by Kyla Hull
There are countless things that I’ve come to realize over the years that I wish I could tell the little Kyla that I used to be…far too many for just one letter. Today, I’d like to share a few thoughts with her about self-love and worth, specifically as an African American.
Sweet little Kyla,
I first want to acknowledge how special you are and how much life has in store for you. God has blessed you abundantly and you have so many beautiful things to look forward to. Keep dreaming and working hard.
Although your path to success will be an upward climb, there will be experiences and encounters that cause you to lose your footing. Do not fear, for these scraped knees and bruises are only temporary and when they heal, you will be even tougher than before. What I need you to always remember is that you are perfect just the way you are, despite what others will try to tell you. Yes, your rich caramel skin and dark curly hair that you currently despise, are both truly lovely. I know that you are struggling with self-love and I’m telling you that you don’t have to. You will come to deeply cherish the heritage that God has blessed you with.
I know it hurts right now; like when your friend told you that she couldn’t talk to you anymore because of the color of your skin, or when the girls at the pool said that you couldn’t sit with them because they were tanning and “Only white people could do that”. You feel a false sense of hope and joy when people tell you that you are pretty…for a Black girl, that is. When people ask, “So what are you” because your skin isn’t a deep dark brown but it’s not quite light enough to be mixed and you don’t have normal “Black girl hair” as they like to say, you feel so unsure, caught in a nasty web of what you think you are and what others want you to be. The worst is when people say, “Well you’re basically White”. You feel inadequate, but mostly confused…are you supposed to resent being African American? Why is it deemed as a bad thing? You will constantly question yourself and often wonder how your life would be different if you were White.
All of these things feed your self-hatred and which causes you to deepen the cuts that society has already created. Although these wounds sting right now, they will eventually close and become mended when you finally learn to love yourself; every part of yourself, without apology. It will take time, but you will eventually be exposed to some amazing role models in your life that along with God’s guidance, will help you heal. And when it happens, you will see yourself and life through a whole new lens and it will be spectacular and magical and enlightening, trust me. So keep your head up and never let anyone douse the spark of love inside your soul. It may dim, but as long as you never let it go out, you will make it, I promise.
With all of my love,
Your Future Self