An Open Letter to a Daughter On her Birthday
On your fifteenth birthday, there are some things I want to make you aware of and advice against. You’re ten now and I think that is enough. That is enough growing up for you. I have heard you frolic around the house chanting the things you would do when you grow up. But here’s what happens when you actually grow up.
Growing up is a trap. An elaborately woven and alluring trap. Don’t get lured into it. You don’t get your freedom when you grow up. You are free now. Your ten-year old self is as free as you can ever get in your entire life. I do not mean to scare you, little love; but that is the cruelest truth you will ever come across when you grow up; that you will never be free anymore; that your freedom had waned away as years got added to your existence.
As a grown up you will never be free of the zillion expectations of the world, and maybe even me. You will be caged in cobwebs of heartbreak and loss. And I do not mean petty heartbreak caused by the summer flings you will involve yourself into. I mean the deeper cuts that will lead you to lose faith in everybody you love, perhaps even me. There might come a time when even my words might cut deep wounds which will heal but leave scars behind. Your smiles will be forced, your eyes will be wistful and your tears will be silent – all wishing for the childhood days that slipped away through the gaps between your fingers.
There will be times when your heart will be wrenched and twisted till it bleeds dry of all emotions; till you’re left to never believe in attachments anymore. You will see deaths and fully comprehend the meaning of it. You will understand loss. You will know the real world; not the colorful version that you think will present itself before you when you’re an adult. You just might see it at a younger age that people believe is possible, making you resistant to loss. And yet there will be people all around you constantly pushing you over to the edge and telling you that you know nothing of the real world because you’re probably just twenty. You will be left with nothing but tears.
The world works in cleverer ways than you expect.
Your innocence will be lost in the swirls of the clever North Wind. The wind will try to lure you into newer places to explore and to leave behind just so no new attachments are made; because attachments hurt. You will perhaps hear, just like I have, that your childish innocence still resides in your heart if you just believe in magic and miracles and a little hope. But my darling, the world works in cleverer ways than you expect. Your faith in magic and miracles might still remain intact in your heart but that will not erase the things you have seen and the things you have felt.
It is true that these might never happen to you and you might breeze through your adulthood without letting the world touch you. You might give in to the North Wind and keep moving and not let every dark thing the world has to offer, bother you. But trust me on this my dear, that you will no longer be as innocent and happy as you are now. Your prettiest smile will get smothered in the murky lands of the grown up world till you long to get it back from your ten-year old self.
Look for the boy I refused to believe in and trust in what he has to say.
Little one, I know this is scary and a lot to take in on a day so precious as this. But know that when I tell you that growing up is a trap, I tell the truth. I have scared you, haven’t I? Yet if you believe me, then at night, look for the little boy who leaves his shadow behind and forgets it, if you can. Look for the little boy who never grows up. Look for the little boy who told me the truth before anyone else. Look for the boy I refused to believe in and trust in what he has to say. Look for the boy who can fly without wings and fly away with him to never return and I promise I will be happy because I know you will. And if you happen to find the boy and his home, ask him if it is too late for me to go, will you my love?\
who had grown up a little too early.