If you could get in touch with your teenage self what would you say? What advice would you give? What would you tell the younger version of you to watch out for? What would you tell them to pay more attention to? Who would you tell them to avoid? Who would you tell them to embrace? It’s an interesting exercise to be sure, and I’m certain, almost anyone would jump at the chance to make it a reality.
Recently, Teen Vogue published a lengthy note that Solange wrote to a younger version of herself. It’s overflowing with poignant glimpses into her current outlook on life, as well as all the people and experiences that shaped and defined her as an adult. The A Seat At The Table singer begins with a warning, “There will be fear. A lot of it,” she wrote. “There will be triumph. A lot of it. There will be constellations you want to reach for but can’t put your finger on. You will trace them like the scars on your body you got from trouble and the times of your life.”
Here’s a longer excerpt toward the end of the lengthy, personal piece:
seventeen will be the hardest year of your life. it will grow you up almost immediately. you will lose your best friend whom you love so much to gun violence in a single moment, and give birth to a new one within a year. you will be terrified, and it’s ok that you don’t know what the future holds. some people will count you out because of the decision you’ve made to bring another life into the world so young, but you made the decision out of love and will live with the decision in love.
soon enough you will learn how to love and how to exist with love in ways that you never knew. you will learn how to love yourself and how to empathize with and forgive those who may have taken a bit of that pure love away from you. you have a long life ahead of you, and i’ll tell you it’s not gonna always be easy, but I can promise you it will be fruitful and with much purpose. all the bridges you’ve burned, you had to, so that you could rebuild them to become a stronger and more wonderful you.
there will be pain, there will be doubt there will be beauty, there will be the unknown. there will be so many moments of joy and delight that the whole universe will feel painted in hues of amber and wonder. there will be times you are so sad you can’t lift your head. and there will be times you are so happy that the sensation of life knocks you down. but most importantly, there will be you. a whole, whole lot of it. and you will feel good about who she is and who she is still becoming.
You can read the entire letter along with a lovely forward penned by the director and chief curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem, Thelma Golden, over at Teen Vogue.