© Ashley Armitage
8th February 2021
Words by Gabriela Valentina. Photography by Ashley Armitage.
Valentine's Day is around the corner...
In her letter, UK Blogger Gabriela Valentina reminds us that the first love relationship we should have is first and foremost with ourselves.
London, 16th June 2020
I know, letters are dated and receiving one might come as a surprise. But I could not think of a better medium when talking to you about a theme that I hope it’s only an issue of the past.
As a woman, life will throw many curve balls at you, physically – with painful periods, pregnancies,… - and socially - trying to sell you products promoting that you are not good-looking, skinny and glamorous enough. That happens and we deal with it. We keep showing these sellers that these tricks are less effective the more time passes. But I really hope that in your present, my future, there’s one less battle you’ll have to fight, and that’s racism.
By now, I truly hope that you know -and I don’t want you to have to deal with it, but if you do, I want for this letter to be a constant reminder – that you are not wrong, you are not crazy and, most importantly you are worthy.
You are worthy of love.
You are worthy of respect.
You are worthy of every success in your life.
You are not crazy for thinking that that’s a jab to your self-esteem, to your physical features, to your intelligence.
You are not wrong.
Microaggressions do exist and I have had to deal with them for all my life and if you are ever in my position, I want you to know that no, it is not all in your head.
But with all the bad comes so much good in the world and I hope there is much of it in your life.
Your Melanin is a gift, you glisten under the sun and your hair is not nappy, it is not complicated nor difficult. It is multi-faceted, versatile in so many ways. God took the time to curl every strand to perfection and if you take the time to listen to your hair needs, you’ll discover a beautiful pattern that’s yours and yours only.
I know things will feel weird the moment you’ll realise that you have to work twice as hard to achieve as much as some of your peers.
I know you’ll be a great kid. Your laughter will light up rooms and your beauty will turn heads, though, at times, this won’t be enough.
Choose wisely the people you surround yourself with, educate yourself on things outside of your school curriculum, be ready to defend your identity and ethnicity even when people “don’t want to make it about race” and ask you “why are you always so defensive?” Show them the errors of their ways, in a kind and respectful way, but do explain why things can be offensive or downright nasty.
But what I really hope for you is to find love and comfort in yourself. Not everyone is going to like you, not everyone will want to be down with you and what you care about, and that’s fine.
You have to learn how to take care of yourself first. Your needs, your mental health are important.
Take care of them.
The right people will come into your life and understand you in every single way and you won’t have to hide any aspect of yourself to them.
They’ll come from everywhere in the world, independently of colour and race.
I want you to understand that joy will be in your life no matter the wishes of people who do not want that for you.
You are in control of so much.
And, only when you’ll love yourself as much as I love you you’ll be able to unleash your full potential; because being Black is so much more than your skin colour.
It’s our heritage - your culture, your ancestry.
And that’s something no one will be able to take away from you.
Gabriela Valentina, also known as the Pink Silver Fox, is a UK blogger. In her blog, she describes her platform as 'not only an outlet to express my creativity but also a way to express my personal interests and an opportunity to vent on some of my issues'.
IG @pinksilverfox | www.pinksilverfox.com
Ashley Armitage is a photographer based in NY & Chicago. Through photography, she is redefining beauty ideals. She has worked with the likes of Uniqlo, Lazy Loafs or Refinery29,...
www.asharmitage.com | IG @ladyist