Dear 20-Year-Old Brandi,
It is such a privilege to get older. You get wiser, and your confidence grows. When your Dad says, “the goal is to get old,” believe him wholeheartedly.
Forgive your Dad sooner. You will learn that people can only love you in the capacity in which they have. Just like you are figuring out who you are, both your parents had to do the same thing. Life is an open class that makes us both student and teacher. Forgive and move with courage.
Therapy is not exclusive to White people. There is a space for you there. No amount of makeup or shopping sprees will be able to cover up what’s inside. Make amend with your childhood wounds and heal so you can stop hurting. It will make the ride of life far less bumpy.
Trust your intuition, it is your compass and guiding light. When it doesn’t feel right, it probably won’t be right. No magician and no magic wand can change that.
If a married man says, he wants to be with you, put on your track shoes and run for the hills. Loving him will be hard and unfair. He will only withdraw from your cup, not fill it up.
Don’t get so caught up in trying to fall in love. There is no need to rush. Sex, love, and intimacy are three untamed beasts when they aren’t cared for. Sex without love is a mistake and love without intimacy is a mirage. Know you are worthy and deserving of all three. Remember, they are not sold separately, they come as a complete set.
Get your passport and spend your money on experiences, not bags and shoes. The majority of the shoes will be given away, but the trips will help build your cultural currency. See something new, your conversations and circle of friends will elevate because of it.
Be your authentic self. Glue in or on your hair is NOT a good idea. I know along the way some hairstylist and family members told you that your hair was unmanageable, nappy and not GOOD enough, but these people were doers of the Devil’s work. Back away from them as fast as you can. Find the nearest NATURALISTA who has the power in her hands to break every chain and deliver you from the evil of creamy crack.
Many of the people’s opinions you value now, won’t even matter in 15 years. You will see these folks on this thing called Facebook and Instagram and laugh at the thought of them speaking anything but well wishes for your life.
Get a journal and write it down. When you are 35, you will wish you could go back and reflect on just how far you have come on the journey. Be vulnerable, smile and take more pictures. You are more beautiful than you think.
Drink your water and eat your fruits and vegetables. I promise you there is nothing in that drive-thru but bigger jeans, poor digestion and bad skin. You don’t want any of the three now or later.
Be slow to anger and quick to love. It will save you time mending bridges that never had to be broken in the first place.
The plan God has for you is far more spectacular than the one you have. Lean not on your understanding; your blessings come when you trust and obey.
Your voice is powerful. Keep speaking. Keep teaching. The world has enough mutes. Don’t silence your gift; it will make room for you.
You will climb mountains, and you will move them too. Your time in the valley is up to you. Be led by wisdom and meet all your adversity with grace. The world is yours, be fearless and shine bright like a diamond. Oh, the wonder you are! Your greatness is just waiting for you.
Love and Grace,