Dear Woman,

What if I told you you’re meant to do more important things than fall in love?

I know. What an absurd thought. How can we be meant to do more when everywhere we turn we are surrounded by the idea that love is the ultimate accomplishment for women? In the movies we watch, self-actualisation is achieved by finding “the one” and strong independent women are depicted as lonely, bitter beings only fulfilled when they meet a companion. Magazines are laden with tips and tricks to make you more “lovable” and even literature falls into this phallocentric way of thinking. I can’t actually remember the last time a happy ending didn’t involve some type of marriage or relationship. So I get it. I get why it’s difficult to think your existence is greater than waiting for anyone (and I mean literally anyone) to give your heart away to. But your existence is greater than your heart and its desires. You were created to not only procreate but also create. Like Frida Kahlo, Diana Ross and so many before them, you were made to think differently, explore unfathomable ideas and not wait for anyone’s gratification to do it.


What if I told you you’re meant to do more important things than fall in love?

That you are not all destined to end up with a family and a man who loves you and cute kids that adore you? Your existence is made to change the world and we all know that to do that you have to stand apart and reject the path that is simple and regularly followed. Perhaps you were not made to wear a white dress and a wedding band or kiss a thousand frogs in hopes of finding a prince. In fact you were made to struggle and fight for a greater cause. Impact the lives of many while belonging to no “one”. Just like Malala Yousafzai you were meant to struggle against the odds to achieve an incredible task. You were not made to become somebody else’s other half. You were made to combat adversity AND win.


And what if I told you that you are not meant to be beautiful?

We are not all as pretty as the next girl. You will never be a size 0 or 6ft tall. People will not marvel at your beauty on the street or ask to take your photograph and no matter how much we would love to hear it, they will never tell you that you should consider modelling. From the time we as girls are old enough to use our hands they thrust a Barbie doll into it. Subconsciously we are conditioned to believe that if our waist isn’t that small or our hair that long then we are not good enough. Consequently, the remaining duration of our lives is a culmination of extensions and false lashes and an ocean of make-up products all geared toward helping us become the ever-so-beautiful-yet-ever-so-unattainable “Barbie beauty”. Now I am not saying that we shouldn’t try looking your best for yourself because confidence is important too and everyone who knows me knows I love my fair share of make-up. I am saying that being beautiful is not the most important thing you will ever be but that’s okay. Being beautiful is not the greatest compliment that you can be awarded and as Somali-British writer and poet Warsan Shire astutely put it, “It’s not [your] responsibility to be beautiful. [You] are not alive for that purpose. [Your] existence is not about how desirable [they] find [you].” If you can be intelligent, strong and independent, is it so important to be beautiful?

I know you’ve heard it all before. You are great. You are powerful. You. Are. Beautiful. Several great women have dedicated their lives to urge you to believe in your own greatness. It is my personal belief that we should honour the death of the great women like Maya Angelou by appreciating the lessons she strived to teach us. But this is not a letter telling you what you know deep down is the truth; this is not a letter about the way in which you choose to view yourself. This is a letter asking you to explore your latent capability.

With much love and ever so much respect,

Nicole Oloo