“What I’m Telling You is Yes Yes Yes”
To my beloved high school senior:
It is college application season. You and your friends are being asked to condense your whole beings into 650 words, the grades you have earned, and a list of activities that caught your teenage interest. Is it any wonder you drag yourself to the desk? Who could go with grace to this task whose stakes feel so high?
Before you submit yourself for inspection to a committee that will decide if you are “worthy,” and before these schools with the big names that look so good on sweatshirts have their chance to pronounce your worth—allow me to answer:
Yes yes yes.
My dear heart—you who did not patent an invention, or work in a cancer research lab, or get elected president of, well, anything— you are amazing.
You excel at kindness, and making your parents laugh. You have a philosopher’s mind, a nurturer’s soul, and a prankster’s sense of humor. You notice when someone is standing outside the circle, and say, let’s make the circle bigger. You know how to stop a bully with a look.
Forgive my hyperbole; it’s about to get extra: you are the shining light of God’s eyes. I know you don’t believe in God, but can you think of a word that better captures the beauty of your unique soul? (If you can, use it in that essay.)
What I’m telling you is, Yes yes yes.
Before the envelopes, thick or thin, begin to arrive; before you even submit your requests; what I am telling you is you have all you need inside you to craft a life that fills you.
I am not saying, my sweet kiddo, that it will be smooth sailing. There will be times in life when you will question your worth. I tell you this from experience. Impostor syndrome comes to everyone, myself included. (Even the Queen of England, I am sure of it, had her moments of looking around Westminster Abbey, feeling the weight of the crown and sceptre, and pinching herself.) You will wonder, Who am I fooling? Who am I to write a book? To stand at an Open Mic? To dream of greatness?
What I’m telling you in a voice that is loud and clear and bold: you are everything.
So, when you do, you know, eventually, hopefully before the deadlines, send off those applications, know that your worth is not waiting to be decided. It is already as steadfast, whole, and unassailable as my love.
Laura Nicole Diamond is the award-winning author of Shelter Us: a novel, and Dance with Me: a love letter, and editor of the anthology Deliver Me: True Confessions of Motherhood. She is at work on a memoir about becoming a foster mom to a teenage asylum-seeker. Medium, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
*This essay was prompted by the kickass poem, “God Says Yes To Me” by Kaylin Haught.