Letters To My Younger Sisters …

Dear Miss Little Girl

You’re cute and everything: and display a great amount of intellect and your sway is quite impressive, but I’m sorry to have to tell you that you are not the queen of all you survey. You particularly have no ownership over that sweet boyfriend of yours (or the women he will encounter on his day-to-day). Relinquish control and surrender your reigns.

  • No amount of going through his cell phone will ensure that he does not make calls to other women
  • No amount of check-ins during the day will ensure that he is in fact where he claims to be
  • No amount of restrictions you place on his interactions with other females will make him not think about them, not approach them nor flirt with them.

I applaud your impressive CV, and your ambition; and from what I hear, you seem to have a great personality. I see your success and your accomplishments and recognise that you have carved a good life for yourself; and I think that it is important for a girl in this day and age.

You don’t seem overly dependent on anyone because you make your own money and spend it wisely; and have the charm to win over the sternest of business opponents.

“You can’t own people! People belong to themselves and you can’t own them like toys.”

One of the most humbling lessons I ever learnt in my life as a pre-schooler was when I arrived home in tears to report that my friend was playing with others. I learnt then that possession does not extend to people; and it’s a lesson that many of us grapple with, especially in relationships as we become young women.

One of the consequences of absent fathers [be it physical, or emotional absenteeism] is that we grow to crave for that kind of masculine attention: we seek men who provide us with the stability we have never had in our formative years.

We expect the young men in our lives to provide us with security; beyond physical protection:

  • While a person may be able to offer you protection, they cannot give you safety that is something that you cultivate for yourself; and
  • Although a person may be able to defend you, they cannot give you refuge that is a feeling that you nurture within yourself.

Most of all we seek assurance that this person will never leave us, and as most people cannot provide absolute guarantees as to their eternal presence in our lives, we begin to seek collateral as evidence of his complete commitment to the relationship and to us. This collateral takes varied forms: keys to his townhouse, passwords to his mobile and email accounts and the freedom to browse his phone logs to ensure that he hasn’t been straying from home. If we seek warranties of a person’s love what we provide is not in fact love, it is incarceration.

Sadly, we cannot claim tenure on other people; particularly if we are feeling insecure.

We should strive to develop in this month a strengthening of the self, so that we might mature in ourselves; and cultivate a state of trust.

Writer: Tebogo Serobatse    Photographer: Jeff Rikhotso