the lessons


here is what i think. i think that i need to start making a book now, because if i ever have a child there are many things i want him or her to know.

i want my child to see pictures of many, many different kinds of bodies. i want my child to know that tummies and hips, breasts and bottoms, penises and vaginas come in all kinds of sizes, shapes, and colors- because above all, i want my child to know that they are normal. i need for him or her to know that normal isn’t always what people say it is, or what they show on television. the security that comes with knowing and being comfortable with this truth is priceless. i wasn’t raised with this information; i’m thankful that i realized it, or maybe achieved it, on my own. i see people lashing out at themselves and at others because they are made to feel bad about their bodies, and i want to do everything in my power to let my child know that it’s okay to look the way they do. if my child inherits the tendencies towards fluffiness that some members of my family exhibit when leading sedentary lifestyles, (s)he needs to understand that all the effort put in to counteract that trait, to build a strong and healthy body, will be worthless if the development of self is not attended to with comparable or even increased diligence. a beautiful shell is a shell nonetheless.

i want my child to know that there’s not always just one answer. i want my child to know that hurting other people because you are hurting is not the way to solve problems. that human interaction should not be considered a game. i want my child to know that if kids in elementary/middle/high school don’t like them, it’s not the end of the world because life begins anew once you escape that incestuous microcosm. i want my child to know that sometimes it’s not you- but sometimes it is. i want my child to learn to live in the manner that makes him or her proud, and that that is not always the manner that pleases everybody else. another one: ethics aren’t just for when somebody’s looking; in fact, they become almost more important when nobody is.

there are so, so many things that i have had to learn, and these things turn into lessons that i have the responsibility to teach. i don’t know if i could do it. i don’t know if i will try.

what i do know is that, for now, i am my child.


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