LaShawn – “The things that I have endured have not in anyway destroyed me. It has instead provided with me the opportunity to learn a lot of different things about myself now and before. I appreciate every experience and I know that God has continuously ordered my steps. Thank you younger me for every stepping stone because now I am able to be a better adult!”
Denieccee – “Sleeping with James, Earl, Bo, and Tim does not make you sexy. It doesn’t make you desired. It does make you easy and trashy. You are worth so much more than that. You are smarter than that. To validate yourself through a guy that won’t give 3 shakes about you later….nah! Save that. God has a good man for you, that will adore you and treat that son that you are going to have in a few years like gold!“
Ashley – “Alright, well you’ll lose your best friend to Alzheimer’s Disease and you won’t know until it’s too late. He won’t be around to see you go to prom nor will he make it to see you graduate from high school. You fought a great fight during high school & it hurts that he won’t be there to witness the blood, sweat & tears you put in to get here. But I’m HERE TO TELL YOU you got this baby!“
Chrisselle – “In a few years you’re going to meet people who are going to change your life, at times it won’t feel like it’s for the best, but in the long term it is. They’re going to make you stronger, wiser and braver than you ever thought you could be. You’re going to use these qualities to change other people’s lives and I guarantee you that that will be the best feeling in the world.“
Tiara – “THERE ARE MEN WHO FIND MORALS AND SELF RESPECT TO BE ATTRACTIVE THINGS. IF THAT’S WHAT YOU WANT… YOU WAIT FOR THAT.“
Juaquina – “Our ears hear two different things, but it’s the same lie…We even speak differently…Every other thing you utter is profanity…I choose to select my words a little bit more carefully…But I dare not judge you….for you are me.“
Undrea – “For many years of your young life you had to endure peer pressure and the very damaging words that were thrown at you. You were so bruised by the constant bullying and that made you withdrawn and deeply depressed for a long time. I wish I could go back in time to comfort you and tell you that even though you felt as if you were drowning, you could recover from those emotional wounds and slowly heal. Never let the world define you. Define yourself!”
Cathy – “Now there are two things that we’ve got to get settled, please don’t hide your light!! You are a force to be reckoned with and those who are worthy of you, will never ever try to dim you. You think that playing small will make people love you and feel less threatened by you but it won’t. You will only feel stifled and trapped in a hell of your own making. Live free, young one, you have so many gifts to share but you will waste time if you don’t head my advice.“
Look at you, sweetheart! You’re a high school senior now. College acceptance letters, awards ceremonies, prom . . . everything to which an A-student looks forward. You have paid your adolescent dues, and are now ready to embark on a new rite of passage. This time, the journey is to (and through) adulthood. The world is at your fingertips, the sky is the limit, and your feet are now planted on the ground . . . the same ground on which you will pave a new road to success for others to follow (remember: you are treading the success path paved for you by someone else).
While you are beaming with anticipation & excitement for the near future, be mindful of the steps you take on this success path. For, there are steps that only lead to unexpected detours:
You see those “friends” over there, who are around only when you want to party, but nowhere to be found when you need to study? That is a detour for academic destruction, also known as “academic probation.” Friends are a by-product of college, not a primary focus. This is where prioritizing comes into play: it is wise to be more concerned about your reputation with your professors and less concerned about your reputation among your peers; they are in the same position you are in. Additionally, while they are in the same position, they might be walking a success path different from yours. Your success path requires your focus. People will come & go in your life . . . but opportunity (studying abroad, holding office in clubs/organizations, internships, etc) only knocks a couple times before moving to the next door. Wanna always be able to hear the knock(s)? Be sure not to let the ruckus of leisure muffle your hearing.
You see that guy over there? That tall, dark, handsome guy, who bears that dreamy smile? That guy who makes you swoon at the initial site of his presence? Yes, him. Well, all he wants is the treasure you have between your legs. He wants a taste of what you have. No commitment, however . . . just a taste. That taste will open up a can of worms, for which you probably will not be ready, no matter how well Mom & Dad raised you. That guy will make you feel like such a grown woman, making you forget that first you are a young lady. He will fill your ear with sweet nothings. What are “sweet nothings,” you might ask? Well, they are sweet words filling with nothing. No substance. No depth. No meat & potatoes. They are merely empty words to lower your defenses. And once your defenses are lowered, an enemy can plan an attack so devastating, you won’t know what has hit you until it is too late, and the damage is irreversible. Remember: that guy is still growing, just like you are.
Please understand, babygirl, this isn’t in effort to scare you . . . but to prepare you. Becoming an adult can be blissful. However, it can also be brutal if not equipped with both scholastic and non-scholastic knowledge & wisdom. It is okay to fall and bump your head sometimes. It is okay to make a mistake. It is okay to get it wrong a time or two. It is okay to follow your heart before your mind when the feelings leads you. The trick is to locate the lesson, learn from it, pick yourself back up, and continue to move forward along your success path.
Friends have their place. Love has its place. Place them correctly, and a blissful life awaits. Not absent of hardship, but easier to live. Don’t worry, KG, you can do it!!
Kahlelah, the future you.