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Dear 18


As I write to you at age 42, I live with no regrets. 18, you were so naive…. lol

You just wanted to be loved. You absorbed and ingested so much poison in your spirit. You were unaware of how you walked through life eyes wide shut. You just wanted to fit in. You allowed yourself to connect with certain individuals who knew the real you. Yet, you still remained silent about what was hiding deep within. The reality was we were all hiding a certain version of ourselves to stay protected from the vicious tongues of others. My neighborhood was a beautiful place to commune with peers but the survival tactics we had to learn at such a young age was absolutely insane. You never knew what to expect from day to day. I guess this is what Marvin was wailing about in the song: Inner City Blues.

18, you were searching for answers on how to become a woman with limited tools. The joys and pains of a young woman during this period of life was a complicated mystery. You thought you found solitude in men you communed with. Fact is, they were just as confused as you were during this time. The yearning to be validated by outsiders was your downfall. You saw so much by this age. Now, I understand the anxiety and depression you found comfort in. You were romancing an ugly version of yourself that was out of sync with who you were supposed to be.

Dear 18,

You thought you had all of the answers. A foolish little girl you were at the time. You wanted to be grown before your time. Truth is that life forced you to become an adult before your time. Now at 42, I understand I had no control over what was given to me. We as humans skate through life falling into the trap of illusions until you finally put the brakes on your distorted ideologies of what we think is supposed to be.

18, you were such a beautiful young woman. It’s crazy how you never connected to your power. The tools you embodied was a manifestation of seeing too much abuse against women. You learned how to use your hands to keep yourself protected from those who didn’t have good intentions by you. There is so many war stories to tell but I won’t. It is what it is.

However, I say without shame: I WILL NOT APOLOGIZE FOR HOW I HANDLED ABUSERS!!

Heck, no one else was going to protect me. So, I behaved accordingly.

Dear 18,

You were a caged bird. You locked yourself in the unknown after you lost your first opportunity to give life. You went through a period thinking God was against your existence. The reality was the Divine Creator’s tender mercy against my transgressions was always there. I just couldn’t see the glory at the time. His/her protection blessed me to survive through the storm despite what it looked like at the time.

I am forever grateful for the blessing of receiving another shot at Motherhood. As the years followed maturity settled within. Truth is the timing wasn’t right. My knowledge of self wasn’t strengthened enough to carry the weights of that magnitude during that time period. I was blessed to have supportive friends who were there for me during those distressed moments in my life. I am humbled by their strength and love as I healed from that spiritual breakdown. We were all too young handling adult politics with misguided teachings. During those days, we operated with the mindset of warriors. Sometimes the neighborhood was a war zone. This was in the mid 90’s. Today’s generation is dealing with the same stories just different eras. It took years to repair from these experiences.

God, solitude, prayer, fasting, and therapy got me through it. Still, I rise through the ashes unapologetically while walking in compassion and empathy for myself. I forgive you 18. I wish I could have given you more to behave with. I tried to see you for who you were. Life just blinded me from seeing the Divinity of all that you were.

And we BREATHE……

Dear 18,

I now have a replica of you. She’s 19 years of age. Just a year older than you. She’s so beautiful. The difference between our experiences is she has a solid foundation while transitioning to become a woman. 42, is not afraid to inform my 19-year-old about life despite how ugly it can be at times. Miss 19 is making some mistakes in her life, but she is making a conscious effort to not repeat patterns. I am thankful.

Dear 18,

I decided to give myself permission to control the frequency of my flight with boundaries and checkpoints in every season of my life. I love me. I honor me. I take time for me despite the turbulence during this journey. It took some time 18 but we are finally good at 42.

The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain——Dolly Parton



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