How To Be A Woman: A Letter To My Daughter On Her 18th Birthday
The other night I watched the episode of Sex and the City where Miranda, my least favorite character, finally has her baby. And while SATC gets so many things wrong, the look on Miranda’s face when she first held her baby was absolutely right.
I know, because it’s the look that was on my face when I first held you.
Who is this person? This tiny person, who I wore next to my heart for nine months. Hi. Hi, baby. I know you, I know you inside and out and feel you and know everything about you but now that you’re “here” here…wow. I didn’t know what I expected. But here you are, finally. Hi.
And today you are 18. An adult. A woman. I’ve been reminding myself of that for the past few months whenever I had the urge to advise you on something. It’s okay. She’s practically an adult now. She can do this.
You will never not need me. And I will always be here for you. Even when I’m no longer “here” here.
So, what is a woman, exactly? You’ve been on an exploration recently. I love that you’ve done this. I wonder how you feel today, whether anything has changed for you. I will ask you this when we text.
Some years ago I had my own exploration. 48 years old and I didn’t know what a woman was, not reallytruly, so I dove right in and out came a book. I don’t have all the answers now but I have some of them.
A woman knows herself.
I love how unafraid you are to delve deeply into the You-ness of you, always trying to look with fresh eyes and an open heart. This trait will serve you well as you navigate the ever-wider concentric circles of humanity that life will deliver. Keep probing your depths. There is gold there.
A woman knows her truth.
Your best friend is your inner compass—that deepest, truest part of you that never leads you astray and always has your best interests at heart. If you temporarily lose connection with your truth, keep breathing into your core and you’ll pick up the trail again. Trust yourself to know what is truly right for you.
I’m honored to pass on to you this sacred knowledge of what is it to be a woman.
A woman honors her body.
This has been a fight for you. You didn’t come equipped with the easiest body to live in, but it’s the body you have. The more you make friends with it, the stronger your partnership will be. And while you are not your body, your body cannot thrive without you. Give it what it yearns for—fresh air, beauty all around, nourishing food and play, and understanding and compassion.
A woman is sensual.
You are one of the most sensual creatures I know. I feel it in you, bursting to come out and play. Your sexual partners will delight in you, in your awareness of the slightest breath and the tenderest touch and the merest whisper. Honor this part of you by giving her what she craves. Drink in the beauty of life and all the sightssoundssmellstastes that you can. Wear your sensuality from the inside, and taste the beauty that life brings you.
“You came here to teach the rest of us what it is to be a person. And you’ll do so out of love, because you know deep down that humanity is worth saving.”
A woman loves her family.
I mean the human family. Although this is your first lifetime in a millennia, inside you is a great love for humanity. Why else have you studied what it is to be human all these years, examining relationships and the intertwining of people on the micro level? It was research. You came here to teach the rest of us what it is to be a person. And you’ll do so out of love, because you know deep down that humanity is worth saving.
Along the way, you’ll choose your real family, not the ones connected to you by blood but the ones that dwell within your heart and soul. They are out there waiting for you, I promise.
This is what I see when I look at you.
A woman loves from within her soul.
This is what you’ve been waiting for—someone who will finally accept all of you, the precious gift of your heart. You will lose yourself in this great love time and again, and will leave your lovers so much the better for having tasted the depths of your love.
A woman tends the sacred.
Your work in this life is to bring humanity to humans. We have lost our way. You shall help us find it again. Through your deeper-than-you-realize connection to the worlds of the sacred, you will help light a spark that shall one day burn brightly in the annals of humanity. You are meant to bring wisdom and spirit to others. This may seem too big right now, but soon it won’t.
A woman brings the world alive.
You have chosen not to see this yet, but all around you people come alive. You walk and leave a trail of sparkly wonder that affects everyone in your path. You don’t see this yet but one day you will. You carry worlds within your womb, and within your mind, and within your heart, each a universe unto its own, and as you breathe you breathe life into them. Cherish this power, tend it and let its fire smolder until you are ready to bring it ablaze, until you are ready for the world to see you for who you truly are: magnificent and free.
You already know in your heart what it means to be a woman, and today you have become one in the eyes of society. You are ready to assume the responsibility of the life that dwells within your body and heart, and soon it will be time to share all that you are.
Thank you for choosing me as your mama, one of your first teachers and perhaps your biggest champion. Thank you for trusting this world with your heart. And thank you for having the courage to keep breathing, keep radiating, and keep evolving into the You that you came here to be.