By: Tyece Wilkins, Guest Blogger
Dear 16-year-old Tyece,
I thought of you the other day as I stood in line for The Fault In Our Stars. I was surrounded by teenage girls and seeing younger people always has a way of making you nostalgic. I thought of you even more during the movie as I watched the tender and pure relationship between Hazel and Augustus transpire. I remembered you and your first relationship, how naive yet endearing the love was between you and your boyfriend at the time.
And, because I’ve thought of you so much lately, I decided to write you a letter.
I’m not sure how properly equipped I am to give you advice eight years later because there are definitely things I still do not know. And, in some ways, I envy you for how bright-eyed and unweary you are. Life hasn’t yanked you around too much so you don’t have to fight to laugh or love—it comes very naturally. You have a palpable energy about you. But, you are also ahead of your time and you haven’t yet learned how really channel that wisdom.
So, I do not know everything. But, I do know a few things. And those are the things I guess I should tell you.
Keep writing. Right now, all of your writing is stored away in a tattered notebook with the initials “W.O.T.” on the front standing for “Writing Of Tyece.” Keep that notebook, but more importantly, keep that passion for writing. Let it grow until you can’t simply contain it in notebooks. Let it expand until you need more notebooks and blogs and books and everything else you can get your hands on. Because, writing will anchor you at so many points in life when your ship hits the rockiest of waters and you wonder how you will ever adjust your sails.
Study more for AP U.S. History. You won’t get through the class by just laughing at Mr. Wagner’s jokes, contrary to what you believe.
Don’t take yourself too seriously.
Take the SATs somewhat seriously.
Soak up the anxieties and laughs at your Chik-fil-a job. You’ll think about that job more times than not as you sit at drive through windows and go out of your way to be friendly to the people working behind them.
Laguna Beach isn’t real. It just isn’t. But, scripted reality television is pretty addicting.
You’ll wonder what was ever so appealing about mini skirts, but that won’t stop you from buying a plethora of them.
When you start to fight with your dad about wanting to be a journalism major and he tells you that you won’t make any money in that profession, fight. You’ll realize he was probably right and it will be one of the most stinging truths, but you’ll appreciate him more for it.
And, finally, love fully, wildly, unabashedly. You’re in a relationship that feels like your moon, your stars, your sun, and your center. It will not always be that, but right now it is. And, even eight years later, you’ll remember that relationship and smile at how fully you gave of yourself, even if that self was not close to being complete. You’ll remember that relationship fondly as a time when you were old enough to love and young enough to still believe in the goodness of people. You were not yet jaded. The world did not yet yank you. So you loved in that no holds barred way that people should love. Remember that eight years later, after you’ve built concrete forts around your heart and brick tabernacles around your vulnerabilities. Remember that no holds barred love and hope with everything you have that you can find it again one day.
Your 24-year-old self
It's never too late to check in with yourself and take stock of the roads you've traveled.
- Write a letter to your self in the past or the future. Don't be afraid to be real, but always be kind. How does it feel? What can you learn from this process?
Tyece Wilkins is a 24-year-old writer and blogger based in the DC Metro area. She tweets all of her many musings at @tyunscripted and she writes, rants and roars about the growing pains of her twenties on her blog, Twenties Unscripted.