Things I Wish Someone Would Have Told My Twenty Year Old Mother
Updated: Dec 20, 2018
1. They will look at you and assume she’s not yours.
As if human beings can’t be colors that mix to make things that don’t look like them. Expect glances.
2. They will label you.
They will assume through me that they know your whole life. Endure anyways.
3. They will wonder where you went wrong.
As if having a child at this age and with this man was the most tragic accident that could have happened to you. Pity them.
4. They will encourage you to straighten her curls.
Don’t listen. For her curls are direct links to her self-esteem and to change them may be the first cut to her confidence.
Make sure she loves them.
5. They will treat her differently. Knowing nothing of how you raised her they will make assumptions based on looks alone. This is out of your hands.
6. They will tell you children don’t see color.
Talk about it anyway. Explain the depth and beauty of her origins and the complexities that come along with them, so that the first time she realizes her color isn’t when all the kids grab the “skin color” crayon.
7. They will hurt her.
When your daughter comes home with a story of how her skin was called dirty, ignore your first reaction to go down there and give that 7 year old girl a piece of your mind.
Explain to her that there are people who have not yet been taught the lessons of love and acceptance, people who do not yet know that to be different is to be beautiful. Remind her that her skin is beauty and to wear it with pride.
8. They will try to construct her idea of beauty.
When she tells you she wants to be skinny, throw her Barbies away. Get her pictures of powerful and beautiful women who look like her to remind her that although she isn’t seeing it on TV, it exists.
9. When she begins to wonder why the shape of her body doesn’t look like yours, tell her God makes everyone in all shapes and sizes, to be the same is to be a waste.
10. They will label her moody.
As if all depression looks and acts the same. Be her ally in the face of judgment.
11. When she goes to college she will encounter battles you never dreamed of. Be confident in your preparation.
12. When she calls you crying about the verdict of the Mike Brown Case,just hold her. Realize that the world she lives in may not be the same as yours, but her battles are yours.
13. They have assumed you could not do it. But when she crosses that stage on graduation day, just know you have raised a beautiful, intelligent black woman.