I know you are both still so young and that I often ask you to understand things that are complex but I truly believe you are never too little to start learning your Herstory. So here are some things I want you to know that I hope will stand you in good stead for the rest of your life...
First and foremost, know your Herstory. I can’t stress this enough. Not just our family history of the incredible womxn who birthed us, nursed and nourished us to ensure we made it to this point in our lives but also the womxn throughout time and space who blazed a trail, lighting the way for the rest of us across the globe in all directions. The ones who changed the face of the world forever. They won’t teach you about these womxn in nursery, school or university so it’s your job to seek out their stories and take them into your heart passing them on to anyone who will listen. Study and learn and grow.
It’s important to listen before you speak.
There isn’t one universal experience of womxnhood. To believe yours to be the only valid experience of womxnhood is to be privileged, damaging and to put it bluntly, wrong. Never think about what it means to be a womxn without thinking about it on a global scale. The experience of womxnhood is complex and multifaceted. Be respectful, understanding and validating of other experiences that differ from your own.
There is no right or wrong way to be a womxn and stay the fuck away from anyone who tells you there is. Womxnhood has no rules or assigned body parts. Womxn come in all shapes, sizes, colours, abilities, sexualities and classes...I repeat...THERE IS NO RIGHT OR WRONG WAY TO BE A WOMXN. Womxn are ALL things. I didn’t know this for such a long time so I’m telling you this now while you are young enough to believe it, know it and build a life around it.
NO is a complete sentence. I hate that I have to teach you this wee ones, but I do. This is something else I learned a little too late. No means no. It doesn’t mean maybe, it doesn’t mean later…NO means NO. Consent is ongoing. Once given it can be taken back. You NEVER have to do something you don’t want to do.
You don’t have to be polite. Fuck polite!
Check your privilege. Only good can come of this. Sometimes it will feel uncomfortable or unfair, but do it, and do it as often as you can because until we check our privilege, until we truly understand how we benefit from and contribute to our racist, capitalist, heteronormative, ableist, patriarchal society we can’t hold anyone else to account. True and lasting change will come from this, I promise you both.
Fuck hegemonic masculinity. It’s OK to be feminine.
There is more I want to say but you’re only little and life is complicated enough so I’ll finish with this...
Take up space as often as you can and make room for people more marginalised than you. Have compassion, for others but also for yourself. Never stop learning. Never stop listening to the lived experiences of others. If you’re not part of the solution then you’re part of the problem. Be your most authentic self as often as you can, surround yourself with people who love you deeply and fiercely but concentrate on loving yourself equally as deep and fierce. It's OK to feel broken, your greatest strengths are born out of your biggest weaknesses and ask for help when you need it, there is no shame in asking for help.
Finally if you only remember one thing remember this;
Do no harm but take no shit!
I'm trying my best, I love you.
Your Mum x