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Letters to My Pre-Teen Daughter: Letter II

More hair tips before I forget. We talked about twists. You have to get really good at making ewedu and egusi and efo since these are your favorite greens and you need to eat greens everyday to keep your hair–and everything else–healthy.


So wash your hair with warm water, shampoo optional. You can use conditioner to wash, or if you’re good about not putting too much product in your hair, you could probably get away with dry shampoo methods. Me personally I like the sensation of running water pelting my scalp, so choose what works for you. But when you wash it, wash it with warm (not hot) water. And rinse it with cool water. The cool water will allow you to retain more of your hair’s moisture and oils as opposed to stripping it, which is what the hot water would do. Again, you’ll deep-condition under a cap and sit under a hooded dryer for 20-30 min. No need to overdo it. Rinse that out with cool water and put in your leave-in, coating each strand. Then re-twist with unpetroleum jelly. You got this.


And boys. Don’t let them take up too much space in your head. When you’re 35 and you finally meet a decent boy, make sure he sees you. Make sure he values you. Make sure he understands that God took his time on you, and that you are a work of majestic art. Don’t give mental real estate to people who wouldn’t notice if you died. Never chase a man. They are wired to chase. Let them chase you. Let them prove to you that they are worthy of your love, affection, your time. He who does the best job of this: convinces your best friends, your mom, your uncle-fathers, your Pastor and you that he will devote his life to making you happy, helping you fulfill your God-given purpose and raising children who will be a reflection of both of you, that’s the one you marry. Never date a man who you wouldn’t want to reproduce in a son or daughter. Don’t use love, or lust, to supplant your feelings of inadequacy. There will be times when you may feel inadequate. Then make a list of all your greatest qualities. Ask your girlfriends to prop you up, your aunties, most importantly come ask me and I’ll remind you how perfectly divine you are. No man can source your self-esteem. You have to always remember that you are gloriously imperfect and made that way on purpose. Always strive to be better, sharper, more disciplined, more focused, more happy. The joy you radiate in doing what you love is what will attract the right people into your life. Let the wrong ones walk away without sneezing.


And I need to meet this boy, because you know I’m clairvoyant and I can tell you whether or not he’s going to be a d-bag. I promise to always tell you the truth, but I’ll let you make your own decisions. Love yourself first, so that others can love you the same. If I’m not around for some reason, take him to Aunty Nathalie. She’ll also be able to spot a d-bag from a mile away. We got our first degrees in d-bags. Otherwise take him to your Pastor.

Your Heart

And also, you can control your thoughts, and therefore control your emotions/behaviors. More on this later. But for now, know that it’s not sufficient to say “my heart made me do it”. Always use your head and keep your heart in check.

About Lolade

Lolade is a Gates Cambridge Scholar, starting her PhD in Sociology with the 2019 class. She recently graduated with her MA in African Studies [Sociology discipline] from Yale University where she researched ethnic identity formation among Nigerian immigrants in New York, Tokyo and Mumbai. She is the author of 'Market of Dreams' a radical poetry collection about love and freedom. She obsesses over indigenous textiles, cultural preservation and innovation, and intimately connecting the African Diaspora.

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