Letter to My 16 Year Old Self

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Dear Lil One,

Hey sweetheart. Yes, I call you names like sweetheart and babe…those words of endearment will always be for you. Man, do I have so much to tell you. I know it may seem hard right now and I know that you are still figuring out who you want to be and I know that high school can be tough but know that those words from your peers will hurt and yes, at times you may cry but know that you will rise above it.

Remember that book that use to comfort you…yes, the one that you hid from your mom and the world; the one that you rushed home to write in and escape into a world that was just made for you, yes that one. Well your love of writing would be exposed to you in Virginia at a university called Hampton. It won’t be an easy road, there would be moments filled with doubt and fear. There would be arguments with mom regarding your major and there would be advisors who look at you and bluntly tell you that you are the definition of insanity because the first year of your Pharmacy grades didn’t meet their expectations of letting you into the Journalism program.

But there would be gems like Professor Sutton who believed in you and saw your potential in JAC 101 or maybe it was Professor Earl, who saw your gift as a writer in her Screenwriting class and told you about that opportunity for the Cannes Film Festival in Nice, France which you doubted that you would ever have the opportunity to go. Or maybe it was Dr. Ferdnance who became your school dad, who was always there for you through thick and thin even when his health was deteriorating before your eyes. You would excuse the weird looks and wanting to be popular in the Student Center because above image and other facetious behavior of others, you understood the meaning of loyalty and understood the meaning of true and unfiltered friendship. You will realize that those three professors made a huge impact in your undergrad experience in one way or another.

Graduation day would come and yet your mind would not allow you to enjoy that moment. Your frustration and fear would block out all moments of happiness. The hidden and not so hidden scowl on your face would be a reminder of all the people that have let you down but it would also be a reminder to show you the ones that were there for you and the ones who truly mattered.

As you walk with a smile on your face as your name is called and you smile for the cameras as your degree is gently placed in your hands, you will tell yourself that you are strong, you are driven and you will succeed.

Babe, there will be some tough times and there will be some moments where your spirit is broken but you will know that it doesn’t last forever. You will get your heart broken. Yes, I tried to steer you clear from that but you know you have a big heart like mom.  When you love girl…you love HARD. I tried to teach you that you had to be careful but that little head of yours ALWAYS saw the best in EVERYONE. However, you learned after sophomore year that guys will not put your feelings or emotions first. Yes, there will be those who just want to use you and yes there would be those who will future fake and lie about their feelings and emotions but you will learn in time.

You will cry and you will feel embarrassed and at times you will contemplate on getting revenge but after all is said and done there would be a feeling that will come where you become numb. You get scared of that feeling and you try to resist but as senior year comes around and you see the bullshit and hear the cries and agonizing situations of your close friends you begin to embrace that feeling.  Not sure where it would lead, you close your heart to everyone, even those who truly care.

But then summer of junior year happens and you find yourself home. You are enjoying the time with your closest friend, your mom, and your close friend who you see like a sister. You go to a get together and there he is…you don’t really care, you start conversation and you leave it like that. This guy though is VERY persistent and you like that…at first; he slowly becomes a friend…he gains your trust. You talk all the time and you are completely smitten by him but there are insecurities from your past that rear their head and then as quickly as it started it begins to shift. You both will argue and make up like your lives depended on it. You will become enamored on the idea of him and you. When he doesn’t BBM you back, or call like he said he would it gets you so riled up. I’ve never seen you that angry before. Babe, just calm down, trust me later you’ll realize that those emotions weren’t necessary.

You alienated everyone to focus on school but yet you relied on him to keep your attention when all the other dudes on campus were trying to remove you from their bucket list. You rose against the sexual lust of others and committed your heart to someone who didn’t deserve it. Once again you will realize that you deserve better than that and yes, it will hurt but Jen, it’s only temporary. Trust me. When you needed someone to complain too and even tear up for a bit, you had Niko…your bestie right there for you.  God didn’t bless you with a biological sister, but your reason of coming to Hampton has gave you one of the best gifts that any girl could ask for, a great best friend/sister.

Bouncing back like you always do you focus on your friends at Hampton, (the RFC crew) this group of people would be your rock during undergrad and post grad. You will look on to them for help, you will rely on their presence and when you guys get together whether it is to support one another or just to reconnect ,you will understand what it means to have friends that you found in college. You will truly appreciate all of them and know that you will always have a group of people who can make you laugh; that you can share your fears with and will support you in one way or another.

My little one, you will understand that the world is yours and that everything that you have gone through and endured is what makes you …YOU! Yes, you will get A LOT of rejection and yes there will be trying times but know that the persistence and drive of your mother is also in YOU. Know that when one door closes another will open, know that when all else fails pray to God. When you’re feeling sad and alone, know that you have friends who will cheer you up and know that there would be a guy out there, you won’t know who he is or what he looks like but he’s out there and when he finds you….I mean truly finds you, he will know that he got the best.

So don’t stress or pressure yourself to fit the mold of others or the world. Jennifer, Jen, Jenno or (sweetly called by mom) Jenny Baby, know that you are like wine…you get better with time.

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