A Woman Should Teach Her Daughter How to Navigate This World
Smile and laugh
seek out and call to joy
but only smile when you mean it
Don’t let them make a decoration out of you.
Don’t smile when they tell you to.
You will be told often and not kindly.
Walk with a key between your fingers.
Keep the music off in your headphones.
Never alone at night.
Be aware of who is behind you
and who is coming towards you.
Be aware of everything.
Wear clothes you like
that make you feel good,
love your body because it is strong and beautiful
and will carry you through this life
but know others will comment
There is nothing you can do about this.
Others will touch you without asking.
and they will expect you to smile and
enjoy the attention.
Sometimes they will touch you violently.
You need to protect yourself from both.
Use your words to stand up for yourself
unless it could get dangerous.
There is no way to tell if or when it could get dangerous.
Read, learn and be curious.
See as much of the world as you can.
Don’t hold back your opinion.
Speak with confidence in your beautiful mind
You have a voice and you should use it.
They will call you “shrill” when they don’t like it and “good girl” when they do.
Both will make you feel terrible.
Sometimes you will be the only woman in the room.
Sometimes this will not matter.
Most times it will.
You are just as smart as the rest of the people in that room.
Your opinion and thoughts count just as much.
Regardless not everyone will see it this way.
They will imply often and loudly that you do not belong.
Not all women will be your friend.
Many will cozy up to men for protection,
leaning in to the patriarchy.
Regardless, we mustn’t abandon those women.
Learn everything you can about the patriarchy.
It is slippery and dangerous and multisided,
a some point it will crawl inside someone you love and use their voice
to say things that you will never forget.
Understand it can only be dismantled from the inside.
Understand that you will never be on the inside.
If you forget everything else,
When you ask yourself
Am I good enough?
Regardless of what the world tells you
will always be