An Open Love Letter to Classy, Sassy, Smart, Strong, Young, Brown College Women

Published on February 25th, 2015

Dear Lovely You,

I’ve been spending lots of time lately with you and members of your cohort through book clubs, reading groups, mentoring relationships and other various volunteer activities. I love your beauty, your vigor, your fearlessness, your determination and your drive! The young millennial women of today are oh so sophisticated and savvy. You’ve got it going on, that’s one thing for sure. And I’m glad that you do, because in this world, you should have heard by now that you’re going to need to be “twice as good” as everyone else in order to succeed. It’s one of the many reasons why I am taking the time to write this letter to you. And whether you choose to keep it now or come back to it later, you need to read it. Don’t worry, it’s not very long. I know that everybody suffers from Attention Deficit Disorder now (that probably would include me if I were to get tested).

I want you to know that I’m an advocate for you. I believe in you. But as a fair disclaimer, you also should know that the more selfish side of me is depending on you to make this world a better place so that somebody can take care of me when I’m old. If everybody’s twerking their asses twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week, who’s going to run the country? I am going to need my Medicare and Social Security benefits one day. So I need to make sure that you’re going to class and getting hired somewhere good and paying taxes, which might be eventually be used to purchase my power wheelchair.

So for starters, how’s your physical health? Do you even know? I hope that you not only brushed, but also flossed your teeth today. It does no good to keep getting them whitened if they’re about to fall out of your damn gums. And how are you managing those “freshman fifteen” pounds that recently picked up? If you don’t get rid of them now, then your body will make friends with your new fat and it’ll be extremely difficult to part with it later. Get your ass to the student clinic, and if you can, stay on your parent’s health insurance. Sleep at least eight hours each night. Take that pill, patch, shot or whatever you must in order to see your period come and go each month. Drink more water than sodas because your body needs real hydration. Too much sugar can give you diabetes, make your breath stink, and cause your skin to look like Swiss cheese. And here’s a public service announcement for all: a woman’s behind should never, ever smell like fish. If you think yours does, you need to see a doctor as soon as possible. That’s not cute.

But more importantly, what’s the current condition of your spiritual health? Begin each day with quiet time and thanksgiving unto the Lord. You have to be quiet in order to hear his voice sometimes. Don’t judge other people—you’re not done living yet and can’t be too sure that life won’t have you walking a similar path someday.

Who are you now? Do you have any real idea? If you don’t, then you need to find out. Take a class outside of your core studies. Pick a hobby. What are your talents? Nurture them, grow them. Anything less than that is disrespectful to your Creator. Do you want to get hired for a real job one day? Take your classes seriously. Remember that ladies don’t chew gum in public, but especially not in interviews. And whether you choose to wear your hair locked, straight, curly, relaxed, natural or anything in between—just keep it groomed. Wear clothes that fit you properly. They don’t have to be expensive. They just need to be neat and allow your butt to breathe without wrinkly fabric lines holding on for dear life across your thighs.

Learn the fine art of having a real conversation with people. Texting, emailing, clapping your booty or whatever else you do to communicate can never take the place of verbal exchanges of expression with another person. Intonation, eye contact and body language make up more than half of the way in which we human beings communicate with one another. Besides, that carpal tunnel syndrome that you’re giving yourself is going to require some expensive treatment when you’re forty.

And speaking of expensive, do you know anybody who can eat love? If you do, please point them out to me. You should watch and listen to Suze Orman sometimes. Please don’t take out a loan if you don’t need one. Credit cards are okay as long as you have money in the bank to pay them. I’m no accountant, but I do know that if you spend everything you get then you’ll never have nothing (yes, I realize that’s incorrect English but I said it that way on purpose).

Now as for sex. Hmmm. Let me just say this. An experienced and talented lover can make you think that you’ve found your soul mate in him as he awakens parts of your body that you never knew existed. He’ll love to watch you climb walls and shiver like its cold inside your bedroom. His scent can buy you a one-way ticket straight to Stupid-ville and convince you to live there. Many more men believe they can do this than actually can, but they will still try to talk their way in between your labia (if you don’t know what that word means, then you really have no business having sex at all). Whatever you do, please don’t take anything permanent from a temporary-ass relationship. Even a little wart can be dangerous. Stop believing that everything down there is a hair bump. Penicillin and Doxycycline can’t fix everything.

And speaking of that, having sex without condoms can give you cancer. Human Papilloma Virus is quite common and is transmitted through the skin. I probably should had said this first, but I hope you abstain from sex until you’re in a long term, monogamous relationship (and yes, my preference is that you wait until you’re married but I recognize that is next-to-impossible for some of us and I am not here to judge anyone), but if you don’t, then I hope that you choose to weigh your risks very carefully.

And I must speak my piece on relationships, even in the twenty-first century. Here’s the truth: If a man wants you then he will let you know. If you have to ask yourself how a man feels about you, then I can probably answer the question for you. Please don’t be the girl that gets practiced on. Do you know what I mean by that? You know how you drive with a learner’s permit before you can sit for the real driver’s exam? Or how you take a practice test to prepare for the real deal? Well guys have to practice on somebody too. But save yourself from being somebody’s rough draft, and you’ll be glad that you did. If you really love yourself, so will the right somebody else.

In case your mama hasn’t told you already, know that there will always be a woman out there who’s prettier than you, smarter than you, has more hair than you, can perform tricks better than you, comes from a more affluent class of people than you, has more talent than you, and whatever else you can imagine. Please don’t bother comparing yourself to other women. That eventually turns to jealousy, which is as dangerous as rat poison. You are the only you that will ever be, and that is good enough.

On a completely random note, don’t sit next to anyone who is coughs a lot. Tuberculosis is on the rise. Stop squinting and just wear your glasses. Even good black can crack if you don’t take care of it and those wrinkles around your eyes won’t be pretty in a few years. Put lotion and sunscreen on your face—especially in the wintertime. And what’s up with these ashy hairlines that I keep seeing? Is weave pulling out your hair follicles and oil glands too? Let your damn edges breathe.

Be blessed. This world needs you. Don’t you ever forget that.

Sincerely,

Me

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