A candid tale of 20-something humanness and extended note to self.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Dear my daughter


You might wonder why I've taken the time to write you this before you even exist. After all, that day may never come. Right now, there is no thought more terrifying than that of pushing a perfect, tiny, flailing limbed human out of my vagina. But if you do become my reality, and you are reading this letter, hello! I sincerely hope you haven't inherited my inability to be on time for anything remotely important.

I'm 24 as I write. I have no children of my own yet. My parenting wisdom is therefore pretty much non-existent. I guess I just want us both to remember that I was once young like you. I was a human long before you came into this world. And I have experienced the things you have. So here it is. Here's a rambling of my wisdom so far, captured for you, waiting for you.

People are probably asking you what you want to 'dooooo' with your life. 'What are your plans for the future?' Society will have instilled within you an anxiety about this. There's every chance you've crapped yourself about it once or twice. You will feel that you need to know and that you need to know it right NOW and that oh-em-geeeee, your life will be one giant, sodding disaster if you don't. Guess what? It won't. It is absolutely okay to be confused. It's okay not to have a destination in mind. You're just human after all, and despite the illusion we try to create, none of us have it figured out. All I ask is that you stay true to your heart. If you want to ride tractors, ride tractors! (I want to ride tractors too. Get your wellies.)

If you're anything like me, you're going to be one curious cat. You'll have a hungry brain. Feed it with knowledge and experiences. Learn as much as you can about everything that you can. Books are tonic for the idle mind; lose yourself in them. Appreciate creativity and literature and music and science and technology and religion and history and sports and people and places. Appreciate everything, even the lesson on 'breeds of gulls' which may well be told to you by a half-pissed, bearded man on a train. If you never speak of it again, at least you will know which birdie is most likely to steal your tuna sandwich.

Be lovely. Please always be as lovely as you can. Practice your manners. I fear that kindness is a dying art. Throw it around like confetti. To those who reside in your heart. To people you cross in the street. To yourself.

You probably spend entire evenings cursing yourself for things you've said or done that you feel you shouldn't have. It is intrinsic to your existence as a human being to fuck up. So go ahead; fuck up. Accept it. Apologise. Permit yourself to make mistakes, and learn from them. You'll laugh about them one day, I promise.

Look after your body. Don't put too much shit into it. Eat broccoli. It turns any plate into a dwelling of vegetably, foresty goodness! And never take up smoking. I have watched too many people in this family screw up their bodies through smoking. If you take it up, I will kill you before the cigarettes do.

Keep your dignity when your heart gets broken. Drunk texts will always make you wince in the morning. And despite the assholes, know that if you're drowning in the details of somebody, and the air between you is heavy with longing for that next perfect sentence, it's always worth pursuing.

Always remember that human beings are awesome creatures. Even when they're the worst person you've ever met and you'd rather sit on a cactus then see them again, people are perpetually fascinating. Watch them. Talk to them. Mock them. Mock yourself. Treasure those who make you feel extraordinary: people who can turn you into a jolly, hysterical, urinating mess, people who get you to the very depths of your beautiful, grubby soul. Those people are the very best thing about being alive.

Do lots of cartwheels. Things look funny upside down. Travel to pretty places. Always do the thing that scares you, even it scares me too. Look up. Look out. Look around. With as much awe and gratitude as possible.

Finally, on those days you feel your absolute best, and on those days you despise your own reflection, and on all of those days in between, know that I think you are the most gorgeous, charming, extraordinary creature on this planet. The world is a better place with you in it.

Lots of love,

Mum. (When I was never you, but more you than I am now).


PS: I still can't believe I CREATED A HUMAN.
PPS: Tuna sandwich?
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