I will not tell my daughter that she is beautiful.
I will not. Instead, I will tell her that she is infinite. I will tell her that the human body is amazing, and that therefore she is. I will also tell her that, therefore, there is nobody on this planet who is not beautiful.
I will teach her that she is made of stardust; That she was not borne of me, but of a galaxy. Everything that she will question (her fingernails, the pigment of her skin, her eyes, her hair); She will know that they are composed of material that came from the most high heavens and have traveled light years and ages to come together against all odds to create her. I will tell her that, therefore, she is as much a part of this universe as the Sun or the Milky Way and is no less radiant. I will remind her that she was borne of fire and starlight and that in this lifetime she is capable of embodying both again.
I will teach her that her body has the power to do incredible things that no circumference or number of inches could measure.
If she hates her waist, I will tell her that her rib cage is the most powerful force to be reckoned with, as it is the only thing that can successfully contain a woman’s heart.
If she hates her arms, I will tell her that they are her tools and they perform well. I will tell her that her arms are capable of lifting cars off of children, climbing cliff faces, and bringing love to the darkest places on this Earth.
If she hates her legs, I will teach her that they have the ability to carry her to every crevice on this planet and beyond and, therefore, away from anyone who ever doubts her.
If she hates her face, I will remind her that her eyes are capable of seeing sunsets and across galaxies and things that people one hundred years ago couldn’t have even dreamed of. I will teach her that her nose has the power to distinguish a single extra carbon atom in a molecule and that it was given to her by her grandfather. I will teach her that her mouth can speak words that could ruin empires or build them.
I will tell her that one day, when her spirit has left, her body could be food for a beautiful tree to grow or wind up sifting leisurely in the sands of the ocean or forming the base of a mountain.
I will tell her that if she has beautiful thoughts, they will always shine out of her with radiance that no physical feature could compete with.
I will not tell her, my daughter, that she is beautiful.
I will teach her that she is so, so much more than that.
Imagine you’re a young white guy facing capital murder charges where you can receive the death penalty… the victim in the case is a black man… when you go to trial and step into the courtroom… the judge is a black man… the two State prosecutors seeking the death penalty on you… are also black men… you couldn’t afford an attorney, so the Judge appointed you two defense lawyers who are also black men… you look in the jury box… there’s 8 more black people and 4 hispanics… the only white person in the courtroom is you… How would you feel facing the death penalty? Do you believe you’ll receive justice?
As outside of the box as that scene is, those were the exact circumstances of my trial. I was the only black person in the courtroom."