My anxiety, a sick desperate panic anchored tight around my neck, has always kept me just short of feeling comfortable in my own skin. In fact, it's my anxiety about my looks that first gave birth to my depression, an illness that is mostly kept at bay but is always lurking in the dark parts of my heart. When I see little girls parading around like their parents' favorite pets, I'm reminded of how hard we have it as women and how the boys have their own struggles but at least they can face them head on in a pair of pants.

We sit in class, read our books, say our prayers and then one day we're sexualized, becoming no more than our individual parts, particularly the ones that are kept safe beneath our clothing. How we deal with this overnight transition is what counts. The people that hold our hand and lead us down the peaceful, respectable path? They count, too.

That's why these shows serve as a reminder for me. I'm reminded that the world is tough, populated with jaw snapping wolves, all sorts of people willing to break you down and use you for their own pleasure. But there are also those who are whole hearted out there, too. People who love unconditionally and want nothing more than to watch you succeed, for you to feel like your skin is a perfect fit. I want to be this kind of person for my daughter.

I want her to know she's more than her nails, her hair, her lips. She is soul and conscience, responsibility and respect. She is the perfect vessel for a love that isn't dressed in a short skirt, parading on stage but for a love that has its palms open, waiting to hold the hand of somebody in need.

That's what we should be applauding.

By divine selection we are born to our parents.
You have allowed me to be a recipient
of my parents extraordinary love.
You, have weaved the fabric of their
character and values into my DNA.
You have made them the yardstick by which
I measure myself.

Thank you for choosing my parents for me.
They are the reason I have learned to
make things right, to not hold grudges.
They are the reason I have learned
unconditional love for family.

I am grateful to You for my extraordinary parents.
I am grateful to You for linking generation to generation
ancestors, grand-parents, parents, children and
those who have yet to be born.



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