Dear Solana,
One of the most painful lessons I have ever learned resulted in your life. Every single tear was worth it. You made me a God among goddesses and a warrior. But the pain I endured, I desperately hope you can avoid. I labored over all the important things I wanted to tell you in this letter, but I settled to talk to you about self-possessed womanhood, men, love, sex and self-worth. No one spoke to me about these things, and it left me vulnerable. I promised myself that you would know.
Lesson 1: MEN AND SEX
I am watching you blossom into your early stages of womanhood. I love watching how graceful you move–how beautiful your body is developing, how self-aware you are of your own power. NEVER let someone take that from you. This body of yours is YOURS. Own it. Protect it. Defend it. Choose with a clear heart and mind who you will share it with. I mean this in every way; your company, sexually and your labor. It will serve as a vessel of creativity and strength as you move through the world.
If you are anything like your mama, you will like boys. They will be interesting to you. You will like how you affect them. You may even want to explore them. When this happens, you should know a few things–some technical and some emotional.
Remember this when you begin to give in to this natural phase of life: boys and girls move differently. While girls are thinking about love, boys are thinking about sex. Women are built with a hormone called oxytocin. It makes you feel amazing. It generates feelings of love, trust and connection. When it rushes your body, you will think the boy in front of you is the most wonderful thing the universe created. He may be. He may not. But your body will no longer be in your own control, this is not the same for boys. So it will be crucial to move very slowly to touch. The worst thing that can happen is that your body will betray you and give space to someone who is unworthy of your time, attention and affection. Always remember that sex and love are not the same thing. You may be having sex in love and they may be just having sex.
My first sexual experience was quite young. I am not afraid to tell you this. It was beautiful. It was filled with kindness, sweet letters and grand acts of love. No matter when it happens for you, my love, my greatest desire is that it will be the same–full of admiration, respect, surprises and safety. I want your heart to be full and that all your affections are returned. Love, sex and life are to be enjoyed. Live, my love, just remember that women have all the power and control. You make your own choices; just please take your time to make sure they will leave you whole.
Lesson 2: SELF WORTH
I am raising you to be a free Black woman. Just know the world is not kind to us. You will have to fight to express your most powerful self. Fight. There will be the woman the world wants you to be, and there will be the woman you actually are. Trust yourself. You tell the world who you are; you don’t let the world define you. With that said, know that the choices you make will all come with social consequences.
From what I have observed, men all over the world love the free Black woman. He will absorb all her fire and drown in every adventure she possess, but they may not see this woman as worthy of marriage and partnership. This may be out of control, sometimes jealousy and mostly out of sexism. You will have to decide for yourself if that means anything to you, if marriage is eve what you want. You will move accordingly. But not matter what…keep moving, keep growing. Don’t let anyone put you in a box based on their intellectual, religious or social limitations.
Lesson 3: SELF LOVE
Be clear. Communication will be your most valuable tool. Many times as women, we will move in a situation by what we FEEL. Make sure you have not created a fantasy of what you want it to be. Make sure you ask questions until you are satisfied. Make sure his intentions are clearly stated. Hear EXACTLY what he said and not what you wanted to hear. Make sure what is actually being offered is what you want to choose. This will save you my love. This will empower you. Be in control of your own choices, and you will never be the victim.
Please know that if you are to ever choose a man that harms you in any way, the man will not be chastised for his bad behavior. We don’t teach men to be better people. They will only hold you accountable for not protecting yourself from harm. So protect yourself you must.
Lesson 4: LOVE
Even with all these lessons, allow yourself to get lost in love. It will be the most beautiful experience you have ever had. I have loved and been loved many times. I have seen forever love. I have seen deep betrayal. I honestly wish I could guarantee you that solid romantic love exists for everyone, but the truth is, I am not sure. But it is only through the loving of another person do we discover ourselves. What I am sure of is, that it is all a risk. If you do not take it, you have not lived. If by chance your love is not reciprocated, appreciated or honored, allow that man to go. Keep your heart and spirit light. Love will come again.
What I learned from your birth is that the real pain lies in our inability to accept what has happened. Once I accepted, I became stronger than I even knew possible. I realized the greatness in the possibility of what we could create together, you and I, mother and child. Apparently, heartbreak has its place too. But as a mother, I would rather you have the least pain possible. So this is my attempt to be honest with you, to create a play book that does not dictate who and how you should be, but give you pieces of what I learned the hard way. Trust me, brokenness is not an easy recovery. Don’t let anyone take pieces of you that you can not recover. If by chance you get broken along the way, as all humans do, I will be right here to help you put all the pieces back together again.
In love,
Forever Solana’s mama