My Daughter, Be Exactly Who You Are
I have a daughter. She is just four years old, but if you were to ask her she would tell you that she is four and a half. She is small - just under 42 inches - but her personality is big, her presence is magnificent, and her energy is palpable. When she wakes in the morning the world rises with her as she skips down the hallway and enters our room beaming with energy and light.
She is not shy. She speaks her truth and talks to anyone who is willing to listen. Enthusiasm radiates from her little body as she strikes up conversations with other children, telling them about what brings her joy or complimenting them on their clothing choice. She can be loud and boisterous and will laugh with her whole body. She almost always has something to say, a story to tell, an opinion to voice, or an anecdote to deliver. And, when she’s not speaking, she is singing; letting her voice echo through the halls of our house without fear of judgement or even a hint of self-consciousness.
And, of course, her exuberance and energy further manifests through movement. When my daughter dances she exudes happiness. Her moves are bigger, more animated, and much more dramatic than her peers. Do not take this to mean she is a “better dancer” because trust me, she’s not. It is simply the difference in personalities and she is an individual who is carefree and wild in all that she does. She takes up space in her movements and allows her body to flow without thinking about how others perceive her.
She is spirited and emotional, loving with her whole heart and feeling things to the very core of who she is. She isn’t afraid to express her joy, her sadness, or her frustration. She throws caution to the wind, runs with reckless abandon, and dreams in colour.
My hope is that all that she is now becomes ingrained into the fibre of her being. So much so that no person or no thing could possibly silence her, still her, tame her. I want her to be the only one to define who she is, to know herself so well that she can stand up to those who attempt to define her by their own terms or in relation to what they want her to be. It is far too easy to get caught up in what others have to say and to then see yourself through that same lens. I never want her to feel insecurity at the hands of another individual. Sure - change, grow, and flourish into who you choose to become but let only yourself dictate what you are meant to be.
I know that there will come a time when she will be told to be quiet, to settle down, and to act a certain way. Others will attempt to force her into a box that she is not meant to fit in. Society will tell her what it means to be a girl, a lady, a woman. Understandably, there will be times where she will have to conform to rules that are in place to foster the growth of more than just her own ambitions. But, I hope that when this happens, the very core of who she is does not change. I want her vivacity to continue to shine in spite of the naysayers who will try to dwindle her flame to nothing but a flicker. I want her to know that it’s okay to speak up, to take up space, to embrace the person she was always meant to be.
And, one day I hope she harnesses all of who she is to passionately pursue whatever awakens her soul. I want her to continue to talk to others, to fearlessly tell jokes, and to dance with her whole heart without even a second thought about what anyone may think of her. I want my daughter to walk through life unburdened about making others feel comfortable. I want her enthusiasm for life, knowledge, and kindness to grow without reservation. I don’t want her to bend or to fit into a mould because it’s what someone else wants for her. Because if they don’t love all of who she is then they don’t deserve even some of her.