To my future children,
You're not real to me yet. In fact, I'm just reaching an age where I've truly and wholly began to think about who you might be in this world.
These thoughts are especially evoked when I'm forced to witness the bigotry and hatred spewed in our world. Most recently, they were prompted by the backlash that two athletes received after footage was released of one teammate and friend was rumored to be consoling the other by holding him closely and soothing him.
Perhaps, that's what society had to tell itself to digest that affection from men or perhaps we simply fail to get all the facts. Who knows? But what I do know is that it was a sweet moment that was turned into a mockery and insult due to the toxic masculinity that's so thick in the air, men can barely see their truth, much less speak on it.
With this in mind, I vow with my every breath to protect you from the judgement and harsh nature of this world. Sadly, all my efforts to shield you from others and, at times, myself (your mother won't stop being flawed in older age) might be thwarted.
So here's what I need you to understand: there will always be someone somewhere with something to say about how you live your life. And if I'm anything like your grandmother, it might be me from time to time.
You're allowed to respectfully point this out, should I ever be the one to hurt you with my judgment. But also know that the only thing that counts, is you. If you know in your heart that you are being and constantly working towards the best version of self, then carry on with your head held high.
There will be people who tell you that as a man or a woman you are fated to proper socialization. That's all a bunch of ... you know what. But I'm in church as I write this, so I'll let you fill in the blank. As hard and as long as we've fought to minimize discrimination of those who look, love, or act differently than what society or the black community has deemed acceptable, I know with every part of my being that it won't end with my generation or the next. Unfortunately, this type of bigotry may never die.
I can't stress enough the importance of loving as openly, honestly, and without limits.
In 2018, men are still criticized and disregarded as soft and gay amongst other things when they show emotion that are not "manly" enough for the rest of the world. But don't be afraid to be any of those things. Be soft, be gay by both definitions, be shy, be kind. BE LOVE and give love. Cry, smile, and allow yourself and others the spectrum of emotions that all human beings are entitled to. For you are any and everything that YOU desire to be, even in a world that claims to know your heart based on dated and toxic standards of masculinity.
Should you be a little girl, open your heart and mind to boyfriends (there will be many frogs before the King) who show their strength through vulnerability, by respecting all women in the way they should their mothers, and in protecting you as fiercely as you will protect him.
I wasn't always so wise and I'm still working on embracing a man (perhaps your father?) who is not the complete heart and soul of toxicity. Don't demand that he or any other man "man up" out of your own socialized ignorance.
Regardless of your gender. Regardless of who you come to be, my child, I believe this is how you find love that loves you back in the way that you deserve.
You may not appreciate this until you most need it, but I do urge you to appreciate my words at some point. Until we meet, I'll be manifesting everything that sets you up to be the person I want you to be. Your own person.
Love always (even in my moments of imprecations),