If I could sit down with my 15-year old self, I would tell her a bunch of stuff I wrote in this post.
When I was 15, a lot of my personal challenges revolved around usually being the only Black girl and a child of South American immigrants whose culture didn’t align with those around me.
- Just because your image is never reflected in the media (and when it is, always negatively misrepresented) doesn’t mean that you don’t matter or are unworthy. They are doing it to keep you where they feel comfortable – in the background where you can’t upset their position of power;
- Black is indeed beautiful, smart and all that other wonderful stuff. Rememver the music, hairstyles, curves and melanated skin (that never ages by the way) that they teased you about? Years from now, they will be running around in circles to appropriate all of it as if it was always theirs;
- Don’t fall into the expectation that you must fight like a warrior for everyone and everything that is supposedly “right”. Choose wisely before you do. Experience will teach you that oftentimes when you fight to help those already in a better position of power than you, guess where you will be when the fight is over? In the same spot that you started. You’ll be triggered when they will claim that they fought alone and don’t reach back to pull you up. Put your cape away and only fight for what is “YOU” and what will benefit “you” in this life;
- Being honest doesn’t mean that you have to share every thought, dream and desire with others. Those who are jealous, scared that you will outgrow them or that your progress will upset the status quo they have always enjoyed may take that information and unconsciously (or consciously) derail you. If you realize that this is what is happening to you, keep quiet and work on your goals and passions in stealth;
- Trust your gut when it tells you that something doesn’t feel right. Don’t let others convince you to second-guess yourself;
- Negative life experiences will help teach you how to circumvent the traps and labels that were pre-established for you before you were born. And when you do learn to upset those traps and labels, you will sit back and smile at your brilliance;
- There are little known books that you need to read before you head out into the world. I only discovered them later in life and they would have helped me tremendously if I had known about them at your age;
- Take the space you deserve and need. Don’t act small, always be diplomatic but learn when it’s best to bite your tongue;
- You are allowed to have a feminine side and enjoy nice things just like other girls in other cultures. And while you are at it, crying is not a sign of weakness. If you use your tears wisely, it can be a strength;
- Decide on your personal boundaries and don’t budge on them out of fear or because of what others say. You’ll thank me for this one day; and most importantly
- Never give up on what truly gives you joy and happiness.
If you could sit down with your 15-year old self, what would you tell her/him?