Category Archives: #reverberations

A Letter To My Younger Self

Not long ago, I read a post by Jamie Ridler on Roots Of She, about the kind of advice she would give to her younger self. I think I recall writing a bit about it during #reverb10 as well, but I never allowed myself to get too far into it, because I was scared of what might come out.

But the other day, Jess at So Uprightly Burning did a post on her letter to her 10-years-ago self, and it inspired me to finish mine.

So here it is:

A Letter To My Younger Self.

 

 

Me at around 14, and me today, 10 years later.

 

Dear beautiful Jen,

Well, you’re 14 years old. And I can tell you that this year is going to be the hardest year of your young life so far. And the next couple of years after won’t be much easier.

Your anxieties at school will get worse, you won’t feel safe in your own home, your self-esteem will be virtually non-existent, and people you love will die.

You will feel so ignored at school that when your favourite art teacher reaches out to you, you will be so surprised that you won’t know how to respond. Don’t assume she’s just doing her job; she really does care. I know this because even today, ten years later, she still remembers you.

I’m telling you all of this because I want you to know that, no matter how unbearable it all seems, and how lost you feel, you will get through it, you will find your way.

It’s all going to be okay.

The next few years will be dark, but there is so much light, so much good, waiting for you on the other side. Everything you are going through will be worth it, and everything these tough times teach you, about yourself, about others, and about life, will one day serve to make you very strong.

Just remember, everything happens for a reason, and things will get better, a lot better. I promise.

Please know that those people who hurt you, they do it because they, too, are suffering. It’s not your fault. They hurt others because they are hurting. You don’t have to put up with that in your life. Speak up.

It will take a long time for you to fully trust others, but someone will come along who will show how to love.

While you are running around chasing boys and looking for someone to love you, your soulmate will be right under your nose, and he will have already fallen for you before you even know his name.

It’s okay; you can trust this one. This boy won’t hurt you. So don’t get suspicious every time he gives you a compliment; he really does think you’re beautiful. He really does love you. And he really will marry you one day.

He will heal your closed heart, help you see how amazing you are, and show you what it’s like to have a real home, one where you feel safe, loved, and free to be who you really are. You can tell him your secrets, your fears and your dreams, and he will love you even more in return.

He will love you completely, every part of you, the good and the not-so-good. And you will feel the same about him. You will be a blessing to him just as much as he will be a blessing to you.

He makes everything you are going through now so, so worth it.

In regards to friends… well, don’t go the extra mile for anyone who wouldn’t do the same for you. And remember, anyone who gossips to you, will gossip about you. Even the ones who you think you can trust with your life.

Some friends you have now you will still have in ten years. Others will try to take advantage of you, and as soon as you are strong enough to stand up for yourself, you will realise you don’t want them, or their never-ending dramas, in your life anymore. It will be a hard choice to make, but I promise you won’t regret it.

In fact, by cutting them out, you will see just how much negativity they brought into your life in the first place, and you will have so much more room to grow into the positive woman you are meant to be.

Also, don’t get caught up in the aftermath of that ended friendship. The more drama they create about it, and the more lies they spread, the more they prove to you that you don’t need them in your life. Send them love and move on to the more awesome things that are coming your way.

Keep drawing, painting, creating, writing, and expressing yourself through art. You have no idea how much you need it to heal, grow, and be happy.

And never stop dreaming. That life-long dream you have of living overseas? You accomplish it at 23. I know, pretty awesome huh? You will also have your first art exhibit at age 22. And all those other things you dream of? You can do all of it. You really can.

Don’t avoid the things, places or people that make you anxious. You know those freak-outs you have before school, that you think are normal? Those are panic attacks. One day you will be so ruled by them that you never leave the house alone. Not even to get the mail.

Don’t worry; you need to live through that. That’s what causes you to do something drastic, like moving to China for a year. That will help you to overcome the anxiety pretty quickly. You will learn that your fears aren’t real, and that every time you face the things that scare you, the stronger and happier you become.

Then you will realise how brave you are, to do things that terrify you every single day.

Also, it’s okay to change your mind about what you want to do. Keep trying new things until you find what fits. A lot of those people who put you down for changing your mind will end up feeling stuck, doing jobs that they hate, and having no idea what they want to do with their lives. So don’t listen to their opinions.

Only listen to those people who are already living the kind of life you want to live – everyone else is just guessing.

I know right now you don’t know much about positive thinking, but you are always trying to see the bright side. Don’t listen to those people who call you unrealistic. What they don’t know is that it is optimism that will get you through the next few years, and start you on an amazing journey that will lead you to living such a happy and amazing life.

So, there will be a lot of tough moments in your life over the next ten years. But there will be even more amazing, happy and love-filled moments. So just keep going.

Most of all: Be kind to yourself. You are so worthy of love and respect, but it starts with you. Love yourself first, and everything else will fall into place. Make loving yourself your number one priority.

I Love You.

Jen ♥

Hey, #reverb10! You rock! Last one :)

December 31 – Core Story What central story is at the core of you, and how do you share it with the world? (Author: Molly O’Neill)

I think the story that is so central to who I am is my constant quest to find my own truth, see the positive in everything, live a life of happiness & purpose, & show others how AWESOME they really are.

I share my journey with the world on Twitter, Facebook, & Tumblr, as well as here on this blog, which has become so important to me.

Offline, I share all of this with my friends, family & the world by just being true to myself as much as possible.

I have to admit, though, I always found it a little difficult to talk about my feelings with people face to face, & sometimes I still do, especially when it comes to things I am truly passionate about – like positivity & empowerment.

People seem to think I’m being ‘unrealistic’ or that I have my ‘head in the clouds’ when I talk about the kinds of things I write about on here; like how we have the power to create our lives. They look at me like I’m insane; I remember a few years ago I was talking to a friend about how I was taking a course on Life Coaching, & she thought I had joined a cult.

It’s only recently that I’ve found more successful avenues for expressing my true self; painting, writing, & most importantly; living a life that aligns with my values & beliefs – deeds not words (which is also one of my personal commandments!).

And, it’s amazing how people, who once laughed at your optimism, will start to take you seriously when they see what you can achieve with a positive attitude & your ‘head in the clouds.’

I’ve found that, whilst talking to friends at a bar about positivity, self-development & empowerment makes you ‘insane’, communicating those same messages through art, writing, & the way you live your life, instantly transforms you into ‘eccentric’ or an ‘artist’.

And now, after everything I’ve achieved this year, I don’t care if people think I’m crazy.

Maybe I am! It doesn’t matter.

The only thing that does matter, is that I’m being myself, & living a life that I have created 🙂

Speaking of things I have created, thank you all so much for all the love I have received on this blog. I especially LOVE how many people are using the 2011 Virtual Vision Wall to make this year their best yet! 😀 And an even bigger thank you to everyone who has been sharing it with their friends & loved ones, you rock! So awesome!

I’m planning on making 2011 an extremely amazing year for all of us, so if there’s anything I can do to support you the way you have all been supporting me, please let me know! Feel free to add me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter or Tumblr, or email me at jenartist@live.com.au.

And, as usual; Keep Smiling!

Jen ♥

Goals & Gifts – #reverb10 :)

December 28 – Achieve What’s the thing you most want to achieve next year? How do you imagine you’ll feel when you get it? Free? Happy? Complete? Blissful? Write that feeling down. Then, brainstorm 10 things you can do, or 10 new thoughts you can think, in order to experience that feeling today. (Author: Tara Mohr)

Today, when I looked at all my goals, hopes & dreams for the next year, I noticed a pattern begin to form. They all involve personal growth, inspiring others, & experiencing all that life & the world has to offer.

As I connected them even further, I realized that my most desired goal for 2011 is to end it with even more love, happiness, health, & purpose than I am ending 2010 with.

If, a year from now, I can look back on 2011 feeling like the best version of myself I have ever been & knowing that I gave it 100%, I will be satisfied & proud.

I’ve decided to go with the ‘10 thoughts’ option in order to experience those feelings of confidence, accomplishment, joy, love, purpose, satisfaction & pride today, because what you think about, you bring about.

(While these aren’t really ‘new’ thoughts, they are definitely ones I could think more often!)

1. Take action.

“When you don’t know what to do, do the thing in front of you.” ~ Elisabeth Elliot. Another good quote for this thought is: “Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” ~ Will Rogers

2. Yes, I can.

“My motto is; If a person can do it, I can do it.” ~ Geena Davis

3. Live with purpose.

“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.”

~ George Bernard Shaw

4. Anything is possible.

“Whatever your mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”

~ Napoleon Hill

5. Stay focused.

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.”  ~ Henry Ford

6. Dream big.

“If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.” ~ Marty McFly (Michael J Fox) in ‘Back to the Future’.

Another good quote for this thought is: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” ~ Les Brown

7. Be wild.

“Why sit in the bleachers, timid & afraid? When you could be the whole parade!” ~ Hairspray – Big, Blonde, & Beautiful

8. Think, do, be, positive.

“I crossed the street to walk in the sunshine.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert in ‘Eat, Pray, Love.’

9. Share the love.

“Freedom lies at the heart of my willingness to love everything.” ~ Alanis Morissette

10. Follow your bliss.

“If you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while waiting for you, and the life you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be. If you follow your bliss, doors will open for you that wouldn’t have opened for anyone else.” ~ Joseph Campbell

December 29 – Defining Moment Describe a defining moment or series of events that has affected your life this year. (Author: Kathryn Fitzmaurice)

The defining moment for me this year would have to be the moment we decided to move to China.

As I described in my Tiny Buddha guest post, there have been so many ups & downs & lessons learned through a whole series of events that all lead back to that one decisive moment.

I am so grateful for that moment & everything I have experienced since, & I am 100% certain that I would not be who I am today without it.

December 30 – Gift Prompt: Gift. This month, gifts and gift-giving can seem inescapable. What’s the most memorable gift, tangible or emotional, you received this year? (Author: Holly Root)

The two most memorable gifts I have received this year, aren’t special to me because of their monetary value, one of them didn’t even cost a thing. These gifts are special to me because of their meaning, & what they symbolize in my life.

The first, I received back in April; an engagement ring from my soulmate. And while I do think it’s totally romantic & awesome that it boasts diamonds, my birth stone, & was designed by Mike especially for me, I get the most joy out of what it symbolizes.

It’s not just a ring, it’s a symbol of Mike’s love for me, & his commitment & desire to spend the rest of his life with me. It represents our friendship, our love, our past & our wonderful future together.

The second gift I received only last week; a link to a YouTube video from my brother.

It may not seem like much, but it is one of the sweetest, most meaningful & comforting gifts I have ever received.

The video is of British comedian Tim Minchin, singing a song he wrote about Christmas called ‘White Wine in the Sun.’

For most of it, I just thought it was really cool that this guy had summed up all my feelings about Christmas in a song, from consumerism to family.

In fact, the chorus could be about my family at Christmas:

“I’ll be seeing my dad

My brother and sisters, my gran and my mum

They’ll be drinking white wine in the sun

I’ll be seeing my dad

My brother and sisters, my gran and my mum

They’ll be drinking white wine in the sun”

Towards the end of the song, he sings to his daughter:

“And if, my baby girl

When you’re twenty-one or thirty-one

And Christmas comes around

And you find yourself nine thousand miles from home

You’ll know what ever comes

Your brother and sisters and me and your Mum

Will be waiting for you in the sun

Whenever you come

Your brothers and sisters, your aunts and your uncles

Your grandparents, cousins and me and your mum

We’ll be waiting for you in the sun

Drinking white wine in the sun

Darling, when Christmas comes

We’ll be waiting for you in the sun

Drinking white wine in the sun

Waiting for you in the sun

Waiting for you…

Waiting…”

This is when I started to cry like a baby.

This is when I realized that my brother wasn’t just sending me a video about Christmas, he was sending me a message. He was letting me know that he misses me.

He was letting me know that, even though I’m ‘nine thousand miles from home’, my family – Mum, Dad, him, my other brother & sister, my aunts, uncles, cousins & my Nana, were spending their Australian Christmas in the sun, & missing me, thinking of me, & waiting for me.

It makes me tear up even writing about it. But I love it so much, & it means more to me than almost any other gift I’ve ever received. I’ll never forget it.

(More lyrics: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/t/tim_minchin/#share)

Stay tuned for a couple more posts over the next day or so, one of which I made especially for all of you! 🙂

Keep Smiling!

Jen ♥

#reverb10 – Playing Catch-Up :)

December 20 – Beyond Avoidance. What should you have done this year but didn’t because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?) (Author: Jake Nickell)

The only thing I can think of is speaking up more, in situations where I was being bullied or mistreated. I didn’t stand up for myself because I was too scared, but it has taught me how to be assertive & how important it is to speak my mind, especially if someone is mistreating me.

December 21 – Future Self. Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? (Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?) (Author: Jenny Blake)

So, I’m imagining future Jen writing to past Jen, but past Jen is, in fact, the future Jen to me; the present Jen? Easy.

Dear 2011 Jen,

The next year is going to be extremely AWESOME. You are going to have so many amazing experiences that you will never forget, & you are going to achieve some things that you never thought possible.

My advice to you is this; just enjoy it. Give everything 100%, be as present as you possibly can, & soak up all the awesomeness. Forget about the petty things that don’t matter in the long run, just focus on the important stuff – love, purpose, family & friends. Make this quote your mantra:

“Do what makes you happy,

Be with who makes you smile,

Laugh as much as you breathe,

Love as long as you live.”

Keep Smiling!

Love, future Jen.

To my younger self, from 10 years ago, I would say:

You’re right, it will get better. I promise.

I wouldn’t say much more than that to my past selves, because if ‘Back To The Future’ has taught me anything, it’s that knowing too much about your future can dramatically affect the space-time continuum & even destroy the Universe itself. Great Scott!

December 22 – Travel How did you travel in 2010? How and/or where would you like to travel next year? (Author: Tara Hunt)

This year I really kicked ass in the travel category of my goals list. Living overseas has always been something I’ve wanted to do, & I am very proud & happy to have achieved that this year.

Next year, I want to visit Beijing & walk on the Great Wall of China. I would also love to visit Shanghai & Hong Kong (especially Hong Kong Disneyland!) before we leave.

As for other places around the world, we are still deciding on where to go for our honeymoon – at this stage it might be Ubud, Bali. Also, we are going to Fiji two weeks after our wedding for Mike’s brothers wedding. So traveling is absolutely going to be a major focus of 2011, which makes my heart smile.

December 23 – New Name Let’s meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why? (Author: Becca Wilcott)

I love my name. It’s perfect for me, & I would never change it, not even for a day. I’m Jen, it’s who I am 🙂

December 24 Prompt – Everything’s OK What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright? And how will you incorporate that discovery into the year ahead?

After my guest post was published on Tiny Buddha, I re-read it. Reading it again, I realized just how much I had been through & how much I really have grown & learned from it. Seeing it published, & reading all the comments from people who could relate & who were inspired by my experience… that’s when I knew it was all going to be alright, because I can handle anything.

December 25 – Photo – a present to yourself Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and what it best reveals about you. (Author: Tracey Clark)

This photo was taken, by Mike, as we were walking through a small patch of forest about a block away from our apartment complex. I love this forest, especially in the snow, we walk through it every time we go out.

I chose this photo because I look really, truly happy… because I am 🙂

I’m in the beautiful snow, surrounded by my wise friends; the trees, & you can tell by my loving smile that I’m more focused on Mike than the camera. I’m full of love, light & joy. This is how I always want to be.

December 26 – Soul Food What did you eat this year that you will never forget? What went into your mouth & touched your soul? (Author: Elise Marie Collins)

There’s a few meals that come to mind; the vegan quesadilla that Mike used to make back home is so good, & I can’t wait to have it again when we go home; pizza always makes me smile; & the food at both the vegetarian restaurants (& only vegetarian restaurants!) here in Daqing is both delicious & healthy. One of them makes mashed sweet potato balls that are so good! Yum 😀

December 27 – Ordinary Joy Our most profound joy is often experienced during ordinary moments. What was one of your most joyful ordinary moments this year? (Author: Brené Brown)

I love this question! I just had one of these moments on Christmas Eve. It was our first Christmas away from home, so I was trying to make it as special & as jolly as possible; I put our three presents under out little tree, lit some candles & had Christmas carols playing.

When Mike came home with our Christmas Eve pizza, he took me by the hand & started dancing with me in the lounge room. It was so perfect. I was completely in the moment, dancing with my love to John Lennon’s ‘Happy Christmas’, & admiring the candles as we waltzed around the room. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Get ready for another Wise Words Wednesday post very soon!

Keep Smiling 🙂

Jen ♥