Did any of you watch the Black Girls Rock Awards on BET last week? If not, you know how BET is - they'll run that joint over and over, so I'm sure you'll be able to catch it some evening when they aren't playing Soul Plane or that Christmas movie with Gabby Union and Morris Chestnut. Anyways, I digress. Black Girls Rock is an initiative started by DJ Beverly Bond - click here for more details.
In honouring "Black girls who rock" like Taraji P. Henson, Angela Davis, and Laurel Ritchie (president of the WNBA), the audience learned a lot about their achievements and goals for the future. One award recipient took a look back into the past, and it made for one of the show's most poignant moments.
Tatyana Ali read a letter she wrote to her younger self - click here to see a clip of her acceptance speech. While I loved her words, I wondered, "What's the point?" I'm used to the childhood games of writing letters to our future selves, sticking them in a time capsule or burying them away in a notebook, then unearthing them years later to see how much things have changed or stayed the same. I thought, "What could you get out of writing a letter to your past self?"
I figured that on a large scale like the Black Girls Rock Awards, it would be great for younger girls to gain some words of inspiration from a woman who has been there. What would regular ole me gain from writing a letter like that to little Bee? Reflection, perhaps? An acknowledgement of how much I've grown and learned? Something more? I'm not sure. However, I'm always up for something new, so I wrote my own short letter to little Bee. Like to read it? Here it go:
The first thing I have to tell you, is that life gets really, REALLY good. It will make everything worthwhile. Not fitting in has always been a problem for you - but this is what you will come to love about yourself. Don't waste time trying to be like everyone around you. You will fail, and for good reason. Embrace your quirks and your awkwardness - the sooner you accept these things about yourself, the better things will get.
Travel and see the world. Learn to save your money. Once a month, do something that scares the crap out of you. And stop relaxing your hair - 'cause chiiiiile, if you had gone natural at the age I imagine you to be right now, my hair in the REAL now would be ridiculous!
Say what's on your mind - if someone hurts you, don't let it slide. Stop being afraid that people won't like you if you tell it like it is. In fact, stop trying to please everyone! Don't be so hard on yourself either. You're your own biggest critic, but you need to be your own biggest defender.
Like I said, life gets really, really good. Follow your instincts, and love the people who truly love you. You know deep down who is faking it and who isn't. Keep family (both blood and chosen) close - you don't know how much you will need them. And live your life! You'll learn time and time again how short it is...
Interestingly, as I read this to myself again, I realized that
some most of these things are things that I still need to work on...I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same...
What's one thing you would say to the younger you?