♥ Letters

Remember: You are alive.

To my August 26th self,

Today you will do something that scares you. You will wake up early, put on your armor, and head into the battlefield. You will cover your eyes and open your heart, and you will make yourself vulnerable to someone in a way that you have never done so in the past. It won’t be the right someone. I’m sorry. I hope you’ll keep reading.

I’m here to warn you: Tomorrow may hurt a little. But not in the way you think. 

After you push past sadness, you will feel a little angry. You have every right to. Talk it out with your bro. He will tell you to yell. You won’t, but you will love him even more because he will yell for you. He will say the things you’re feeling but still don’t have the courage to say. He is your people.

Tomorrow you will cry. But not for the reasons that you think.

In a couple of days you will finally get to talk to your person. She will make you feel better. You will realize that the tears you shed were because you couldn’t talk to her when you needed to and wanted to most. It’s not her fault. You can blame Time. It’s ok–he can take it. She is your people; Time on the other hand, might not right now. 

You will also realize that you have another person. You will find yourself in a moment where you have never respected this man more than today. He won’t be there. And even though you want to call him, you won’t. Maybe you’re scared, or maybe you’re trying to protect him. Maybe talking to him about matters of the heart (or more specifically, your heart) will be a little tough, but whether he is there or not there, you will always think of him as one of your most important people.

So, even though you will open up to “not the right” someone; remember that you have other someones. You have other very important someones. Someones who love you whether they are your first, second, or one-week later phone call. Whether you are able to tell them this story or not. These someones are proud of you. They are rooting for you and will always have your back. They will always hold your heart. These are your people and you are theirs.

Oh, my dear August 26th self: Today you will do something that scares you. And embracing that fear will change you–in every way that you think or want it to. It will awaken your heart (and honestly, girl–you need that right now) and it will force you to be brave–braver than you thought you were. It will shake up your insides. But remember that that tremble, those butterflies, and that racing heart of yours–these feelings are there to remind you that you are alive. 

Remember: You are alive. 

Thank you for showing up today. Your people are so proud of you…and I am too.

With love,

Your September 1st self.

My Father's Eyes.

I am my father’s daughter. We have similar dimples when we smile, a passion in the kitchen, a love for USA Network television, the same short, chubby hands, and the same eyes. Out of all the similarities between my father and I though, I am most proud to have my father’s eyes.

My Pops is a realist, but he sees more than just what is physically in front of him. A man of few words, he patiently takes it all in, listening with his ears and his eyes, providing perspective and wisdom when you need it most. And sometimes…even when you don’t need it…or when you don’t want to be seen at all…he’s there.

When I was in high school, I had a boyfriend who cheated on me. I walked away tall and strong, keeping busy and extra social. I listened to Christina Aguilera’s “Fighter” and Kelly Clarkson’s “Miss Independent” every morning on my drive to school. (Cliche, I know–but hey, I was 16.) Each day I walked the halls with confidence (in a few more short skirts ;D) and wanted to show everyone that we may have broken up, but I was not broken–that I refused to be hurt by some guy. But the truth is–it did hurt. Being busy and strong hurt like hell…especially when your 16. And every day after school, practice, or being out with friends, I would walk into my house, waiting for the front door to shut behind me. When I thought no one was around, I would let out a deep, quivering breath. A breath that I had been holding in all day–a breath that somehow gave me strength and courage…but a breath that hurt and shook me to my core. No one saw this–except for my Pops. He saw it everyday for probably a month. And everyday, for probably a month, he waited for that door to close behind me. “You ok?” he would ask. I would hesitate and begin nodding my head up and down. His arms would open. Everyday, for probably a month, I would say,“I’m ok”…but in that broken exhale, he saw me and every broken piece of my young heart.

His eyes. My eyes. With no words–he saw me.

I don’t think we ever really talked about those days…and I’m not sure we ever really need to. But someday, I hope my Pops can see what I see. I hope he can see how I’ve watched and learned from his work ethic, his dedication to providing for his family, his loyalty to his very best friends, his respect and love for my mother, his resourcefulness and creativity–in the kitchen and in life(!), his independence. I hope he can see how I love him for his quiet, yet perceptive demeanor, his thirst for knowledge (and ability to tell you random facts or life hacks that you will never forget), how he listens, and how he laughs.

They used to tell me that I was just a “twinkle in my father’s eye.” And as years passed, I then became “the apple of [his] eye.”…but the truth is, I am the one who cherishes him…and these special eyes he’s passed onto me.

Happy Father’s Day, Pops!

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Thank you for never letting go.

Dear Momma,

I will always remember running around Disneyland and dragging you and Pops through Sleeping Beauty’s Castle; you held my hand as we read the story of Aurora and her prince over and over again. Even after the 17th time, I tugged your hand for “just one more,” and without hesitation (probably just really awesome parent-hiding skills–you’ll have to teach me someday), we walked up to the decorated book, and with wide eyes on the animated characters, you read… “In a far away land, long, long ago, lived a king and his queen. Many years they had long wished for a child, and finally there wish was granted…”

And I guess I was an early adopter of the whole “Fake it ‘til you make it!” mantra because without knowing how to read, I recited out loud, “A daughter was born…and they named her, Aurora.”

People thought I was a prodigy. You just smiled…and all the while you never let go of my hand.

When I was learning to drive, I remember you talking me through it as we drove around our block a few times. When it was time to pull into the driveway, you asked if I felt confident enough to do this, without ploughing through the garage and into the living room. I nodded and said, “I got this, Momma,” as my brother ducked for cover in the back seat. "Just feel the gas,“ you said with a little laugh as you wrapped your fingers around the emergency brake. I pressed the gas, and you never let go.

Thank, God, because we drove onto the front lawn with roaring screams and laughter. I know Dad says "Thank you” for not letting go too.

I know I’m not the most affectionate daughter and maybe that’s something that will change when I have kids of my own, but even when I come home for a visit and haven’t seen you in months, I always start to wrinkle up when a hug extends just a second over my threshold. Still, you never let go.

Momma, you’ve always held on tight enough to let me know you were there, but with just enough room, giving me the confidence to lead, explore and pursue all that I’ve dreamed of. You are a special, special person who I am proud to call my mother, a role model and even more my best friend. I know I never hold on long enough, but please know that all the hugs in the world could never truly express how much I love and miss you all the time. I know you’ve sacrificed and let go of a lot in life to give me and Z the opportunity to live out our dreams…but thank you for never letting go of us when we needed you most, and especially when we thought we didn’t need you at all.

Today we celebrate you, and all of the amazing mothers, grandmothers, aunts, godmothers, and extraordinary women in our lives. Thank you for never letting go.

Xox.

An Open Letter to My Bro.

Dear Bro,

Be a man who follows through. One of the interesting things I’ve been learning lately, is how much I value a man who is dependable, respectful and understands what it means to follow through. 

Be a man someone can depend on.

Be a man who sticks to his word.

Be a man who doesn’t over promise and also understands how much weight even a single, simple promise can hold. 

Be a man who respects a person enough to tell them the truth, even if it’s not what the other person wants to hear, or even what you want to say. Don’t let fear get the best of you.

Be a man who you would trust.

These are all the things I wish for you. You have grown up from the little side-part, “I-want-to-wear-my-cowboy-boots-to-bed” boy into an intelligent, artistic, handsome and thoughtful man who values family, loyalty, honesty and respect. You treat mom and me the way women deserve to be treated, and I am so grateful that we also have a father who has been such a strong example of the type of men I want to surround myself with. “It’s the principle…” Pops would say. Now I know what he means…and Pops, “the principle” is important to me too. You two have never let me down. When you say you’ll be somewhere, you are there. When you see that I need help, you don’t wait for me to ask. Thank you for being men I can count on.

Remember that the girls and women that you meet are also sisters, moms, or daughters, just like me. Be the type of man you would want me to be with. Keep being that man. Then push yourself and challenge yourself to be better than that man. You are capable of it. You already are doing it. I’m so proud of you and I know that someday you will make a woman very happy. Always strive for better–for you, for your future “her,” and for me.

Follow through.

Xox.

A Love Letter to Staten Island.

A beautifully written love letter to Staten Island from one of her very own.

expatress:

You’ve taken a big hit ‘ol Girl. The curves of your coastlines are tattered and aching for the days of children frolicking on your shores, with boats bobbing in the marina. Lovers walking down South Beach on a balmy summer night, viewing the lights of your more well-known siblings, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx & Manhattan.

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Stay different, stay strong, and stay you, Staten Island. We’re all here to help.

Dizzy Circles.

Dear 25 year old me,

I’m pretty sure the same letter I wrote you before would also be pretty applicable to today too. And not as in August 8, 2011 but I’m more referring to around this time last year. Over the last four years I have learned a lot about myself, about the working world, about people and relationships; but how is it that I can still find myself in a similar place? Don’t we learn lessons and move forward? That’s how I always thought it worked anyway. However, one year later, I feel like all those courageous steps I took were, perhaps, just steps that completed a perfect circle.

We’ve heard it said before “if something ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But we also hear, “if you don’t like something, change it.” So I did. But was what I didn’t like, not actually broken? See, I told you–a completely dizzying circle.

Today someone posted:

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

(Steve Jobs)

It was what I needed to hear and to be honest, it’s what kicked my butt into shape and got me here, as in finally lighting a fire with the blog and getting me to write. Now, I just need to figure out what the next steps are. How was I such a better planner when I was younger? Like down to the minute of train arrivals and what I would be wearing for the study session next Thursday. Haha! Gross. I take that back–totally fine with being older. Just hoping to see where all these circles are leading me.

Dizzy,

26 year old me.

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