Dear Imani,

You are very independent by nature and I love that about you. You have a strong sense of self, you mostly march to the beat of your own drum and you are not afraid of your own company. I want you to keep this alive. This attitude saves you from a lot of social trouble and peer pressure. Even when your self-esteem takes a hit, your independence somehow saves you from spiralling into the mad and destructive behaviour of those around you—that, and God.

But I want to warn you about something. While your independence is great, you often confuse dependence with weakness, which, by the way, it is not. This means you can often be dismissive, insensitive and disdainful. You are so focused on marching forward and setting your own pace that you don’t notice all the helping hands being offered to you. And worse, you become frustrated with those who aren’t like you.

You’re going to learn that you have to love your people with an open heart and once you do, you will see that God has given you some of the best people out there. Stop trying to win this supposed contest of not needing people. You are the only one playing this game and the prize isn’t pretty, it’s isolation. Being a cold-hearted bitch is overrated so you need to learn how not to be one.

Unfortunately, you will lose a friend because you will feel overwhelmed by how much she relies on you, but really you should know that all she wants is a listening ear. Your friendship will crumble and you will be too proud to fix it. This will haunt you and you will live with the guilt for a long time. The guilt will make you over-compensate in your future friendships. You will obsessively try to keep all ties intact until you will learn that some friendships simply die and it isn’t always your fault. Before you realise this though, you will go years without asking what it is that you require in a friendship. Start thinking about this now.

I’m excited for you. Some very lovely years in your life are coming soon and you’re about to meet some lovely people—I just need you to count on them and trust them and rely on them. Allow them to be there for you and allow them to know you—it won’t kill you!



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