Letters to Our Younger Selves


Little SiSi

Dear Moet,

Hey! This is your future you, I just thought I would give you some advice that will help you later in your life. First thing you should know is you should always be prepared. Next you should be careful who you trust and who you tell things to, because people like to talk a lot and your business could get spread around quickly especially in Middle School and High School.
Along with school always remember to do your work and push yourself to do better than your classmates. Especially because you’re a young female black lady, prove people wrong because the society has ideas (stereotypes) of black females that most black females that most of them aren’t smart and are not successful .
Also kill people with kindness! Because there are a lot of haters out there, trust me. Also be careful on social networks because everything you put online stays online. Finally be yourself. Don’t try to fit in with the crowd because that crowd won’t be with you forever.
Love, Moet Speaks

 

Cool Little Me

Dear Janel,

Hey, this is the older you. I’m excited to write you this letter because this gives me the opportunity to give you advice and guidance about today’s world.
One of the most important things I’m going to tell you is, don’t be average. When I say that I mean don’t be like everyone else. In the society I’m living in today, everyone wants to fit in. The girls all want the same thing. But if everyone wants the same thing, everyone’s going to get approached the same way. Janel, you don’t want that. You don’t have to be the “average girl” to get noticed. Just be yourself and you’ll shine above everyone else. You’re the trendsetter!

The second thing I want to talk to you about is friends. Everyone wants, rather needs a friend. But all of us can’t have those. Through my life I thought I did. But I became wiser and found out the hard way that you can laugh with many, but can’t trust any. I used to have a best friend. She was my best friend for 6 years. But when we started middle school she turned her back on me for a “cool cat.” I trusted her. Now, I only trust myself. But don’t be too limited, be cautious.
The last thing I want to talk to you about is boys. Don’t think about them! They’re all stupid and heartless. No boy in this world is faithful. Wasting your time on boys is the worst thing you can do when young. When you’re older there will be a variety of mature.

blackgirldresses

To My Younger Self–Be Free

She was so young
She was so strong
She got talked about but still held on
Her life was not the best
A house of 10 was a mess
She got good grades
She had straight A’s
But sometimes she just wanted to give up and let go
She always felt she had to impress people

But now she’s free
Now she don’t even stress
Now she smiles lays back and don’t even sweat people
Now, everyone knows I’m just me
She is her and I am me–be free

Girls conferencing

 Dear Little Me,

I just want to tell you that you are beautiful and
don’t let nobody tell you different!

Girls on Panel

Dear Little Me,

I first want to apologize about the many mistakes that you will come across. So the first mistake was probably made already. What I need you to do is study! Practice your math, science, and reading, and then move on to social studies.

Stay away from Malik’s friends and don’t ask for too much. Keep your eyes on your own paper and you’ll go far in your life. I’m mostly proud of how we reached so far in life. What I also need for you to do is find a dictionary and study your BEHIND OFF!

What got me here was how I carried myself even though I have a bit of an anger problem, I still manage to get good grades and focus on what’s important.

Get more active. When you’re with Malika, have her ask her high school volleyball (sports) teacher(s) or coach about some tips she could give you to start some sports.

I have grown by reading and having the right group of friends. But it’s mostly the teachers that have taught me.

-Love Older You

Little girl reading

Dear Shauna,

You went from deaths to graduations, to strong decisions to consequences.You thought you would never pass, but you passed over and over.

You were shy and fearful, now you’re cheerful and brave.
Your success is what I’m proud of, and how you stand your ground when those dogs are around.

You may frown, but you keep at it to get your crown.
You want to protect everything, but not everyone.
To you: I’m sorry for wanting to run and hide without saying goodbye, and for telling lies. But, it’s a hard game without being in fame.

I’ve known you for 14 years and counting.
“You can do better,” is what I would say.
But, you ARE better!

To tell you to trust is a lie, and I heard if you tell too many lies,you will die.

To tell you not to love the ones you love, or are supposed to love is wrong. There are a lot of memories, good and bad.
Some that make you laugh, and some that make you sad.

There was the time you saw your father, and the time you saw the death of your mother.
And you wonder why they had left.

You’ve grown from a baby,
To a girl, to a grown woman.
You went from counting 1, 2, 3 and your ABCs to “I know I can!”
You’re  an older, braver version.
I love you!

Girl wearing a hat at tea party

 Dear Younger Self,

Bria, I understand what you went through.
You had to always endure not feeling wanted, and are still having problems with that now.
You always felt that you could could never meet up to everyone’s expectations.
You felt like you couldn’t show your emotions and feelings.
I know what it felt like. Your emotions were a grenade waiting to explode. But now I’ve realized that I can’t be that grenade. I have to be a strong statue, a strong Black woman.
The media is always telling us African Americans, especially us black girls, that we’re…let’s say…not classy.
Well, I will be the first to say that I will not fall in the media’s despair. I am going to be that intellectual leader.
I also realized that success isn’t just about how you act, but how you think–your brain!
rachel-jeantel
Dear Younger Self,
As I take a step back and look at how far I have come, and how my personality, attitude, and character have changed, I realize it’s not so bad after all.
Getting called big lips, flat booty, black spots, and the weave-headed girl.I realize that it was for my own good.
I used to always listen to the girls that wear booty shorts and flip flops with the tight belly-button shirt to church.
I used to always think, “when I grow up, I’m going to be like that.”
But now as I have increased my knowledge, maturity and sense, I find that everyone is not that same.
I can’t be like everyone.
I can’t wear things like other girls, and I can’t have the long hair and straight teeth like them.
But, I know that I am unique and different in a good way.
So I encourage myself and have faith in myself because I know that God has a purpose for me, and that it’s a different plan/purpose.
So I shouldn’t be focused on anyone but me–not trying to be like anyone else.
Just be me, and only me.
I know it was easy for you before but, life gets tough.
So I am here to encourage you.
Over the years, Daddy lost his job.
Big Brother almost died the day before his birthday in a car crash.
Auntie died ,and mom still hasn’t gotten her full-time job.
But, I still encouraged myself, and came to school every day, happy and enthusiastic.
I have hope, faith, and I believe.
Daddy got his job, and things are going fine.
I have my own unique personality, and I currently sing, act, dance, mime and do poetry.
I still worry about my future and what people think of me but, I am learning/teaching myself day-by-day, how to stop these habits by giving myself positive affirmations.
I am going to get through it, and I am strong because “only the strong survive.”
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Drawing Divas

Jessica Cornute

My drawing represents the things I want to see in the world and what is being presented now through media and real life. I drew two completely different women as one human being  which I state them as “different roots of the same tree”. The stiletto throne is a line I heard from a video poem from Brave New Voices. The subject is AMBER Alert a program that was formed after a 9- year-old girl named Amber Ferguson who was kidnapped and stabbed in mid October. Miss Ariana claims that the AMBER Alert is for Caucasian people. But I think that they should look for us too, and just the same way as whites.

The media wants us black women to be a jezebel,  that I’m suppose to be a ghetto person. The media also want me to fight on response of every harsh word or comment. That I’m supposed to be a young mother and that I have to be a drug addict.

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Kathyrn Trout

When I’m drawing I’m in my own world. I can do what I want to. It’s all about me and no one else. I love being an artist. I drew this black girl angel and I named her Sophia because it’s a sweet sounding name and she is a foil to Sapphire.  She has angelic qualities. She has colorful wings so she can be whatever she wants.

She has the beautiful traits of any ordinary person. And she has a nice flowing robe to show elligance. And she is smiling to show that she is not the side smiling bad tempered loud mouthed woman that we as black women are portrayed as. Showing that even though we are black not all of us black women will go black on you unless you make us . We are the bad name (in some cases) that the media portrays us as. We are not how they make us seem. All black women are great. There was a black male president and there will be a black female president.

A drawing by Kathryn Stout

A drawing by Kathryn Stout

Tahleigha Burke

I drew the Sapphire so-called ghetto stereotype—because that’s how people see us when we aren’t really that way. It’s just how we appear.  Black women may like to dress a certain way but that doesn’t mean that people should see us as nothing. For example: When I was in 1stgrade, this little  white girl asked me “Why am I smarter than you?” I was like what do you mean. And she said, “My mommy said white people are smarter than Black people.” I said what do you mean? And she said, “My mother thinks whites are smarter than Blacks.”  I said that’s not true.  She said “why were you in slavery”? I said well, I don’t know.  But I know it’s not true that whites are smarter than Blacks.  She said,“My mom said you are Black dirt.” Then we started calling each other names.

The reason why I drew the first figure is to show the stereotype that has been put on black women. The other image is showing what I as an African American girl show and how we should approach in a mannerly sophisticated way with class.

Tahleigha Burke's "Sapphire"

Tahleigha Burke’s “Sapphire”