Hey there my little gap toothed friend. I know you've been on and off about the gap tooth for a while, and even though it puzzles you, and makes you nervous when people compliment your smile, don't cover it up. Smile with pride! Because that's what makes you, you. You'll learn to love it, and start telling people to “get the London look”.
I must admit though, I'm sooo jealous of the confidence you have in yourself right now. You're 11 years old, chubby in all the wrong places, but still when people ask what you want to be when you grow up, you boldly tell them "I'm going to be a super model".
Sure that dream fizzled out along the way but it's the belief that you can do and be anything you want to, as well as the endless options you see for yourself, and the refusal to let anyone tell you differently. That's something I'm struggling with now, so I urge you - if there's anything you take away from this letter - nurture that confidence, protect your energy and go for whatever your heart desires!
So this is about the time Mum and Dad are calling it quits. How are you taking it?
Yeah, I'm not too sure either. It's a change I guess, after spending so many years being a "Daddy's girl" and going everywhere with him like his favourite accessory, to just nothing. You get used to it though. Actually it becomes very comfortable. So much so that when you get in your twenties and Dad is trying to make a reappearance, it's just all a bit awkward. It would be hypocritical of me to tell you to hear him out and give him a chance when that time comes, because I'm still not there yet, but when I make a decision I'll let you know.
As you're getting older through secondary school you're having the time of your life, making new friends, losing weight, discovering makeup, hair and boys, but please don't forget to focus!
Yeah we're pretty intelligent and always manage to just about scrape a decent grade with minimal effort, but it's not good enough, and doesn't make us cool. Don't get in that complacent mindset of thinking we're always going to land on our feet even if we don't try, because while we're comfortable just skating by, the unknown potential is what will drive us crazy. So channel the 11 year old you, and push yourself!
When it comes to boys, listen, you're doing great sweetie! I love that you never got caught up in the boy drama and could spot a loser from a mile off. Maybe Dad was good for something aye?!
Big up yourself for holding onto that flower (and continuing to call it a flower when people called you lame for it). There were some points where it was a challenge, and I know there were times where you'd think to yourself ,"maybe my expectations of guys are too high. I'll never find someone perfect so I'll just give it to someone nice." NO! You'll get there eventually, and you'll have zero regrets where that's concerned.
Socially, you'll have a lot of phases; smoking phase, to constant binge drinking phase, and to a partying phase etc. You know what, do you. Because that's all they are, phases. You're having a good time while you're young, but you'll realise in a few years that you're better than that and don't need to do it all so excessively.
I could sit and tell you how to live all day, but I know you don't listen to anyone but yourself. You always think you know best and to be honest most of the time, you do. I'm not worried about you one bit. All I want to do is encourage you to make those right choices when you're faced with tough decisions, and do everything wholeheartedly and continue loving yourself along the way.
You ARE the queen you always felt you were, so keep your head up. While the crown may slip you must never let it fall.
Lots of love Bestie
From you, at 22.
Contributed by Beverly Nzama