If you are reading this, your mother is 21 years old, and she lives in a time and place where people worry too much over a stretch of skin between a woman’s vulva.
You see, I was told that if I lose my virginity, my market value in the dating pool will decline considerably. With every pre-marital partner, it will steadily decrease until—by some arbitrary number—I no longer deserve to be loved.
This is what we’ve been taught, and how I have measured myself for years. But you, my daughter, should never use your body as a measuring stick for your worth. Instead, find the value of yourself by the things you say, the things you do, and the happiness you bring to others.
Learn to fall in love, and learn to appreciate what it means to be loved in return. Open your heart when you’re 16, and 24, and 56, and 87. But be wise with whom you choose to love; not everyone will leave you with fingerprints, some will run away leaving scars.
And when you find yourself in his bedroom at 2AM, with your heartbeat echoing the room and his smile radiating in the dark, know that you are still whole. You will not have lost anything because no one can take your integrity away from you.
Daughter, promise me that your heart will stay bold and your mind will stay sharp. Be so kind that other people question your motives, even though you will have none. Read everything from Alighieri to Zebrowski so that you become a library as knowledgable as Alexandria. Bring to the room your undying charisma and contagious laugh. Make heads turn for all the right reasons. The right man will undress your thoughts and stare into your eyes to see through the shell you call your body.
In my day, a woman is only as valuable as her past, but you are created to move forward. So keep growing; evolve into someone better, but never lie about what you have gone through. When they ask, tell them that you have loved, and that you are happy. Don’t forget that you are not a piece of fabric that can be ripped apart, even though people may see you as tattered cloth.
Dear daughter, my mother told me that once I love a man under the sheets, I will become a used good.
But even if I am, you will never be. You are born whole, and you will die whole. You are a magical medley of oxygen, sulfur, nitrogen, estrogen, oxytocin, and a million other chemicals. You are not your hymen, your partner count, or your past. You are what you bring forth to this world, so remember to shine bright.