18 Things Every Brown Girl Should Know and Have by 18

So a few years ago I read this article by Essence called 30 Things Every Black Woman Should Have and Know by 30. Periodically I pull out my list (since I printed it off for keepsakes) so that I can continuously evaluate myself. Not that this list is the end all and know all of where I should be by the time that I am 30 — God am I dreading that day somewhat — but it had great points that we as girls and women of color don’t tap into accomplishing for ourselves early on… But I had a list of my own personal notes from the list that I do have and I did it well before 30… And ironically IT HELPS!! It gives some aspects of my life new meaning, to be prepared for specific things in my life and even if I’m not, I have a few tools to help along the way.

But then I got to thinking why does the list have to be age 30??? There were plenty of things I wish I would have thought about by age 18 that I didn’t really focus on until I graduated college. 18 was the year where my whole life was ahead of me and I thought I was going to have it all, know it all and achieve it all — ALL without bumps in the road… Let me tell you how WRONG I was…. it was just the beginning of life’s lessons. Living life only one day at a time and not being fully concerned about the past or the future was something I wish I would have paid attention to then and didn’t have to learn after the fact.

We as brown girls tend to live life for the moment — which don’t get me wrong is awesome at times. It’s an amazing feeling to be carefree and open to life, music, love, but you also have to be open to reality. There are things that are going to happen to you after 18 that you at times feel as if there is no way out, may cry yourself to sleep for, numb the feeling with comfort foods or just wish you had the shoulder to cry on that simply just might not be there.Then there will be times when you will be full of life and things are going fine, but there’s something missing that you just can’t put your finger on. Trust me it’s going to be a growing process that you have to endure.

The list compiled for you young brown girls is a guide to use when you need a pick me up, serious things to begin putting in place for your future, or just tools to begin your womanhood. This list I thought about for myself when I was 18 and beginning to approach life’s obstacles and had no single clue. So here’s my list to you!!

1) Discover something you love- such as a hobby or a passion. Something you can dive into to get your creative juices flowing when life’s ups and downs have their way with you.

2) Have a good morning and evening skin routine. Take care of your skin and your natural glow and drink lots of water.

3) Learn how to not sweat the small stuff. Bigger obstacles will come your way so take those moments in stride and press forward.

4) Read books. Knowledge is power. Cliché statement, but it’s the truth. Expand your mind to have a wealth of knowledge on various subjects. Don’t allow others to think you’re ill-informed on life.

5) Learn to handle finances. Open a savings account. Learn to save a few dollars and budget yourself.There’s nothing like watching your money grow. If there is any personal finance course in your school-TAKE IT. It has fundamentals for what you will need in the REAL WORLD.

6) Get a part-time job.Take on a responsibility and gain a good work ethic. Hard-working girls become strong, independent, and hard-working women. One of the best assets society ever gained.

7) Learn who your real friends are. Watch the ones who talk about you behind your back and who you tell your secrets to. Watch the ones who take revenge on situations. Keep your eyes open to temporary friends.

8) Keep your room clean. And not just your version of clean. But keep it nice and need, near spotless and everything in its place. There’s nothing worse than a nasty woman with a nasty house. Get in the good habits early. You’ll thank me later.

9) Learn your family history. Have that difficult talk with your grandparents on who you are and where you come from. Know your family’s struggles, triumphs, and contributions. Nothing worse than a brown girl who can’t search her ancestry unless it’s through ancestry.com. Most older people don’t talk about the past so if you get this to pass on to future generations you are golden.

10) Grow a relationship with your mother. Teenage years, at times you will resent her. But you have to learn why she is the way she is, what she’s been through and what lessons she doesn’t want you to have to go through. Don’t let precious years of the best friend you will ever have go by where you’re not growing together.

11) Learn how to cook. At least one meal. Learn those family traditions and recipes, even spice it up to create your own.

12) Have that one quote or scripture that immediately makes you calm down, readjust and recharge yourself back to normalcy.

13) Have at least one complete professional outfit. You’ll go on many professional interviews or just may want to be ready for an event. If you desire to go into the professional world, it is imperative to dress for success .

14) Work towards getting a passport.See different countries. If you can’t do that. Take a road trip with friends and see extraordinary places in your own. (But be safe and careful of your surroundings.)

15) Take time to smell the roses. See life for what it is and find what makes you enjoy it. Even if you don’t like all of it, embrace it. It gets better.

16) Never lose your sense of individuality. It’s okay to not share the same likes, dislikes, dreams, hopes, religion, etc as your peers. Don’t feel as if you need to follow the crowd to fit in. Be you and ONLY you. Those who love you will accept you just the way you are.

17) Learn to depend on yourself. Gain a sense of independence. Offer to pay one of your bills. Be responsible to buy all of your personal toiletries and maintaining them. Try to handle certain things by yourself before asking for help (unless it’s big things). Learn to be self-sufficient and fulfill your own needs first before searching for someone else to do that for you (i.e. boys).

18) Learn to love yourself. Every flaw. Every quirk. Every dimple. Ever nook and cranny of you. Know the beauty you have on the inside and out. Whitney Houston said it best…”Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.”

-MRG