Thursday, November 14, 2013

No Shame November: A Letter to my 19 yr old self

A reader's submission for No Shame November:
Dear 19 year old self,
Hello, 19 year old me.  This is yourself now at 34 years young.  I said young, because, even at 34 you are still very much young and have many great things in life to look forward to.  And I can also say yes, you still got it and are still just as pretty, maybe even better in fact.  I know you think you absolutely need your eyeliner and dark eye shadow.  Trust me, you don’t.  You will learn that someday though so not to worry.  You will make mistakes, you will learn from them.  Life is all about learning.  Learn all you can, which means go to class.  I mean it, go to class, which is probably right now 19 year old self.  

You have just settled into a relationship, and your heart is telling you the truth.  He is the one for you and you are still very much in love and married now.  The way he acts now is the same as then. He is your rock, he keeps you together.  The both of you will learn to be strong together and help each other through the rough times.  I say this with caution, you will endure a couple rough times that are outside of your control.  Lean on him, he will be there.  He will always be there.  You will need to talk, he will need you to talk.  You will rise up and get past the hurdles.  It will be hard, no doubt about it, but you make it. You make it and your love for your now husband grows stronger than you can ever imagine it could. 
You will have happiness, so much joy in your life. You will one day look into a little person’s eyes and your life will explode with joy, love and happiness.  Enjoy it, enjoy every day, every moment.  Take this piece of advice, smile every day, for something, anything.  Every day, even on the most difficult days there is something to smile about.

Your family and friends make this wonderful life worth living and smiling for.  Life is good and life will be good to you.  Keep on doing what you’re doing.  Live life, be happy, and go on and take on the world!


Your 34 year old self

 P.S. Quit smoking!  It is nasty ok. 

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

No Shame November: A letter to my 14 yr old self

A reader's submission for No Shame November:

Dear 14 year old me,

Hey you. Yeah, you. I know there are times you wish you could just disappear, but you'd better read this. I know you're at a rough spot, and the years to come aren't the easiest. But you can do it.

That guy you just met online? Totally not the amazing guy you think he is. He'll  hurt you, break your heart more than you ever thought it could be broken. He'll come back into your life a few years from now too, and hurt you again. You'll go through some pretty rough times, both because of him and because of stupid mistakes of your own. There's even a suicide attempt thrown in there, but like someone will come to tell you, “you cannot be replaced.” Remember that. There's another guy you'll meet down the road and he will make all that pain and heartache disappear. You'll have your ups and downs with him, but he'll make you realize what real, true love is. Bumps in the road and all.

About school... Yes, it sucks sometimes, but for Goddess's sake, take the headphones out of your ears and pay attention. You think its worthless, and there are days you don't even want to get out of bed. It will be worth it down the road, and you'll be so proud of yourself when you realize that yes, you can do it, you can get good grades and still have fun.

Overall, I'm not going to tell you to change a thing. These experiences you'll go through will make us exactly who we are today. Yes it will hurt, there will be good days and there will be bad. Keep your chin up, buttercup. We're pretty kick ass if I do say so myself.

 Love yourself, love others, and remember you are loved,

 25 year old you.


P.S. - You won't hear these song lyrics until about 9 years from now, but just keep these in your head. “If I can get through this, I can make it through everything.”

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

No Shame November: A letter to my 20 yr old self

A reader's submission for No Shame November:

Dear 20 Year Old Self,

What do I say to you? You have been through hell. And you are so blocked off and alone inside that I’m not sure that you would be capable of hearing what I would want you to know. It sounds strange I guess but I am trying so hard to come back and help you. You see our hell has not ended yet. It continues inside of both of us.

We have taken that pain, terror, and desperation that we lived with for so long and locked it deep inside. Sometimes it breaks out and overwhelms us. So we try desperately to find comfort. But we end up hurting even more. You are eating and eating trying to feel okay. Guzzling down the booze to fit in and let go of the tension, the pain, and the anger. But it doesn’t really work does it? It's a kind of hell all on its own.

It feels inadequate for me to say “hang in there.” It is not enough to say “it get’s better.” Because I know where you are at. I know you are hurting. And when it hurts the future seems far away and life getting better feels impossible. You are in survival mode – just keep pushing, keep moving, keep going, and figure it out. Lock it down, shut it out, don’t think about it. You think because you are on your own now and a thousand miles away that it is all in the past. But in the dark of the night you know that’s not true. It’s still there.

So I guess what I would say is I love you. You didn’t deserve what happened to you and it wasn’t your fault. I wish you a few moments of relief. And I guess if that is what the food and the booze gave you then I understand. And I forgive you.

I will still say hang in there. And it’s going to be okay. it gets better. Because maybe those tiny, inadequate words were what gave us the strength to keep going.

And it is strength. Pure, hard-headed, grit your teeth, don’t think about it just do it determination. It is one of our strongest assets. It will pay off in the end.

You see I am out here too – your 35 year old self – living a better life because you survived and didn’t give up. We have a beautiful family and a sweet baby girl. And they have never known suffering like that. She will never be beaten. She will never be left alone. She will never go without food. We can protect her.

I wish you peace. And I love you.

Your 35-year-old self.

Monday, November 11, 2013

No Shame November: A letter to my 19 yr old self

A reader's submission for No Shame November:

Dear Me-10 years ago:

Hey there beautiful! Don’t roll your eyes, suck in and look at your ass. You ARE beautiful just as you are. I know it’s hard for you to see. But those thighs that you hate, learn to love them. They are fantastic. And your butt-bootylicious! (there will be a song in a few years-you’ll learn that word). What I am trying to say is you are wasting so much energy looking at that silhouette and you are missing the big picture. There is so much more to you than what size jeans you are wearing.

You’re almost 19 in a few weeks, and you’ll know that we still count down the days even at 28. The guy you’re engaged to, we are still married and if you think you love him now-just wait. It gets better. Better than you ever thought it could be.

That’s not to say it’s a walk in the park. You are going to cry and be mad and yeah a few times want to throw in the towel. But you will learn to love someone through thick and thin. He isn’t perfect and you aren’t either. My best advice going into this marriage? It isn’t all about YOU. 
But you’re 19 right now and you’re life should be about you. Whatever you love to do, do it. And don’t let anyone discourage you from doing it. Your happiness is about you and you are the only one that can make that happen. You’re meeting a lot of new people right now and remember they are on their own journey-doing what makes them happy. They don’t have to like what you like and vice versa. Be open minded. It will save you a lot of headache that isn’t your business anyway. Learn to accept others for who they are- figure that out and you will see your world open up and you will be happier.

I know you must be curious what life is like now ( and how big your butt is). I am pleased to tell you that you’re doing alright and your butt is great. Your husband can’t keep his hands off of it and it shows-with the amount of little people laundry you have these days. Approaching your 29th birthday-no you’re not getting jewelry and you don’t want any either (I know you just felt your heart stop didn’t you. Breathe, just breathe). Every day you get to snuggle and kiss and take care of your beautiful kids and that’s all you want; Just one more day to do just that. I have realized how precious time is. Every day I feel it. This wont last forever and it breaks my heart to the point of tears to think about one day all of this will stop. So make the most of it- Love through it all-the good the bad and the ugly-love on baby girl. You have a big heart – show compassion even when you might not get it back.

One final thought, make sure you have your camera with you on June 27, 2012. Something unexpected will happen that day and you will wish you had it.

Love always,
Your 29 year old self

p.s. Go visit your Grandma as much as you can. Really, I mean it.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Letter to My 20 year-old Self

Dear 20 year-old self,
     I want you to know that I have written and rewritten this letter more than once.  I wanted to find the right words to express what I wanted you to know.  I have read it and reread a hundred times, making sure it was just right.  I wish I could tell you that life is going to be rainbows and butterflies but I would be lying.  First, I want to say kudos to you for all you have accomplished in your short life, so far.  You have faced some pretty nasty hurdles but in spite of it all, you have remained resilient and strong.  Good for you, keep that shit up.
     I know you think that you know everything, but I am here to say that you are sorely mistaken.  Sure, you have seen your fair share of happiness, struggle and heartache, but, sister, you have no idea what's in store for you.  Let's talk about a few things that you are going through right now. 

     First, that guy that you think is amazing is going to break your heart soon and when he does it's going to hurt like hell.  When he walks out the door for the last time, you will be shocked, confused and angry.  You are going to want to chase after him. 

     Don't do it.

     Let him go.

     Let the door slam hard against the frame and feel the stabbing pain in your chest because it will be the worst heartbreak you've ever had.  But you are going to learn so much about love and yourself from it.  Bask in the feelings of loneliness, heartache and anger.  Although it will feel like life as you know it is over, I am here to tell you it's not.  While you think that you have love and life all figured out, you have no idea.  You can't truly understand the breadth and depth of the love that awaits you.  So, curl up in bed and cry your eyes out.  Grab the tissues and call in sick to work.  Go buy some ice cream and a puppy and suck it up, sister because life will go on and what a wonderful life it will be!

     Also, I know that you are lonely.  All your friends are either away at college or forming relationships with significant others.  You are stuck smack in the middle of a transitional time.  You value your friends more than anything and you want them to be happy, but at the same time, you are struggling with being alone all the time.  The depression that is wrapped around you like a blanket will be temporary and will teach you to value your adult friendships.  Although you will remain friends for many years to come, things will never be the same.  You will have less and less contact with them as your lives go in separate directions.  But that is ok, because you will take all the wonderful memories and stories with you. You will have great things to talk about on the phone for hours later on.  You will watch each other make tremendous changes in life, jobs and relationships.  You will share in happiness as you each get married, buy homes, have children and reach personal goals.  You will be by their side when life throws a curve ball into their plans.  And they will be there for you, too.  You have formed wonderful relationships with several people that you can really count on forever.  So, while you feel alone and depressed now, know that you have made excellent choices in friends and this feeling is temporary. 

     While we are talking about being lonely, let me tell you that selling your house and moving six states away is not going to solve any problems.  I know you think that a change in the atmosphere is the answer, but let me tell you a few things.  First, I know that you are struggling with the issue because you just recently met someone new and he's pretty awesome.  I know that it's a new relationship and you have plans to move away in a few months, but have a heart to heart talk with your great grandma.  That woman is as wise as they come.  She will give you some solid, heartfelt advice that will change your life forever.  Stay put for a while longer and you will soon see how it all pans out.  It will be pretty amazing.

     I know you have been thinking about whether or not you should go back to college or not.  Right now, you really need to focus on what makes you happy.  Are you happy working as a florist?  Could you see yourself doing this for a long time?  What goals have you set for yourself?  Would you like to some day own your own shop?  Stick with the plan.  Even if it doesn't pan out in the end, you will learn so much from all the experiences and who knows, you may even meet some pretty amazing people along the way that will change your life forever. 

     One last thing, I know that you are pretty head strong already, but I have to tell you this last thing.  Don't take any shit from anybody.  Stand your ground and let them know how you feel, whether it's good or bad.  You might have to hurt some feelings every now and then, but let people know what you think.  You sometimes hold back because you are afraid to hurt feelings or worry about what people will think of you.  Let that go.  People will ultimately value your opinions and respect your directness.  If someone does or says something that you don't like, speak up.  If someone does something that you absolutely love, tell them.  Grab them and squeeze them and tell them that you appreciate them. 

     Finally, keep in mind, that you are going to make some pretty stupid mistakes along the way and I am not here to tell you to do one thing or another.  I am just here to tell you to follow your heart (your best friend told you that once) and you will make the right decision.  The mistakes you will make will ultimately steer your fate into the intended direction.  And while you feel helpless, lonely and insecure at times, please know that you are a very strong woman with a glorious future ahead of you.  You are strong and courageous and when you think that you have reached the limits of that strength, you will inevitably find more.  You have no idea what you are truly capable of, but I am here to tell you that it is amazing.  Keep your chin up and good things are just around the corner for you. 

Best wishes,

Dalai Mama



Saturday, November 2, 2013

No Shame November

I have been absent in my writing for a while now and it's not that I don't have ideas but it's that I've been so darn busy.  With the kids, and the job and the life and all, it starts to wear a girl out, ya know? But now I'm back and, boy, do I have a challenge for you!
Quite some time ago, a reader sent a request that I write something to the tune of a letter to myself in the past.  Like a Dear 16 year-old self, kind of thing.  I thought it was a fabulous idea at the time and so I stashed that thought in my back pocket and today I starting thinking about it again.  I was thinking about what would I write to my younger self and what I would say.   Then I thought some more about how I sometimes get the best ideas and inspiration from my friends and readers.  And just like that, the idea hit me!  A READER'S CHALLENGE!
Indeed, I want to hear from you, readers!   I know that you all have a story to tell and I can't tell you how much I love a story written in a letter form!
What I am wanting you to do is think about a pivotal point in your life.  Maybe it was when you met your spouse, had your first child, moved away from home, lost a loved one or made a major life choice.  Whatever your pivotal point is, I want you to write a letter to yourself at that point in your life. 
  • What would you say to yourself? 
  • What advice would you offer? 
  • What things would you change, or would you? 
  • Would you tell yourself to run fast the other way or would you pat yourself on the back for a job well done?
  • Would you offer words of encouragement or tell yourself to snap out of it?
We all have an important time in our lives where we could have taken a different path, done something differently or responded in a different manner.  Let us inspire one another with our stories. When you write your letter, I want you to be shameless in your delivery.  I want you to be brave and honest with yourself.  Tapping into what choices we have made and coming to terms with those choices can have a very healing and calming effect.  Trust me when I say that writing can be very therapeutic for the soul. 
So, women and men of all ages, I challenge you tap into your inner "Dalai Mama" and have a great conversation with yourself.  If you haven't done anything for yourself in a while, I challenge you.  After you put the kids to bed, finish your homework, or get off work, I challenge you to sit down and write yourself a letter.  I challenge you to write for just 5 minutes, to get started.  I promise that once you start, it will be hard to stop until you're finished.  
So here is how it is going to work:
You will dedicate some thoughtful reflection time to yourself and write your letter.  You can send your submission to me by emailing me at   I will be accepting submissions for your letter to your younger self from Sunday, Nov. 3 until Sunday, Nov. 17 at 10pm.  Once I have had time to review your submissions, I will post your letters on Dalai Mama.  If you choose to remain anonymous, I will respect that and your name and likeness will not be included. 
I can't wait to hear your letters.  I will be working on mine and it will be posted by tomorrow, Nov. 3 on Dalai Mama.  Now, get to writing!