My darling and daring daughter-
As you set forth to make your mark on the world, and mark it up you surely shall, I know that you don't need much. A pair of Chuck Taylors and your inexhaustible spunk should about cover it. But you might want some inspiration to guide your journey. You look around for examples of womanhood; leaders and friends to guide you on your path through this incredible world of ours. I know that you have too much grace and boundless charm to be awkward, so I am not suggesting that you look toward me. But let me point you to some other ladies a little more luminary.
Let's get some out of the way first; not Miley Cyrus. Not Paris Hilton. About half of the Disney Princesses are not to be emulated. Avoid most celebrities in general. Power and shoes are both exciting, but don't look toward Imelda Marcos. No Madame Bovary or Anna Karenina; boys just aren't worth that level of stress, my sweet. I don't care if they have amazing Russian or French accents. No Lindsey Lohan or anyone with the last name Kardashian. In fact, anyone on a reality show can be discounted straight off.
My angel, be an Amelia Earhart. Or a Florence Lowe Barnes, if you want to fly but don't want to go down mysteriously over the Pacific. Be a Jane Goodall. Be a Marie Curie, just please wear some gloves or maybe a suit lined with lead. Be a Marie Stopes. Be an Empress, namely Catherine the Great or Wu Zetian. Be an Elizabeth Blackwell or a Muthulakshmi Reddi. Be a Bronte sister. Be a Boudica. That you could be anyone and will be like no one is a foregone conclusion.
Trailblaze like Sacagawea. Write like Toni Morrison or Agatha Christie. Emily Dickenson, if you must, but please leave your room on occasion. Vote like Susan B. Anthony and Isabella Beecher Hooker dreamed of doing. Judge like Sandra Day O'Conner. Study like Hypatia; no angry mob is gonna tell you what to do. (And if they try, they can deal with me.) Love the earth like Anita Roddick. Teach like Clara Barton. Paint like Georgia O'Keeffe and discover the desert light, or paint like Grandma Moses, in your own sweet time. You are a fine wine, my precious one; you will only get better with age.
If you must act, act like Katharine Hepburn or Meryl Streep or Judi Dench. If you must be a diva, be a real one, like Leontyne Price or Renee Fleming. Or the greatest diva of them all; Miss Piggy.
Be like St. Catherine and tell it like it is. Be like St. Clare and make it happen. Be faithful like Abigail Adams. Be independent like Eleanor Roosevelt. Be sassy like Mae West. Be aware of your own style like Coco Chanel. Be steadfast like Rosa Parks. Be peaceful like Betty Williams. Be kind like Mother Teresa. Be strong like Tegla Loroupe. Be brave like Malala Yousafzai. Be witty like Tina Fey. Be patient like Helen Keller. And that you should, at all times, try to be like Betty White, in all things, goes without saying.
You could be Nancy Drew, Hermione Granger. Jane Eyre. Elizabeth Bennett. Janie Crawford. Mulan. Margo Channing. Jo March. Scout Finch. Hildy Johnson. Annie Hall. Anne of Green Gables. Pippi Longstocking. Miss Marple. Yes, they are all fictional. I have a feeling that won't stop you.
Look to any one of your great-grandmas; the paths they cut through the forest are wide and long. Watch Awkward Grandma propel herself through life like a steam engine running on cheer and curiosity. Gaze around your family tree, you have inspiring and amazing women falling off of it like so many spiralling sycamore seeds. You can't avoid the female feisty, my love. You were born into it.
You will be yourself. A woman so unique and so special that we are gonna need to find some new adjectives just to describe you to the generations that come afterward. You are the inspiration of the future, my daughter. A marvelous combination of sweetness and steel that will change the world with the sheer force of your love for it. Look to whom you wish for tips on how to getting there, but that you will get there is not in question at all. You have all the inspiration you need inside you already. Go be amazing; I'll be here if you need a sandwich or something.
I love you-
You look like you are ready to run, my angel.
Make sure to go fast enough that the wind brushes your hair,
and slow enough that you can smell the flowers on the side of the road.