If I could, I would wave a magic wand and make you see that everything you do right now actually does matter.

I would tell you how I felt like it was all bullshit when I was 16 too and how I know I was wrong.

I know that this isn’t the order of things. You generally have to learn this for your own.

But this seems especially shitty for you because for you the stakes are so much higher than they were for me.

I had my hardships and heartbreaks but I had a support system to pick me up. I had food though it was “too healthy” and clothes though they were “not my style.” I had parents who knew you have to send an excuse letter in with your kid when they miss a day of school. Better yet I had parents who even forced me to go to school even when I didn’t want to. I had parents who saved for my college education, who helped me fill out the fafsa. I had parents who encouraged me and cared about my hopes and dreams.

I walked into stores and out of them without being accused of stealing. I never saw a shooting in my neighborhood. I walked through my dark neighborhood at night with friends and I didn’t worry. Nobody ever robbed my house.

When I fell in with the wrong crowd the worst they did was drink my parent’s ancient bottle of bacardi. I never joined a gang.

I never got arrested.

I never had to wear an electronic bracelet.

My future was limitless even though I thought everything was bullshit and I knew everything because I was 16.

But the harsh truth is kid, you don’t have the luxuries I had. If I could give you even a glimpse of what I had financially I would do it. But I can’t.

The most I can offer you is any wisdom I have. the most I can offer is nagging you about your grades, is explaining that having the sniffles doesn’t mean you miss a day of school, that you have to actually make an effort even when you don’t want to.

The most I can offer you is a compliment on bringing up a grade, or landing a job interview, even when you roll your eyes and say, “Miss, you’re forcing it.”

The most I can offer you is to hold you to a high standard even though you’re coming from less.

The most I can offer you is to believe in you even if on paper it seems like I shouldn’t.

Even if you won’t stop loudly singing one line of a Destiny’s Child song out loud in the middle of class despite my repeated and varied strategies to get you to just effing stop and self-regulate your behavior.

Even if you messed up last quarter or the quarter before.

Even if I feel like I’m talking to myself, or a brick wall, or speaking a foreign language.

Someday you’re going to open your eyes and see that it matters. You’ll give a shit.

But for now it seems like I have to hold onto that shit for you.

Well, I will then, gladly.