A letter for my little man, who I love more than the stars. Something for him to read through when facing a questionable moment.
Archer, my Man!,
I love you.
I’m not perfect at showing you that I love you all the time. I yell and get angry and I know that makes you wonder. I’m not perfect, and I show it to you guys every day and I’m sorry for that. But it’s good to know that your parents aren’t perfect. Because you won’t be a perfect parent either if you choose to have kids. And that’s okay. Life isn’t perfection. It’s a pile of mess with glitter of joy sprinkled in.
Regardless of my imperfections, I love you, little man. You are a bright light in my life and make me laugh and smile like no other. I just wanted to give you some basic facts that you will face down in this life. I’ve done it for the girls, so this is yours.
- No one is perfect.
You are not perfect. I am not perfect (as previously noted). Your Daddy is not perfect (shhhh… don’t tell him). And that’s okay. Every person you deal with in life has their own imperfections and their own mess to deal with. As I’ve said before, every person puts out there what they want you to see. But what you see from the outside for most people is a front, a farce, a wall placed out there for the rest of the public to see. The wall is sitting in front of a pile of rubble. Much like my pile of rubble. Much like your pile of rubble. Our piles are made up of trinkets we’ve gathered, memories we’ve made, mistakes we tripped through, loves and laughs and mess-ups and adrenaline rushes. Their rubble is blemished, like yours and mine. They curse when you aren’t listening. They stumble and cry and fuss and get angry and say horrible things and are generally human.
That is the nature of being human. So a) Don’t judge yourself against the brightly painted walls that some people place in front of their rubble piles. And b) Be kind. You never know if that pile of rubble behind their wall includes pain and hurt and fear and sorrow. And kindness, even in the face of brash ego or false bravado, often will soften their hearts to you and gain you friends.
- Your soul is the most important and beautiful part of you.
You are going to be a beautiful man. And yes, I can use the word “beautiful” for men. You look so much like my father, and he was a charmer. You’ve got that same air about you, charming you way into everyone’s heart with a wicked smile and hugs. You’re going to be a BIG man, and that’s okay. But that’s just the outside. A skin over the incredible mind and deep soul that make you such an incredible person. Do NOT value your looks over what you do with your time or heart or effort. Because when you are helping feed someone that is hungry, when you are treating the wounded, when you are holding the scared or hurt or frightened, when you are giving of yourself for the betterment of this world, the people around you won’t care if you have no hair, three noses, 1800 warts, and weigh 600 lbs. They will care that someone cared enough about them or their lives to do something.
Be THAT kind of beautiful.
- While your soul is the most important part of your body, your mind will be there for you for the rest of your life.
Your looks will only last so long, and your soul will feed your life with joy and love, but your brain will feed you and keep a roof over your head. Come hell or high water, what skills you learn will be what you rely on to keep moving forward. So get an education or a skill set. Find a trade or go to college. And don’t waste your time on something useless like I did. Archaeology wasted 4 years. And while I know a lot about history (enough to know we keep repeating it), I should have something else with those years of my life. I’d probably be more fulfilled in my career if I had.
So get that education or trade, learn to rely on yourself, and lay the groundwork to contribute to this world.
- Your body is YOURS. No one else’s.
This means you set the limits for when someone touches you or when you accept anyone talking about your body. You can’t stop people from talking about what they want to talk about, but you (and me with your backup, ’cause hunny, momma’s got your back) don’t have to accept it and can take action to make them stop or apologize if their statements are unacceptable.
And no, that doesn’t mean you can take action as in you can hit them. You are going to be bigger than people, but you can’t throw that weight around to protect your pride, or you will stop having a beautiful soul and will become a bully.
But you can stand up for yourself if someone insults you, in a dignified way. Try to embarrass the person trying to embarrass you. And if they don’t stop, you CAN take it higher. Go to a teacher. Who cares if they make fun of you for doing that if they are already making fun of your body. They’ve already crossed that line and nothing you can say or do or avoid doing will stop them from being @$$hats. Take it to a higher authority.
If the school won’t stop them, you take it to me, baby. There are laws meant to protect against bullying. And I will come in with the force of a sledge hammer and teach that school how they are supposed to act with regards to bullying. They don’t have to like it.
If someone is touching you or otherwise degrading you or your clothing, they.have.crossed.the.line.
Body autonomy means you must give permission to be touched. By anyone. At any time. For the rest of your lives. Even I will ask for hugs and kisses and snuggles, but you don’t have to give them to me. (please do… momma needs her snuggles from her babies). Beyond the required pullup changes and putting on some pants, your body is yours. Just because you are a boy, does not make you any less worthy of body autonomy than us women would like to have. Notice the phrase “like to have.” As women, your sisters are going to face more judgment and unwanted touching in their lives, so keep an eye out for them too, little man. You’re going to be a big man one day and it’s your job to help protect your sisters and other women from being hurt or scared.
- The world out there is not friendly to so many people.
That’s just a fact. Hopefully you will not have to face this. Archer, my sweet boy. You are a lucky man. You are going to be tall and strong and powerful in stature. You are a white man in North America. You are blessed. But just because you are in that position does not mean you get to skate by. And it doesn’t mean that you will be handed everything, though you will be given more by society strictly because of your gender and skin color. So be aware of that.
People in positions of power and strength, as you will be as an adult regardless of what you do with your life, have the obligation to try to share that power and strength with those that are less fortunate. Do not discount people around you for their gender or religion or race or ethnicity. I don’t want you to be colorblind, because to be colorblind today is to be blind to the struggles that people of color face. But I want you to honestly not judge people for their skin color, or their wealth or lack thereof, or their gender. And if you see an injustice, something happening that you wouldn’t tolerate happening to you or your sisters, say something. Do something.
You are a white man in a world where being white is being bestowed with privilege by birth. Use it to help others. If you find the chance to stand next to any other person, regardless of their gender, race, ethnicity, or religion, and help them feel safe and find their own empowerment, do it. Helping others be stonger in the face of adversity makes us all stronger together.
- The world out there is not friendly to people that don’t look like the people in power.
I say this as a word of caution. Not that I don’t want you to fight for what’s right. But please be safe about it. If you are going to fight wrong doers, please do it in a manner that is safe and peaceful. And get out if it gets dangerous. Many people had to flee the Nazis, not just those that were persecuted, but many who helped those that were persecuted and those that just secretly disagreed. Be aware of when it’s time to get out and do it.
- The world out there has expectations on you, even people that don’t know you, and you DO.NOT.HAVE.TO.MEET.THOSE.EXPECTATIONS.
Dye your hair blue and get tattoos (at safe, clean, LICENSED facility with clean inspections… ask me and I’ll help you find a good place). Study that topic that seems weird but will feed you. Be the brilliant, nerdy boy in the geochemist laboratory solving the world’s need for fossil fuels. Figure out how to reverse global warming while an Avengers tee-shirt and long hair. Be you. Don’t follow the crowd at the party, drinking and carrying on. Don’t follow the crowd, hooting and laughing at some poor person facing adversity. Set goals for who you want to be as an adult and meet YOUR expectations. Make yourself happy.
There is so little in this world worth fighting for more than pure happiness, and you can’t get that from money or power or prestige. You get that from acceptance and love.
- What you do with your life matters, no matter what you choose to do.
You can cure cancer. Or you can do hair. And they are both equally important and valuable career goals and you should be proud that you are doing something for yourself and contributing to this world no matter what you do. Don’t let other people’s expectations of your use of your brilliance set your definition for a happy life.
- You love who you love, and you love them with every drop of your soul regardless of what anyone else, INCLUDING ME AND YOUR DAD, think!
If you happen to be gay, I don’t want you to be scared to come out to me. I don’t want you to come out to me at all. Just bring home your boyfriend and introduce me to him and I swear I’ll be as cool as I would be to a girlfriend (which means I won’t be cool and I’ll probably threaten him… that’s the plan with everyone, so I’m not going to change my plan with a change in gender.)
If you love someone who happens to have more melanin in his or her skin, or speaks a different language or prays to a different god or even goddess, I’m cool. What matters to me is that the person you love loves you right back and treats you with respect, deference, and consideration. That they hug you when you need hugs. That they kiss you until you’re breathless. That they hold your hand when you’re scared. And that they do everything in their power to make your dreams come true. I don’t care what package that comes in, so long as you have that in a relationship.
And if you choose to not fall in love and want to rock the awesome apartment in NYC with 30 cats, I’ll buy you the air freshener. Your happiness is what matters here.
- Be open to advice, but do not always listen to it.
You will get advice from everyone, including me. Take it. Listen to it. Think it through. Chart it out if you have to. Compare it to FACTS that you know to be true. Check your facts against reliable sources. And apply it if it works for you. Know that people that have come before you often have been through what you are going through, so we might have more insight into the steps you are taking. But that doesn’t mean you have to step in our footsteps. It just means that we left footsteps you can choose to use if you want to. You can always forge your own trail.
We will love you no matter what.
And Archer, Love each other. You will need someone to talk to that understands where you come from. That’s your sisters.
I know that you’re probably reading this thinking “OMG, mom, shut up.”
No. I’m your mother. I’m not going to shut up. But I will endeavor to listen when I remember that that’s the kind of mom I want to be. I’m not perfect. I’ve got a goal for myself to be this kind of mom. I’m going to make mistakes and miss the mark. But know that I want to be there for you. I want you to feel free to come to me without fear of judgement. And if I screw up, you can feel free to all me on it. I love you both so very much. Be good to your sisters, my little man. You will need them as you grow older.