#DearMe: 25 things I’d say to my younger self

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.

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So here goes:

  1. 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!
  2. He’s asking you out/into you. I need you to be better at recognizing that. It will save you some awkward moments.
  3. 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.
  4. When people tell you that you’re beautiful or smart or funny or talented, believe them!
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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)
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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!
  16. Drinking on an empty stomach is NEVER A GOOD IDEA. DO NOT DO IT!
  17. 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!
  18. 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!”
  19. Family (and people who become family) over everything!
  20. Go to therapy. Everyone needs it and it’s not a sign of weakness. We all need a little help sometimes.
  21. 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.
  22. You’re dope. Point blank period.
  23. 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?
  24. 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.
  25. 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.

Talk White to Me?!?!?!?

First, since not a single one of you suggested changes to make this blog more reader friendly, I’m going to assume that it’s perfect.

snape flawlessSecond, did y’all see Dear White People? Wanna put in your 2 cents about the movie? I’m really interested to hear different perspectives.

Now, on to our weekly dose of awkward. Y’all really appreciated the post on speed dating and wanted to hear more awkward dating stories. And while I don’t have a ton of dating experience (read: I have a minuscule amount), all of it has managed to be awkward and/or terrible. I would take responsibility but I promise that it’s always been the guy’s fault.

For instance, there was R. R and I met at a French language meetup which was already a great way to start. I find anyone who makes the effort to actively learn a new skill fascinating and it was a nice bonus that we could converse (In case you didn’t know, it’s converse not conversate) in another language. Plus, he had a dry, sarcastic sense of humor and I am a sucker for that (Note: there is a difference between having a dry sense of humor and being an asshole). So we talked for most of the night and then exchanged phone numbers.

We texted/talked on the phone throughout the following week and set up a food truck tasting date (GASP, I know. People in their 20s actually using a phone to talk). Unfortunately the weather was terrible on the day of the actual date, so we decided to meet up at a coffee shop. My twist-out was on point and I had finally found a pair of jeans that weren’t up to my ankle, so your girl was feeling wicked confident (I apparently have not learned to stop wasting my good twist-out days on bad dates)

So I head to the coffee shop and on my way I get distracted by this incense shop. I walk in and decide to peruse the aisles while waiting for R to show up. He calls to tell me that he just parked and ends up committing the first gaffe (fancy word for blunder) of the date. After I kindly give him directions to the coffee shop and tell him that I’m at the incense store next door, he proceeds to tell me :”Oh no, my ex was really into incense too”

Now if you don’t already know this, bringing up an ex during a date is a big NO NO. But I decided to let it slide. After all, I could see how that might be an alarming coincidence. Yeah… it ended up being the first of many references to this ex. I left the date knowing more about his ex than about close friends of mine, and apparently, her and I had a lot in common.

We both had eyes, a nose, legs and arms. We both liked hummus and sitting down. Oh, and we also both had skin! What are the odds that he would find two ladies that were so similar? And did I mention that they had only broken up 2 months prior, after dating for 4 years?

I wish I could say that was the last of it. But nope. I am a glutton for punishment. I kept talking to this dude but had pretty much decided that we were going to be friends. And then one night, he calls me to check in. During the conversation, he mentions that he’s driving. As a responsible adult, I tell him to hang up and call me back when he’s arrived at his destination. His response: “Oh no, it’s ok. Plus, you sound White which I find soooo sexy. So yeah, just keep talking.”

excuse-me-what-did-you-sayNow that wasn’t an exact quote but it captures the essence of the bullshit he was saying. I would be lying if I said that it was the first time someone told me that “I sound White” (a topic that will be explored in a future post), but seriously, you ignorant fool?!?! (So turns out, he had a dry sense of humor AND was an asshole)

If he had said: “I find your vocabulary, tone, proper use of grammer and overall eloquence attractive”, I might have thought “This dude is weird and may be an unsub, but awwww….that’s really nice”. But no, this dickhead not only made sweeping generalizations about what a person of a certain race is supposed to sound like (aarrgh, this shit irks me so much), but was also making a questionable statement about why he found me attractive.

And if you’re thinking of saying “well certain ethnic groups do use specific slang etc…”, here’s my response:

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If you’re going to rank factors that influence slang, you should start with time period and geography. There are countless examples of regional slang or decade-specific slang, e.g. 1920s cheaters =  2014 eyeglasses. So while I appreciate your attempt to defend his statement, he actually was just a dumbass.

I practically cut off all communiction after that. He clearly was looking for something that I was not and never wanted to be, and I was not checking for the ignorance he was offering.

It was such a shame too because it started off so promising, but at the end of the day, I’m taking my cues from Kenya and keeping it pressin’.

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Do you have any awkward dating stories or moments? Share them in the comments. I’d love to read them.