A Letter to My Daughter - #WhyIMarch
Updated: Feb 17
Written by Trish Contreras, Co-Chair Women's March ATX
Dear Baby Girl,
It’s been a while since I’ve written you a heart-to-heart letter. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, but as you well know, life’s been a little crazy this year. Although, it’s been much longer than that. Five (5) years to be exact. Sometimes I wish I could travel back in time and warn myself of the things to come. To save you from the roller-coaster of a ride you are about to get on.
But what would say to that 42-year old me? Would I tell her that she’s about to face some serious health challenges that will bring her down to her knees and while in mid-prayer, she’ll furiously ask, “Why me?!” Would warn her that she’s going be tested in ways so profound that it will make her feel like only darkness surrounds her as she sinks into depression? That she’s going witness the people she loves most become sick? Would I warn her that’s she’s going feel helpless as she watches her daughter struggle trying to come to terms with it?
And what would I say to the 14-year-old you? Would I tell her that she, too, will feel helpless and alone? Warn her that she’s going to feel like giving up on herself?
Here’s the thing though, if I could go back, would I say what I know now? No. No, I wouldn’t. You see, I realize that it wouldn’t be fair to the person I am today to know any of it. It also wouldn’t be fair to the woman you are now trying to become. I’ve had to come to terms with a lot, including accepting my getting sick, for that is what started it all. From that point forward my job, our family, the house, the hospital stays, the medical bills, your grandparents, all of it came at us all at one time. However, I now know I was meant to go through all of it and so were you.
I had to learn how to walk again and lift myself up each time I fell, but it strengthened my will. I had to learn how to fight back, which only made me stronger. Sure, it’s still a battle, but one I’m still winning. And the exact same thing, happened to you.
As it is, we come from a long line of strong, independent, and fearless women. A long generation of women who see their scars as badges of honor. A badge, you and I carry. We’ve learned from our experiences and have grown to become advocates for things we believe that everyone deserves. To fight for good health coverage for those that do not have it, to push for education policies that lifts students to their highest potential, students like you. To help create a safe space place where decency and integrity still matter. We were meant to be part of a collaborative effort to help build bridges in our communities, while pushing back against those who try to tear them down. We were meant to find our voices and now help to amplify the voices others. We were meant to witness the kindness in neighbors helping one another through turbulent times. That is why today, I feel hopeful when I see folks working together; people with conviction, wisdom, courage, who believe that all men, women and children are created equal and deserve to live their lives with dignity.
I feel hopeful, that you too will continue to use your own experiences in a giving-back manner. Every day, I consider myself lucky to continue to march alongside with such incredible and passionate activists doing the work that needs to be done for us all.
Baby girl, I hope you know that you continue to be my inspiration. You inspire me to keep marching; to keep doing my part in speaking truth to power. And I hope, 20 years from now, when you are asked what you did today, that you too can say, “I marched because the women in my life led the way.”
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