Lessons For Our Daughters

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of facilitating a session for 7th grade girls while my coworker was out of town. Something I really enjoy about working with young people — and black girls in particular is that I see a lot of myself in them. Thought processes, mannerisms, and of course boy drama entertains the hell out of me.

As I was facilitating the session, questions about my personal life came up and I didn’t mind answering.

“Miss Kia are you married?”

“No.”

“Do you got a boyfriend?”

“No”

“Kids?”

“No.”

“Well danggggg. You must be lonely! You ain’t got no man, nothing”

We laughed. They didn’t mean it in a disrespectful way. Hell, when I was about 12 or 13, I felt the same way.

I asked, “Why I gotta be lonely just because I don’t have a boyfriend or husband?”

They didn’t really have an answer. I didn’t expect them to.

It’s something interesting about what we teach girls about finding fulfillment in other people, particularly boys. It starts young. And then those girls grow up into women who think they “need” to have a man or kids just so they won’t be lonely.

So when you don’t have those things, what exactly does society paint you as?

I pondered on that for weeks. But instead of questioning my own self-worth, I decided to think about what type of messages are we communicating to our daughters, sisters, nieces, cousins, etc. ?

What lessons should we teach to the generations after us, so that they can make better decisions (and mistakes) than we did?

LESSON #1 – YOU DON’T “NEED” A RELATIONSHIP TO BE WHOLE

I remember when I was about 12, and I got in trouble by my mama because I wrote in my diary about how I wanted a boyfriend sooooo badly lol. Like, I’m not sure who’s son rejected me or wasn’t paying attention to me but baby, I just felt as if my life wasn’t complete if I didn’t have a boyfriend lol. My mama sat me down and explained that I didn’t need to have a boyfriend to validate me. And THAT, that is a message I wanna yell from the mountaintops to the ears of every little girl that I know who grows up under the male gaze. Meaningful connections with others are important, but you don’t have to spend your whole life pining away for it. And you’re not a weirdo if you don’t yet desire (or never desire) those things either.

LESSON #2 – BENCHMARKS ONLY EXIST IN YOUR MIND

“By 25 I should have ______”

“I wanna be married by ______”

Benchmarks. As a 25 year-old, I’m not sure why having all your shit together by this age is stressed to us by society, but I am learning that putting benchmarks on WHEN you should accomplish your accomplishments is bullshit.

This is not to be confused with goal setting, because making realistic, obtainable goals is important of course BUT life does happen. When we push the narrative on girls that they need to have this and that by the time they are a certain age, they’ll likely work their whole lives trying to obtain it, but what happens if she doesn’t? What will society say about her then? What is she going to say about herself? Let’s make sure we tell our daughters to worry only about the things that she can control and whatever is meant for her will happen in its own perfect timing.

LESSON #3 – DEFINE YOURSELF FOR YOURSELF

So many big and little girls don’t know who they are yet. They haven’t went through the process of destroying themselves and later building themselves back up over and over again. When we are in that state of unknowing, we rely on outside forces to tell us WHO we are, HOW we should act, dress, think, etc. Young girls such as the 7th graders I mentioned earlier in the post are quite impressionable. If I stress nothing else in this post, I want us to teach our girls that being an individual is key. Like Audre Lorde said, we have to define ourselves for ourselves and I think the best way to promote that to our daughters is by modeling that behavior of individuality. Let them know that it’s okay for them to be different. Let them know that it is okay for them to stand out from the crowd. Let them know that society will try and force them to conform but they should always push back and stand firm in their own beliefs, fuck who doesn’t agree.


  1. When you were younger, in what ways did society pressure you to conform to certain standards or beliefs?
  2. Why do you think girls are trained on how to be partners for men but boys aren’t trained to be partners for women?
  3. What do you think when you see a highly successful woman who is unmarried, single, with no children? What does society say about her?
  4. What lessons would you want your daughter or other young girls in your life to know?

A Love Letter To My Ego

 

c84249ca-201d-413b-b4eb-40f022015d13

I think I’m in a toxic relationship with my ego.

The crazy part about it though, unlike most toxic things in my life, I can’t just get rid of her. She’s apart of me, just like I am apart of her. For every bad decision she has empowered me to make, she has also served as my protector away from the fuck shit. She reminds me not to settle and she makes me want to hold my head high, regardless of circumstances stacked against me.

Even with her good qualities, I’d be foolish to ignore that our relationship can get quite unhealthy at times.

Usually, I battle between letting her run the show (re: my life) completely, or I suppress her too much. That’s when the questions pop up: When should I starve her? When should I feed her?

So, I researched. I reflected deeply about who I am and who I want to be. This is necessary, because in order to know who she is, I must first know who I am.

Without further ado, here is my love letter to my ego.

Dear Ego,

Society teaches us to be ashamed of you, but lately I have wanted to do nothing but embrace you. Oftentimes we clashed because I thought we were so different. I thought that I was growing too much to have an ego, that I was above all egocentric things.

Truth is, I’m not.

I’ll admit though, I do get frustrated with you. I’ve allowed you to get me mixed up in some wild things girl. I’ve allowed you to make me unteachable at times. Too stubborn to ask for help. I’ve let you convince me that we needed to be stroked — by people who didn’t have our best interest at heart, all because we were chasing for thrill and attention that we didn’t even need. You’re sensitive. When your feelings get hurt, I allow you to make some of the most asinine decisions I’ve ever seen. I use the phrase “I allowed” because contrary to your belief, it is ME who controls you and NOT the other way around. That being said, moving forward I must do a better job at controlling you because we’re 25 now. Our childish and petty side shouldn’t be exposed to nobody. We want a healthy emotional state and we don’t wanna fuck up no bags (re: money and opportunities) just because we haven’t tapped into self control. We also don’t want to repeat the same unhealthy patterns as we seek to develop and maintain relationships with people. You’re not a demon. You’re more like the annoying younger sibling that I love so much but still have to let you know when you’re overstepping your boundaries.

On the contrary, I love you because you have allowed me to finally recognize you, thus making me more self aware. You remind me daily that I’m the shit. You encourage me to never settle. You help me to have unwavering faith in what I believe in. You let me know that I can talk my shit AND I can back it up. Ironically, you ever hold me accountable at times, especially when I want to step out of character and do something stupid. You help me not focus so much on pleasing others and help me discern which guys are right for me and which ones aren’t. This side of you is like the grown up version of me. You aren’t meek. You don’t dim your light for anyone. You manage to stay humble when necessary but trust me… when I let you out to play, you aren’t scared to tell people who you are and exactly what you are about. What I love most about this side of you is that you aren’t easy to impress.

As I gain more wisdom, I know exactly what I must do to balance you out. I no longer desire to be controlled by you or hide you. I know when to feed you and when to starve you. Because of you, you have taught me exactly when to shut up and when to speak out. Like code-switching for the psyche, we have learned exactly who and what we can reveal ourselves to, a necessary survival tactic if you’re gonna make it in this world.

That being said, I love you ego. You are balanced. And thank you for being apart of me.

Love,

Kia

Are you in an unhealthy relationship with your ego? How do you manage it?

When do you know when to feed your ego and when do you know when to starve it?

What’s the wildest thing you’ve ever allowed your ego to make you do?