Smile when others remark on: 1) your age, 2) your height, 3) your ambition, 4) your femme-ness / pinayism / clothes / make-up / etc., 5) your intellect, 6) their surprise at your intellect, 7) your audacity, 8) your strength, 9) your resiliency, 10) your fire. Know that the struggle will continue on, no matter what age. Know that the struggle will affect how others treat you, professionally value you, professionally value your opinions, your scholarship, your work. Know that you will have to work 10x harder than others just to be considered “on par” with your white colleagues who do a fifth percent of your work. Know that you are better than them. Know that you are smarter than them. Know that despite their ignorance, we live in a world of mirrors, egos, shifting images, and you will be fine. You will be doing the work. The hard work. Be proud. And loud. Move on when the battles aren’t worth it. Pick yourself up when you fall. Remind yourself that it is not selling out when you talk about your work. Because that work is the work you have been toiling on for years, months, days, time, and you deserve the praise you will get for it. You will be more than fine. Because you’re you. And you got yourself this far. And there’s no going back. You’re already here. Going a distance that frightens you. But: you’re moving forward. Step-by-step, fall-by-fall, failure-by-failure, push-by-push. Go that distance. Being who you are. Who you always were.