When Deb Bibby, the editor of JONES magazine, asked me to feature in the Fearless Women issue, by way of writing a letter to my daughter, Sugar, I had no idea where it would take me. The brief was, 'what advice would you give her on inner and outer beauty and daring to be yourself?'. Fearless words of wisdom on beauty. This is a letter for all our daughters to hold close as they navigate this world from children to women.
Dear Sugar Brave,
We have never had the conversation, the real conversation, about your middle name.
On the surface it sounds a little silly to say we named you after a movie, but it was your idea. Even at the age of three, you knew who you were. We had not given you a middle name when you were born. Sugar was so completely you that everything else just sounded like decoration.
Then came Merida, the unexpected hero in the movie Brave. You wanted to be her so badly. A girl who demanded the right to think for herself and to be herself at all costs, even if at times it meant life could be painful. We could see so much of you in her and, when your little face turned and asked me if you could be called Brave, it felt like you recognised this about yourself and who you wanted to be.
I gave you Brave as your middle name, not just because you asked for it but because I know there will be times when I cannot be there for you, when it is not me you seek in order to find your way. I gave you Brave as your constant companion to silently guide you through this world. A whispered reminder that you are beautiful, truly beautiful, because of what you hold in your heart and soul.
From within you there is a light so bright, so pure, it cannot help but draw others to it. It is the reason you cannot walk without skipping. Why song escapes from you when you’re talking. And the reason you love so big you sometimes cry.
There will be a time when the world will throw at you the notion that your value comes in the physical and that your contribution is only what can be seen on the surface. There will be temptations and persuasions that might make you sway in your convictions. Test the very core of what you value and believe, but you must be brave. You must be strong to stay true to who you really are. You must trust your instincts and have the courage and conviction to walk away from those who mean to diminish your light. I ask this of you because my love, my Sugar Brave, you are truly beautiful.