Graduation Day

"Welcome to Beyoncé's Homecoming" Beychella, Indio, California 2018

I sat down to write my niece a little something for her high school graduation day, and I thought I

might as well share it with everyone. Hope it inspires.

Dear Victoria,

I wish I could be there for your graduation party. You’re the first of all the nieces and nephews to graduate from high school, and I know it will be quite the celebration. It’s somewhat strange for me that seventeen years have passed since the first party we threw for you — your 1st birthday party. I remember so much of it as though it were only yesterday. I can still smell the sugar and cocoa of the chocolate icing Aunt Joleen made for your birthday cake. And I remember the look of wonder and amazement you had in your eyes as you tasted that sweet cake for the first time. Now, all these years later, if there were any advice I would pass on to you on this special day, it's to realize that life does go very quickly. It seems almost impossible to me that my own home school graduation party was twenty years ago, and yet somehow twenty years have passed like a song on the radio. To that end, I want to encourage you to do something very important. I want to encourage you to dream big for yourself as you step out into the world. I want you to remind yourself to go after exactly what you want from this life and to know that achieving even your wildest dreams is completely possible. You will definitely have to put in some hard work to get wherever you want to go, but it can happen. Look at your mom, for instance. All she wanted growing up was to be a mother of a bunch of wonderful kids and a wife to an amazing husband. She wanted to be beautiful and domestic and that’s exactly the life that she's made for herself. When I was growing up, all I ever wanted was to be an artist, to make movies, and to live in California. Well, clearly that is what I have achieved. It’s never easy going after what you want whether it's straight A’s or a perfect flag routine or being a writer in Hollywood. And you may decide at some point that you're happy with settling down to smaller aspirations and a simpler life, and that is just as wonderful as wanting to be president or curing cancer. However, if you want to reach for the stars, I promise you that no dream you dare to go after is outside your grasp. You just have to go after it. And the beautiful thing about the people who truly love you is that they will support that dream even if they don’t understand it.

That’s another thing I want to share with you. I want to talk to you about love. The most important person you can love in this life is yourself. I think many of us are raised learning to love our brothers and sisters and mom and dad and friends, and we’re taught to hide the things about us that they might not love in return. But, in believing there are parts of us that aren’t worthy of love, we tend to stop loving ourselves entirely, and we focus only on the love we get for being what others want us to be. But this is a HUGE mistake. While you can hide a lot of things from the world so others will love you, you can’t hide anything from yourself. You know all the dark places inside you and all the flaws you want to keep hidden. But, when you realize that you are beautiful and perfect and worthy of love even with all your supposed defects and blemishes, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks, and suddenly, you become tremendously strong! Because the secret is, 99% of the world is walking around not loving themselves, not appreciating the beauty of their uniqueness. They’re all trying to be something for somebody else whether it’s their friends or family or coworkers or community or even God. But the moment you learn to love yourself, you have them all beat. You won’t need to take any bullying from any of them. You won’t need to be anything but yourself. Let them wallow in the depths of self-hate while you stand tall, you move on, and you don’t let them pull you down to that place of incompleteness. You are you. There is no one else like you. Someone once said gratitude is what makes people happy. And when you can have gratitude for who you are — all of you — you have something special and wondrous to be happy about every day of your life that no one can take from you.

And gratitude is the next thing I want to talk to you about. Even though you will reach whatever dream you go after, your journey getting there will not go to plan. There will be extremely painful moments and times when you will seriously want to give up on everything. But never forget, we all have those moments when we think we can’t go on. There is no such thing as a perfect life even for the richest and most powerful people on earth. And if in the hardest times, you can be grateful for just the sun on your face or the chirp of a songbird or the sound of your own breath, you will get through. And life is worth getting through. Every year, every month, every day you will learn more and more, and it will get easier and easier to understand the mysteries of it all. And the more grateful you can be, the happier you will always find yourself.

Victoria, I love you. If you ever need me, I am here — just a phone call or a plane flight away. Wishing you all the happiness in the world on your graduation day!!

Your Uncle,


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