Today my daughter told me she didnʼt want to become a woman.
It was 11 pm and I heard a shy tap at my door. Groggily, I said “come in” and was annoyed to see my 10 year old out of bed. After a short scolding about being up after bedtime, I asked her if she was okay.
She responded that she wasnʼt, and leaned over onto my bed, resting on her elbows and covering her eyes. I started asking the usual, “Do you feel sick?” “Are you upset?”.
She hesitated and I grew a little frustrated, “I want to help you but I canʼt if you donʼt tell me whatʼs wrong!” I snapped.
She finally began, “Please take me to the doctor and so they can make my breasts stop growing.”
I wasnʼt completely shocked because my little tween is very embarrassed about her changing body. The act of wearing a bra is a horror to her.
It gets in her way of playing football and tag with her friends. So I asked if this was about not wearing a bra, that we could buy ones that are more comfortable for her if she wanted.
She replied that it wasnʼt the bra…but that she wanted to stay flat chested her entire life.
“But itʼs part of becoming a young woman, honey. Your body has to change a little! Donʼt you want to become a woman?”
She began to sob openly and loudly. “I donʼt think I want to be a woman, mommy. I donʼt want to have children and I donʼt want to look like a woman. I just donʼt feel right.”
My stomach lurched as I realized how much my baby was hurting at that moment. I called her over to me so that I could wrap my arms around her.
I explained that her feelings were okay, that these changes made her uncomfortable and that I understood. However, I didnʼt want her 10 year old self making a permanent decision about her body that her future self may regret.
I began to ask her why she felt this way.
She replied, “Iʼm just not normal mom. Iʼm not a normal girl. I donʼt like to dress like a girl. I donʼt want to do the things that girls like to do or play with the things they like to play with.”
The crying continued. I pulled her away and looked at her, “What is a girl, honey? Donʼt let this world tell you what a girl has to be!”
And, little girl I want you to know. Companies that sell clothes will make you think you have to wear pink and sparkles to be a girl but thatʼs just their way of marketing.
Toy companies try to make us think that there are girl toys that you should want to play with! But thatʼs all marketing, things they do to make you feel like you have to buy certain things to be “normal”! You wear what you want! I donʼt care about how you dress or play. I want you to love yourself for the perfection that you are. You are smart, kind, funny and compassionate.
And you are free to live as you choose! This world and everything we look at around it wants to convince us that we arenʼt normal, not good enough. We are constantly shown what beautiful people should look like, when in fact you should know that true beauty is in your acts, not your looks.
Women are made to feel they need diets or surgery to “fix” themselves while they spend life striving to look normal and beautiful.
We are shown the way we should dress to look sexy or successful. People make so much money off of us feeling like we arenʼt enough. But even when we buy each thing, make each change to our bodies…we may still not feel good.
And, itʼs not because we can never be satisfied, but instead because self- love is the key to happiness.
You HAVE to love yourself, your soul and then your body.
You love your soul by accepting yourself as you are and striving to love and be loved. You love your body as the vehicle for your soul. And those vehicles come in so many shapes and sizes and unique looks.
This world is full of people who want us to think less of ourselves so that they can make a buck off of us wanting to fit in.
Donʼt fall for it, honey. Before you make a long term decision like that, please give yourself a chance to love and appreciate yourself exactly the way you are. I know how you feel about your body changing.
I want to fight the changes I am going through too! I am getting older, things are starting to sag, pounds are harder to keep off, the stress of life is creating deep wrinkles on my face, my hair is graying.
I am tempted to want to stop this too! But this is part of what my body has to go through in this stage of my life and I have to love myself through it too!
Life is so beautiful and my beautiful at 10 was different, my beautiful at 20 was different and soon my beauty at 40 will be different. And someday I will be beautiful at 80.
But thatʼs the outside beauty, if anything, I think the beauty of my soul is better than ever. Because this body you are feeling bad about, baby…it doesnʼt define you.
You are more than just this flesh and bone that carry you around. Itʼs the carrying case for that amazing soul of yours. And what ever you want to do with your body, however you choose to play or dress is up to you! Heck, if you feel like you like girls, that is okay too.
I donʼt care what kind of body carries the soul that you fall in love with. Because in the end, I just want you to be happy.
And true happiness lives in your self-acceptance and love! I want to tell you what I wish someone would have told me at your age, something that I took over 34 years to learn.
Something that would have saved me so many years of pain and confusion. You are perfect. Your beauty is so profound and great that people donʼt get to truly see it until they know you.
Because seeing that beauty is a privilege, not just something any random person in the street gets to judge on. You are more than that. Please give yourself a chance to love yourself and appreciate all of the wonderful things that you are before you are so quick to decide that all of the things that you arenʼt are the cause of your unhappiness.
Let me help you learn to love who you are. If it doesn’t work, and you still donʼt want to have a womanʼs body, we can talk about that again in the future and think about your options.
But for now, give it a chance.
Not because I donʼt want you to be happy, but because I donʼt think cutting your body and changing it forever isn’t going to guarantee your happiness.
I realized her sobbing had stopped and that now I was the one with tears streaming down my face. I know I need to live by the advice I was fiercely preaching to my daughter.
She squeezed me tight and said “mommy, I want to love myself. I want to give myself a chance to love who I am before I make myself believe that I have to change by body to be happy.”
She smiled warmly and looked into my eyes. “Thank you, mom.” We hugged for what seemed like the rest of the night, until we both fell to sleep.
Iʼm not saying I donʼt believe in people who feel that their gender doesnʼt match them, Iʼm not saying that gender identity issues donʼt exist. And I donʼt think my daughter is immune to those issues and if that is what she feels I want to help her find happiness.
But I do think she is a young girl living in a world saturated with people talking about how dissatisfied they are with themselves and their lives. I just want a chance to see if she can find peace in who she is, exactly as she is.
I know what it feels like, thinking once I make this change to myself, everything will be better; only to find that the emptiness remains once that change is made. The pursuit is endless.
So with that, I want to remind myself and others, love your own perfect. The perfect that is you.
Choose to accept yourself and focus on the beauty of your soul. There is a ton of people in the world that want to get rich off of you feeling the pressure of their judgement.
Donʼt add to that stress by placing that own pressure on yourself. You are breathtaking.
I just hope that you can allow yourself to believe it and let yourself enjoy being you.
Dove Love is a fierce warrior woman that likes to write at 3am when she can’t sleep. She loves her daughter, and is awesome in every way.