Editor's Note: I wrote this letter to my youngest sister right before she left for college almost two years ago. I wanted to share some REAL advice with her. Advice I wasn't sure she'd received from anyone else. I am completely transparent and honest and I tried not to leave any stone unturned. Happy to say that my sister is doing great, I couldn't be more proud of her.
You mean EVERYTHING and MORE to me. I love you from a very deep place. Nothing can EVER change that. I wanted to share this with you as you go on your journey. Of course, this is YOUR journey and much of this you will discover in your own ways but I wouldn’t be a big sister if I didn’t share some of the things I’ve learned on my own journey with you.
You are amazing, talented, beautiful and kind. Most importantly YOU ARE ENOUGH! Don’t allow anyone to make you feel less than. Don’t allow anyone in your life for too long that is unworthy of you. You are worthy of love, friendship, and a host of other great things that life has to offer. There will be people who want to tell you, through their actions that you are unworthy. DON’T listen to them. You my love are ENOUGH, just as you are.
Don’t forget to LOVE YOURSELF. Treat yourself the way you would want a boyfriend to treat you. Don’t wait for anyone to treat you well. Treat yourself well.
You and Me
I love where we are at the moment! Let’s keep this going! Our relationship means the world to me. BE NOT AFRAID to call on me for anything you may need. Please know that even when I disagree with your choices, I still support you! I LOVE YOU NO MATTER WHAT!
I don’t care what it is, you have my support, and you have my love!
Shine BE NOT AFRAID TO SHINE! By being your best self you make it possible for others to be their best selves. Share your skills and talents liberally. Everywhere you step foot make it your duty to make it better, in ways that you find fit.
It may make some people uncomfortable but God did not create you to HIDE! SHINE GIRL! SHINE!
Be Kind I know you are generally a kind person but this goes a little be further than everyday kindness. We tend to be extremely hard on other people. Please don’t fall into this trap. The harshness with which you judge people or speak about people is the same way you will be judged and spoken of. Be kind to everyone you have no idea what challenges they’re facing or have faced in the past. So be kind…This is particularly important in your dealings with other black women.
Go the distance to be kind to and take care of other black women.
Black Womanhood This is something I’ve recently started getting in touch with myself. As a black woman you have your race and gender working against you. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t accomplish anything you want to in life. But there will be times when you feel attacked, misunderstood and ignored. Please know that you are not alone. WE ARE ALL IN THIS STRUGGLE WITH YOU! There are stereotypes about black women that have been around for centuries. I won’t go into many of them because I know you don’t fit them.
The most attractive one is the STRONG BLACK WOMAN! You know this one very well because you are surrounded by strong black women but please FREE yourself of that!
You, my love are HUMAN! You feel, you hurt, you cry, you fail… Don’t swallow your emotions because you want to be the strong black woman; don’t suffer in SILENCE because you want to be the strong black women! REJECT IT! When you get angry…be angry without fear of being considered an angry black woman. Those are your rights as a HUMAN BEING! Your humanity is not up debate!
That doesn’t mean that you have to be weak or a push over. Your strength is in being who you are! Connect with who you are and BE JUST THAT! Don’t let anyone burden you and weigh you down! YOU ARE FREE, MY LOVE! VERY FREE!
Also, love your BLACKNESS. White culture will be the dominate culture where you are going. Great, learn from it and enjoy it but be proud of where you come from. Black culture is beautiful, learn more about it and stay connected to it. As you meet people of other cultures don’t abandon your culture for their culture!
God/Faith I know that you love God and I don’t need to stress this part. I’m inspired by your walk and I can’t wait to see where it takes you.
You will have moments of doubt and questioning. That’s OK. Stay faithful!
Perfection Perfection is a trap! As I’ve said before you are human. Don’t be ashamed of any shortcomings. Embrace them and learn the lessons in each one of them. When you fall I’m right here to make it a very soft landing.
Goals/Dreams Your goals and dreams will save you! I don’t know where I’d be without my goals and dreams. I hold them close to me always and I fight for them relentlessly. Goals are so important; make sure you set them for yourself. Dream BIG! Anything you can imagine is possible. Go for it!
You might make mistakes, you might fail but the only people not making mistakes or not failing are not doing anything to begin with.
Love Soon enough you will fall in love and it will be great! Falling in love with someone is one of the best experiences you’ll ever have. Just take your time in this area. The man you choose to is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever have to make. He should earn your love and respect. Don’t fall for someone because they make you feel secure where you are most insecure. Fall in love with a man of great character, a man of God and a man who can lead, guide and protect you wherever you want to go.
Obviously I don’t have all the answers in this area but what I know is far too often woman settle and give themselves to men that are not worth it! Only love a man that deserves YOU!
Sex I want to urge you here to wait until you are married to have sex. It’s a beautiful gift to give to your husband. I also live in reality and I know you might choose not to wait. There is no judgment here if you chose that. BUT you MUST protect yourself. There are many diseases out there that a person can easily hide from you. Don’t put your life in danger for anyone. If they truly care about you they will protect you. Condoms are cheap. Safe sex is the best sex.
This isn’t just about safe sex though, it's about your health. Regular doctor visits. Find a GREAT GYN! You only have one vagina and you have to keep it safe and healthy.
Again! I’m here for you. Don’t hesitate if you have any questions. THERE IS NO JUDGMENT HERE!
Protect Yourself & Your Peace Protecting yourself isn’t just about sex. You have to be vigilant about protecting your happiness, your joy and your peace. I haven’t always done this because my first instinct is serve others!
Service is great, but if you’re not at your best, you can’t be of service to anyone.
Greatness Far too often people settle for mediocre! Don’t do it! Seek excellence! Seek greatness! Give everything your best and take full advantage of all the opportunities God gives you! I’m so excited for you and I know you’ll do GREAT!
The things I’ve shared with you here are not exhaustive. These are things I’ve learned and I’m still learning every day. You can take what you want and leave what you don’t want. Embrace your journey! Life is one big journey, not a destination! Keep pushing. Let all adversities strengthen you and make you better.
Don’t forget to have some FUN and try some new things!
I love you NO MATTER WHAT!!
Your Big Sista, Nia