Dear Carmen

Dear Carmen,

Exactly four years ago you were lost– just trying to find your away. You weren’t sure of who you were, where you’d be or who you’d become.

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ULM Hawkline performing at convocation in August 2013

It wasn’t the sudden change of scenery from south to northeast Louisiana. It wasn’t even the slight rhythm change of the transition from high school to college. What it was, was the culture shock that you let defeat you.

Yes, you’ve faced challenges that you were able to overcome but don’t forget the tough lessons learned that allowed you to develop into the woman you are today.

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Royal Bum Clothing photo shoot for fall fashion line in October 2014

If only i’d been with you at your lows– the things I would’ve done to either put you at ease or work with you through your hardships.

At times you felt alone, or even worse, trapped. For two years you allowed your identity to bring down your confidence to the point where you weren’t sure who you were anymore.

You steered away from your faith and didn’t focus your eyes on the goals you’d always worked toward to make possible.

You let negativity bring you down. You followed behind falsified friends who drug down to deep, dark places. And you lost sight of your purpose– an education.

If only you’d centered your attention around your future instead of your present– the long road wouldn’t have been so difficult.

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Making memories with great people ( March 2016.)

You’ve been burned. You’ve been mistreated. You’ve been judged and even overlooked. Allowing individuals who you thought were “friends” and romantic interests you believed to be “lovers” to shape your personality built you up into a completely different person and spat back the backlash to you in return.

Your social life became more important that your academics. You friends became more important than family. And your passions became more than THE passion– Christ, himself.

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Parents at the Blackwell-Barton wedding festivities (December 2015.)

It wasn’t until you allowed your defeat to finally catch up with you– hitting rock bottom–you then realized your changing was vital.

The good thing about the one life we live is that although our days are numbered, everyday is a new beginning.

Two years ago you were reborn. Facing all of your fears head-on, you dedicated yourself to optimism and the change you knew best fit you. You, Carmen Blackwell, commits to the life you knew you deserved.

My advice to the future you is far from what I would’ve prescribed for you in the past.

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Receiving the KNOE intern scholarship award funded by the Louisiana Broadcasters Association ( January 2016.)

I see the fire flame behind the passion in your eyes, you’re a woman. You now realize your life has long surpassed child’s play and you’ve only scratched the surface.

Four years have come and gone and here you are. Stand tall my love, you are phenomenal.

Take everything that you’ve absorbed from your experiences. Those that both hurt you and those that only made you stronger. These are the lessons that will only make you greater than you imagined.

Never forget your past. It gave you passion and it gave you drive. But burry it. It is no longer relevant.

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My friends and colleagues sharing a kodak moment in the heart of New York City ( March 2016.)

To the future you, realize that you are young with a lot of life left to live. Often times I feel like you’re much too impatient and although you’re willing to do whatever it takes to complete something, always remember quality supersedes quantity.

Honesty and integrity will get you exactly where you want to be in life. You’ve proven to yourself and all those around you what you are capable of.

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Boyfriend and I (began dating in October 2014) at his Rays’spring training game (March 2016.)

Create a set of goals for yourself and set out to achieve them with no exceptions. The real world isn’t as cold and frightful as it may seem– keep in mind, “mind over matter.”

As an aspiring multimedia journalist, life will somehow “get in the way” of everything you will dream to come true. Place your faith in Him and keep your head high and your standards even higher.

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Christmas 2015 in Wyoming 

No path is an easy one, but if you continue to work hard and strap on all of the life lessons and experiences you’ve gained thus far, the road to achieving your ultimate dream will be much smoother than you’ll expect.

Work hard. Dream big. Love more. Remember to balance your selflessness with your selfishness and remain humble along the way.

You’ve come such a long way, yet you have a long journey ahead. Keep your head up and ALWAYS continue to push forward– you were destined for greatness.

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Had to take a selfie! Post-graduation pictures (April 2016.)

 

And one more thing… Congratulations! You’ve finally done it. Another milestone reached and plenty more in your future to come.

 

I love you,

Carmen (the new me)

 

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