Thanh Nguyễn

A Universal Letter For Every Daughter, Written By Every Mother

I need you to know you are worthy of love, of happiness, and of respect. I need you to believe in yourself, even if you feel like the world is against you. You see, I will do my best to protect your heart with mine and to shield your tears with mine. But there will come a time, whether I am still on this earth or not, where you will be faced with battles you must conquer on your own. My job, as difficult as it may be, is not to just share the happiest moments with you, but to prepare you for the toughest ones.

The ones that will pierce into you like a knife, cutting you open and letting your fears seep out for the world to see. You will weep more tears in your lifetime than your body holds in blood. It will hurt—my god, will it hurt to overcome some of the heartaches you will experience in life. And I will pray that through it all, you will find a way to cling onto the bravest parts of yourself. Because you see, it is not the perception the world has of you I fear; I fear the world’s ability to easily distort the perception you have of yourself. If you lose this, if you lose faith not in religion, in love, or in luck, but in yourself, the world can be a dark and damaging place.

Life, the people in it, the strangers you meet, the lovers you hold dear, they will all carry a lesson. Lessons that may make you feel like surrendering is your only option. But it is not. You come from a long line of fearless women, my darling. You have it in you to carry on with such elegance, with such grace and kindness. You have it in you to not just survive in this world, but to thrive in it. You are not made of clay, you are made of volcanic glass, of granite minerals. Do not try to reshape yourself or reduce your worth in order to make others feel comfortable.

That flame inside of you is not a bad thing, it just holds a kind of power that is rare in this world. A kind of power the world fears. Do not let others dim your flame. It has the power to shine light on others, to spread warmth to others. You are a miracle, my child—take the magic you were born from, the strength you were raised with, and let your fire guide you. Follow your own heart; be the author of your own story. Leave your mark on this world and paint it in color. Because it is not what the world makes of you, it is what you make of this world.

Life is what you make of it, and you have the power to not only change the world, but to make sure it continues to grow.