One of the things I love best about having you as my daughter is that I get to see the world through your eyes. So many times, watching you has reminded me of what truly matters in life: being loved and giving love. The best thing about your age right now, as a girl, is that you are absolutely in love with yourself. You radiate confidence, and you see pure beauty when you look in the mirror. When you get dressed, or play with your hair, or even put one of your daddy's hats on your head, you say, "Don't I look beautiful!" You are not yet aware of what society and the media deems "beautiful", you have no idea what being teased feels like, and you don't know what it means to compare yourself to other girls. As you grow into a woman and learn those things, I wish that it wouldn't have any impact on your confidence, but it undoubtedly will.
As your mother, I am the role model that will shape how you view your body, how you react to the portrayal of women in media, and how you cope with societal pressures of what it means to be a woman. If I teach you nothing else, I hope I can teach you this: Your self-worth is not determined by your physical attractiveness.
As I write you this letter, I am nearly 34 years old, and I am just now allowing myself to believe that statement. My self worth is not determined by my physical attractiveness. My self-worth is determined by the actions I take every day. It's found in the way I treat other people, and the effort I put into relationships. My self-worth is the result of the person I am on the inside. It has nothing to do with the size of my waist, my weight on the scale, or the shape of my arms.
I want you to know that YOU are the reason I'm finally finding the self-confidence to think this way. I look at you, and you are the spitting image of me. And I think, this little girl is so beautiful.
You have my thin, flat hair. I've always complained about my hair, but I look at yours and see beauty. You have my wide feet, with a bulbous big toe. I cringe when I look at my feet, but I look at yours and think how awesome your feet are to carry your body wherever you go. You have my smile, right down to my ornery smirk. I've never liked my smile because it's not "classically beautiful", but I look at your smile and it fills my heart with joy. You are beautiful, and through you, I'm learning that I am too. Thank you for that gift.
I hope that I can take this newfound confidence and teach you that, while it's important to take care of yourself and present yourself to the world in a clean and well-groomed manner, your value as a woman goes far deeper than your appearance. I hope I can give you the tools to battle the bitchy girls in high school who try to make you feel inferior, or the boy in sixth grade who tells you your knees are fat. I hope I can teach you to always see something beautiful when you look in the mirror and when you examine your soul. I am aware of the responsibility I bear in shaping your vision of your self-worth, and I know it starts with improving my own. I promise you that I will do my best.