Dear 18 Year Old Dana:
Life is a beautiful journey. To date, you have had some licks. Some hurts. Some disappointments and you have handled it all very well. As you leave home for Kent State University, stay. Finish your studies. Go to graduate school. Do what God called you to do. Do not get distracted.
You love hard. You love fully. Completely. Men will be infatuated with you. They will break up with girlfriends, move to your city, leave their wives. They all will want to marry you but only three will have the nerve to utter it out loud. You have never wanted to be a wife so do not become one. When you were a little girl, you said all the time you would never get married. Hold on to that. Wife has too many limitations, restrictions, idiotic expectations. You will be grossly unhappy with the institution because it has too many restrictions on your personage and men who desire to be husband lack the freedom needed to be your man. Men who want to marry you will want to own you and you must have complete autocracy over your life. Do not spend any energy trying to convince yourself of anything differently.
Right now, you do not want children. Thoughts of marriage and children make you itch but when you are 30 years old, good and grown and self-sufficient God is going to tap you. You have a son that needs to be born. Take the sperm from the man you are dating and have your son. Think of him as a living sperm bank. At 36, God will tap you again. There is a very special little girl you are to birth. Again, take the sperm and when the hot and heavy is over, let it be over. He is not worthy of your splendor. He does not deserve your salvation. His ship will have already wrecked. You will want to glue his pieces. Resist.
Do not spend any time entertaining any thought about these people being fathers or companions. Their role in your life is for sperm donation. As for your children needing fathers, your children need love. Provide love and create a village that will support, honor, love and cherish them and I promise you that they will be exceptional humans. Your daughter has a very special person that will come into her life just when she needs him to. Trust.
You are steady. Rock-solid. You make good decisions. Trust your gut. Continue to walk in your convictions and follow your own compass. Continue to have those very interesting conversations with your Creator and listen. Listen more. Cultivate your spirit. Talk to your ancestors. Vibe in your own being.
Your tongue is sharp. It became a sword in the cradle of pain. You land knock-out punches with it. You wound with it. You hurt others with it. Be mindful of your words. Learn to control your anger. “Be angry and sin not”, we are admonished. Anger is valid. It is to be acknowledged and released in measure. You will need some help learning how to control it. It is fire. How one handles fire will determine any given outcome. You can use it to your advantage. No part of you wants to hurt people but if you feel threatened or are threatened, your tongue will leave people wounded and in pieces. Some may not ever recover. Be mindful.
You will meet amazing people along the way. Enjoy them. Your parents will die very early in your life. Treasure them while you can. Your father is a very complicated man. Love him unconditionally. He needs you more than you can imagine.
Enjoy your life baby girl. Trot all over the country and the world with those beautiful children. Love that very special man and do you. Every day that you are allowed to rise, do so fully. Feel yourself out. Learn your lessons. Speak and live your truth and help those you can along the way.
In your desire to help others, know that you cannot want something for someone that they do not want for themselves. Only people who desire to be free will be free. Remember that and you will save yourself a whole lot of energy and avoid frustration.
Finally, laugh until your stomach hurts and tears roll from your eyes, dance like everyone is watching, make love deeply and fully, raise a generation of greatness, and remember you are your ancestor's dream. Do not disappoint them.