*I was so inspired by Oprah’s letter to her younger self that I decided to write my own. It’s a bit lengthy but hopefully, you’ll enjoy it to the end. 😉
Dear 17 year old, Paris.
Wow, how time flies when you’re busy living and learning!!! As you sit at your kitchen table 5 minutes before your 27th birthday, you are nervous. Why? You don’t know. Maybe because you’re embarking on a new age, maybe its because you don’t know what lies ahead or maybe you do and you’re not sure if you’re prepared for it but you know it’s coming. Everyday right before your eyes, it’s all coming together and this is exactly what you wanted, but you don’t know that now…because you’re only 17.
Oh, shoot, what happened to the time. It’s 11:59. Push through….See it’s 12:01 am just that fast. Happy Birthday!!! See how time flies? But, you haven’t come to that realization yet. You’re in high school, working on your college app, captain of the cheerleading team, working at the mall, preparing to travel to the Bahamas AND trying your best to recover from a broken heart…Yeap! Your very first heartbreak and the only time in your life someone has told you they didn’t want to be with you anymore. Now, you don’t know this yet, but there’s life after him, honey! Oh yes! A whole lot of life and you’re here for it but before you could arrive and embrace it, you must go through it and accept it. Now, you’ve always had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. At 17 you really saw him work miracles in your life and you became comfortable talking about him to any and everyone. It will start to get to the point where your friends will ask you to pray for them because they said, “Jesus is always listening to you! He always answers your prayers!” They feel if they wanted something to happen in their life, they must get you to send one up for them. You think it’s hilarious but it actually worked and still does to this day. Prior to asking Him for help, you were an emotional wreck and listening to sad songs… and it wasn’t helping at all. You went to sleep crying at night but kept a smile on your face during the day. You really thought you would be with him forever and have the twins you’ve always wanted for him, but he showed you a different side. As life goes on, you’ll understand why.
By the time prom came, you will be slightly over your ex…to the point where you took someone else to your prom. Now this guy, he will show you the way a young lady should be treated, from flowers to romantic dates and he will set the bar high for future guys…but just like any other girl your age, you wouldn’t really want him because now you’re thinking all dudes will “try” to break your heart. Emphasis on “try” because these past few years you’re going to be one tough cookie when it comes to relationships and dating. Oh yes! Now, by this time, your body is changing and your sense of style is amazing!! Before you and your friends go out, they’re running through your closet to see what they can wear and they’re asking you for styling advice. You don’t know this yet, but you’re actually going create a business putting styles together for people and making them feel beautiful!
You’re now a freshman at Southern University A&M College. Your dad is all excited because you’re the first child to go to college and not just any college, his Alma matter. Southern was fun, you met some of your best friends there, but, you left after one year because now you’re being this ambitious young lady who has these list of goals for herself and you know where you need to be in order to focus. So, you came home during the summer, took classes and worked a full-time job. While there, you made one of your dreams come true by buying your very first car. Yeap! You did it, girl. You were finally starting to see anything is possible through prayer, writing down your goals and hard work. So you withdrew from Southern Baton Rouge and started at Southern New Orleans. This is the time when you really grew up & the decision-making started to get tougher when you tried to make them on your own. So you did the only thing you know that’ll work…you prayed. You were working a full-time job and going to school at night, so exhausted to the point where it was affecting your grades and you had to make a decision, either continue on this downslope or do something. Once again, you prayed about it and quit your fulltime job with a brand new car with a car note and insurance which was so high. But, you did it without skipping a beat. As a matter of fact, 4 months after you quit your job, you paid off your new car’s balance, which was $10,000. This was your birthday and Christmas gift to yourself. You did it, Paris!! And now you’re living life on your terms, traveling, shopping and enjoying being a full-time student. Life is happening right before your eyes. You are happy but your life is about to change after you graduate in May 2009. So you go through school studying to become an attorney but towards the end, you’re just not feeling it anymore and you’re starting to think to yourself, “Did I make the right decision? What should I do now?” You’re so bored out of your mind to the point where you don’t care anymore; you just need a plan because law school isn’t it. So in March 2009, you made the impulse decision (you’re such a risk taker) to move to Minnesota for grad school. Now you’ve never lived outside Louisiana and the only time you’ve lived outside your parent’s home was when you went away to college for a year. But you’re not letting anything stop you, because you’re moving to a place where you’ve never traveled to before but you know God has your back and now you feel as if you have a plan. It’s getting close to moving and you’re ready to face it. You get there and you like it and then you hate it and then you like it again until you decide it’s time to go back home. Now, although you will have a hard time trying to figure it all out in Minnesota, you can honestly say it really helped you to mature, grow and broaden your mind about the things you really would like to do in life. You learn how to survive on your own. You paid your own bills & although you couldn’t cook (still can’t) you never went a day hungry. You stayed in survivor mode the whole time. Some days were harder than others but you pushed through and left with a smile on your face 8 months later.
You moved back to New Orleans and soon after opened a business! Yeap, little Paris from Algiers is now working for herself and now you’re building an empire, which was created from a very confusing and emotional time in your life. You own an online women’s boutique & a blog you were working on while in Minnesota. It has grown so much to the point where you are in love with everything Classy Closet and Where Sexy Meets Classy. Classy Closet merchandise has been sold in a boutique in Baton Rouge and now is being sold in a boutique in New Orleans, La. You’re so smart and creative but you don’t embrace it enough. You tend to downplay what you’re growing into because…you haven’t figure out why, but you’re going to get better at celebrating yourself. You also have a Masters Degree in Mass Communication with a concentration in Broadcasting, so you see, you did finish grad school, but this time you decided to complete it on your own time studying what you are most interested in. You no longer look to anyone else for validation. You know who you are and you know what your heart desires. At this very moment, you’re getting yourself out of a draining situation but you’ll come out smiling, as you always do.
At this age, you’ll grow to become one of the women you’ve always admired, the ones who would dress so nice, who was very smart and powerful and who could walk in a room and command attention simply by the way she carries herself. Yes, Paris! That’s YOU!!!! You don’t know it yet because you’re only 17 & you’re going through a tough time right now, but, I want to tell you that life does get better and God is STILL by your side.
I know I don’t tell you enough how proud I am of you but I really am, Paris. You have a beautiful soul and a humbling heart. You can do and be anything you want. You have the world in your hands. Continue chasing after your dreams.
Oh and lastly as you’re growing up, do your best to ignore all those mean and crazy sayings that people would say about you, like how you’re going to have kids before you graduate high school and you’re never going to be anything. Don’t worry about the comparisons or mean and negative things! Well, here’s a peek into your future at age 27…you own a business, you graduated from GRAD school with honors, you have a Master’s degree & oh and although nothing is wrong with kids, you don’t have them, yet! You’re busy living life on your terms.
27-year old, Paris