Solange Writes A Powerful Letter to Her Younger Self: ‘there will be pain, there will be doubt there will be beauty.’

Solange is gracing the cover of Teen Vogue this month in honor of their music issue. The publication published the songstress and cultural icon’s powerful letter to self. In it, Solange recalls what it felt like to be seventeen, to be a new mom, to be lost, to be unsure, and how all of that uncertainty and doubt will make way for finding herself.

Director and chief curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem, Thelma Golden describes Solange perfectly in the foreword preceding the piece, “In a culture that has often defined beauty so narrowly and placed so many limitations on possibility, she shows us that we need not accept others’ projections of who we are. Instead, we will boldly exist at the creations of our own powerful imaginations, redefining beauty and possibility without limits, knowing and loving who we are.”

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In her lengthy “A Letter to My Teenage Self,” Solange Knowles poetically, and notably in all lowercase letters, walks herself through the pain, the doubt, and the beauty that will be life. The “Cranes in the Sky” singer starts the note to self with the message:

there will be fear. a lot of it. there will be triumph. a lot of it. there will be constellations you want to reach for but can’t put your finger on. you will trace them like the scars on your body you got from trouble and the times of your life. you will take the long way to get to these Orions. the long way will become a theme in your life, but a journey you learn to love.

you will dive head first without looking into phases that you are certain of who you are. some of these stages include:

  • the dance-is-life (aka “this leotard is my second skin”) phase.
  • the Bible-thumping-church-camp phase
    (which coincided and contradicted with the Fiona-Apple-fan-club-president phase).
  • the Nas-aficionado-brown-lip-liner-and-Vaseline phase.
  • the Rasta-vegan-thrifter-who-is-determined-to-marry-Brandon-Boyd phase.
  • the football-player’s-girlfriend-who-wears-braided-blond-highlights-and-swears-by-capri-pants phase.

at the time, you are searching. seeking in every corner and pocket of the world for who you are. take your time, baby girl. there’s no rush to get there. you will sow each of these chapters in the land that you become. you will see bits and pieces of them scattered into the skin you grow into. you don’t have to figure everything out now. time will reveal itself. i promise you.

sometimes you push these phases to the max, and when you go out into the world feeling confident in who you are and what you reflect, young folks will call you names and grown folks will call you names. It’s ok. one day you will name yourself, and that name will belong to you. it will not be the ones they ordained: ‘crazy, ugly, attention-seeking, weirdo.’

i really hate to tell you this, but sometimes you will still get called these things as an adult, except you will actually embrace some of them. you will learn that these are just words. words that only have power if you choose to give them power. every once in a while they will hurt, but you will choose to turn those words into a symbol of beauty.

This week, Solange took home the honor of Artist of the Year at “The Oscars of the internet”, aka The Webby Awards. Among other things, Solange was also celebrated for her website, Saint Heron, and what she has done to further collaboration of artists and bringing the freedom of creative expression to a pop landscape.

Upon receiving her award, the singer offered a unique rendition of a traditional acceptance speech. In five words, she accepted her award and said, “I got five on it” as a throwback to hip hop duo Luniz.

Apparently, five word acceptance speeches are a rule with the Webby awards. Kim Kardashian said “Nude selfies ‘til I die” for hers. And Prince uttered, “Everything you think is true,” for his. Solange gave an extended speech on Twitter later on.

Solange is having a lit week and we couldn’t wish anything less for our soul sister. Read her full letter to self over at Teen Vogue when you get the chance. You won’t regret it.

Photo Credit: PR Photos

Sheriden Chanel is a twenty-something writer, Beyoncé enthusiast, and lover of all things visual art. Keep up with her and her musings on social via @indiebyline.