How many talents do you have? Can you dance? Sing? Sports? Speak well? What’s your muse? Mine is definitely writing. I’m not sure if this came from twenty-something years of school or my obvious shyness that enters my soul when the spotlight is on me. Either way, my muse has always been using my mind to put words together or to visually see the dopeness in others.
Like many things that I choose to write about, this one will be very different. This piece is dedicated to the seven year old Leslie. The things I wish someone told me at seven versus showing me at seven. Show versus tell. This ideology has spilled over into my adulthood, and it has taken quite a while for me to figure out how to balance the two. While reading this piece, check out Jhene Aiko’s New Balance from her latest album.
Leslie you are beautiful inside and out.
You are dope in the most imaginative ways.
You are a force to be reckoned with.
Your name was given to you by a King. A dysfunctional King, but still a King.
Love your name. Embrace it. Leslie will follow you for the next twenty, thirty, hell hundred years.
The person who you are today will not define who you are in the future.
You’re a kid. Stay young, wild, and free.
Keep reading those books boo. It’ll help you earn a Master’s Degree one day.
Keep fighting your brother too. He’s your biggest supporter and you’ll be the best Aunt to his kids one day.
Keep the same circle of friends. One day, they’ll be your sisters and you won’t imagine life without them.
Keep being unique and free. Girl Scouts may seem lame to some, but it’ll teach you skills for life.
Your body is the way God made it. Don’t be ashamed of those cankles you got, girl! Wear that cute dress your Mama sent you from Alabama.
The elders aren’t mean. They’re old and set in their ways. You’re gonna learn a lot from them, especially that feisty Lena.
Today’s your seventh birthday! Party and celebrate. Keep partying and celebrating until you can’t no more. With this year, be the best daughter, sister, cousin, & friend that you can be.
Overall, stay who you are - Unabashedly.
Besides, you’re from Chicaaaagooo. London Towne. St. Mary’s AME. Wendell Smith. Can’t nobody tell you NOTHING! Just watch!
Dedicated to the seven year old Leslie.
The biggest takeaway I’d like for you to leave from this, is recognize your muse. Recognize your talents and what drives you.
Learn to balance the show and tell.
Show love and grow. But reassure those around you with kind words, cards, balloons, and presence.
Nurture the babies in your life. It truly takes a village (Special shout out to mine)
Never stop being a kid.
Don’t you burn that twinkle in your soul.
Don’t you stop listening to music.
You better not stop learning! And I mean never!
Learn to forgive and put on the back burner.
Birthdays are for the blessed. Enjoy each and every one that The Most High gives you!
And then give back.