Solange To Her Teenage Self: “There Will Be Pain, There Will Be Doubt, There Will Be Beauty, There Will Be The Unknown”

by Erika W. Smith

BUST’s April/May cover gal Solange is now Teen Vogue’s cover gal, for its music issue out May 23. Side note, can we keep Solange on magazine covers year-round, every year, please?

Instead of an interview, Teen Vogue features a letter/poem Solange wrote to her teenage self, and it’s beautiful.

She begins with both poignancy:

there will be fear. a lot of it. there will be triumph. a lot of it. there will be constellations you want to reach for but can’t put your finger on. you will trace them like the scars on your body you got from trouble and the times of your life. you will take the long way to get to these Orions. the long way will become a theme in your life, but a journey you learn to love.

you will dive head first without looking into phases that you are certain of who you are.

And then she adds some humor with a description of her various teenage phases:

some of these stages include:

• the dance-is-life (aka “this leotard is my second skin”) phase.
• the Bible-thumping-church-camp phase
• (which coincided and contradicted with the Fiona-Apple-fan-club-president phase).
• the Nas-aficionado-brown-lip-liner-and-Vaseline phase.
• the Rasta-vegan-thrifter-who-is-determined-to-marry-Brandon-Boyd phase.
• the football-player’s-girlfriend-who-wears-braided-blond-highlights-and-swears-by-capri-pants phase.


Solange goes on to detail her how her love of words grew when she was young, her adventures and misadventures with friends, her relationship with her mom, the importance of asking for help, and how her seventeenth year was the hardest year of her life – she lost a friend to gun violence and gave birth to her son.

She closes the letter/poem with a beautiful message that teenage girls – and adult women, too – need to read:

you have a long life ahead of you, and i’ll tell you it’s not gonna always be easy, but I can promise you it will be fruitful and with much purpose. all the bridges you’ve burned, you had to, so that you could rebuild them to become a stronger and more wonderful you.

there will be pain, there will be doubt there will be beauty, there will be the unknown. there will be so many moments of joy and delight that the whole universe will feel painted in hues of amber and wonder. there will be times you are so sad you can’t lift your head. and there will be times you are so happy that the sensation of life knocks you down. but most importantly, there will be you. a whole, whole lot of it. and you will feel good about who she is and who she is still becoming.

Read the full poem over at Teen Vogue.

Top photo from BUST’s April/May issue; photography by Nadya Wasylko // Styling by Peju Famojure // Makeup by Tracy Alfajora // Hair by Amy Farid // Nails by Miss Pop // Shot at Attic Studios

More from BUST

How Solange Is Collaborating With Pitchfork Music Festival

Solange Says, “I Am A Proud Black Feminist”: BUST Sneak Peek

BUST’s April/May Issue With Solange Is On Newsstands Now

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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