Dressember: a letter to my daughter on self-worth
Last year I had the honor of being an editorial intern for the Dressember Foundation. Dressember is an organization that uses fashion (wearing a dress or bow tie every day in December) to raise awareness and funds to fight human trafficking. One of my most beloved pieces I was able to write for them was a letter to my daughter — this is my WHY when I Dressember — this sums up why we choose to fight for justice as a family against the powers of human trafficking. I cried as I wrote this letter to her, because it hurts that we have to tell our children these things, but it’s necessary. I hope this post ignites a flame in your own heart to continue to fight for justice, whether through Dressember or another organization. Original post can be found here on the Dressember blog: https://www.dressember.org/blog/dearelleanor — and it’s repurposed below.
(All photos by the amazing Nicole Mickle of N. Mickle Photography).
My Dear Elleanor,
Each night we snuggle you in bed and you hear me whisper the same few words in your little ear. Sometimes you giggle at it sweetly, and other times you just smile as it’s spoken over you, time and time again. These simple words could not be truer, though … “Elleanor, you are light and joy.”
From the moment I felt your first dancing kick in my round belly, I was praying those sweet words over your life. The name your Daddy and I gave you means “bright one,” because you, my girl, keep us chasing and running after the sunshine that you carry with you wherever you go.
As I write this, you are only four years old – pigtails bouncing, dresses twirling, and baby dolls scatter across your bedroom floor. Right now, as I watch you play, my heart does leaps. Why? Because you exude joy from a place of confidence in who you are, safe in the love of your parents and dancing freely in the security that you are known, protected and deeply loved.
In my same breath of happiness, I also fight back some tears when I think of the years ahead. As your Mommy, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing the goodness already in this world, and you are part of that. With my years, though, I’ve also seen that darkness exists around us, and the thought of it diminishing the light you carry is why I must share the following words with you. I write them with love, and pray that you’ll carry them with you on your brightest and lowest days.
Sweet girl, the world will have a lot to say about who you are or are not. There will be many voices vying for your attention. But you must know, the only point of view that matters is this: You are beautiful. You are lovely, not because of how you look or what you do with your life, but because you are uniquely designed, a master work of art, ordained for good and always enough. You are worthy, not because of what the world says, but because you are intentionally made.
Dear girl, as you grow older, you will see that there are people in this world that view women as disposable, insignificant commodities. The lies they spin, the words they use, the boundaries they cross – they will threaten to put out the light burning in you. Do not let it – use your light to fight for justice. It hurts me to think that dignity is something that we must fight for, but know that your Dad and I will never stop fighting for you and the next generation to come. We will always be on your team.
You, my love, are not a commodity. You are a masterpiece. You are not disposable. You are worthy. You are not broken, or invaluable or cheap. You are light and joy, and the beauty that was placed in you before you were born I know is destined for glorious and brave plans.
As I kiss you one million more times before bed, and whisper those same familiar words, let them sink in as truth. When the world speaks, may these words always be louder in your heart. Your self-worth cannot be measured by worldly standards, because it’s already secure.
So, little one, go to sleep each night knowing you are loved and worthy. Even now, your light is fighting darkness, and my prayer is that it never diminishes. Your life inspires your Daddy and I to fight harder for justice, raise our voices louder for truth, and to keep spreading light. We will never stop – that is our promise to you.