Dear Younger Angel,
- Be proud of your hair. Put down the flatiron. Straight hair is amazing, but so is curly/kinky/nappy/frizzy hair. When you fry your hair every morning before school you’re killing your curls slowly. Find a balance. Love your hair in all of its incredible variations. In return, your hair will love you back.
- Journal every. single. night. Because you have some very valuable, intelligent thoughts trapped in your head. Sometimes the best way to express yourself is through writing. You will soon learn that writing is your salvation. Drop the unhealthy habits and pick up a pen.
- There is no shame in your body. My middle/high school had a very strict dress code. One rule was that your skirt had to reach the bottom of your knees. But not everyone’s body is built in the same way. You can put the same outfit on 3 girls and only 2 of them will be deemed “modest”. I was the third girl. I was the girl sent to the office to change 2-3 times a week. I was the girl that the athletic director called a Jezebel. I was the girl that they tried to shame and bully into submission. Cover your ears, young Angel. Your body is beautiful. Your body is age appropriate. Your body is nothing to be ashamed of.
- Ditch the Gossip Girl style headbands. The show was great, but the effect that it had on your self-confidence was not. Stop comparing your life to Blair Waldorf’s. You are not her. She doesn’t exist. But guess what? You do. You don’t have to pretend to be someone else to be incredible. You’re amazing just the way you are.
- Don’t chase after boys now. They’ll chase after you later.
- Stifle the anger, double the love. I know how much pain you’re in.I know that you try to cover up your pain and frustration by lashing out at the people you love. Stop this. Take your anger and convert it into a more productive emotion. Better yet, convert it into energy. Channel your anger. Better your circumstances. You can do it. I know you can.
- Take Copper on 10,000,000 more walks. He won’t be around forever. RIP to my greatest friend (2000-2015)
- Hug your Grandmama. One day you’ll wake up and discover that you’ve never loved anyone in the world more than Florine Russell. Don’t you ever let a day pass without telling her how much you appreciate her.
- Feminist now, Femme later. My mother didn’t allow me to start wearing makeup until I was 17 years old. That was a really difficult pill for 14-year-old Angel to swallow. For years I’d smear on makeup before class in the school bathroom- trying desperately to make myself feel beautiful. Yes, it was just as pathetic as it sounds. The makeup wasn’t the problem- the artificial link I created between makeup and beauty was the issue. Put down the eyeshadow brush, young Angel. Beauty is not applied. It glows from within and is enhanced by your positive attitude and sassy personality. I wish I’d known that then. If I had, perhaps I would have loved myself (in all of my ugly duckling glory.) Perhaps I would have stopped pandering to society and embraced makeup later– on my own terms.
- They say you’re loud? Speak louder. Stop pinching your thighs under the table when you think you’ve talked too much. Stop crying in the bathroom because you think you said something stupid. Stop digging your nails into your palms to slow your tongue. Stop. You are important and so are your words. Don’t you ever allow yourself to be silenced and, for the love of God, Stop. Silencing. Yourself.
You are love and light and you will be alright. I promise.
Your #1 Fan.