Prompt: Write a letter to your past self.
Dear Little Ebony,
By the time you get this letter, you would have experienced more than a 10-year-old girl should and there is more to come. It won’t be easy, but I have seven things to tell you that will help to make things easier if that’s even possible.
First, I would like to say that you have to stop being embarrassed about your life. It’s okay to be shy, but it’s not okay to assume that you are less than anyone else. Your budding breast, your spreading hips, and your thick thighs are nothing to be ashamed of. Things are fitting differently because you are changing. In fact, you will change about three more times before you turn 30. The first two will happen before you turn 25.
Second, mom is going through a lot and you won’t understand it all right now. But all those times she will take you to church and to AA or NA meetings is because she’s trying to heal. You are dealing with a woman who feels very lonely and there’s nothing you can do to change that. That’s all on her and God. What you can do is realize that it’s not all up to you to fix or even take care of her. However, you’ll be the main one to take care of her. Keep praying for her the best way you can. God IS listening.
Also, she will get a wack-a$$ boyfriend that she will get won’t be around for long. He will convince her to go back to being Muslim for a minute, he will convince her to throw away your Christmas tree and convince her to move to East Cleveland and you’ll go to Mayfair Elementary. You will be unhappy through all of that, but it won’t even last 3 to 6 months.
You’ll be back at the yellow house and go back to Mary Bethune Elementary. You’ll go back to having some cool teachers. Ms. Foy (fourth-grade teacher) and Ms. Gibbs (fifth-grade teacher) are wonderful. They have pretty brown skin. They’ll introduce you to Addy books and division. The division problems will make you cry, but you’ll become a pro shortly after.
You will also have moments of loneliness and it’s okay. But don’t let it stop you from having the adventures you seek. Your family won’t understand you and your quirkiness. They won’t understand how you see the world. They won’t understand the change that is about to happen and I’m not talking about your boobs growing.
Third, speaking of boobs, there will be some boy who will make you feel so uncomfortable about your breasts. He’s a boy who is confused about women, sex, and everything else a young man shouldn’t be worried about. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised that he may have gone through some sexual trauma. YOUR JOB is to not internalize what he says about you. You and NOT nasty. You are fine as you are.
Fourth, >>your period will come in a year. It will show up in August 1997.<< NO! No one will be able to tell that you are on your period. It won’t be much that will come out. You will cry on mom’s shoulder and when you do, you’ll realize that you’ve passed her in height and you might cry harder. It’s okay. You won’t bleed to death. Mom will buy your pads and she’ll buy you snacks. So… milk that sh*t! Ask for a cake and some Doritos with tropical punch kool-aid.
Not healthy, but I could go for some.
Your next period won’t show until 3 months later. No! You won’t be pregnant, you don’t even know what sex is like. So, chill! Your body is doing it’s thing.
Fifth, I know I mentioned Doritos and cake, but read about portion control. Forget that crap that says “Fat-free” or “sugar-free”. That stuff is trash! And when you are bored, scared, lonely, happy, or any strong emotion, walk away from the fridge. Go take a nap, listen to the Spice Girls, watch Twister, or start a journal. Ride your bike.
Mom is still struggling with eating well and you will too. In fact, you will gain more weight, but you can prevent that. Tell mom that you change your mind and that you are interested in doing martial arts. Now, whether or not she goes ahead and pays for it is up to her, but I’m here to tell you that I wish I had learned.
Related Post: #HealZone Journal Prompt: Day Ten.
Sixth, your bullies ain’t sh*t. You are bigger, stronger, and taller than them. Stand up to them. Speak up for yourself. Fight like someone is picking on mom. But pray for them. Two of them have been abandoned by their mothers and they are very sad.
Seventh, this is the most important thing I could tell you. You are enough. You may not feel like it. You can’t wear what the popular kids are wearing because they won’t make it in your size and those that do, mom won’t pay for. She’ll get almost all your clothes from Lane Bryant. You’ll dress older than you are. Your feet will go up to a size eleven. You’ll look awkward as heck, but your deep brown skin, thick hair, and old-soul will intimidate everyone you meet, including people older than you.
You’re going to see mom go through some bad things and it will be a big secret that you will attempt to take on by yourself. And in some moments, you will be the only one. But you two will make it. You both are going to grow together and have fun and see movies.
I recommend that you stand in the mirror every day and say these things…
I love me.
God loves me.
My mom loves me.
I’m not alone.
I’m not ugly. I’m very pretty.
I’m very smart.
Not everyone will make fun of me and if they do, it won’t stop my progress.
I love you so much!
After writing this letter, I think that I am inspired to write a book for young girls. I should call it “Dear Little Ebony…”
**Edited to add…I cried after I wrote this. I remember thinking that I was ugly and worthless. It made so sad because I was so cute and I didn’t understand my beauty a d the power that I was gaining with life’s experiences.
What do you think? Can you relate?