Beyoncé’s emotional letter about turning 40 is all kinds of inspiring
Written by Kayleigh Dray
Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.
“Whoever tried to condition women to feel that we are supposed to be old or unhappy when we turn 40 got it ALL THE WAY F’D UP,” writes Beyoncé in a stunning handwritten letter to her fans.
Before she paid the Bills, Bills, Bills, fell Crazy In Love, and made one hell of a lot of Lemonade, Beyoncé was an aspiring singer stuck in Houston, Texas.
Now, though, the Independent Woman is an undisputed global icon: not just because she’s an outstanding musician and artist (indeed, she’s the most decorated female Grammy winner of all time ever), but because she’s also become the embodiment of modern feminism for countless women.
It should come as little surprise, then, that Queen B has taken the time to reflect on her milestone 40th birthday in an emotional handwritten letter to her fans, in which she’s made a point of tackling sexist ageism head on.
“The more mature I become, the more I understand and the deeper my joy grows,” she writes in the note, which has been posted to her official website.
“There’s freedom and liberation knowing that I’ve made it to the other side of my sacrifice. I’m finally giving myself permission to enjoy the seeds I’ve worked so hard to plant my whole life.”
Disputing society’s toxic idea that women should mourn the end of their 30s (and their supposed youth), Beyoncé continues: “I’m so grateful to be GROWN, GROWN! Whoever tried to condition women to feel that we are supposed to be old or unhappy when we turn 40 got it ALL THE WAY F’D UP.
“This has absolutely been the best I’ve felt in my life. This is the first year that I really understand what it means to be alive and to live in the moment. It’s the first time that I have an understanding of how fragile life truly is, how hard life can be at times, and therefore how important it is to stop and smell the roses during the good times.
“I thought I knew that at 21 or 30, but I didn’t.”
It’s a brilliant point, and it’s well made, too. Because so what if Bey is older? Older just means that she’s more experienced, and that she has taken her work seriously for years. That she has so much to share with us, and so much more left to enjoy.
Rather than tilting our heads sympathetically at women on their 40th birthdays, then, we need to take heed of Beyoncé’s words and instead start applauding the worth of these women. We should align ourselves with them, learn from them, and be inspired by them.
Above all else, we should support the hell out of them. Thankfully, though, the Beyhive knows this all too well; indeed, Beyoncé has made a point of ending her letter with a shoutout to her dedicated fans, thanking them for the endless love they have shown her over the years – as well as the bevy of birthday messages and tributes they have showered upon her this week.
“Most of y’all met me when I was 15, and we have grown up together. You bring so much joy into my life. I hope my art can continue to bring a little joy into yours.
“I Love You Deep Deep Deep Deep Deep.”
Beyoncé? Never change.
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