I have loved your father for five years. At the age of twenty, five years is a big portion of my life. We were kids when our lives first intertwined, but we were ready. Our story began on the shores of the East China Sea. And I can’t help but to believe that’s where your story began, too. You are accumulated of all that we ever were. Children who climbed trees, scraped knees, and were desperate to grow permanent teeth and cross the street alone. Teenage angst during the years when we were discovering who we were for the first time. When your dad told me I was “worth the risk” and we loved deeply for as long the oceans stretched between the two of us. The words on the paper that connected us when time zones and continents couldn’t. Hundreds of airplane dinners, and thousands of sunsets on opposite ends of the Earth. Mountains towering twelve-thousand feet above us, and the frozen powder that melted in our hair the day we wed. The gold flecks in his green eyes, and the silver in my blue. All of us. We are you.
Loving your dad senselessly, without hesitation has been the the most rewarding, worthwhile decision I have ever made.
I have a lot of hopes for you, little one.
Number one being that you will be a woman who loves herself. I beg you to love yourself completely, without regard. There is no shame in confidence. So much of my life was wasted with me neglecting the relationship I had with myself. Hardships will not be easier, but they will surely be lighter if you decide early on to release yourself from the shackles of self-hate. Self-love breeds self-respect, and will in turn attract those who do the same for themselves. Don’t forget to belong to yourself, first.
Another thing I pray for often is the person you will find to love in your lifetime. And I just hope they are a fraction of the human being your dad is. Find someone who ignites that self-love, never someone who dims it. A healthy marriage is comprised of two whole humans, not two halves.
I do not know much, but I do know what love is. Love is simple. It will never confuse you. Your heart and mind will be in agreement when you have found it. Two of my favorite quotes say it best:
“Love; it will not betray you. Dismay or enslave you, it will set you free” – Mumford and Sons
“Everyone says love hurts, but that’s not true. Loneliness hurts. Rejection hurts. Losing someone hurts. Envy hurts. Everyone gets these things confused with love, but in reality love is the only thing in this world that covers up all pain and makes someone feel wonderful again. Love is the only thing in this world that does not hurt.” – Unknown
Find someone who loves you well. Someone who never belittles you. Even in the heat of an argument. Someone who is gentle with you, but does not treat you like you are fragile. Someone who knows what you are capable of, and celebrates those pieces of you. Not someone who is intimidated by your strength. Someone who can call you out for being a brat, but doesn’t make you feel guilty for being flawed. It is not love’s job to punish you. And remember the person you love is just as broken as you are when they fall short. No one is perfect – do not hold them to this standard. Find someone who is patient, forgiving, and apologetic. Someone who practices forgiveness freely and often. Love someone who is humble, kind, and empathetic. Not only with you, but with a beggar on the street, or a stranger in the supermarket. Common courtesy is important. Compassion is important. Kindness is important.
Marry someone who is driven and hardworking. Someone who optimistically supports and uplifts you in regards to your goals. Someone who will do things that do not thrill them, simply to enrich you. Marry someone who is honest. Honest with you, with others, and with themselves. Deceit will benefit no one. You cannot love someone you do not trust. Find someone who willingly shares responsibility. Someone who doesn’t expect you to adhere to silly gender roles. You will be a team in every single sense. Find someone you cherish togetherness with. And someone who understands the importance of alone time. Someone who values your opinion. Someone with a willingness to learn. A person with an open mind. Ignorance is never attractive. Find someone who makes it easy to feel grateful. For everything. Someone who serves you. And someone you want to serve, without reward.
Marry your best friend. I do not say that lightly. Really, truly find the strongest, happiest friendship in the person you fall in love with. Someone who speaks highly of you. Someone you can laugh with. The kind of laughs that make your belly ache, and your nose snort. The embarrassing, earnest, healing kind of laughs. Wit is important. Life is too short not to love someone who lets you be a fool with them. Make sure they are somebody who lets you cry, too. Despair will come. Find someone that you want to be there with you through those times.