You were born into a cooing gasp of love, but across the country you were greeted with the bitter snap of mean-girl-attitude. “No one cares!” they said, and a chill slithered down my spine as I realized this would not be the only time someone dismissed your wonderful presence.
I’ll let you in on a secret right now, Coco. You were not made to be ballerina tutus and pirouettes – soft and gentle and dainty. You are the bruised knees on hardwood, sharp criticism from the coach in the corner, unbalanced ankles and their silencing snaps.
You are beauty, but you do not have to be grace. You are the preparation and the reward, and you deserve every second you’ve earned in the spotlight.
When they tell you that you are too loud, do not shout your apologies.
Hold yourself together.
Keep a steady voice.
Maintain your passions – they cannot steal those from you.
They will shrink you.
They will tell you be thin, be quiet, be respectful.
They will demand your attention: listen to me, listen to him, do not interrupt.
They will wrap you with a bow and admire your beauty, but they will refuse to acknowledge your brains. Stand still and smile, look delicate and pretty, do not take up too much space, do not make yourself too obvious.
I’m telling you this now, Coco: that is all bullshit.
Your mother did not dream of your blazing spunk for a man in an ill-fitting suit and grotesque smirk to dull your light.
You come from a long lineage of strong women. You come from a lineage of women who, despite the ache of devastation in their hearts, have gathered the strength of steel from their bones, clawed their way back to the surface, found it somewhere deep within themselves to continue, and they’ve succeeded.
You can do it too.
You were born with a heart so full, so kind, so curious, so compassionate, so bold, so brilliant.
It is not your duty to make yourself easily-digested by those around you.
Speak your truth. Speak your passions.