An Open Letter To My Teenage Female Cousins

Open_Letter_cousins

Lovely young ladies,

I’m older than you.  But I’m not too old.  Old enough to know a few things, young enough for you to still think I’m cool (you do think I’m cool, right?  Say yes).  So let me tell you a few important things about life:

  1. Mirrors are made of liquid metal and glass.  That’s it.  Don’t give them any power. Sometimes I look in the mirror and think “Oh no, I look fat!” or “Why can’t my hair look like her hair?” or “Damn you, large pimple!” But that’s giving the mirror way too much credit. The mirror can’t see that I’m really funny or smart or kind. Don’t let a mirror convince you that you’re not amazing, because you totally are.
  1. Boys must be good. Boys are weird, but you probably already know that because you each have brothers and fathers, and I personally know they’re weird. But they’re also pretty amazing, right? I know your dads and brothers love you like precious treasures. Not every boy will love you like that. Don’t give those boys the time of day! If they make you feel small or stupid or worthless, they are not allowed in your life.
  1. Be brave. Life takes guts. You’re gonna need to put on some courage each day. Being brave doesn’t mean you can’t show your emotions or have bad days or get scared. Being brave means doing the right thing even when you have a bad day or you are scared. Many people will tell you to be hard and toughen up, I think you should stay soft and lovely and open-hearted. But do all of these things while being brave.   Stand up for what’s right, stand up for yourself, and do it with kindness.  Always.
  1. Learn how to say NO. If somebody asks you to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable, say “no.” If somebody pressures you to do something that will not serve you, say “no.” If a guy wants you to do things that you don’t want to do, say “no.” If a girlfriend encourages you to be mean to somebody else in order to be cool, say “no.” You are a strong human being, and you have the right to say NO!
  1. Do what you love. Be the type of person who does awesome things. Don’t turn down opportunities to do the things you love, and never feel like the things you love to do are stupid. You only get one life, and I know it feels like you have SO MUCH TIME. And, in a way, you do. But in another way, it goes by so quickly. Don’t waste that time.  Fill up your days with things that make you smile on your face and in your heart.
  1. Interesting is better than cool; in fact, interesting is the real cool When I was a teenager, I thought being like everybody else was cool. Listening to the music everyone liked, dressing how everyone else dressed, buying things just because other people buy those things. I wanted to be cool. But if everyone else is doing it, it’s really not all that interesting, is it? It’s the same ol’ story. Be an original instead of a copy.
  1. No matter what, I love you. You are going to screw up.  You are going to fail.   You’ll probably fall in love with somebody who is all wrong for you. You’ll say rude things you don’t mean, and you’ll say rude things you do mean.  You’re a person, and nobody can do it perfectly. But you will always have a friend in me. I will always love you no matter what.  Luckily for all of us, we have a family that will always love us too. Not everybody else has family like that. So be that same source of love for other people.

With hugs and love,

Your big cousin xo


An Open Letter is part of a series to share positive, uplifting letters to the people of this world.  Open letters on blogs have a reputation for being biting and judgmental.  An Open Letter strives to bring hope and life and kindness back to the art of writing letters.

An Open Letter to My Little Brother on His 19th Birthday

An Open Letter to Millennials from a Gen Xer

New York City, Food Poisoning, and Your Dreams

New York City, Food Poisoning, and Your Dreams

New York City

I’ve wanted to go to New York City since long before I knew the price of a Broadway ticket.   Had I known, I would have chosen, say, Costa Rica to be my dream vacation. But no, I chose to be enamored by the most expensive place on earth. A place God himself must budget for. (Slight exaggeration).  It’s been my traveling DREAM.

As this post publishes, I will be on a flight to the east coast on a trip that includes a 2 1/2 day stop in New York City for the very first time – I’m a Yankee virgin, if you will. Ladies and gents, I’m about too excited for words. SO excited in fact that my body chose to commit an act of treason against my joy in the form of violent food poisoning. Only hours before my glorious red-eye to the heavenly NYC.

I reacted in all manners cool, calm, and collected. In no way did I hyperventilate or believe my life was coming to an end as my body expunged the entire contents of my stomach. (I’m lying to you) After The Boyfriend made a run for 7-Up and spent a few hours convincing me I would not die over some good ol’ fashioned vomit, I realized that New York City and food poisoning really go hand in hand.  Obviously.

You see, I believe all your dreams are achievable. You can literally do whatever you want to do. The sky isn’t even a limit. But you can’t do them all without a little throw-up. Ya hear me?!

You can have a lovely partner and live a lovely life in a lovely home, but there’s gonna be shit in the front yard sometimes. Quite literally there was shit in our front yard two weeks ago. Our shit. From a clogged sewer system. Gross and so human all at the same time.

My favorite blogger ever, Glennon Doyle Melton, so wisely writes that, “Life is Not Hard Because You are Doing It Wrong, Life is Just Hard.”   I think our dreams are hard too. It’s not that I’m wrong or broken or the dreams are wrong or broken. It’s not that we need fixing, my dreams and I. It’s just that dreams are hard and when you finally attain one, it’s not offered to you in a pretty box with a big ribbon.

We can’t stop chasing after New York City because we’re afraid of a little food poisoning. We can’t stop chasing after the lovely life because we’re afraid of a little shit.   We either get the dreams and all the baggage or we get no dreams at all.  The vomit and the shit come not because we’re doing it all wrong, but because we’re doing it! Because we’re not hiding away from things less than pleasant.

And now – A toast to you and me (with my 7-Up, because nothing’s better at keeping bile in your stomach where it belongs than high fructose corn syrup):

May we dream. May we work hard to achieve every single one of those dreams big and small. May we never doubt that we are worthy of them. And may we remember that the vomit and the shit come not because we’re doing it wrong, but because we’re doing it!! Cheers to you, your dreams, your shit, and my food poisoning.

I’m going to NYC baby! (Pics to come!!)

What They Sometimes Forget to Tell You about Chasing Your Dream

Just_a_Dream____by_enricoagostoni

They tell you it will be worth it.

They tell you it’s the only way to be happy.

They tell you your dreams are there for a reason.

They tell you to follow your heart.

They tell you to be brave.

They tell you your future is bright.

Chase.  Your.  Dream.

They are right.

But…

Sometimes…

They forget to tell you that it will be really, really hard.

There will be days where your exhaustion overwhelms.

There will be days when it doesn’t look so bright.

There will be days when you snap at your biggest cheerleaders.

There will be days when your biggest cheerleaders snap at you.

There will be days when you wonder what the hell you’ve done.

There will be days when you take every elevator and forget every staircase,

because it is just. too. much.

There will be days when you feel defeated and you’re convinced all your work is shit.

There will be days when you will be forgotten.

So…

Take a breath.  Take a seat.  Take a nap.

Cry if you want.  Watch a mind-numbing comedy if you want.  Run away for a day if you want.

Then…

Get back up.  And keep pressing on.

Because…

It will actually be worth it, it will bring happiness, those dreams are there for a reason, your heart should be followed, bravery is the only way, and your future actually is that bright.

Chase.  Your.  Dream.

“It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.” – A League of Their Own

Image – Creative Commons via Google Images