Note to Self: A letter to the 16 year old girl that eventually would become Enchanted
Looking at this picture, I am struck by the brightness of your smile. There were rare moments growing up that you allowed yourself the luxury of a smile that free. It’s beautiful. You should know that. I wish you could see how the freedom reflected in that smile is utterly beautiful, so much more so than the smile you practice to fit in with others and be accepted. Even back then at age 16 you were cautious always purposeful, trying to “enchant”. What began as a shyness and insecurity, years later you will embrace, and it will make you unique. So I am here to tell you, it’s ok to be Christal. Words are so powerful. I am the embodiment of unsure words you uttered during high school and college. You wanted so badly to be a “PR” to be like the ad execs on Melrose Place, wearing short skirts with stilletos and handling fabulous accounts. Well little one, you did it. I don’t even think you realized how powerful your words were. You never acknowledged your actions, but they paid off as well. If there is one thing I would tell you, it would be to stop looking at the greatness in others and downplaying yourself. Its something you still struggle with today, but you’re getting better. Its ok to be Christal.
You owe a HUGE thank you to your mother. Making you write poems and short stories for family and friends paid off and you are a brilliant writer. Words empower you, and they will help you through one of the biggest tragedies of your life, losing your father. The goal of making your father proud isn’t realized, but you find yourself in the process. Writing your first novel, “Under the Cherry Moon” is one of the biggest accomplishments of your life and you owe it to your mother who kept pressing you to utilize the talent within. With tremendous pain often comes tremendous growth. I am proud that you continue to grow throughout every stumbling block. You don’t always acknowledge your progress, but you pick up and keep moving. There is value in that. Its ok to be Christal.
The lessons that you gave the little girls in your Women of Tomorrow class while teaching them charm & etiquette; they apply to you as well. You must realize that you to deserve everything you taught your students. Yes you planted good seeds for your beautiful daughter, but my darling she can’t harvest those lessons if she doesn’t see her mother apply them. Take time to love Christal just the way she is. Don’t wait for a higher paying job, more money or a bigger house, love her today. She is worthy. Its ok to be Christal.
The little brown-skinned boy you fell in love with at the first dance at the University of Oklahoma, turned out to be one of the biggest loves and losses of your life. He isn’t the love of your life but he is your first true love and will introduce you to the meaning of heartbreak. I will not lie to you, at times it will seem as if the enormity of the betrayal will overcome you, but in the end you will persevere. Pain is real and there is nothing you can do to avoid it. Sometimes avoiding it, makes the pain more poignant, so sometimes just take a moment and swallow your truth. You will be ok. That boy gave you the most beautiful gifts in the world and they offered you unconditional love something you’d been searching for all your life. They give it to you just because you’re Christal. Being Christal is enough.
Your career will have ups and downs but I can assure you giving up your plush PR job at the hospital is not the end of your story. Eventually you end up in Atlanta, GA running your own PR firm and accomplishing things you never dreamed of doing, working for and meeting people you looked up to as a child. Many times along this journey I have wished I could’ve sent you a snapshot of some of the things you will accomplish in hopes that it would make you appreciate and celebrate Christal. MTV, E!, Entertainment Tonight, the Grammy’s you’ve done it all little one and yes on your own. Its ok to be Christal.
You are constantly told that you are strong. Instead of lowering your eyes and refuting the claim, put your shoulders back, chin forward and embrace their words. You are strong. There is no shame in being strong. A few months ago I looked in the mirror and I realized that you indeed do become the woman you always dreamed of being.. So much was in you, if only you’d looked in the mirror and appreciated yourself instead of pointing out all the things that could have been better or should’ve been fixed. Know that you are enough. Know that you are brilliant, caring, loving and an asset to those that have you in their life. Most importantly, fall in love with Christal. She is enough, just the way she is.