To my younger, teenage self…

Shay, you are headstrong and stand up for anything you believe in.  As you march through life, you continue to make a big splash with your personality:

  • You are a sing out loud, anywhere type of girl who is never embarrassed. 
  • You embody a competitive spirit that sometimes gets you in trouble with your blunt words.
  • Your ever changing hair matches your ever changing mood.  Chill out, sis. 
  • You are really awkward.  Seems like that will never change.  Later in life, you are introduced to Issa Rae and she makes you feel great about yourself 🤷🏾‍♀️.
  • You have some pent up anger, but that is nothing hitting those tennis balls can’t solve!

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You will be made fun of and bullied.  People will discredit you for being Black and for being a woman.  You will be called four eyes, five head, thunder thighs, pretty for a Black girl…and so much more.

Shay, these words sting.  You do not realize how much pain and hurt they cause until you are 28.  It will take years, but you eventually heal from them.  In fact, you even learned to embrace some of those things too.

You will learn to love your “five” head because that means you are smart…after all you go off and get a Bachelor’s and a Master’s Degree.  Yeah girl, you read that right.  Flip that hair because you really got it going on!  You are a total catch as Phoebe often tells you.

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You will learn to love the colour of your skin.  You will wake up flawless and love that your skin is just like pearls.  Thanks, Beyoncé!

But before you are happy and healed, you slip into a battle of depression and severe anxiety and because Tracey is your mama, you are as fierce and independent as they come.  It takes a lot of time for you to get help and start therapy. 

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You will hate your early 20’s even though all your pictures are covered with smiles.  You are full of envy and jealousy without even knowing.  Everyone is living a life you thought you would have by now. 

In your mind, you would be close to marriage and kids, but at the rate you are going marriage is nowhere near and you hate it.  So very much.  You do not know this now, but God is protecting you. 

You spend a lot of time chasing after guys and being turned down or friend zoned.  You never really know how to date and when you eventually do, your heart gets broken.  It is the worst, but you bounce back.

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You become pretty fearless in your mid 20’s.  You start to travel the world by yourself and truly embrace your independent spirit.  Girl, in 2018 you go to Europe three times ALONE and have the time of your life.  A lot of people doubt and question you, but remember that there is no room for naysayers in your space, Shay.

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What I am about to tell you next will completely blow your mind and contradict what I just told you.

Your life will be full of fear.  You want to know all the plans and answers, but life does not work like that so you turn away from God (mostly because you are a control freak).  You turn away from the one constant in your life and you turn to partying, drinking, and drugs.  For a while you still attend church, but you are not involved and you are not taking away anything from the messages. 

Shay, I want you to know that you will be okay.  You will be okay not knowing what path your life will take you on.  You will deeply hate how God seems to take the long route for everything in your life.  However you will eventually learn to love how God takes more time on your life; you finally see a grace in His plan for you.  You will also learn to forgive God and to forgive yourself.

You are led back to God and to a community of incredible people who uplift you and support you.  Throughout your life, people come and go however in 2020 you have to make tough choices to let people quite a few people go.  Closing doors will allow new ones to open and you knew that all along.

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Shay, I want to leave you with a few pointers to get you through these rough yet powerful years you are about to embark upon: 

  • Do everything with grace.  Do not burn bridges.  If anything, be a bridge builder.  Shoutout to my church for that gem 🙂
  • Spend more time chasing Jesus than these big headed, stank boys.  You will wind up with more than you ever imagined or needed when you make Jesus the center of your life.  When He tells you to wait then wait; stop trying to run ahead of Him (again, with the control issues).  If He tells you to go then go.  Sis, He will always be with you and you already know that He has your best interest at heart. 
  • Understand and know when it is time to start a new chapter with someone and when it is time to close that book.  Not everyone is meant to stay in your life.
  • It is okay to feel.  You are a bucket of emotions, Shay and that IS okay.  Acknowledge those feelings and do not let anyone discredit them. 
  • Go to therapy.  Often!  You can only help yourself when you are ready.
  • Call your grandparents often.  Losing your grandmother will nearly break you.
  • Do life with focus and intention. 
  • Get your eyebrows professionally done; it is not your calling.  Trust me.
  • Love hard and be bold.  Do not look back with regret wondering “What if?” If anything say “Oh well!”
  • Invest money and save.  Adulting is hard and mostly the worst when you start having bills.
  • Treat everyone the way you want to be treated.  Cliché, yes, but listen to me.
  • Life is not a race nor is it a comparison game.

You will spend your entire life loving the book of Romans especially Romans 8:28.  You will go on with that as your favourite verse until you study Habakkuk, specifically verse 5 of chapter 1.

“Look at the nations and watch—and be utterly amazed.  For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.”

For a girl who lives with so much fear, this verse felt like God holding you tight and casting away your worries. 

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At the end of the day, you are valid.  You are worthy.  Keep striving and keep becoming you. 

In His Love,

Shay 

P.S. Thank you to my dear friend, Katie for giving me the idea to write a letter to my younger self.  You are always so supportive of my work and it does not go unnoticed. 🙂

One Comment Add yours

  1. I love this idea!! I need to give it a go. Really enjoyed reading it and love seeing all the photos of your beautiful self throughout the years!

    Like

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