Middle school isn't the end of the world. You are not defined by the clothes that you wear, the way you dress or how your hair looks. There will come a day when you look in the mirror and aren't disgusted by what you see. By the time you reach high school, you'll have a supportive girl posse that still holds strong today, you'll join a sports team and lose some weight (even though you looked fine before) and you'll discover the right type of hair products to use on your unruly mane. Dear younger self, it gets better.
Dear younger self, stop hurting your beautiful skin. The pain and anger that you're feeling is sometimes so thick, it feels like you're numb - it will fade. The burns you put on your body, the skin you pick off your nails, the pins you stick in your arms - none of that will fill the void of the hurt that grows inside you. You won't know what's wrong with you - why you stay up at night worrying, why you're so sensitive - but you'll meet your best friend through these times, and in her, you'll gain a confidant who knows exactly what you're going through.
Dear younger self, trust me, starving yourself is not worth it. Middle school boys are not worth your time, tears or skipped meals. Stop letting other people control how you see yourself; you are your own gatekeeper. There will always be people who will wear the right clothes, who will say the right things and who will look the right way - those people have boring lives. Enjoy being carefree, that you're different, that you don't have to spend your whole life setting trends for other people. Enjoy being you, because you are beautiful, you are smart, and you are loved.
Dear younger self, you are more. You are more than that smart "black girl." You are more than the token "black" friend. You are more than a daughter and a sister. You are more than words that people use to fit you into a category. You are more than your hometown, the color of your skin, your hair type and your socioeconomic background. You are more. You are a person, you have feelings, and you have a brain. Do not let others put you in a box that you yourself have not created. Life is about moments; life is about living. Don't spend your life worried about what others will think of you. You are a beautiful lioness; you do not have time to worry about what the sheep think about.
Lions don't lose sleep over the opinions of sheep.
Dear younger self, it gets better. Sometimes it's so good, you forget all about those girls who wouldn't hang out with you or the boy who said his parents didn't let him hang out with "black people." Sometimes life is so good, you forget that you once hated the way you looked. Sometimes life is so great that you forget about middle school all together.
Dear younger self, know where you came from but never look back. There's life left to live.
P.S. Your love for the environment leads you to studying Environmental Law, and yes, you will finish writing that book. And yes, it is awesome.
P.P.S. Your hair still rocks, and now it's a glorious tame mess of springy curls, which is only befitting because every lioness needs a mane.