Saturday, February 2, 2013

Dear Denise,


Yesterday evening I found myself unexpectedly sitting across from a photograph of my 10 or 11 year old self.  I wondered what she thought of me and then what I might tell her about moving forward and navigating her world.

Good olive oil and good salt.  They make most things better.  Also plain white t-shirts, well-fit jeans, and comfortable panties (I'm confused by the distaste some have for this word.  It doesn't bother me.)  Bras, socks, and shoes matter too, but you won't need a bra for a while.

These essentials should rest upon a safe home, self-confidence, and at least a small group of people who believe in you.  You have this already.  You are lucky.

You'll want to prioritize a good education and experiences that broaden your horizons.  If you stop and think about it you'll recognize both.

And money.  There should be enough to eat well, dress for the weather, and procure the education and experiences noted above, but not so much that managing it becomes too big of an experience in itself.

You'll have to care about some guys that aren't right for you, but it's okay, it's better than being closed off.  You will meet someone who makes your life better and inspires you to do the same for him.

You will be happy and it will annoy some people, but you'll be sad too.  You'll notice the juxtaposition of the two actually adds depth to your life.

Rise above it all every once in a while and look down.  It's good stuff.

Don't forget the olive oil.

46 comments:

  1. That is one cool, self-confident looking little you. Love the photo so much!

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  2. I agree with Bow. Love this confident little-you, so strong and ready to take on the world. The letter is so beautiful Denise. Good advice, good olive oil...x

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  3. Dear Denise, Listen well. This is ace advice.

    (You look like a modern day Scout from To Kill A Mockingbird).

    I wanna tell her to get 'em tiger, but I know she will.

    xo Jane

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  4. such a great photo of you! whenever i feel as though i've lost my verve, i always pull out photos from my childhood. and now i'm curious...what's your favorite olive oil?

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    1. I'm pretty loyal to Stonehouse California Olive Oil, Shari. And my favorite, House Blend, isn't known as anything fancy. They call it their workhorse. I use it for everything.

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  5. Your picture of you does look like you've got self-confidence, and a safe home and people who believe in you-- this post is so lovely.

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  6. What an amazing post. The juxtaposition of 'happy/sad' adding depths to life... so true.

    I never forget the olive oil. Lately I'm cutting up sweet potatoes and tossing them with olive oil and some spices (cardamon/cinnamon)
    and baking them for about 50 min. I don't know if it's a dinner or dessert or what.

    Anyway, you look adorable in that pic. And thirsty. :)

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    1. Sweet potatoes are awesome for dinner or dessert. I like your spice choices.

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  7. Words of wisdom from big Denise to little Denise and very beautifully put.

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  8. I never considered writing a letter to my young self, or the other way around. Might try it though because eleven and twelve were tough years. I could have used advice.

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    1. Hi, Rachael. I say go for it. This photograph was taken just before my family life went through big changes, and those big changes were not good. I'm thankful for resilience.

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  9. The little Denise was a cutie, and I love the way the older Denise turned out.

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  10. Thinking of myself at 10 - I realise the advice I'd give her is what I still need to remember. That disconcerts me. I know that she would have liked to play with the girl in the photo...

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    1. I think they would have had fun together, Kate.

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  11. I love the idea of a bigger me giving advice to my younger self. I know so much now - the mistakes I made along the way could have easily been prevented if I would have listened to (anyone's) advice in the past! But then how would I have learned or grown to be who I am? Nonetheless, this post makes me miss the innocence of my 10 year old self.

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    1. I understand. I wasn't big on listening to advice... I like your point that we need to learn from those mistakes to grow. The innocence. It is beautiful. We have it as a memory.

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  12. I think your advice about the money is spot-on - there is an amount that is "enough" to have the life you want and a moment where it is possible to have too much, with all the implications that go with it. I am glad I recognized that moment in the first half of my life, and I'm thankful I haven't had to worry often about not having enough.

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  13. I love this photo and I love this advice. I have been thinking about writing something to this effect for my future child. Funny how advice to yourself can sometimes be the best advice for another person too.

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  14. Quiet words of wisdom, Denise. Thank you.

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  15. hi mini d.

    yep. don't forget the olive oil.

    love it.

    we call panties undies, and i never, ever think either word is in any way disquieting either.

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  16. I love the photo of you! Such a neat idea. Perhaps it's time I start to collect photos of myself from parents.

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    1. I swiped all family photos from my dad. They are such a treasure.

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  17. I just adore this post and agree so much with your sentiments. I just love your gift with words, emotions and conveying them simply but powerfully.

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  18. Love this - every word, but especially this: "You'll notice the juxtaposition of the two actually adds depth to your life." Such a wise self you have become :)

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    1. Thanks, Danielle. It's a perspective that makes the tougher times easier to endure.

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  19. Wise words indeed, especially the olive oil.

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  20. Such a wise post. I've read many of these and I think yours is the most...down to earth/real one. You know, you and I could have been twins at that age.

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  21. such a sweet, softminded, elegant look forward. praise.
    n♥

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  22. It's just that it says 'Dear Denise' on top. It could well have said 'Dear Pia at age 10', and I wouldn't have had to tweak a thing.
    This is a good, good guide. And well done, to both the Denises.

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  23. good salt and clean cottons. this makes me want to write.

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