There is so much that I want to tell you that I don’t know where to start. I am both anxious and excited at the same time wanting to tell you of what is to come. Somewhat apprehensive about how your 16 year old mind will process some of it. Happy at the thought that most of it will make you smile. Don’t worry, I promise not to spoil or give too much away! It will be like crib notes…giving you the low down, without giving you the answers, I think!
Let me start by telling you how proud I am of you. Pride in the purest form that is making my heart race as I write to you. You have become a strong, independent woman. Smart, funny and cheeky which are characteristics you pass on to someone else who I will tell you a little more about in part 2. That could be anyone so stop trying to guess. Some of this may make you cry and that is ok. Those tears will bring you strength like you’ve never known. Some of it will make you laugh. The moment that make you cringe, imagine how I felt.
We made it to 40. Praise God! 40 years of stuff you couldn’t even imagine at 16. Some of it you did imagine, the rest, well, you didn’t imagine it and that’s probably for the best. I know how impatient you can be at times (that doesn’t change much by the way) so let me give you some quick hits on what I know you’ll wanna hear first! The only spoilers are the ones I know you have to know at 16.
- Brenda and Dylan don’t make it on 90210
- You’re still a dork
- You end up going to more than one prom (and you look super cute)
- You will eventually be over Puff Daddy (who changes his name a million times) and it will be all about Trey Songz who will follow you on ‘Twitter’
- You grow into your teeth and your gap doesn’t close
- You will never rock a jheri curl again.
- We need to talk about your eyebrows. Don’t listen to anyone who says they are on ‘fleek’.
- Who told you to wear timbs with everything?
- You do not stay skinny forever so appreciate your body. Especially your boobs!
- You will always be a Daddy’s Girl
- You will stop wearing black liner and red lipstick… for a while.
- You will NEVER tire of popping your booty to Miami Bass. You’re always gonna be that girl!
- Carlene will be taller than you!
- You will go natural with your hair.
- Dwane and Whitley from A Different World get married!!!!!!
- You’re not married…YET!
Ok! Ok! So I know you’re panicking at the thought of the first and the last ones the most because like seriously, how are Brenda and Dylan not together. Cause that in your mind translates to you not ever finding the one… *sigh*. Girl, don’t worry. Your time will come. you have far too much living and learning to do before marriage comes your way. Just keep reading, I will explain.
The rest of your teens…
You still move around a bit and whilst life in Florida is fun and hot you’ll end up finishing out High School in New York! Not before the infamous car accident with Fitz after homecoming. Or spending endless moments with Teresa and Lish or Yajaira and Linda. Stealing (borrowing) Erica’s clothes to look more grown up or having your baby Sis follow you everywhere and secretly love it.
When you do make it back to the big Apple it will instantly be like you never left and you will love it. In fact some of the closest people to you now are still there. Aunty Annie, your cousins, Boopsie and the whole e.98th crew make New York your city of dreams. Chilling on the stoop with Adrian, Larry, Ty was like nothing else. We used to run that block. Tilden is seriously everything it needs to be for you and more. Your time with Michelle and her family will make you feel so loved. Filling a void that you craved. You will transition so much from the island girl you once were in the big city. It will still be very hard to shake the pain and demons from life in St.Vincent. What you went through at age 11 will haunt you for a long time to come but will eventually share it. I couldn’t protect you but you will be ok. More than ok. As traumatic as it was you were so very brave and strong. It was not your fault and you can’t keep blaming yourself. You never have to go back there. Ever!
It will take time to trust people and that is ok. It will take time to confide in people and that is ok too. You will learn to forgive and trust yourself first and then it will all fall into place. Aunty Annie will be the first one to help. Don’t be so hard on her ok? Even when she tries to embarrass you by screaming ‘Donna’ down Church Ave.
You will finally be reunited with your Daddy and Brother in England when you leave New York. You will be sad to leave your family, friends and love behind and you will write lots of letters and make calls. Start saving now cause those international calls will not be cheap! And yes, you will go back again and again and again. Ever since you left the city, you got exactly what you asked for…(kinda) running out of pages in your passport!
It takes a while for you to adjust to being in the UK. Between you and I, I honestly do not think you ever really do. Sorry but not really sorry. It takes your Daddy some time to adjust to his little girl not being so little. Let’s not even talk about boys. Needless to say when you started talking about bringing boys home to meet him that conversation lasted 3 hours too long. You make him so happy though and he makes you just as happy. Daddy’s girl always.
College life was not the easiest. Some of the girls are nice to your face but behind your back not so nice. They couldn’t understand why you dressed like the boys and why the boys liked you. They will say it is because of your accent. I say it’s because you’re Donna-Marie, DUH! You still have loads of fun and meet some awesome people. Raphael, T-Bone and Mark will be your college homeboys. You meet Jade, Jessica and Ify who you have so much in common with. Jade especially is like your own guardian angel which I don’t even think she knows. They will help you find your feet in Stanmore and the ends. Oh yes! You thought US slang was something… wait till you get to the UK. Butters! Stooshe! These words will still be giving you night dreams in your 40s.
Ok, so we have to talk about boys. I know we said lets not but we kinda have to. Boys will like you. You will like boys. Boys will stink. Boys will smell like Polo aftershave. Boys will wear baggy pants and jansports and you will act like you have no sense. They will wear jeans with clouds on them! Seriously clouds! You will hate boys. Boys will have American accents but live in the UK and you will think you’re in love. Boys will be sweet. Boys will be jerks. You will break hearts and you will get your heart broken. You will look for love in all the wrong places (that will be your jam). You will find love in the right places but at the wrong time. Boys will become men and they will still stink at times but not as much as when they were boys.
Grown and Sexy…
I do not remember how this became your tag line. Daddy would surely slap you for being so extra. Along with Caramel Angel as your alter ego everything. You do not get to be in a Puffy (one of his many name changes) video. You think you’re sexy because you think your life is one big RnB video. It’s a good thing you weren’t in a video. Music will continue to be your everything as you become a young woman. You don’t miss a soca jam. Blame Raph and Tyrone for that. Oh, and Andrea too. You like to party hard. On sheer adrenalin though! No substances involved, phew. Your over the shoulder pose will be your signature pose. Why? Why? Oh and really with the white ankle boots and that dress. Really?
You will be more responsible. Working , studying and growing. That job at Ikea was like your school of hard knocks. Literally. Your friendships with work colleagues, college buddies and high school friends evolve. Some for the better and some for the worst. You are little Ms. popular. Involved in everything. It doesn’t always bode well but you are good at learning lessons…sometimes. Luckily you had Tamora! Tam never judged you and always made learning some of those lessons a little easier. Side note: Your tattoos are real and not henna like you tried to tell Daddy. Naomi was your twin. She was everything to you and more. Plus her daughter was yours too. You just did not give birth to her. Your friendship with Ni was like having a Sister and Best friend in one. With everything that came along with it.
You think you’re grown because the numbers of your age increase each year but in some ways you’re still that little girl searching and hoping that you’ll make your Mom proud one day. That is one relationship that you’ll still be working on to this day and beyond. You are grown enough to get a mortgage and your first property. No longer living with Daddy had perks and now you had to be serious about everything. You do it though and you will own more property in the future. Yay! You! I mean Me! Yay, US!!!
I remember you always thinking you weren’t good enough. Being 16 (sixteen) is tough I know. That no one would love you. Why would they. What was there to love? Yourself maybe? Well you don’t really find that out until much later but I promise you there is ALOT to love. Just don’t give up ok? Even when it seems like you can’t face any more. DO NOT GIVE UP! You have your toughest trial to come and there is no one that can fight this battle like you can.
We are only half way through and I am gonna finish up here. I bet your facial expression is like this! Ha! I know you so well. You can’t have the entire cheat sheet! That would be no fun. You can’t have come out too bad…right?
I love you…always Don-Don, Doughnut, Danger Mouse, Donette (I will stop here)!
Me! (Who is You) only older! XOXO
P.S I will write more soon!
P.P.S This letter is being written on a blog. You will have no idea what that is. Like Twitter and some of the other things I mentioned. I won’t tell you to google it. Just trust me. The world becomes a scary but advanced place… in some respects anyway.