À La Carte: To All the Daughters

[creative nonfiction]

To My Daughter, and All the Daughters,

This is the letter I should have gotten from my mother, and that she should have gotten from her mother, and that should have been passed down through the ages like baking cloths, or photo albums, or funeral cards. It is the letter that tells you, young beauty, how miraculous your body is, and how you were built for gratification and yearning.

Do not shame yourself into thinking that purity comes from abstention, or goodness from depravity. Your body harbors a lava core, fluid and burning, that hungers for touch, release, and all the pleasure your days can hold. Yes, you were made to bloom babies, angled soft and wide to be a vessel for life. But you were also molded for indulgence, to allow yourself to climb pinnacle after pinnacle and savor the sweet, golden taste of your own flesh as it shivers and shakes with glee.

Since you were little you have been bombarded by images of clean, crisp women in ball gowns or dresses waiting for the moment when a man would recognize her beauty and choose her. Well, soft heart, I am here to tell you that you are the one you are waiting for. You don’t need the dress, or the heels, or the coiffed hair. But if you want them, wear them big and bold. Own your lavish spectacle. Wear whatever the fuck you want. Be clean, or get dirty. Just know that they are merely a window dressing and have no bearing on your soul.

Everywhere you look, women are expected to swim in duality, Madonna in light and Eve when dusk. I am here to tell you that Eve does not need to be hidden. She needs to blow the doors off the hinges and walk proudly into day. Eve is your sister, your guide, the bitch who will whisper in your ear that you don’t need to take that shit from anyone. She’s the one who won’t fake an orgasm to give someone else the satisfaction denied her. She’s the one who pushes you from behind when you don’t know how to step forward to get what you want.

Let’s have the conversation we don’t have out loud: let’s talk about how beautiful and sacred sex is to who we are, how its bewitching magic keeps us in touch with our inner pulse and heartbeat. How orgasms are not just a release, but a way for our body to feel in tune with everything else around it. How a good fuck can cleanse the palate and soul, and put us back in proximity with our inner goddess. And yes, I said FUCK because sometimes making love is not an option we want nor need to have. We are just as capable of enjoying pleasure for pleasure’s sake, and more than capable, it should be our inheritance.

What does all this mean? It means you should feel free to do any and everything and whoever you choose. It means that you should be just as concerned about how happy your pussy feels as you are that your lipstick is smeared, or that your hair has strayed. Open yourself up to everything that you want. Don’t be afraid to be the one to initiate. Talk to the cute guy or girl in the bar or library. Ask him or her out, take him or her home, fuck him or her in the backseat of his or her Ford Prius in a public place. It is your domain, your body, and you need to own that shit.

And while we’re on the subject, your sexuality is yours to own. Him, her, he, she, non-binary, whatever works for you is the only thing you need to concern yourself with. Yes, people may judge you, they may even turn their back because your experience is outside the realm of their own comfort zone. With as strong a mother voice as I can muster, I say FUCK THAT NOISE. There is no requirement that when you enter this world that you must make anyone but yourself happy. The peace and contentment of others has nothing to do with your desire and love. Do something for me: sit still. Close your eyes. Breathe in deep through your nose and exhale loudly. Put your hand on your heart, and say this as much as you need to: I am, and I will, always be enough. I am, and I will, always be enough. I am, and I will, always be enough.

With sex, there is no limit to what you can yearn to experience. Go for it all: crack open your body, lie back, and let it be flooded with whatever you desire. Experience hands exploring every inch of your soft, graceful flesh. Allow tongues to wander fiercely across your hills and mounds. Don’t be shy. Put a hand here, then there, then in the places you’re afraid to name because you’ve been drilled that good girls don’t “do that.” Except the best girls do, and they do it better than anyone. They tease, tantalize, and let their fantasies evolve to realities.

You have this one body in this one life. It should feel spectacular, floating, dangerously divine. Yes, this can all be accomplished through love, with a solid partner, and monogamy as the hallmark. But it is my job to say that there is no contract that says you must seek a mate, or marry, or be committed to revel in pleasures of the flesh. Rather, it is up to you, and only you, to decide what you want, where you want it, how you want it, and with whom. Just go get it.

I am telling you this because your body is not a pillar of shame but a statue of perfection. You have every right to feel good, get fucked, and be satisfied in every aspect of your being. Feeling good is the new black. So, wear it proud it and loud. There can be no indignity in anything that was created to make our bodies melt into puddles of ecstatic joy.

Get yours, and get it good.



By day, Holly Baldwin is a hospital lactation consultant and childbirth advocate who lives in the endless desert of Santa Fe, NM, with her four phenomenal children. At night, and other stolen moments, she is an MFA writing candidate at Spalding University, where her passions include screenwriting, playwriting, and creative nonfiction with a focus on the struggles and triumphs of women. She unabashedly claims the title of Unapologetic Badass and blogs her feminist and single parenting reflections at hollybaldwin.weebly.com.