We are grateful for another #dearblackgirl letter! Today’s letter is penned by Julia Craven who encourages us to live our lives boldly and unapologetically. Thank you Julia, for taking up your pen.
Dear Black Girl,
When I was three-years-old, I told my great-grandmother that I wanted to be president one day. She looked me square in the eyes and told me that I could do anything I set my mind to — I just had to do it.
I extend the same encouragement, love and faith to you. It’s tough being a black girl in the professional realm. Potential employers and coworkers will bombard you with microaggressions. They will tone-police you. They will make snide comments about your hair and question if you’re an Affirmative Action hire. They will envy your accomplishments and make every attempt to break you down.
I can’t even count how many jobs didn’t call me back or turned me down. It made me sad at times, but I want you to know that it only takes one “yes” to spark your career. It will come even when it seems like it won’t. And once you get it, I want you to walk into that office and know that you belong there, that you deserve to be there.
Society will attack you on all fronts. You won’t be pretty, light, thin, elegant or articulate enough for some. You’ll be called an angry black bitch and a slew of other horrible things.
Push forward and let them stay mad. It won’t always be easy, but it will always be worth it. Do not let the white gaze determined your worth in capacity. The only gaze that determines your worth is yours. Demand the respect that you deserve. Love yourself because you are worth loving. And, if life gets too rough, don’t be afraid to ask someone for help. Sometimes you may have dark thoughts, but don’t choose a permanent solution over a temporary problem.
I hope you internalize and believe that you can do absolutely anything. I pray you always remember that you are amazing. You are intelligent. You are beautiful. You are strong. You are smart. You are divine. You are fire. You are a beam of sunlight. You are magical.
You are a goddess — and never let anyone tell you otherwise.
Be ambitious and hungry for success. Own a company one day, if you desire. Become a writer or a lawyer or a doctor or a truck driver, if you desire. Craft your own vision of yourself and the direction of your life. Be determined and passionate. Be a lot to handle. Be really extra and excessive if that’s who you are. Be caring, but also be a fighter. Be bold. Be audacious. Be yourself.
Others will try to dictate who you are, but don’t let them. Your dreams, goals and ambitions are yours. Your body is yours and you owe it to no one. I want you to be an unapologetic and carefree in all that you do.
Always remember how wonderful you are. You are so valuable and your life matters. You deserve to live it to the fullest. Don’t doubt yourself or your greatness or who you are.
You really do have what it takes. Believe that.
Julia Craven is 23 years old from Lexington, NC. She is currently based in Washington DC and is a political reporter for The Huffington Post.