As the year comes to an end, I reflect, with gratitude, on what’s been an unforgettable year in more ways than one. All of the highs and lows of 2020 reminds me of how far I’ve come and how far we still have to go. So, I thought it would be fitting to do a letter to my younger self about things I wish someone told me 20 years ago.
I’ve grown & evolved SO much over the years. And I can honestly say that statement with no regrets, only lessons learned. Although, there are some lessons I wish I would have paid attention to sooner, I’m grateful for the insight I’ve gained. It’s been more than helpful as I raise my own teenagers.
Read along as I write this letter to my younger self.
Dear Beautiful Black Girl,
I’m writing this letter to you in hopes that it not only teaches you to value and appreciate the moment you’re in, but also to realize that some things truly happen for a reason. With that being said, there are a few things that I’d like you to take note of before you enter adulthood.
Be yourself. You’re kinda cool.
Unapologetically. Fall in love with your self – your skin, your hair, your style, your mind. Then you won’t feel that you have to pretend to be anyone else to fit in, and you won’t NEED another human to love you like you do. You don’t have to shrink yourself to allow someone else’s light to be brighter. You are beautiful, smart, and worthy. Walk in your light.
Take all the pictures. Record all the things, all of your dreams, and all of your goals in your journal. Yes, even the embarrassing ones. Those photos and videos will outlive the people in it one day. It’s great to have things to look back on for stories and memories.
Choose your friends wisely.
As you get older, you’ll realize that it’s not always about who you’ve been friends with the longest – its more about who brings the most quality to your life. I learned that being around a few good people who lift you up is more gratifying than being with a hundred people just for the sake of popularity. So, choose people who make you laugh when you’ve had a rough day, people who challenge you to live up to your potential, and people who won’t leave you behind.
Trust your instincts.
As with the point above, pay attention to all of the red flags and don’t let your emotions overpower your intelligence. We all want to believe that everyone is good, and that is fine but – You are smart enough to know when someone or something doesn’t have your best interest at heart, so don’t ignore the guidance you’ve received.
Stop caring about what other people think.
You don’t need others opinions to validate you. You don’t need to get their approval of you to feel pretty, popular, or cool. As cliche as it may seem – You gotta walk to the beat of your own drum, Chantelle. Dance like no one is watching and sing til your heart no longer aches. You got this.
Get involved at school.
Sign up for that club. Audition for that part. Try out for that sport. Take this time to find your passions and at least a few hobbies you can enjoy when you’re older. Life is all about the experiences and the choices we make. Don’t let fear keep you from trying something new. Oh, and pay attention in accounting class.
Listen to your Mom.
Contrary to the fact that we feel like our Moms are superhuman, they won’t be here forever. Listen to her words, learn about her dreams, her culture (most importantly – the recipes), and soak up all that you can. There’s a lot that she’s holding in to protect your innocence but she may need your reassurance to know she’s doing a good job as mother. Show her you’re listening and
I wish I could literally tell you more and hug you as an adult, so you know that everything will be okay. But I’ll use this letter to help my daughters see what I might have missed at their age.
Keep reading and expanding your mind. Never stop learning. And never stop loving yourself. The freedom and peace you are looking for is waiting for you.