I’ve already written two letters to my daughter and one to black women but today goes to my son (that doesn’t exist). With all the extensive pressure to perform and live a certain way to society’s standards, I want to reach out to him. I want to give him some lessons I’ve never gotten about growing up.
I love you. You are loved. Your value to me is not connected with your performance but by your sheer existence, you are automatically loved. I want to reinforce this in you every single day of your life. I plan to be there for you and pray that God will allow me to watch you grow up. You deserve that love and fulfillment I didn’t receive from a man. You shouldn’t have to look elsewhere or build a father conceptually in your head. You deserve better.
Even though I had your great-grandmother as my primary support and person angel, I grew up with a void in my life. I never seemed to truly get over not having my father or mother around. To this day, I am still learning to forgive them for their humanity and what I often saw as neglect growing up. I constantly sought validation through my youth. Not in huge ways, but I thought if I loved a little harder or performed a little better, that they would want to be in my life. I want to instill you with the truth of self-worth. No matter what happens, you are worthy of love.
With that being said, I want to focus on building your identity in this rapidly changing world. Value honesty and personal understanding/self-reflection above anything else. The two are very much intertwined but also invaluable separately. Honesty is what I expect from you and what I believe you should demand from any interaction. Personal understanding/reflection is what will help you be successful in the long-term.
Honesty is valuable because it reduces that pain you deal with daily. This combined with self-reflection helps you develop emotional awareness. How do you feel when certain things happen? What thoughts cross your mind daily? What do certain emotions mean for how you should respond? Emotions are normal. It’s okay to cry, be mad, or genuinely laugh. Most importantly, it’s perfectly fine to love. Being able to properly recognize your emotions is the first step to the happiness but, that takes honesty, with yourself and others.
As men, we often neglect our feelings and fail to listen to what our gut is telling us. That is toxic. It’s okay to emote. Process those emotions and feelings when they occur so that they don’t leak out in other more harmful ways. Don’t resort to drinking, drugs, or women because you are stressed or troubled. It doesn’t solve the pain. There are places and times that are not ideal to get angry or burst out into tears. Take those moments for what they are, take a moment and excuse yourself, then come back with a clear head. You strength will be your awareness and control of self. This allows you to accurately affect the world around you also.
Also, it may not seem like it when you are young, but honesty saves you more headaches than lying does. Disappointment/anger is commonly a very temporary thing. If someone is disappointed or angry at you, it’s typically forgiven or forgotten shortly after. Talk things out and always offer your truth. People can either love it or leave it alone. If they don’t like it, it might have been better off without them. Most importantly, don’t lie to women for affection. They deserve choice and autonomy in your interactions the same way you do. It will hurt everyone involved. (We can talk more about it when you get older)
Most of all, I want you to take your time with life. Find out what you enjoy. Seek out opportunities to enjoy your own company instead of constantly looking to others. You will be surprised the things you learn about the world, looking inward first. Then, go out and conquer. Do what you heart tells you to and always send me a card or phone call after each success. I am proud of you for being you. I love you.