A letter to my younger self…

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Every issue, a Pride reader writes a letter to herself as a teenage girl, filled with advice, hot tips and hints for the future. Here, IT specialist turned talk show host Jo Maxwell writes to herself in the past, reminding herself to stick to her guns and be confident

Dear Ibijoke – or should I say, my dear Jo,

I remember the very first thing you desired as a child, age five, was to be a very successful accountant. You had the image of yourself in a skirt suit with a briefcase, walking daily into an office building owned by you, a very tall glass building. I think you just knew you would be a successful black girl but perhaps being an accountant was the best thing you could picture your success to as a child. You grew up believing so much in that profession that you went ahead to have a degree in Accounting and Finance. And although it turned out that you weren’t meant to be an accountant anyway, the most important thing is you had a vision to be a successful woman. You have always known what you wanted and went for it regardless. You grew up always going for what you wanted.

I remember clearly your childhood being an interesting one as you, my dear, are a very interesting child – and a loud one too! One that gives everyone a headache most times, yet turned out to be a smart girl who earned a degree. Gosh, you are such an extrovert and always throw caution to the wind, and it bothers everyone who seem to care so much for you. Your guts are ‘too daring’, but I never doubted you, not for one second. You know exactly what you’re doing, as you decide with your head and not your heart.

I know you sometimes worry about finding yourself giving opinions when issues arise around you and want to give up on doing that; I assure you that you wouldn’t be you if you try to change that. I know you sometimes worry and care about what people think or what people will say. But people will always talk, regardless, so just be you and do you. It is okay to say fewer words and listen more, which I know you do a lot of, but then again people around you aren’t used to you not talking. Girl, you have always been talkative, every since Year 1 – and I am not sure of how much will change after 30+ years of your life! Be you and let people around you fit around who you are. You are special and I want you to remember that.

One of the many special things about you is the desire to always help people around you. Your streak of kindness stems from when you were age three: you offered your umbrella to a sick man sitting on the street and beaten by the rain. You cared so much, you wanted him to be sheltered. Please continue to be kind. Yes, I know you cannot change the world, but the little you do will make a difference in the world we live in.   


Remember this: the day you stop learning is the day you die. Be willing to learn something everyday. I am excited for the young woman you have become, however it is nothing compared to the dreams you had as a child. Remember that tall glass building you owned? The briefcase? Your act of kindness and generosity?

I am very excited about the future; I know it is a bright one, a mind blowing one. I believe in you so much, and that your qualities will set you apart and make you stand out. One thing I need you to do for me is to BELIEVE in yourself, BE CONSISTENT in all you do and remain KIND. Get ready for the amazing ride where I get to write the rest of journal for you.

Self love,



Jo Maxwell is a wife, mother-of-three, and an all-round go-getter, with an aim to showcase some of the inspiring and amazing black people who have done so well for themselves in the UK. Tune into her show at www.jomaxwellshow.com

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