This week, we bring you a new #dearblackgirl letter by Dr. Sonja Brown Givens that is full with great nuggets of wisdom. We are grateful for Dr. Givens for sharing her words and taking up her pen!
Dear Black Girl,
I want you to know that life doesn’t begin with your best moments, or end with your worst. Life, in fact, is the delicate balance between treating yourself and others with love and respect – even if that love and respect isn’t returned. This part is hard: it requires you to master being vocal, and silent. It requires you to move forward from situations and people that hurt you, even while you’re still reeling from the pain. It requires you to look in the mirror and see beauty, even if you’ve never been told it’s there. It requires you to stand up for the person you choose to be, not the one someone told you that you are. It also requires you to be brave, even when you’re afraid of the consequences of doing so.
You, my dear, are a gift. Not just to others, but to yourself. You owe it to the young woman you’re evolving into to be exactly who you are, no matter what others say. They will catch up – or not—and that’s ok too. Making the right choices in life is difficult – even for adults — so don’t be too hard on yourself when you make a bad choice. Just don’t make the same bad choice more than once. Have you ever had to choose between your two favorite desserts? How do you decide? There’s no answer that will satisfy all situations. You just have to choose the dessert that will make YOU happy, and sometimes you’ll have to ask yourself if you really WANT dessert at all. Sometimes we regret a choice we’ve made. That usually happens when we’ve made a choice that someone else wanted us to make, rather than the choice we held in our heart. Always, even if you’re afraid, make the choice that lies in your heart. That’s the only way to be who you were born to be – who you truly are.
You should know that there are millions of former Black Girls in this world who love you. We see your Black Girl magic from afar, and want you to be everything you’re destined to be in this world. In order to do that you must love you too. Love yourself enough to love and respect others, and you’ll be just fine. You were uniquely made to be YOURSELF – not Beyoncé, not Nicki Minaj – no one else but you. You will be just as great at being you as they are at being them, I promise.
A Former Black Girl
Dr. Sonja Brown Givens is 41 years old, from Buffalo NY, and is Associate Vice-President for Academic Affairs at Medaille College.