As a Bloganuary prompt, this one really struck me. I’m writing this post as a wisenend 44-year-old and thinking back to when I was a teenager brings a lot of bittersweet memories.
I was so uncomfortable in my skin. I was the only person with dark skin in my family – the literal black sheep of my family. Mom didn’t know what to do with my afro hair so she cut it short, cropped to my head. I so wished for long hair I could tie up into a pony tail or swish as I walked. I didn’t understand why my spirals grew sideways instead of sleek down my back like my friends. I felt so ugly. When I was little, I clung to the story of ‘the ugly duckling’, hoping for the day I would emerge a swan.
I would go back and tell myself:
You’re going to be okay, JD. The things that you find so hard and uncomfortable now make you such a beautiful, wonderful woman in the future.
There is a future where curls and dark skin are celebrated and there will be shows that tell you how to care for your afro and how to show it off. You are not weird or ugly, you’re actually as cute as a button and will grow up into a really gorgeous creature.
SLOW THE F**K DOWN. You are in such a hurry to grow up. I know Adulthood looks exciting but omg it is so much hard work.
Enjoy the walks to the beach with your family every afternoon. Take in your Dad and his laugh and his daggy walk because one day you’ll look up and he’ll suddenly be gone. Be easy on him, he’s doing his best. Soak in his silly stories, songs and pearls of wisdom. Hug him properly – not with your bottom out, it’s okay to connect to your Dad, JD. You’re looking for your biological Dad but the one you actually need is right in front of you. Love him while you can. Time is so short.
Cherish the moments with your friends, laughing in the sun, hanging out in the evenings with nothing but each other – these days are the best of your lives. They’ve not been ruined by technology yet.
Enjoy your little brother because a day will come when he’ll see you as an enemy and it will break your heart. For now, you’re his hero and he follows you around with so much awe and wonder. Revel in that, it doesn’t last.
Stretch, run, laugh, swim, dance. You are so afraid to look ‘silly’ in front of others and you are worried what they will think. They will think it anyway. So do what YOU want once in a while. BLOW YOUR OWN MIND, JD. I promise it will be worth it.
You don’t know it now, but you’re a warrior my love. You are the strongest, bravest, most resilient person I know and you will grow up to change lives in the small, consistent ways that really matter. Because of your loving heart, you’ll change the world one kindness at a time. Never EVER give up. You are so precious.
Lastly, when you meet someone called Anne – listen to the alarm bells in your head and keep your distance from her. She is a snake. Nothing but evil resides in her. Stay as far away from her as you can. The same for a guy called Gavin. He will tear your spirit apart and break your will. Stay away from ANYONE who makes your skin crawl. Don’t be ‘polite’ and ‘put up with it’, RUN.
Wow. I didn’t know how much this post would make me cry. Damn you, Bloganuary! Haha.