An Open Letter to My Stepdaughter, (and every 13yr old, and every woman who is trying to fit into a vision of how we are told to feel and be)

Author // Clare Monteau

I know this hurts. I know you think you are broken. I know the world feels confusing and f’d up. And it is, in so many ways. And if someone doesn’t feel like that sometimes, then they aren’t paying attention. 
I want you to know that everything you feel is a sign of your brilliance. Is a sign of how smart and wise you are. That our culture tells us that we shouldn’t ever feel really bad, and if we do, its because we aren’t skinny enough, pretty enough, rich enough, or own the right things. That looking different on the outside will make us feel better on the inside. But most of all, we are fed the lie that if we feel a certain way it means we are broken. That's the biggest lie of all. 
Feeling is what we are here for, hence we have a body. And feeling every emotion, especially the ones that suck, is something we get taught to avoid instead of taught how to deal with. 
Every single word you use to describe how you feel has thoughts associated with it. And those thoughts aren’t true. They feel true, because we tend to believe thoughts that are in our head. And (this is the crazy part), because our brain LOVES to do the same thing over and over again, it actually thinks it’s doing us a favor having crappy thoughts going round and round our head. It’s like “Ooooooooo I’m doing such a good job. I learned these thoughts so well, look, you don’t even have to think about having these thoughts or try at all, I’ll just put them on repeat and they will be there running in the background whenever you need them”. 
AND, ready for this? Your body ALSO gets used to feeling the way it feels when you are having those thoughts. And even though the feeling isn’t a good feeling, our body gets kind of addicted to feeling that way, because it’s used to it, it’s familiar. So we get stuck. Brain and body. Thoughts and feelings, both feeding each other. 
There’s no magic pill for this. But I do know making ourselves wrong for how we feel only makes the cycle worse. And when we think we are wrong to feel a certain way, to have certain thoughts, we feel ashamed, broken, different, and therefore we don’t express how we feel, or share with people. And unexpressed emotions eat us up from the inside. Expressing these feelings even when we don’t want to, stops them being so poisonous to ourselves. Just by expressing them a little bit you are giving them a little bit of approval. So dance, write, talk, draw-anything to get how you feel on the inside to match something you do on the outside. 
I love you and support you, however you need, 

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