Dear Niece,

I hope you’ve been doing well. I know we’re not friends on Facebook but what I can see of your profile is starting to alarm me. I understand that these last two years have been incredibly difficult on you and from an early age you were forced to grow up sooner than most children. I understand this because I too was forced to grow up earlier than most kids my age. This unfortunately is a fact of life.

However, it is not your maturity that is alarming me. It is the way you present yourself. I know a lot of girls your age post seductive pictures on their Facebook. I cannot say I have never done this. And I know you are not the only one. There is a lot of pressure from society and even within our own minds to look and act a certain way, even when we aren’t old enough or mature enough to make these decisions. You will find this all your life. I know this because there are still things I need to think about before posting on Facebook (or making the action to begin with). I read a really great blog post about a week ago from a mother who posted on such this issue. I hope all young girls- and even women my age- find the time to read it.

I wish my note to you would stop there. Like I said, I can’t see your Facebook but I want to trust your judgement in knowing what to post. What I do want to fully touch on is how I see you presenting yourself. I LOVE your self-expression- I think it is great that you are your own person and that you don’t feel the need to be like everyone else. This also scares me. I wonder to myself if you have taken this too far because you wanted to prove your point.

Let me elaborate- and please don’t think of this as me attacking you. I genuinely care about your well-being- physically, emotionally and mentally. I wonder to myself how a beautiful little girl has changed so much from when I knew her. I think you are beautiful with dark hair (I thought you were beautiful as a blonde as well) but the colored streaks in your hair unfortunately don’t enhance your natural beauty but rather detract from it. I see that you have started wearing dog collars with spikes and that you got the snakebite piercing. The teenager in me reminds myself that piercings can always be temporary and that I’ve changed my look several times. But the adult in me worries that your future could be seriously impacted because of your appearance.

Like I said before, I love that you are confident enough to express yourself. Please understand that me writing this letter means that I care about you and that I’m worried about some of the changes you have made in your life. High school can be a really tough place to want to stand out because kids can be incredibly mean. I wish I could protect you from any hurtful and any mean words that may be said to you.

Please understand that I am not asking you to change who you are deep down, but rather to consider how you are presenting yourself. I am not asking you to take out your piercings but nicely suggesting that you pair that with clothing that isn’t all black and dog collars. There are many beautiful women with piercings (you included) that allow them to represent who they are without going over the top with the rest of their appearance. I want you to be happy and to not feel judged by anyone and to live an incredibly successful life and never have to worry that what you are posting on social media- and how you are presenting yourself in person- will prevent you from achieving your goals.

I addressed this letter to you but there are many other young women in the exact same position. Maybe they are posting half-naked pictures of themselves on Facebook- this is directed at them too. That will forever stay with them. Facebook is a great way to stay in touch with people, but it’s also something that can enormously impact the choices that we are allowed to make or that are offered to us down the road.

Know that I love you very much.
xoxo,
Star

emmaorigg

 

My older sister, me, my mother,  (my youngest niece), Sarah and my niece