Dear Black Girl,

You have found yourself in a foreign land by your choice.

You are an immigrant.

A beautiful African girl on the cusp of womanhood in an American world.

It is a land of opportunity and so much goodness will happen to you here.  You will grow leaps and bounds and find your footing here.

I want to tell you that it won't always be beautiful.  You won't feel beautiful some days.  This land's view of beauty is not your country land's view of beauty.  They will make you question the very things about yourself that you find beautiful.  Your perfect nose will suddenly be called too broad, your hips will suddenly be called too wide and your sun kissed skin will suddenly be called too dark.

This will confuse you terribly because this is the only beauty you've ever known.  The only beauty you have been surrounded by.  Up until now you have never heard anyone criticize things one cannot change.  Or so you thought.

You will be tempted.  You will learn quickly that things you thought could never be changed can be changed.  A plastic surgeon can alter your nose to any shape of your choosing.Creams are sold in a tube that can change your skin to a lighter hue of your choosing.  And you can starve yourself or jump on the latest get skinny quick scheme to get the barely there hips of your choosing.

I beg you my little sister, my little African sister, DO NOT FALL FOR IT.

You will learn quickly how the very people telling you your beauty is not up to par are the very ones paying money to get the very things that you have.  You may not see it right away but just pay close attention and one day it will be crystal clear.

They will even make you feel bad about your name.  The very name given to you by your Parents after  consulting with their Parents.  They will act like it is too difficult to pronounce and try to give you a cool and hip nickname.  They can pronounce Louboutin, Givenchy, Ferari and Lamborghini but get tongue tied pronouncing Lubinda, Ganizani, Funjika, and Lwandamina.  Learning to pronounce is reserved for luxury brands and they would rather call you Lu, Gee or FeeFee.

The thing that I love most about you, about us little sister is how confident and outspoken we are.  Go to any school in Africa and girls are ruling the world.  We are strong, confident, smart and outspoken. DO NOT shrink away from any of this when you suddenly find yourself as a small fish in this very big pond.  Stand firm in all that you have been taught, all that you know to be true. DON'T ever shy away from it!  You will lose your footing as you navigate, that's life, but just keep going and always come back to all that you know.

I can tell you about racism, politics, religion, world economics and all the other important things in this world but lets face it, you are a girl and what you are curious about is Love. I get it, I was a girl once too.

So here goes.  Love is everything you have read about for the most part.  Don't go into it thinking it will be sunshine and roses every single day.  Roses have thorns and sunshine comes after thunderstorms. Love is hard work.  Let it find you and please let it be given to you freely.  Don't chase love.  If you find yourself chasing it then it know that it is not the love God intended you to have.  If nothing else resonates here, let this; love is 100% about how it makes you feel.  If ever you are made to feel bad about yourself then simply leave the situation.  You will be heartbroken and it will hurt more than anything but one day you will heal.  You will know that you are healed because it will no longer hurt your heart and soul to talk about it. It will just become that one more thing that you add to the list of things you survived. If by chance you come face to face to the one who hurt you, you will stand tall and not crumble inside.  You will feel whole and wonder why you ever felt how you felt to begin.

Find your people.  In the beginning even these people will disappoint you but eventually you find the perfect few that are for you.  Once you find them life gets simpler.

Life is beautiful sweetheart.  Things will happen that will make you question that but just know that it is a part of this thing.  Confusion, disillusion, and all the numerous -ions come with it, you just gotta navigate through them and know that you come out better on the other side.

And finally please be gentle with yourself.  Stop being so hard on yourself.  You are doing your best and it is enough.  Never forget that.

I love you,

Your Big African Sister


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