Monday, May 25, 2015

Letters to My Niece #4

Pretty Girls

May 25, 2015

Dear Niece,

Much to your oblivion, your family, often breaks into a debate about how you will be perceived when you grow up. We all know you'll be pretty, but will you be smart enough? Unfortunately, for girls, these two are often mutually exclusive qualities.

You are a girly girl, Niece. You admire yourself in the mirror, love to "fix" your hair (which often means you are making it worse), you have "dress" days and "shorts" days, you love to pose when the camera is on you ... and you're not even three yet. It is unbelievably adorable. But some of us worry that you will only be a pretty face. You will be narcissistic. You will have to bear the burden of being a pretty girl who always has to prove that she is smart too.

Like all grown ups, we've already started thinking about what you will be when you grow up, and a common consensus these days is that you'll become a model. Yes, we grown ups are steeped in stereotypical thinking – something I'd love for you to not pick up from us.

So the lesson for today's letter is actually a thought – what does it mean to be a pretty girl?

Here's a definition that works for me: Pretty girls are strong, smart and aware of their good looks, little one.

Don't let anyone tell you it's vain to be aware of your beauty. Be proud of it. Being pretty is not a burden to carry to your workplace – and pretty and intelligent are not an either/or choice. Don't be afraid to be gorgeous because you were made that way, enjoy that, cherish yourself in all your glory. Love yourself – what you see in the mirror and that which you don't. And when someone tells you, you are beautiful, know that they mean you, all of you, because only happy people are truly beautiful.

My pretty girl, also know this, that 'pretty' is only an adjective and you, little one, will never ever be limited to just that. You will be a hurricane of words, so choose wisely how you want to be described. So be pretty, be wild, be affectionate, be kind, be wise, be all of those things but most importantly, be happy.

Beautifully Yours

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