Dear young self,

by Cynthia Cano, 9:00 AM
I never thought growing up would come so fast, but it sure did. I remember when I was just 12 years old and planning my big Quinceanera and my dream Wedding. Man, I really drove mami crazy with all that planning! I must admit though, both Quinceanera and the Wedding surpassed my expectations. I remember dreaming of being pregnant and becoming a mom, and now, here I am, 4 months pregnant. It's exciting to look back and remember the things I use to journal and dream about, and now actually get to live those things.

I've learned a lot in all these years. But if I could go back in time and give you just ONE word of advice, it would be to always value and respect yourself. I remember everything you suffered when it came to relationships. I remember you always feeling neglected, betrayed, used. I look back now and I'm just like, why were you so naive? I guess it was all part of growing up and having to learn. Til this day, there are times when I feel the exact same way, but I've learned to cope, and I've learned that the value and respect I have for myself goes farther than any relationship/friendship will ever go. I'm not ashamed of who I am now. I'm not afraid to not be in a relationship. I'm not afraid to be a single mother. I'm not afraid anymore and that's something you always were. I don't live with the expectations to meet someone's standards anymore because I've found that living up to God's standard is the best choice I have ever made. I'm a lot more tranquil now.

 I recommitted my life with Christ. Come March, I'll be 5 years back in church and, oh my god, is life so much more easier (still hard, but easier, if you get what I'm saying). I now dance in worship. Whats funny is the fact that growing up what I loved to do were pantomimes but I never saw myself actually dancing in His presence and that's what I do now. Ugh! I love it! It gives me such freedom to worship Him how I feel fit and comfortable. I'm sure that you would have loved it doing it back then.

Welp! I realize I don't have all day to write and you don't have all day to read, but just know that you turned out pretty darn alright. You're not a mess. And although it looks like you won't have it all together, you will. I promise you that.

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