Right now, you’re not yet old enough to understand the contents of this letter but with all the conversations surrounding R. Kelly and the “Surviving R. Kelly” docu-series, I realized the greater importance of talking to you and the daughters of the world as early as I can about your self-worth and the potential dangers you may face. Hopefully, by the time you’re able to read this, you’ll understand your worthiness and will be well-prepared for the tough challenges ahead of you.
Even before “Surviving R. Kelly,” I planned to write you this letter after I came across a picture of 19-year-old me. I thought to myself, if only I could tell this girl what I know now. If only, right? But hindsight is always 20/20. So, I decided since I can’t go backwards, all I can do now is try to help you, my daughter, to not make the same mistakes I did.
What I remember most about myself at 19 was being so insecure. I was entering my second year of college, had recently gotten my heartbroken by my first love, and was struggling to keep my grades up for the first time. I had absolutely no self-confidence, and it was the attention I got from guys that made me feel better about myself. Consequently, rejection from guys often made me fall into the deep end. I remember being a follower and never wanting to take the lead. I didn’t speak up for myself, and I would sometimes agree to things I didn’t necessarily want to. I was a shell of myself trying to be someone I wasn’t.
I had two parents at home who loved me and encouraged me to be great everyday, but that wasn’t enough. Your Dad and I will always do our best to protect you. And I know it doesn’t matter how much Dad and I teach you, show you how much we love you, and tell you how great you are, there might always be someone trying to prey on your insecurities.
So, let’s talk. At 19, you’ll think you’re grown. You’ll think you know it all and nobody will be able to tell you nothing. No way your Dad and I could ever understand what it’s like to be 19, right? Trust me, baby girl, I’ve been there. People, especially men, will tell you what you want to hear whispering sweet nothings into your still impressionable mind trying to take advantage of you. Trust yourself and your gut, and if something feels wrong, it is. You are so smart and beautiful, and men will try to play on that to get what they want from you.
Listen, no matter what I say to you, I know that you have to go out into the world and experience life for yourself. All your Dad and I can do is trust that we’ve instilled the right values in you to make the right decisions. But no matter what you go through in life, never doubt our love for you. Never let anyone dull your shine or stop you from being you. I want you to love on yourself so hard that your flaws become your perfections. Know that you are worthy of so much more than the attention anyone can give you. Create your own lane and know that we will always be here to support you. I love you so much, baby girl.