We could all use a little bit of Laura Dern’s advice.
The 50-year-old actress writes a touching letter to her 12-year-old daughter, Jaya, in the September issue of InStyle, sharing the importance of letting go of expectations and limitations, and instead embracing your own path.
“I’ve spent a lot of my life going, ‘OK, I’m going to be an actress, but I have to give it everything, so I probably won’t be able to also have a successful relationship,’ or ‘I’m about to be a mother, so I’ll give up my acting’ or ‘I’m married, so I’m going to put my career on hold and be ‘a good wife’ and support him,'” Dern recalls, before noting that Hillary Clinton’s recent presidential campaign made her start “realizing that focusing on one thing in an effort not to fail at anything else was a weight I was carrying.”
“I want to be a woman who does it all, no matter how it turns out,” she writes. “Jaya, I’ve awoken to something recently, and it has inspired me during this time in my life. Here it is: Life is scary, and it’s glorious. You’re never going to get it all right. You’ll get it deliciously messed up, and that will be part of figuring out who you are.”
The actress then discusses the perils of placing too much weight on social media, and how she hopes her daughter sees beyond the superficial expectations of public life.
“I want you to have faith and hear yourself when you’re just barely holding it together. I want you to be able to talk to friends about their grey areas and be open about your own without judgment,” she continues. “You will succeed and fail in equal measure. Both experiences are worthwhile. They will both define you. The truth is, the minute I surrendered to the flow of the mess of life, everything came together magnificently: my longing for art, my skill as an actor, and my capacities as a friend and mother.”
“The beauty of being a woman today is in savouring the minutiae of life, all the moments that add up to you. The joy you’ll find in being in your body, in sexuality and sensuality, in service, in art, in mothering. You have to get out of your own way and write your own story — and not be forced into the narrative that you think will give you the easiest path to success or the most likes,” Dern concludes. “I want you to live in the space that’s your own, your own delicious mess. The story comes from within you.”
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