If I were to write a letter to my teenage self, it would read something like: “Eating that much Nutella won’t make anyone happy.”
But because Solange Knowles is a Very Cool Person™, the one she’s written for Teen Vogue is a beautifully powerful rumination on growing pains, poor mental health and, finally, self-acceptance.
She spoke about the influence her and Yoncé‘s fierce mama, Tina, had on her “fiercely independent and outgoing” nature – yet, like so many teenagers, Solange struggled with plenty of very low lows.
“you’ve been starting petitions, building tree houses, and starting clubs since as long as you can remember. sometimes in the midst of juggling all this, you put a lot of pressure on yourself and often crash and burn. you shut down. you go into your room, lock the door, put on music, and you do not move for 8 hours straight. it will feel like the heaviest and bleakest darkness you can possibly feel, and when you ask everyone to leave you alone and let you be, what you really want to say is “i want you here” and “i need help.”
sometimes it is ok to say just that. it won’t make you less strong or less powerful. no one you love will criticize you or blame you; in fact, they will lift you up.”
She also wrote about the death of her childhood best friend – the victim of a drive-by shooting – when she was just 17, and how the birth of her son, Daniel Julez, less than a year later scared the living shit out of her.
“seventeen will be the hardest year of your life. it will grow you up almost immediately. you will lose your best friend whom you love so much to gun violence in a single moment, and give birth to a new one within a year.
you will be terrified, and it’s ok that you don’t know what the future holds. some people will count you out because of the decision you’ve made to bring another life into the world so young, but you made the decision out of love and will live with the decision in love.”
If you’re having trouble imagining a 17 y.o. Solange, wonder no more ‘cos she also shared these vintage snaps (can I trade my awkward phase with hers pls?).
Source: Teen Vogue.
Photo: Teen Vogue / Ryan McGinley.