Updated: Aug 7
As an adult, I often reflect on the experiences that I have had whether good or bad and try to find the lesson in them. For me, that is important because I think the purpose of living is to continue to gain insight and grow from the things that you experience while creating new memories. Also, to look at things through different lenses and find new interpretations of what they mean. Today, the thought at the forefront of my mind is how much I wish I would have known as a young adult. I decided to write about this because it is sort of an oxymoron. While I wish I knew more, somehow I knew too much and encountered life experiences too soon that also prompted this desire.
With this thought in mind, I have so much advice to give young Latiera. So much that I am sure what I have to say right now could never completely encompass what she needed to know. As a young girl I experienced a lot of attention from the opposite sex at an early age, and this included wanted and unwanted advances. I encountered a few scary situations that involved being alone with a friend's step father who I had reason to be afraid of, being followed home by an unfamiliar car during a jog where I literally had to cut through houses just to lose the tail, being approached by the older neighborhood creep who liked to ride up on young girls and offer them money for sexual favors, random sugar daddy propositions while walking from the store, marriage proposals while still in my teens, and a few other disturbing scenarios that I can name. I was smart enough to maneuver my way through them unscathed but that did not stop me from being interested in older men. At that age I thought the boys in my age group were too immature. They were only interested in uncommitted relationships, or just easy hookups. At that time, I didn't have anything to my name BUT my name so I felt I had to protect it. I was sexually active, but the last thing I wanted to do was have my name floating around the school in a negative light, and I have never been one for casual hookups honestly. Therefore, from a young girl's perspective I thought it would be in my best interest to date older men. Ideally, this did work in my favor as I was able to keep my private business to myself, reap the benefits of a relationship with an older man like being with someone who had a job, car, someone who nobody knew personally, and someone who I could grow with and learn more from. On the flip side, it also came with dealing with someone that had kids while I was still in high school, sex too soon, baby mamas, and making difficult life decisions which is something that was probably so far removed from what other high school teenagers were dealing with.
If I could rewind the hands of time I would tell young Latiera at this point to focus only on getting your education, boys/men will come later. Opening yourself up to relationships and situations that can potentially alter your life's path could prove to be detrimental to your future. Do you know how much time I have wasted in life because I was concerned with making decisions while asking myself whether this is what he wanted?....If I do this how will he take it?...I don't just have me to think about, I have to consider his feelings or my parents feelings. To be honest, none of those things matter unless you are married and even then I still say you get the right to think about what matters to you. Don't be in a rush to grow up too soon. Don't waste your life doing things for other people, pleasing other people, caring more for other people than you do yourself. Instead, put yourself first at all times and don't be too quick to commit to anything too soon.
Next, don't work for anyone but your parents. Granted I know that most people may not have parents that are business owners. If your parents don't own a business, or you are not in a position to remain unemployed, do what you have to do in order to get your own. That means, the whole time you are working, your purpose for working is to get your own. Save a certain amount from every pay check, research, study to become a subject matter expert, and when you are ready execute your plan move forward. If you are able to do this early then you will have plenty of time to get it right later. I had to realize that even while you're older its still okay to embrace this concept but you will have less time to get it right.
Another thing I would tell my younger self is that happiness can never be found within other people. Of course you get a certain feeling from being around the people you love, but internally if you are not happy with yourself there is nothing that they can do about it. The love that your parents have for you, your siblings, your boyfriend/girlfriend, friends is important, but none of it determines how you feel about yourself or your life when you wake up in the morning. I can remember thinking back so many times on when I relied on the outcome of a certain situation to determine whether my life was going right. I realized that it was the naivety in my thinking that caused this and is inevitable in early adulthood. You hear so many times about people taking their lives and battling depression when they "have so many positive things going for them". This is not because they don't appreciate what they have, it is because true happiness can only be created by you and your perception of what that means.
Lastly, always research and learn independently. As a young child I remember every time I would ask my mother to define or interpret something she would make me look it up. I appreciate that now and I understand why she did it. Regardless of what you have been taught all your life by your parents and the people around you, always find your own answers. No matter what your teachers have taught you always discover history on your own. Often we are taught with a combination of fact and opinion which will always alter the truth. If you study the facts you will always be in a better position to make decisions because you are relying on information that has been proven. Life will continue to show you half truths and blatant lies but as long as you have the desire to learn you will always have the truth.