Dear 15-Year-Old Self,
Right about now, you’re probably pulling your hair out while putting the finishing touches on that final paper that’s due tomorrow morning for English class. But don’t worry too much; you end up getting a pretty good grade, although you definitely could’ve done better.
You can’t figure out if your English teacher secretly despises you or if you’re just a sub-par writer, but I’m here to tell you that neither of these thoughts contain an ounce of truth. In fact, for the rest of your high school career, you’ll do exceptionally well in every English class you take. And for those Cs you got in some of your current classes? They eventually won’t matter, as you end up going to and graduating from a really good university with a final GPA that will put your petty high school grades to shame. So stop wallowing in your teenage angst and get on with life already!
I know you’re not really feeling this whole high school thing and kind of wish it would end now, because for the past three years you’ve been seeing the same faces and hearing the same voices of these faces but have yet to discover your own. And you feel as if everyone looks at you strangely because you’re the only black face in sight in your grade and have been for years. While you heard from your older brothers and TV shows and various teen magazine articles that the transition from middle to high school isn’t the easiest, you didn’t think it would be this difficult. You’re constantly asking yourself how you ended up in a private school and how you’re going to survive the next three years feeling this alone. But trust me, it gets better. You even end up winning some pretty awesome awards for singing. I’m pretty sure this is when you begin unearthing that voice you thought you’d never find (by the way, you are going to miss the shit out of singing in jazz choir).
Over the next three years, you’ll form friendships with people that you can be yourself around. Only one of these bonds will last, while the others will dissipate without any kind of warning or reason why. As many years pass, this will happen to you. A lot. Slowly but surely, you’ll lessen the amount of foundation and eye shadow and lip gloss you wear because you’ll stop hanging out with the girls who influenced you to clog your face with these products in the first place (good looking out for your future self, aka ME).You’ll make some pretty stupid decisions and pass up on amazing, life-altering opportunities all because you care entirely way too much about what others think of you.
You’ll be plagued with countless “what ifs” because of these missed chances, but trust me; when you’re a junior and senior in college, you’ll go to some of the most amazing countries and cities in the world and will have forgotten all about those bad choices from your past. You’ll inevitably catch the traveling bug and want to go to every place you haven’t been -- I'm working on that for us.And those guys who are going to break your fragile little heart into a million pieces within the next year or so? You’ll get over it and life will go on as if you never went through any of that momentarily tumultuous pain at all. You’ll look back on those times and laugh. Literally. And while we’re on the topic of love, I might as well give you a heads-up about some of the men you’ll come across in college, especially when you study abroad your senior year. While these interactions will gift you with great stories to tell your friends, you’re going to wonder why you tend to attract douche bags and weirdos. But they won’t cause you to abhor every single man on the planet and that is what matters most.
Despite your many hang-ups and constant need of approval and being what seems like the only black person in your whole entire school at the moment, you will turn out all right. Yes, you’ll make colossal mistakes, say terrible things, get a D on a paper that you worked your ass off on in college (you’ll be perplexed about that one for a while) and take one shot too many a few times (okay, a lot of times) of a poisonous liquor you've never heard of, but all of these occurrences are what will help build your inimitable life experience.And you won’t regret a single thing.
Your 23-Year-Old Self