You think you know, but you have no idea. Your world will be rocked. Colors will transform. Feelings will transcend. They will evaporate. Trickle.
You will read. You will write. You will want to assimilate. You will want to rage. You will step ahead.
You will connect with brilliant people. Always appreciate them, but don’t lose yourself in them.
You will be right. You will be wrong. You will be anxious. You will be strong. You will outgrow your perceptions of yourself and people too bound to moments passed.
You will want to draw parallels between yourself and others, but they’re fruitless comparisons. A path walked a million times is only yours once your footsteps meet it. And as hard as it was for your cousin to teach you the one-two-step, you should know that other people’s strides are none of your business.
Speaking of walking, walk tall. Wear heels. And colors. And conversation piece accessories. And blue, shimmery eye shadow with rouge. And then only Chapstick for days, if you feel like it.
Walk with your shoulders back. Keep a grin on your face. Not the perfected smile of an adolescent who complied with the orthodontist’s requests. Do the real one.
The one where your top lip disappears and shows the pinkish purple gums you freaked out about. The one with your eyes all squinted and cheeks reaching for the sun’s rays.
Be eloquent. Be ratchet. Be rowdy. Be patient. Be effortlessly you because it is not about names. It is about truth. So do your thing. And know that that thing changes. And that’s ok.
Boys are weird. But, they always have been, so illuminate yourself because when you stop trippin’ they start falling.
Be good to your siblings. They’ll be your soldiers. Appreciate your parents. They made unfathomable sacrifices for you.
Embrace your southern roots and charm. Don’t worry if regionalism affects people’s perceptions of who belongs at the table—because you stay eating, regardless.
Flip phrases til your eyes glaze and conjure connections you believe are amazing. And then top that.
Oh yeah. You will see your social media comments from yesteryear and ridiculous Grinch-like photos. Laugh and delete. And then engage teenagers with patience. Because you were a glittery snow globe with hydraulics not too long ago.
Be grateful. Be great. Keep writing. Expand this letter.