N.B.: I started writing another post last week and the introduction is my explanation for being away for 7 months. While it won’t be posted before this one, we’ll just pretend that it has. Cool? Cool.
Months ago (and I mean moooooonths ago, maybe even years), Youtubers made these videos entitled: “DearMe.” They are video letters to their younger selves, things they wished they had known and pearls of wisdom they’d like to share. And because I’m always one of the last ones to hop on board the “hip and cool” train, I’m only now discovering this and taking advantage of it. But instead of a video letter and because I don’t have that kind of equipment, patience and no one wants to see me make a video in my bonnet, I thought I’d write a list of 25 things I’d like to say to my younger self in honor of my 25th birthday. Some of these apply to my younger self from 2 weeks ago, others to my 12-year-old self.
So here goes:
- Making an “unpopular” decision by some subjective standards doesn’t make it the wrong decision. It just makes it tough. So if you’re thinking about moving to Niger, being celibate or spending $1000 on a purse, evaluate your reasons for doing it. If you can live with it, then go ‘head girl!
- He’s asking you out/into you. I need you to be better at recognizing that. It will save you some awkward moments.
- Also, if the gentleman you’re seeing tells you that he really likes you and wants to be together, don’t say “That’s nice” in a weird tone. Even saying nothing is better than that. Oh, and don’t dump someone on their birthday. That’s just cruel.
- When people tell you that you’re beautiful or smart or funny or talented, believe them!
- If people tell you that you’re ugly or dumb or boring, tell them to kick rocks. Clearly that’s a personal problem and they ain’t shit.
- Cross-country moves are exciting. They are also daunting and exhausting. Let’s try not to do that twice in less than 2 years again.
- Speaking of moving cross-country, being in a new city can be really lonely sometimes and that’s OK. That feeling doesn’t last forever. It also teaches you to stretch your comfort zone, have new experiences and that’s fantastic.
- You remember those last months of grad school? Girl, I know you’re trying to forget that whole graduate experience but it taught you a very valuable lesson.
- On that note, graduate school is expensive AF. Make sure you really want to go. (Watch me write about attending a PhD program in the next 2 years because I don’t listen and might be a masochist)
- Spending that year in Ayiti with your mother was one of the best decisions of your life. Thank your uncle for encouraging you to do it. And on days when you doubt that, I’ll try to remind you.
- Your college friends are treasures. Hold on to them! They made you a special Senior week because you weren’t 21 and couldn’t participate in the official Senior week activities.
- About not being 21 in college, stop stressing homie! You’ll regret thinking about it so much and letting it affect your experience. Also when that person calls you “jailbait” freshman year, google what it means before thinking it’s a cool nickname. #Immigrantprobz
- Put credit on your phone while in Talloires. White that sketchy night, hitchhiking with strangers and your roommate, will make for a good story, it scared the crap out of you. If you having calling credit that night will save you from that “I might get murdered and never found” feeling, it’s sooo worth it.
- At 18, you’re going to go natural. At the time, you won’t do it because you think it’s a political statement or because of styling preferences, but because you wanted to challenge yourself to appreciate your beauty. Because you wanted to stop hiding behind hair. And because of that, I admire you so much. We lost that along the way, but I promise to try to get it back. P.S.: Making a decision to unapologetically love yourself and your Blackness is a political statement. We just weren’t as “woke” (kinda hate that term fam!) yet.
- Go to class. Skipping those classes in college was not the smartest decision. And for what? To watch extra episodes of True Life?!?! DO BETTER!
- Drinking on an empty stomach is NEVER A GOOD IDEA. DO NOT DO IT!
- That “I’m not good enough” feeling is more or less normal. What’s detrimental is wallowing in it and being so hard on yourself. You’re your harshest critic. Be gracious with yourself. You deserve it! Also the devil is a liar!
- That guy you like, just tell him. I know you can think of 1,000 reasons to not say anything but they’re all B.S. Rejection stings, it really does. But you know what else stings? Feeling dejected in front of ZBT, feeling like a coward and “what if”. I’m not a fan of “what if” so if you want to reduce the number of those, just tell homeboy. It can go 1 of 2 ways, and either way “we gon’ be alright!”
- Family (and people who become family) over everything!
- Go to therapy. Everyone needs it and it’s not a sign of weakness. We all need a little help sometimes.
- You’re stronger than you give yourself credit. This feeling of helplessness won’t last forever. I wish I could show you all of the amazing things/moments you’ll experience and the people you’ll meet. 2010 was a crap shoot year but you made it. And as I sit here typing this, I know that the best is yet to come. It doesn’t mean that there won’t be challenges along the way. But we got this! So take a breath and chill.
- You’re dope. Point blank period.
- You cute. Like real cute. Own it. Those insecurities (unfortunately we still have some at 25, screw the patriarchy!!!) are impeding you from living your best life. Shed them! Also stop dressing like a grandma. There’s modest and just plain tragic. Guess which camp you fall in?
- DO NOT DO IT! It will just create some unnecessary drama and make your life more complicated than it has to be. You’ll know who/what/when/where I’m talking about.
- Allow yourself to be happy. We all have baggage. But recognize that you have some dope sister-friends (special shouts out to MG, KK, TH, CM and many others), the dopest sister from another mother, but kinda the same mother (<3 u Beat Rice), a wonderful support system, a job you enjoy, a roof over your head, the ability to move and shake your body at dance class (that’s real able-ist of me. Guess I’m not as “woke” as I thought), and breath in your lungs. So enjoy life because… (string of clichés coming up) the world is your oyster and every day above ground is a good day.
When I first started this list, I thought I’d have a hard time writing 25 things but I now realize that there’s so much more that I’d like to tell my younger self. Apparently my younger self is a real hot mess. However, I’ll stick to these 25 for the interwebs.
I love you and Happy Birthday queen!
Shout out to VOIS for this video! I recycle it EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I have to wish someone a happy birthday! You can also spot me swinging uncontrollably in the back (face palm)!
What would you tell your younger self? Share in the comments below.