+ BY CELESTE SCOTT +
I think of you often. So many of the things happening to you right now will continue to be of importance in the future. I know, I know. That doesn’t sound like the best thing. Sometimes it’s not. But these experiences you’re having, and the lessons you’re learning will shape who you are in the best of ways. You don’t know this now, but you’re black. You’re blind to this because that’s how society has taught you to treat your differences for so long. You’ve learned when to blend in to keep people comfortable and when to stand out to make people like you. However, you’ve never fully been proud of that thing called your skin because it makes you feel like a sore thumb. One day, though, all of this will change. This part of your identity will be very important to you. So important that you’ll write about it a lot. It’ll become a passion of yours that you just can’t seem to shut up about. You’ll wonder how you were ever oblivious to this beautiful thing about yourself. This thing that holds such much weight and history and glory. You’re also a feminist. You always have been, but you don’t have the words for it yet. This is why you’re always insisting on opening doors for yourself before men can open them for you. (Just so you know, you can be a strong woman and still accept acts of chivalry. You’ll get there.) Sometimes boys will make fun of you for your independent spirit, and you’ll be confused by this. You’ll wonder, Why am I being mocked for who I am? Later you’ll learn that these boys were simply uncomfortable with the idea of a woman having the audacity to believe that she can do anything he can. Speaking of boys, they don’t really get better. They just get hairier and more complicated. You’ll still spend most of your college years decoding text messages and constantly wondering if he like-likes you or if he’s just really nice. You know how people always tell you that boys are probably just “intimidated” by you? They still say that. And it’s still annoying. Just know, it’s okay that you haven’t had a real boyfriend yet. Whether or not you’ve dated someone isn’t some sort of rite of passage. You’ll still learn and grow on your own. You’ll start getting to know yourself. And trust me, you’re pretty great. 22
You’ll change what you want to do with your life more times than you can count. Right now you want to be a screenwriter. Next year you’ll want to be a teacher in the inner city. After that you’ll want to be a podcast host. Eventually someone will ask you to write for their magazine and you’ll start to think you want to be a freelance writer. (Future us is probably laughing right now.) Everyone is going to have an opinion about what they think you should do. They’ll try to give you advice and some of it is good advice. But eventually you’ll learn to filter what you can from the outside voices and really listen to your own. Because that’s the important one. Get ready because there are a lot of phenomenal people waiting to meet you at the intersections of your lives. There are countless friends, mentors, and family-figures who listen to and understand you. You’ll find the older sister you’ve always wanted and the soulmate kind of friends you always needed. Sometimes you’ll have these moments where you just can’t contain your gratitude for these people. You’ll often find yourself crying while writing a birthday card, or in the car as you leave the apartment of a friend who’s moving away. (This might be hard to believe but future you cries a lot more often than you do now.) These people are so important to you and you’ll often wonder if they truly know this. I sure hope they do. I wish I could end this letter by saying something cheesy like, “Trust me, it gets better.” However, I’m not quite sure that it does. It sort of just keeps going. You keep living life. You keep learning about yourself and the world. Of course, you’ll always want more. It’ll be tempting to only look to the future, never truly soaking in the beauty of the present moment. But your life will be more fulfilling when you learn to express gratitude for every day as it comes. So, keep your head up. Breathe easy. Exhale loudly. Take up space. Spread those hands. Give of yourself. Let others give to you. Soak up every blessing that falls into your lap. Your feet are moving and they’re taking you to a good place. Sincerely, Celeste
On the cover, Vivian V // Featuring: Evan Tan, Project Consent, Tara Chandra, Raya Encheva and loads more.