If you could go back and give myself advice at different ages growing up, what would it be?
I would love to go back and tell an extremely self-conscious twelve-year-old that she was beautiful. To stand firm for what she believed and not to let bull-headed teenagers, including herself, get in her way. She had so many plans! She knew what she wanted to do when she was older, had found her first love in a boy who treated her pretty good and other than fighting with her parents every once in a while her life was going pretty smooth. I would teach her to believe in herself, and to realize that everyone has their own body type that they were born with. You just have to learn to love yourself a little more so you can accept and appreciate what you were given.
**You are Beautiful**
I would go back and tell a heartbroken 16-year-old girl who was learning first hand about losing some one she loved that the world will keep turning. Her world was rocked to its absolute core, but she will stand back up and put her pieces back together. I would tell her to be stronger than she had ever been. I would tell her that just because one boy could not wrap his head around staying around to live his life until it got better, that it was absolutely not a reflection of her. I would hold her tight and tell her that despite the miscarriage, despite the loss of the person she thought would be the love of her life, she will survive.
**You are stronger than you will ever realize**
I would go back and tell my 19-year-old self that being a single mom at 19 would not define me. This hiccup would turn out to be the best turning point of her life, and that jackass that chose to walk away from his son would never be able to emotionally or physically harm them again. I would try to steady her world a bit and help her get her footing settled back into the right direction if I could. However all the times I started in a direction and had to back pedal to try a different path just made me focus a little harder.
**Mistakes are the worlds way of teaching you humility**
I would go back and tell the 22-year-old woman that adoption didn’t have to mean goodbye. I would help her understand that sometimes the hardest choices are the safest. I would remind her that heartbreak is an old friend by now. And my advice that I would give her would be to give herself a break. Life happens in mysterious ways and it is ok to admit defeat and take some me time. You can’t be a great mom to the one you already have if you aren’t taking care of yourself.
**Forgiveness IS an option. You are only human.**
I would go back and tell my 25-year-old cynical self that good things can happen. It is easy to become calloused and bitter. Putting up walls to shield your heart is healthy, as long as you have a way to break it down safely. If your wall has become a way to hide from reality in such a way that you can no longer recognize good things when they come your way, you may need rethink some things. I would tell her to go on that date with the boy she worked with. Let her neighbor bring her flowers. Let that smile happen.
**You ARE worth it. Good things CAN happen to you.**