Black Girls Rock: A Letter to My Younger Self


image courtesy of NecoleBitchie


By Candice Selby of Simplistic Chic

Hey ladies!

Just wanted to dish about Black Girls Rock, an awards show which aired on BET this past Sunday. Did you see it? This show honored women and girls of color, encouraging empowerment and positive self-development. It was a well put-together show hosted by Tracee Ellis Ross and Regina King, and it featured artists such as Erykah Badu, Jill Scott and, the new girl on the block, Elle Varner (I’m in love with her hair!). Business women, activists and other phenomenal women were also recognized. I felt so inspired and moved to make some more changes in my life and the lives of others after watching this show.

One of my highlights? Tatyana Ali (you may remember her as Ashley from the show, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air), received the ‘Young, Gifted and Black’ award. During her acceptance speech, she read a letter that she wrote to her younger self. If you didn’t see it, click here.

It was a beautiful letter which prompted me to write my own letter to my younger self. I had a difficult time getting started because I couldn’t decide where to begin for some reason! After I got started though, the words (and tears) just flowed. Writing this letter was like therapy for me. Anyway, here it goes:

Dear Candice,

Focus on learning how to have a real relationship with God. When you focus on Him, everything else really does fall into place. It also helps you to know how to truly love yourself and others and be better equipped to recognize what real love is when it presents itself.

The right man will come along, and he will know how to respect and love you in all of the ways you ever imagined. Just be patient and know that he will come. In the meantime, you may come across some ‘frogs’. Take it as a learning experience that will help you to recognize and appreciate the prince. Don’t be bitter or hold grudges against those who are incapable of respecting and loving you. Learn from it and keep it moving. Also realize that just as you have been hurt, you may hurt someone else along the way.

Surround yourself with people who are ambitious, encouraging and have your best interest at heart. Having a great “team” is one of the keys to a successful life. With positive and inspiring people around you, you will be able to accomplish anything.

Learn to love your big hair, slender frame, high forehead and reserved demeanor. It is what makes you Candice. One day you will want all of that hair and slender frame back. Lol! Get to know you and what it is to truly love yourself.

Safeguard your body and your mind. I really can’t stress this enough. These are the two components that make up your very existence. Be very mindful of who you give your body to and who you allow to influence your mind. Not everyone who comes willing is worthy. Once they have misused these two things, your spirit will forever be changed.

Be confident in your abilities, learn from your mistakes, learn how to forgive yourself and others, and always strive to fulfill all of wildest dreams. There may be some dark days when it feels like the world is on your shoulders but know that things always get better if you have faith and persevere until the end.

Girl, you are beautiful, smart and you have it going on! You were created for a special purpose; carry yourself as such every day. Don’t sweat the small stuff (and trust me, most of it is small stuff). Lastly, have fun and make the most of each day!

Love,
Your 30 year-old self

What would you tell your younger self?

24 Weigh in!:
Anonymous said...

This was some awesome advice and I really needed to hear it.

Danitra said...

Beautiful letter! Very elegantly written and on point

ShoeHOTLINE said...

Phenomenal letter

Anonymous said...

beautiful letter!

Anonymous said...

Such a beautiful and encouraging letter! Sounds very similar to something I would write to myself. Even at 25, I can take something from this. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Well... I am my younger self so thank you for these words. They gave me a lot to think about.

Anonymous said...

Ashley

I would tell my younger self .....
Your parents aren't retards. Around 20 it starts to become clear, but between the age of 13 and 19, everything they say may sound stupid or not make sense, but they are shaping you for the real world and for your future.
You are beautiful no matter who says you aren't... Hold your head high! You are not and will never be beneath anyone. You are a child of God and He's got your back no matter what. Live for Him when it's what's popular and when it's not.
There is never a time for boys. You will never be ready to "date" until a MAN finds you. Don't settle for anything less than what God has made you. Counterfits will come and go, but don't give your heart or body away to any of them. God bought you with His best, so you deserve the best. You will know the real one when he comes because his love will remind you of your first love, Jesus.
Never hold back. Speak your mind as if it were your last words and live like there is no tomorrow girl. Laugh, Love, and live your abundant life your Jesus died for you to live!

Love,
Your 20-year-old self

Anonymous said...

I think that a lot of young women, myself included should take time to reflect on who we are. Where we have been, where we are going and what are expectations are throughout every given situation.
AWESOME letter.

Anonymous said...

So your letter made cry... I loved it and so much of it is applicable to me. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful and thought provoking letter.

fabwtalk said...

Such a beautiful post, thank you so much for sharing. There is alot I would tell my younger self which include, know you are beautiful, he may want you for your body but what about your mind, when you truly love yourself then you will be able to love others, when the right one comes along God will send him to you and not a minute sooner. That's just a tidbit of what I would tell my younger self.

Anonymous said...

Dear younger self...

You will find out that in life you will have a few solid friends if not just one.

Your best friend is you.

Learn to be independent so you can take care of yourself. This is important because in life you will lose associates through desertion, death or divorce.

You never know who and how a person will leave you, so treasure each day and never take anyone for granted.


You will have good times and bad times. But it is important to remember that these times don't define you. What is important, is how you go "through them".

Save money for a "rainy day". It may seem cliche but it is true. If you can at least save ten dollars a week, it is not the amount of money you amass, but it is the "discipline" of the experience.

Be loving and kind to all that you meet. Don't be a respector of any other person. Don't be a follower nor leader. Just be real and the relationships will fall in place.

The "things" of the world cannot give a person character.

Character is something you will need to work on continually.

Realize that some may hurt you, but forgive them and realize that forgiveness doesn't mean you have to associate with that person. Let them go. Release your emotional attachment through giving up "hate" of them.

Develop some interests and skills. Never rely on "the job" as in times of scarcity companies and governments are not loyal.

Learn to trust what your heart and intuition. Realize that "thoughts" are things which come and go. You don't have to believe each one of them.

Sometimes you will have good thoughts and bad thoughts. Hang on to the ones which make you feel happy and secure and do not bring harm to anyone.

Find your own spiritual path and connection. Each person is different but religions are all headed in the same direction: Love.

Young Suburban Mom said...

Yes, I loved the letter! I too am thinking about writing one for myself and having my husband write one so that when our son gets to that critical age I can hand him the letter from his dad - so he understands we really do know what your going thru we just need to be open and communicate so we can all learn and grow together as a family. Loves it and thanks for sharing your letter Candice!

JustTrena said...

Wow...that was AWESOME! I especially liked the paragragh referencing your mind and body and I truly hope you don't mind me, through acknowledgment of you, sharing your words of wisdom on my facebook page! Thanks for sharing!!

Anonymous said...

Tatayana's letter was my favorite part of Black Girls Rock! It literally brought me to tears and gave me a newfound respect for her. Based on your post, it obviously inspired others as well. Thanks for sharing. Your letter was touching as well. I am older than you so my letter would be a little different to my younger self because there are a lot of things I did know but simply didnt follow.

Anonymous said...

What an awesome, uplifting letter!!
Although I'm still young(22), I have matured & learned from lessons life has given me thus far. I would tell my younger self (& the person i am today) to: slow down, think for myself and to always go with my gut feeling.

Jami said...

I would tell my younger self:

Keep your mouth shut and your legs closed.

You can open your mouth once you have successfully completed being a student, passed all of your lessons especially Life 101, Biology 201, graduated from Metaphysics Univ with a specialization in "Getting along with Others" and the philosophies (esp. Aesthetics) and passed with flying colors Financial Mgmt-The Honors Course, have knowledge and wisdom because you have read enough and now you write (using the "voice" that really matters), are in complete touch with your principles and emotions with a Doctorate in Divinity, and are ready to teach and to accomplish the goals you see as fit for you based on the talents and abilities you possess.

And you may open your legs on your wedding night for the man that is well-suited for you, to share with him the special love that you only have had for him and no one before him as his wife and are capable of being a mother whether or not he continues to be there for you and your children, due to death or, god forbid, a change of heart.

Peace.

Candice said...

Thanks for the love on my post, ladies!!

@JustTrena, I don't mind at all:-)

Candice said...

Jami, I'm laughing out loud at "Keep your mouth shut and your legs closed"! Straight and to the point advice!! love it.

LM said...

Although I'm only 20, I would tell my younger self to work harder in high school lol. Scholarships help ALOT with college tuition! I graduated with honors, but that wasn't enough.

Anonymous said...

Loved this! Beautiful and well written.

Jami said...

Thank you Candice! The KISS method I think works (as well as others). I would add that since I will never know enough I should of course speak, but speak with humility and after I think it out a bit and study a bit, at least the serious stuff, and know the time and place for the non-serious stuff I want to say. And still some things are best left as thoughts in our head never to be heard even by our own ears. I LOVE Chapter 3 of Ecclesiastes, esp. 3:7.

Thank you for sharing your letter, I missed the show, but because of this post I actually surfed the net for some video of Ali's acceptance and heard her letter to her younger self and saw other scenes from the show. Thanks again!

posh brown said...

wow! i read up to the part where you were about to start the letter to your younger self. i think i will write my own to myself first before i read further. however, i can already tell that this will be emotional and therapeutic for me. thank you.

LaVonne said...

So beautifully written!! Your letter really touched my heart. I plan to write one of my own soon. Thanks for sharing!

Jami said...

After reading the gratitude letter by Sajahda, I need to add to my letter that "but the time is always right for you to open your mouth when someone is doing or saying something to you that hurts you, that you dislike or that is violating."

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