To my daughters:
I don’t have the time or the word count to waste, so here it goes. This world is going to try very hard to get you to believe that God didn’t create you whole, it’s my job to help teach you to call “bullshit!” Here are few theories I’ve field tested for you, I hope they spare you some of the UTIs, pregnancy scares, and broken marriage vows.
Sex does not equal power, or love.
For me, physical intimacy was a game, and the prize of winning (or losing) the match felt as real as the first fifteen minutes after an oxy dose. You’re a Little Christ, you’re divine; power already pulses through every cell and membrane in your beautiful bodies. Tender touches feel nice, but I dare you to find something as electrifying as True Love.
You don’t need a back-up plan.
For young girls whose fathers failed them, this one will mean more. Your father hasn’t left you so it may not resonate. Still, it’s a good one. You can use it in your best friend’s room in college when shit hits your fans. No number of men waiting in the hallway will help ease the hurt of the one you dismissed.
The sting of a lover leaving will never ache more than the pain of losing yourself, so stay near to her. I will teach you how to do this as you grow. It involves lots of journaling Truths and Joys, yoga, prayer/meditation, dancing, and “failure.”
You are wanted.
You are wanted. You are wanted. I pray that Daddy and I have shown you this. I hope that, in our desire to raise loving humans, we don’t accidentally raise ashamed & insecure humans. It’s hard sometimes, when all four of you kids are insulting my vegetarian bolognese in varied choral arrangements at the dinner table. But even then, I want you there with us. Mostly. Love you. Stop yelling.
Do not move in with the man who hurts you (the man you let hurt you).
This may seem logical to you, and if so, then I have succeeded as a parent. It was not something that occurred to a younger Claire, because the hot chaos felt a lot like the fires in which I was forged. The insults and rejection sounded truer than the alone-ness. I pray your fires here at home don’t feel so hot.
Before you cheat on your husband (or wife), call me.
It can be distracting and fun to imagine how life would look with someone who compliments your make-up and opens your door for you, but those fantasies about another man (or woman) are invitations to start showing up in real life—less invitation and more red flag. Call me, we will run into the pain together.
Secrets will give you cancer.
Or autoimmune diseases, chronic fatigue, pain, and a myriad of diagnosable physical & mental ailments. That secrets cause cancer has not been proven yet, but my field research and the accounts of my associates has led to some convincing evidence. I knew a woman whose Lymphoma disappeared after she came out as a lesbian. I came alive after I completed my fourth step; confessing those last three secrets to Daddy and a few trusted sisters let me exhale for the first time in my life.
I promise you girls, nothing will shock me.
Good love exists.
Good partners exist. Remember that Good and Hard are the same thing sometimes, most of the time. Maybe all of the time. The person, or people, you choose to walk Home beside will nestle into the spot that Goodhardgood-ness can hold. If it’s only Hard, notice that and decide what happens next. If it’s only Good, notice that and decide what happens next. If it’s True and can hold both the Good and the Hard, keep breathing and lace up your hiking boots.
Drink a lot of water.
This doesn’t have much to do with love addiction or calling bullshit, but it’s something I think is very important.
Keep breaking the chain.
You three come from a long line of tall, powerful, seductive (read: wounded) women. Wars in Europe and abuses in America reinforced the strength of that bondage, but something really exciting is happening. Your mama doesn’t feel like a slave anymore, and I want to raise up women who call bullshit! instead of want me!
I pray by the time you are all grown magazines will have stopped publishing lists of sex positions to make your man love you more. If rage was an effective way to solve social injustices, then the cumulative internal fires of Millennial women will surely engulf the beauty and plastic surgery industries sometime in the next two decades.
Pop stars (ahem Salina Gomez and Adele ahem) might have found other topics to indulge than their ever-longing and tumultuous love lives—love addictions.
Maybe each of you is running from something that feels too Hard. Food helps, so does alcohol and online shopping. Imagining a life, relationships, and conversations that don’t belong to you can alleviate some of that pain, too. I won’t lie, it all helps and it will all be redeemed. Remember? You can’t fuck it up.
But it hurts more to reject the Hard than to hug it.
Life is just learning how to hug the Hard and make it Good, okay? Remember your lineage of women? The lineage of all women? We will help you, sweet kitty cats. We belong to you, and you to us, and together, from our wombs and wounds we will all cry out BULLSHIT! until Shalom is un-shattered.
You are not alone, you never have been, you never will be.