To the Daughter I Never Had


I don’t mean to sound unkind, and I am far, far from perfect, as a father or man. But I have spent some time in your future, and hope to help you avoid some of what just ordinary life, and poor judgement and the next 20 years of wear and tear might do to you, as it has to too many of your older sisters.

For now, you revel in the intoxicating power your young beauty has to excite desire. It just landed in your lap —no pun intended— and by God, you’ll use it. And, it’s fun for a while. (You’re smart too, but that will last longer.)

Older women sometimes mock men when our eyes follow younger women. “You look ridiculous–” they’ll say “–panting after her like that. Don’t you realize how ridiculous you are?”

Yes, we feel ridiculous a lot,  especially when we’re reminded of it—and often when we walk by a mirror, so we don’t need more reminders. Do they, do you suppose?

But we realize it comes from losing the illusion of immortality, of hurt feelings, and fear of being left behind; from the cosmic unfairness of time slipping away, and also a realistic understanding about how men are suckers for a good visual. You feel you can’t win. Ever. Some days Sisyphus wins, some days the rock wins.

Actually, the rock always wins. It’s the same for us.

It is ridiculous to live an illusion, of course. To pretend against evidence to be young again is…pathetic, really. Someone is always more bronzed and buffed, younger, richer, smarter, more lucky, with better teeth and genes. And half of the world’s population has the same basic equipment you do. You didn’t earn it; it was a gift. Maybe a curse, too.

We’re really not all that special, despite the ego that says we are. It’s nature’s way. Each dandelion plant spreads 15,000 seeds, all pretty much the same. I wonder if each seed thinks the world cannot go on without it, as we do?

Take care of yourself, daughter, and hear my words, because I’ll be gone soon. The future will be here before you know it. Try not to live just for ego and pleasure; take care of the love you can grow. Inside us all is a child that feels unloved. Heal yours first, because you won’t know love until you do.

Then let your whole life be a love song to the world.

In the forest
is a monster
It has done terrible things

So in the wood
it’s hiding
And this is
the song it sings

Who will love me now?
Who will ever love me?
Who will say to me
You are my desire,
I set you free
Who will love me now?
Who will forgive
and make me live again?
Who will bring me back
to the world again?
In the forest
is a monster

And it looks so
very much like me
Will someone
hear me singing?/p>

Please save me,
please rescue me
Who will love me now?
Who will ever love me?
Who will say to me
You are my desire,
I set you free

Who will love me now?
Who will ever love me?
Who will say to me
You are my desire,
I set you free
Who will love me now?
Who will ever love me?
Who will love me now?

“Who Will Love Me Now,” by P.J. Harvey ® Island Records limited

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