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Letters to the Girls I've Been

Updated: Dec 10, 2019

In honor of my blog's two year anniversary, I thought it would be fitting to write a post about much of what I have experienced in my life so far - through the form of writing letters to myself at all different ages. I got the idea from Sara Bareilles' book, Sounds Like Me, which I thought was such a beautiful way to reflect on all of the types of people we become at various points in our lives.


It's interesting to go back and really think about who you were and how much you have changed throughout the years and how much you will continue to change. Life is funny that way, you don't even realize as the years go on how you are always evolving, growing and ever so subtly turning into someone new.


Dear Danielle,

I’ve read some of your journals and I see that you’re having somewhat of a hard time in school right now. Your group of friends is changing which is scary for you because you always like security within your surroundings, but you’re beginning to see this as a good thing because your new friends are awesome.

You’re a big jokester in the seventh grade and you like playing pranks on people after school. You bought goldfish from the pet store up the block and left them on Travis’ front door step as a gift from his “Grandma,” attached with a note from her saying congratulations on his good report card. You couldn’t stop laughing at the idea of ringing his doorbell and running, just to have him open the door to see a bag of goldfish and a note of congratulations on his stoop.

After a couple of times doing this with your best friend, Travis invited you both in to show you his growing aquarium, asking you to please stop giving him goldfish as gifts, he couldn’t house any more in his tank. He did end up naming all of them though.

You like at least three different boys, all of who are not good for you and don’t have your best interest in mind. But that’s okay, you’ll figure that out for yourself and be stronger for it.

This part of your life is definitely not going to be the easiest. You don’t like how you look in the mirror and you’re constantly comparing yourself to other girls, measuring your self worth against their more mature appearances.

Everyone seems to be growing up faster than you can keep up with and you’re wishing things would just slow down a little. You’re already feeling like the good old days are behind you, frequently wishing you were born in another time period, where all of what currently is does not yet exist.

To try and stay ahead of the game, you begin drinking with the rest of your grade. Your first drink is from the boxed white zinfandel in your parents’ shed that you deem to be oh so good. Especially in your red solo cup. You will start to expand your horizons and open your repertoire of alcoholic beverages, soon discovering the sweet taste of a two-day hangover from Jose Cuervo.

You battle with feeling like you belong somewhere, with someone or something, and you fiercely want to be loved. The most beautiful thing about this time of your life is that you discover through writing that you can give yourself all of the love that you have been searching for through your own creativity and passion.

Keep going. Keep writing. Keep trying to figure yourself out. It will get a little easier from here.

I love you and you are perfect.

Love,

Danielle


Dear Danielle,

It’s ninth grade and you’re nervous to begin at yet another new school with a lot of more students. You don’t want things to change yet you don’t want them to stay the same. You walk through the hallways and already imagine the day you will graduate and move on from this place.

You fell in love with a boy over the summer and got your heart completely and utterly broken. That is after he gave you mono. You lost about fifteen pounds and looked like a cast member of Survivor – not at the beginning of the show though. People kept telling you to eat a steak assuming that you had an eating disorder, but you took this as a compliment, considering you always wanted to be thinner. Not being able to swallow for a couple of weeks just happened to do the trick, and really fast.

Your heartbreak doesn’t dissipate for quite some time and you begin to believe that the old saying is true - that people really can die of a broken heart. Your only source of solace is writing in your journals, day after day, while listening to Norah Jones’ Come Away With Me album, trying to mimic her sexy, sultry, bluesy feel.

This is the time of your life where you’ll find that you love writing more than anything else. Your journals are your most coveted possessions and you look to them as friends who you can be your whole self with.


Much of this time for you is about being comfortable in your own skin and I wish I could say this will get easier soon, but hang in there a little longer, you have a couple of more years before you learn to love and embrace your weird, whimsical nature.

You don’t give yourself as much credit as you should for being so introspective at such a young age and setting your heart out to discover more of who you truly are. I will give you that credit now because everything that you are doing is beautiful and much of what you intend to unravel some people don’t begin searching for until the end of their lives. You are smart, you are capable, you are whole, and you are loved.

Life will feel more fun as time goes on, I promise, and your heart will open up to new love again. You’ll feel just as you did in your last relationship, but better. More accepted, more seen, more loved. And lucky for you, you can’t get mono twice.

Just remember that you are doing the best you can and that your best is exactly where you are supposed to be right now.

I love you and you are perfect.

Love,

Danielle

Dear Danielle,

You are in your first year of college!

…And you’re not so sure if you like it.

Your friends who are away at other schools are telling you about their wild weekends of party after party and all you can tell them is that there was a drum circle with barefoot students in the quad outside of your dorm.

Oh, and there was a party from a student in the acting conservatory, but he wouldn’t let you in, because you are in college after all, and if you’re not in the acting conservatory, well then you’re not allowed into the party. You forgot, are you in high school again?

You make friends with the girls across the hall from you and thank God for them because they are your saving grace throughout the two years you stay at Purchase. Your weekends of “party after party” consist of getting drunk in your dorm rooms and summoning your inner child to play pranks on people again.

You and your best friend Ali get so drunk and bored one night that you post fake flyers all around the school notifying everyone of a “MISSING MUSTACHE – PLEASE CALL IF YOU SEE IT!” That will make you both laugh for years to come as you put your friend’s number and picture on the flyer.

You know this isn’t the college experience that you dreamed of but you make the best of it and you love being away from home, meeting new people. You’re an optimistic person and you always try to find the good in people and situations. Some people would say this dwindles and is harder to do as time goes on, but I can say for certain on this one, your positivity doesn’t waver as you get older. You still choose to find the light in any shadow or pinch of darkness.

I am proud of you for staying at a school that you were disappointed in and setting out to make the best of an unfortunate situation. You will leave with lasting friendships that will make up for all of the impromptu dance circles that substituted for your idea of a fun Friday night.

I love you. You are perfect. You are still doing the best you can and your best is just right.

Love,

Danielle

Dear Danielle,

You are living in Vegas and working as a barista at the Starbucks down the block from where you live. You love being so far away from home that you can reinvent yourself to be whoever you want to be. This sense of freedom is addicting and makes you never want to go back home to New York.

You and your boyfriend spend your weekends partying across the street at the ex porn star’s house who throws crazy 8amer parties and you end up meeting some pretty offbeat, eccentric people. You also like driving out into the desert to do impromptu photo shoots to build his photography portfolio.


Love in Las Vegas is kind of what you would expect it to be for two young, twenty year old kids. You’re in love one minute and tearing at each other’s throats the next. You find an email in his inbox that shows he is still lying to you, something he swears he’ll never do time and time again. You still try to believe him, one last time.

Lessons of trust will make a grand entrance at this time and you will learn that you need to go with your gut to determine what is truly best for you. People will lie; unfortunately you’ll find that more times than none, they do. But there will always be a thread of light that shines through the most important people in your life who transcend your faith in the assurance of deceit. Those kinds of people make you hope, believe and fight for the honesty in love again.

You spend your first summer as a twenty one year old backpacking throughout Italy with your cousin and best friend and realize that the freedom you once felt living in Vegas is only a small fraction of what you feel in Europe. You fall in love with everything. The pizza, the wine, the rolling oceans, the cobblestone roads, the laidback nature of everyone in Positano, the language, the love that is present everywhere and in everything all around you.

Your life is forever changed by what you see in your travels and you promise yourself that you will remember this feeling of unrestrained infatuation and appreciation for life itself.

When you come home, this feeling finally allows you to free yourself from yet another lie, another deceit, another dishonesty. Italy showed you how to be brave and bold and expect only the highest good for yourself.

You learn to fall in love with yourself again because of this and you realize just how much happier you can be alone than with someone else. You keep this lesson with you for a while and promise yourself that your next love will be big, courageous and overwhelming instead of playing it small with small people.

You are perfect and I love you.

Love,

Danielle


#LetterstoMyself #GrowingUp #TeenageIssues #TeenDating #TeenRelationships #TeenAdvice #LetterWritingforTherapy #TherapeuticWriting #ReflectingonthePast #ReflectingonLife



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