The One Thing I Know For Sure...
If you could tell your teenage self one thing you know for sure that you wished you knew then...what would it be?
Social Community Manager
Trenton, New Jersey
"Own your power and do not be afraid of it. The sooner that you realize your presence exudes strength you can acquire how to use it, which is to serve others. There will be snakes in the grass who may acknowledge it before you do and place their fears onto you. Get still. You do not need to make rash decisions to win people's approval and discount your own. All you desire is within you...it was always there."
Frances A. Perez-Rodriguez
Youth Leader/ Farmer-In-Training
New York City, NY
"Learn about the oppression we as people of color endure and push back against. Familiarize yourself with white supremacy, racial capitalism, patriarchy, and the ways we've been fed lies that disconnect us from our purpose, each other, and Mother Earth. Immerse yourself in Marvin Gaye's catalogue and don't feel so bad about not speaking Spanish fluently because it too is the language of the oppressor and stands awkwardly in the place of our true and indigenous tongue. Align yourself with like-minded others who read about prison abolition, black liberation, and food sovereignty- and see yourself as the truth seeker you are. Also, please buy more plants."
Tiffany "The Budgetnista"Aliche
Newark, New Jersey
"You have everything you need to succeed -exactly how you are, how you look, how you sound. You are perfectly built for the success that's going to come. All you have to do is lean in and do the work.
Success is guaranteed if you just do the work. Be completely and wholly yourself. The sooner you can accept yourself, the sooner and faster you will reach your ultimate goal of success."
"The breaking has its reason. When you're young and going through the motions of life I don't believe you very well understand the notion "everything happens for a reason". I'd hear my elders using the phrase and seemingly throwing it around as means of comfort and reconciliation in some of the toughest times and think to myself, "sure". But now that I am older and on my own it's truly a notion I believe in 100%. You never believe pain is with reason until after the storm, and when I was younger many of my storms seemed to last longer than I could imagine. But now I look back and it's like, those elders were right.
I find reason in every hardship and every hurt. I don't go looking, the reason just comes and after the circumstances have passed I am stronger, more resilient, more capable than before. After the storms pass I now have a greater belief that they came (even if they came furiously) with a goal and with meaning, and most times that goal is to provide rain and all of the necessary components that are needed to help me bloom in the aftermath."
Writer/Social Media Strategist
Jersey City, NJ ( by way of Chicago)
"Never let anyone under any circumstances make you dim who you are. Never let them deter you from living the dreams you imagine for yourself, even if that someone is you!
Self speak is important. Believe in yourself and speak highly of yourself and to yourself!"
CoFounder, Black Girls Sew
"You have infinite power within self. Everything you need to succeed in this world is already within you. Trust that. Explore the infinite possibilities, and be courageously curious.
The world owes you nothing, so you must exhaust all options trying to be your best self. When you realize this, you'll be empowered to conquer your battles and honor the creator within."
Assistant Director of College Success; AFBHS + Social Entrepreneur + Youth Consumer Marketing Genius
New York, NY
"See it through. You are an incubator of amazing ideas but that means nothing if your execution is sub-par. Exhaust yourself until you have done your absolute best. See it through."
Mercedes C. Smith
Publicist & Founder of Care More
"Don't be so quick to give up yet. Don't be afraid to let go when necessary. The world is yours to explore so do it. Trust the timing of your process, believe in your journey and let NO ONE tell you otherwise!"
Full Time Education Major, Writer, Social Activist, Lifestyle Blogger
"During my teenage years I struggled with "SELF LOVE". As a kid, I didn't really understand society's standard of beauty or if my appearance was even acceptable. I played with so many "white Barbie dolls" as a kid and got "perms" done by my momma's girlfriend to relax my naps because the amount of THICK HAIR I had was not manageable, but no one showed me how to love and embrace those things.
Being on the darker side made me wonder if things would be easier if I had the complexion of my Barbie dolls. I was made fun of because my complexion and I didn't have anyone to tell me "YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL". This is why REPRESENTATION MATTERS.
No one showed me how to love myself show so I had to teach myself. (SO I THOUGHT) self love wasn't just about my kinks and skin complexion not knowing how to love myself properly showed up in many aspects of my teenage years.
It showed up in ways I didn't see at first, like how I spoke about myself, how I spoke of others, the way I allowed people to treat me, and even the toxic relationships I participated in (including friendships). When you fully love yourself everything around you will also show up in a form of love. Your life will become a mirror, it's a reflection of who you are as a person. One thing I know for sure is that there's nothing like SELF LOVE! So love yourself GIRL! YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL IN EVERY WAY!
Senior Producer of Digital Media at TV One
DC Metro area
"You're a special kind of girl. You are both independent and needy, which will make for a few what-the-hell? and you-know-better moments. By 31 all the tears, frustration and deep sighs will be worth it. Trust me. You're going to go through some stuff. 18 will bring about curiosity, confusion, pain and living life recklessly. It only gets worse, but in the BEST way possible. At 21 you'll graduate college, but you will question everything about your life, your purpose and your journey. By 25 you will find yourself exploring things you shouldn't. Don't beat yourself up, God's grace saves you. It will continue to save you -- from those bullets, from that guy, from that car accident. In fact, when you turn 30, you'll see/feel it so clearly. Two months before your 31st birthday, destiny and victory will collide. God will show up so big and you'll finally understand why He took as long as He did. Stay the course. Trust your instincts and remember Krys, the journey isn't one size fits all."
School Social Worker, Vinyl Collector, & Podcast Co-Host
Newark, New Jersey
"Own your voice, what you have to say matters. Don't be afraid to speak up, with courage and confidence. Own the space that you are in. Stop worrying about what others think about you.
You are enough. Stay in tune with what fuels your soul and let the light within you shine! We are created to be different and unique and that alone is special. This your journey take risk and figure out what makes you happy. Embrace and Honor the Dopeness that is within YOU!"
Co creator of Just Bloggers: No Explanation & CEO of AK Brown Creative Services
Saint Louis, MO
I would tell my teenage self to not listen to anyone regarding your life, your future, your dreams, and your passions. As a teenager, I was heavily influenced by my peers and family on what was, and still is acceptable to do in my life, but at the end of the day, that's not anyone's choice but mine. You can't allow people to feel they have this "fake control" that they try to have over you to where they think whatever you do affects them when it doesn't. Don't be afraid to try things and explore. In that journey, you'll discover what you love, what you truly want to do, and it will help mold and shape who you will eventually become. I highly regret not taking some of those chances because I was too worried about what my peers or my parents would think instead of just having the confidence to do it, whether I failed or succeeded.