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Apr 2017
dear five year old daniela,
with matilda bangs and a crooked smile,
you are caught somewhere between precious and precocious.
you chatter endlessly or you’re silent like a closed mouth
and you always feel like too much.
and i’m sorry, baby, but you don’t quite grow out of this.
see, even now, my mother calls me intimidating,
tells me all the boys are afraid of me.
you will spend far too long thinking that people don’t love you
because you don’t make it easy enough to,
don’t sand yourself down to fit into them.
there is not always a correlation between input and output,
you can give someone everything
and they can take it all and give nothing back.
you can give something your all and still come up short, with nothing.
you are complicated, and you are difficult,
and you don’t apologize for things that aren’t your fault anymore.
someday, the things about you that never seem to fit
will be the parts of yourself that you’re proudest of.
and i know it doesn’t feel like it now,
but you will grow up to stop crying,
to live your life as a clogged faucet, and you will grow to scoff
at the things that once made you so afraid
like the monsters under your bed were always just dust bunnies.
you will learn that crying is not weakness
and i’m sorry is not it’s okay
and letting go is not always giving up.
you will learn crying only means that you’re breathing, gasping for air
but now you are still young enough to think that your father never cries,
that he is the sole proprietor of storytime
and the architect of space ships, infallible.
you’ll be forced to learn better that, live to see the people in your life
who have always seemed rock solid begin to crack and quake.
baby, you will, too.  
and when your mother tells you that sometimes,
in times like these, it’s better to pretend to not be latino if you can,
to disappear and hide like you’re ashamed of something.
do not get angry at her. you love her.
but there are some things that she will never understand about you,
like how taking who you are off is never a real option.
accept that. it is what it is.
do not pack away your heritage into your closest
at the first sign of the thunderstorm,
your father raised you proud, even when it hurts,
even when it’s pouring.
you don’t know this now,
but from stonewall to seneca falls to the streets of rio de janeiro,
you hail from warriors.
you are made of steel and cyanide, of diamonds and satin.
there is nothing in the world that’s stronger than your own two hands.
and you will learn that some people will only love you
when you are half of yourself.
don’t cut yourself into pieces for them even when it feels like
that is only way you’ll ever fit into anyone else.
so if sometimes you wanna be the princess in the tower
and sometimes you wanna be the hero saving her,
that’s okay. that doesn’t change.
when you’re my age, you’ll find people whose hearts beat like yours.
know what you believe in, but keep an open mind.
learn how to argue and learn how to listen.
remember it’s important to fight the good fight, even when you lose.
especially when you lose.
and you’re gonna lose, a lot. i should tell you that now.
you’re not always gonna right the first time. or the second time.
or the third time.
never forget that the world you live in now is better
than the one you left behind yesterday,
the moment you stop believing that
is the day you stop believing in progress.
your heart will always feel too exposed on your sleeve,
but never be ashamed of that.
empathy will always be a strength, not a weakness.
baby, you’re gonna be fine.
you’re gonna be just fine.
Written by
daniela  sunflower state
(sunflower state)   
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