Dear Teenage Shanice,
Hey girl! It’s me, adult Shanice. I just wanted to talk for a bit and let you in on some things that we learn as we grow up. Remember when we wanted to hit 24 so bad because we thought we would have our entire lives together by then. You thought you would be married with at least one child, dream house, dream car(s), dream spouse, and your dream job. You thought you would have everything figured out by the time you were 26, and I’m here to tell you, you do not. We just discovered how expensive toilet paper and paper towels are (don’t grow up). I’m sorry, I don’t mean to make your adult life sound so uninspiring! It is amazing, beautiful, confusing, and interesting all at the same time. I promise, by the end of this letter you will understand us even better.
First and foremost, you are absolutely gorgeous. Beautiful inside and out, so don’t let that crush who told people you were ugly freshman year ruin your thoughts. As you grow older, you will learn to love the skin you’re in and you’ll also learn quickly whose opinion matters and whose doesn’t. Don’t worry, you will meet people who positively affect your self-esteem and make you feel as beautiful as you are. So what, you got a little extra weight, girl who cares. You will learn how to develop a better relationship with your body at any size so don’t fret. You will also discover the wonderful world of Plus-Size Blogging. Stop comparing yourself to girls in school who are skinnier, start focusing on the things that make you unique – like that long hair that we chop off SEVERAL times as we get older. Hey, change is a beautiful thing baby girl, don’t be afraid of it. You will learn to accept that life is ever-changing and things are not supposed to stay the same. Your looks will change, you’ll have different hair colors and textures (we go natural at 21), different makeup looks (thank God), different eyebrow shapes and sizes, you will even wear fake eyelashes for a short period of time, they were cute but not for us. Remember beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Be your own beholder. Love yourself and don’t let anyone dull your sparkle.
Shanice, not everyone is your best friend! Remember when you thought you would have those friends for the rest of your life? Wrong! As you get older you will understand that not everyone around you is for you. Sometimes people you thought were your day ones have been plotting your demise since day one. Weed through people’s crap and cling to those that you feel are genuine. Your father will tell you over and over again “some people are in your life for a reason and some people are in your life for a season,” listen to that. You will learn that everything is not as it seems and you don’t need a bag of friends to be happy. You will only need 2-3 and those 2-3 will become family to you. Also, cling to your family. They are a crazy bunch but they love you and will always support your dreams.
Shan-Shan, focus on school baby girl, boys will always be there and trust me, at your age they are not all that. I know that’s not what you want to hear, but it is the truth. You made a lot of scholarly mistakes that could have been rectified if you just did your homework! Remember when our dad made us take that paper around for teachers to sign to ensure that we did our homework? You were so embarrassed but I promise, it was beyond beneficial to us. It made us have a sense of accountability/responsibility, which you will use every day as an adult. But babygirl, do you know how smart you are? Do you know that you get your Bachelor’s in Human Resource Management (the nursing thing did not work out girl) and then also get into UMBC for your Masters in Industrial and Organizational Psychology? You wanted all these things for yourself and you are going to get them. Don’t rush it. I’m going to shock you just a tad, but we graduated from college at 24. I know right, insert shook GIF here. What about the husband, and the kids, and the dream job? Don’t worry we have plenty of time for that. At this age we are enjoying life and experiencing things that will change us drastically. Just as a warning we go through a serious amount of scholarly depression. We felt incompetent because people were graduating way before us. But let me just tell you, you worked and went to school full time, that is no easy feat. Be proud of yourself and don’t be so hard on the timeline. You asked God for somethings, be patient! His timeline is never rushed, so don’t you rush it.
On a serious note, as we got older we developed anxiety. School, work, and personal stressors will do that to a person. But it’s not the end of the world. You have to learn to deal with things as they come and stop holding everything in. Communicate your feelings to people and stop creating that internal battle that you always create. You may feel alone at times, but you’re not. You have so many great people around you that want to help whenever they can. Stress for you will manifest itself in physical pain, don’t let it. Everything you deal with is temporary. All you have to do is remember this, if you can fix it – don’t worry about it and if you can’t fix it – don’t worry about it. Everything, in the end, will be okay.
Some positives to end with. You have a great job and started a blog that you are so proud of. You have a group of friends that love you and parents who want the absolute best for you. Chip is alive and well, and still the apple of your eye. You got a cute little car but trust me that Wrangler is coming! Your fashion sense will change and you will be proud of it. You’re a mostly confident, beautiful, intelligent, Jamaican queen who deserves the absolute best and will persevere so that you have it. We make it, and we take our life lessons with us as we grow.