A Word to Daughters

Protect

Protect

I have noticed a word creeping into my stepdaughter’s vocabulary with increasing regularity.

The word is “perfect”.

It seems to be this continual refrain among 15-year-old girls, as they set it as a standard for themselves and as a fantasy surrounding others- as in “so and so is JUST PERFECT.”

And, I can’t help but wonder if my generation of women have somehow failed this groups a little bit.

What have we exemplified for them that they would think perfection is not only so achievable, but also so real and tangible, that rather than an ideal, it becomes a present “standard” that a young woman can obtain.

When I hear the word “perfect” creep into conversations of my stepdaughter’s, I long to tell her this-

Sweetheart, learn from me.

Look at my worn hands and graying hair,
and realize these are not signs of perfection-
they are signs of living.

I, too, once thought perfection was a wonderful ideal
and with just a little bit more effort, spit,
shine and polish, it was obtainable.

So what if it cost my sense of self along the way?

I would refine, craft, cut and create until I
I could fit into the the teeny, tiny
sacred space labeled “perfection”.

I fooled myself with grandiose talk- the bargain
was in the deal.

I have learned, though,
and wonder where I have done you wrong.
What part of my failure did I not pass along?

Women throughout history have bitten
that sacred apple of perfection-
only to chew it around in their mouths

and if wise, spit it back out.

For you see, the image of perfection is what keeps
you chained in limitations.

Please listen to me amid your monumental testaments
to omnipotent perfection

The world does NOT need
one more woman playing at perfection

living in the land of make-believe.

The world desperately needs you to be authentic
and original-

things far more powerful than
fitting into
the paper-doll cut-out of perfection.

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20 thoughts on “A Word to Daughters

  1. It is not a failing on your part, but I think simply a stage through which she must pass in sync with her peers. Although, wouldn’t it be nice if we could just transfer our experience and lessons learned directly to them? I think the hardest part of parenting is letting them stumble and fall to learn their own lessons.

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