Granddaughter, listen to my advise:
1. When her boyfriend sticks his tongue down your throat, do not kiss back. Push him away, then swallow down the bile that’s threatening to spill out of your soft lips. Take off, run, and never look back. Some boys like to play dangerous games; but darling, you are not a toy.
2. The boy next door with the tanned skin and earthy brown eyes will whisper beautiful things to you. Sad things, loving things, things that will make blood rush to your cheeks in raging streams. Don’t believe the words that tumble out of his mouth baby; most people never really mean what they say. But that’s life, and it’ll be okay.
3. Be strong, be bold, be unafraid of the world and all the people in it. Always, always speak your mind and pounce to action when injustice creeps up on you. Challenge him when he questions you, hurl facts and opinions like darts until he recedes with shame. Whenever you feel rage and anger spreading like wildfire through your heart, speak up. Your words matter. You matter.
4. You are beautiful. You have always been beautiful, and you need to believe that you are. Even if the magazines don’t appreciate your wide hips or your glowing brown skin; dark and soft like honey, learn how to love yourself. This body is the only home you’ll have in this lifetime, so my darling, learn how to embrace every scar, freckle and mole. You are made out of the same atoms that formed Frida Kahlo and Picasso. You are art and you need to have faith in that.
5. It’s okay to eat dinner on your own. Or lunch. Or breakfast for that matter. There is no shame in solitude. Go to a quaint cafe; and observe the sights and sounds around you. Take note of the smell of fresh coffee hanging hot and heavy in the air. You are by yourself and free to be who you really are. It is a lovely feeling. Revel in it, my love. When you finally leave, you will realize that you’ve just learned how to be okay on your own.
6. If someday you wake up and start to see the world in greys, please, please come to me first. I will hold you and we’ll take a long drive to nowhere with your favourite mix-tape playing in the car. I will remind you that the only way out is through, and that the demons in your mind are most definitely not stronger than you. I will tell you how much this world needs you so it can heal, how staying alive is a much better deal. I will tell you that I love you, then kiss your forehead, and promise to do everything I can, until your universe stops playing out in shades of blue.