letter to my daughter – and to myself


Dearest Riviane,

You are enough.

Do not let anyone – especially me – ever doubt you.

Live for yourself, and not to anyone’s expectations, not society’s, not your parents’, not your grandparents’, not your friends. There is no image you need to live up to.

Seek help when you need; you do not have to be strong all the time.

Cry, scream, whine, throw tantrums. Express your frustrations, your anger, and your jealousies all you need. It frees up space for giggles, laughter, fun, love, joy, and hope.

Do not suppress your emotions. Have people around you who let you express how you feel without telling you how you “should” or “should not” feel.

If you do not enjoy something, do not force yourself to “enjoy the moment.”

Have the courage to play all your life, to talk to yourself, to sing to yourself, and have a conversation with your toys.

If I ever ask you to memorize vocabulary, recite multiplication tables, or force you into extra tuition for chemistry to get better grades, refuse. Playing and daydreaming does more to a healthy life than any knowledge you stuff into your brain.

You do not need me or anyone to tell you that you are beautiful and intelligent. You are. You know that already. That’s that.

Be your own person. No one owns you. You are not “my” baby, you are not anyone’s treasure. You are you.

There are people in this world less blessed than you – but this is not a reason to not have the sorrows or worries that you feel.

I will unknowingly project my fears on to you, try to live vicariously through you, and attempt to protect you from experiencing the aches and pain I had when I was growing up. Give them back to me because you are you, and you will experience life in your ways.

One day you might not like me, you may not like spending time with me, you may not agree with me, and you may find me annoying. Tell me, scold me, shout at me, slam the door at me. I hope we will always be able to have a conversation, however difficult, and I will not cause you to shut off from me.

I apologize in advance for all the mistakes I make and all the things I said I would do but forget. I am sorry for the tantrums and things I say that will hurt you. I have my own shit to deal with and I am learning. Teach me.

I try not to be the mother or wife I said I would not be, but it is not always a smooth ride. You have every right to tell me to go look at myself.

When you see me bickering at Timmie, remind me to “mummy no talk” and give him a break.

Build your husband / partner; do not tear him/her down or question him/her endlessly like I do. Let him/her be forever your soul mate.

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You will have mentors, teachers. You will hear many words of wisdom from others, and guidance from all over the world. Some of them will contradict each other, some of them will be different from what I uphold. Take what makes sense for you. You do not have to follow everything they say, nor do you have to agree with what I tell you.

Concoct your own wisdom.

You do not need a picture-perfect life. Create your own.

Have a mission and a vision for yourself. But you do not need to always know where you are going. Scattered confusion is just as fun.

Help others when you can.

You will find things unfair. Life is unfair. Maybe you will be the one to change the world. Trust in your inner light.

Be kind to yourself. And to animals, and to plants.

Jump, hop, skip, dance, roll on the grass, and do cartwheels.

Seek advice, but make up your own mind.

Listen to yourself, your body, your heart, your brain, your mind, your stomach.

I believe in your beliefs and dreams. You might be the only one swimming southeast whilst everyone is going north. I hope you find the strength in the alone-ness and in forging new grounds. The world is waiting to hear your story too.

They (whoever they are) say I need to be the role model for you. I am afraid that is tough for me. It stresses me out to know you look up to me and copy me because there are many things I do not like about myself. I am still learning to love myself for who I am. But perhaps I could be the anti role model – you could look at me and see the behaviours you do not want to repeat. No one said mothers are always right.

I am a proud person and do not like to be told that I am wrong. Do not give up on me, I hear you, and I hope one day I can admit my trespasses.

Even though I think something might be good for you, it might not be so. I could be wrong. Help me realize that.

Keep the twinkle in your big eyes. Disappointments will give you tears. One day you will grow weary too. This is part of life.

Think positively, think negatively, and everything in between.

Do not waste time trying to overcome fears. Greet them, embrace them, talk to them, know them, and befriend them.

When everyone is busy making New Year resolutions, go play. Calendars are but a temporal mark of time. Each day is a day. Let not months or years inhibit you with frameworks of time or pressure you into achieving “Goals for 2027”.

If you fall, and do not want to get up, I will lie next to you and be with you – and I will keep quiet.

You are good enough. Always.

Nochie & the Bears

10 Responses

  1. Beth says:

    Wow ????

  2. Annie says:


    What a beautiful letter. It captured everything I want to say to my baby boy! Thank you!!!

    I might print it out (if that is ok) and read it every morning to remind myself of what my (new) beliefs are!


  3. Annie Wi says:

    What a beautiful letter..I will keep it for Me and Mia..There have a lot of common that I wish I could be the same..god bless us..missing you already..see you when you come back..have a great trip.muah

  4. Cristina says:

    Raw truth of what we all need to hear / read no matter what age we are as a woman. As someone that doesn’t have children, the inner child in me resonates with what you have written.

    Thank you for writing this, for your vulnerability / courage and love.

  5. Jim says:

    Wow Noch. This was awesome. I wish my Mom had written something like this, or even felt it. Thanks

    • Noch Noch says:

      same here… but i guess our mums do whatever they can and think is best at that time, and possibly Rivie will have other thoughts when she is 35…

about Noch Noch

Enoch Li, (pen name: Noch Noch) was born and raised in Hong Kong and Australia. She has also studied / worked / lived in the US, France, UK, Japan, The Netherlands, China, and has travelled to more than 40 countries. She loves travelling and her curiosity in foreign cultures and languages has led her to enjoy her life as an international executive in the banking & finance industry. However, she was forced to take time off work in 2010 due to her illnesses and after spending time in recovery, cooking, practising Chinese calligraphy, reading and writing – in short, learning to take care of herself and letting out the residual work stress, she has transitioned into a Social Entrepreneur and founded BEARAPY to help corporates make workplaces mentally healthy, and support executives to become more resilient.