Dearest baby girl,
As I write this letter, you are only 6 months old. You are only beginning to see the beauty in the world, only beginning to learn of love, only beginning to discover where you fit into it all.
You find your hands fascinating. You find your feet hilarious. You smile at yourself in the mirror because you love the face you see.
It is an amazing face. Everyone agrees. When it comes to beautiful babies, you embody it all. I have no doubt that you will also grow to be a beautiful toddler, preschooler, tween and teen.
And as you grow older, you will come to better understand this mysterious, complicated amalgamation of cells we call the 'human body'. It will frustrate you. It will fascinate you. It will frighten you. It will free you, and empower you.
And, in far too many ways, you will think that it defines you.
Far too soon, you will become inundated with a world intent on dominating your mystical body. They will barrage you with clothes, make up, hair styles, and other products, each one making wilder promises than the last. You will be told that if you look a certain way, talk a certain way, act a certain way, you will achieve that one true dream that all women secretly have: To be desired.
But, my darling girl, this is a scam. It isn't real. They aren't selling beauty. They are selling you a belief system that underlines that you, your body, and your self worth can be packaged up and marketed. And then they are turning around and selling a piece of you, of your spirit, to the world.
And, wily as they are, they will use every trick in the book to do it. They will tell you that "sex sells" and that you should put yourself up for the highest bidder.
And then, they will shame you for believing them and act as if, somehow, you are responsible for all the ills of the world. They will confuse you. They will confound you. They will betray you.
If you let them, they will break you.
And I am powerless to stop it.
Try as I might, I can not shield you from a world that is often terrifying and cruel because to do so would be to deprive you of a world that can also be wondrous and astounding.
But, what I can do is give you the tools you need to take on this world and make it everything you want it to be.
My daughter, I will equip you with the truth: You are not a Madonna and you are not a Whore. You are not a prude and you are not a slut. You are a girl, a woman in the making, and you will be filled with dreams and desires.
And yes, you are human. And, for the most part, we all share on basic commonality: We are sexual beings.
I will never shame you for your sexuality. It is a part of who you are, in many ways the most dominant part. Sex is a beautiful and empowering expression of self that I hope you grow to enjoy and embrace.
I will not shame, and I will not judge. But I will remind you that, like all things in life, sexuality can be complex and the consequences of our actions are very real. I will make sure that you understand these consequences so that you can make educated decisions that align with your personal values and beliefs.
Along the way, you will falter. You will make decisions with your body and your heart that you regret. And when you do, I hope you turn to me so that I can help you confront them, move beyond them and expunge these ghosts from your past.
Fear not, my love. I made mistakes too. I gave my heart and my body in ways that I didn't understand or consider.
But these mistakes became a part of my history, of my sexual soul, and helped me to come to a place in my life where I am deeply comfortable with my body, my partner, and myself.
I hope, my daughter, that you learn to love your body of the future as much as you love your body of today.
And if I have anything to say about it, you will.