know about the poetic voice of women, but thank you for taking the time to encourage me. :)

Much love,

Ashleigh

torilynnfox's picture

Love this!

So great! Every daughter needs a letter like this from their mother, or from any woman for that matter. I wish we would spend more time building up the inner strength and confidence and ambition in little girls!

Ashleigh Lauren's picture

I definitely agree! This

I definitely agree!

This campaign really resonated with me. It's such a positive approach to a very dark subject. I think all children need to have the freedom to know it's okay to be who they are, away from fear or judgment.

Thank you for taking the time to read.

ikirimat's picture

Yes, we all (I think) needed

Yes, we all (I think) needed this kind of assurance at some moment in life. None the less, for us with daughters, sisters, friends.... need to use this reassuring and loving words to keep them strong and confident about ourselves and what we do.
At least my father once said this words to me as a teenager, and I can assure you, those words kept me encouraged to where I'm today. They are just words but hold so much in the ears of listener.

Thank you for sharing this beautiful piece of love letter

Grace Ikirimat

"It takes the hammer of persistence to drive the nail of success."


Ashleigh Lauren's picture

Thank you!

Grace,

I agree. If I didn't have affirmation from my parents and grandparents growing up I don't who I would be today. I'm glad you were able to hear how worthwhile you are from your father. Words definitely hold power. Thank you for using yours to encourage me.

Have a great day,

Ashleigh

erinluhmann's picture

Where's the Audio Version?

Dear Ashleigh,

I was drawn into your world the moment I began reading your poem. You write with conviction, with rhythm, with intention, and with emotion. I hope you someday share this piece though spoken word. I thought the written version was powerful and I believe it lends itself to an even more powerful spoken version.

Best,
Erin

Ashleigh Lauren's picture

Erin, thanks! I never thought

Erin, thanks!

I never thought of presenting my writings as spoken word. I'll have to investigate this further. Thanks so much for the suggestion and for reading.

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