Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Dear 20 Year Old Self

another letter, cause, why not?  a prompt based on the brilliance of Dear Sugar/homework for my group next week...

Dear 20 Year Old Self,

The good news is, this will be one of the hardest years of your life, and in the scheme of things, it’s nothing.  

Just wait until you've been around the world and back, and to war with the bugs, and to the mansion where they filmed a season of The Bachelor… you’ll see.  You’re struggling to find and define yourself, wearing a gajillion hats and scheduling your weeks so tightly, because you’re convinced you can catch up to your parents, but it was their path to “have all the answers” by twenty one. It’s yours to keep uncovering questions well in to your thirties, and probably forties and fifties and beyond.

Luckily that means you’ll get to re-claim Rome, and you’ll get called to live the fourth like all your friends have been a decade later, once you’ve made your way out west - homeward bound unbeknownst to you.  You’ll wear a fig leaf bikini on stage that makes you, your friends and your family forget you were ever a pink sheep.  You’ll come to believe in the existence of Einstein time on a train that’s actually going to Switzerland when you’re supposed to be going to the Brussels airport.  You’ll teach your sister, both of your sisters, so much. 

You could snoop in July instead of August of 2008, and cancel that second flight to Australia, because the money you’re going to spend simultaneously having your heart broken and going to the third of thirty six weddings in eight years would be better spent bouncing over to Beijing while you have a couch to crash on there.  You might also decline the invite to rendezvous in New Mexico in June of 2013 and instead ask your international man of mystery to put his money where his mouth is.  But if you don’t, fear not, because without having the memories of making that Facebook album you title Aussie Love or sitting in a church in Denver, Colorado weeping as quietly as you can through a long, cold, hour of mass, you might not have the appreciation you do today for the gifts of good love, good friends, good relationships, and goodness in others.

You can’t fix anyone, or just “do it for them,” and the sooner you learn that the lighter you’ll feel.  

You actually do like broccoli, and strawberries, and zucchini, and peppers, and bananas, and pears, and salad in general.  Not cucumbers.  Not celery.  But brussel sprouts, believe it or not, and salsa - oh my God, salsa.

You’re so lucky, and you’re so young, and you’re just getting started doing the things you say you’re going to.  Be patient.  Be kind.  Be a good listener.  Be gentle on yourself.  Be honest with the people who mean the most to you, and be open.  It’s always worth the wait.  

dry those tears, daniella....

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Dear Fear of Appearing Needy

In 2015, a few of my girlfriends and I picked up copies of a how-to book.  I was sold on doing so easily because I'm a sucker for self-help and secreting.  I also love a good guided meditation and journaling prompt.  Basically the book was right up my alley.

Recently I re-read my response to one of the exercises ... Lesson 38.  I've since thrown the book out (the book itself didn't bring me joy anymore but the journals I had kept while reading it did), so I don't know the exact assignment, but from what I gather it asked the reader to create a list of fears and imagine written correspondence with the fear found most nagging at the moment.

Here is what I wrote:

"Dear Danielle,

You run the risk of hating yourself, finding yourself weak and dependent like you've accused all of the women on your mother's side of being.  You will suck the life, energy and availability out of your oneday boyfriend/partner/husband, and they will come to resent you, and the relationship will implode.  You will show yourself to be a fraud having posed as independent and self reliant all these years, and you will sabotage the heights you've reached.

Fear of Appearing Needy

Dear Fear of Appearing Needy,

You need to the chill the f*** out.  OK?  You actually do have needs. And that is OK.  That is not a sign of weakness.  No one is going to question your competency because you also want to be shown love, respect, appreciation and adoration.  You have to love who you are 100%, and who you are includes what you want and need.  And if and when those wants and needs show themselves you need to own them, not try to hide them, not be embarrassed by them, not think they're evidence of your fragility.  You can withstand hurt, you can relinquish control, and you can be a little needy.  It's not gonna kill you.  And what's more, some man is going to want so badly to fulfill those needs and cater to your ever-so-human neediness.  Don't worry.  Okay?


I think I may need to add "write more letters to myself" to my list of resolutions for this new year.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Pink Fleece

Before I moved from New York to LA, I made a point of ridding my closet of the majority of my black.  I kept some basics: pants, a cardigan, a mini skirt, a cami, and I left a handful of black long sleeve shirts and sweaters in a bin at my parents’ house in Boston, because I figured I’d be back for enough visits between Thanksgiving and the holidays to want to bust those out for family and work gatherings - less to pack for longer trips - but otherwise my goal was to go bright.  I stocked up on linens, white peasant blouses, turquoise and salmon tank tops, some nautical looking sweaters and neon work out garb.  When I walked in to my walk-in closet in Woodland Hills - I had a walk in closet for the first time in my life for the first year I spent out west! - I wanted to see and feel lighter and brighter than I’d ever been able to donning my New York uniform of black on black on black.  

If over the holidays I received gifts that were reminiscent of my east coast attire, I simply added to the collection in that bin at my parents’.  They’d be staples of my “home visiting” wardrobe… hats, scarves, turtlenecks, fleece-lined cold weather running gear.

My Nanny Janny (my mother’s mother) is infamous for the Christmas bags she doles out as gifts each year.  They typically contain an assortment of soaps from Marshalls, flannel pajama pants from Building 19 1/2, fuzzy socks from the Hallmark store sale section, and bright colored zip up fleeces from Ocean State Job Lot.  The fleeces were new to the lineup the first Christmas after I’d moved to LA, and the one that graced my gift bag was a putrid pink.  Just shy of neon that could have been considered trendy, too dark to be soft and becoming, close to the shade of magenta you can imagine being a kindergartener’s favorite crayola color, and sort of like a step sister of Pepto Bismol’s it was the kind of thing no New Yorker or Angelino would dare to be caught dead in.  

And yet… it found its way back in to the suitcase I packed to go home to Los Angeles with that Christmas, and it’s come back with me to Boston since I moved east again last summer.  It’s warm and it’s relentless in its ugliness.  I’ve worn it around the house more often than I am keen to admit.  Whenever the temperature has dropped below 60.  Pretty much any and every day I don’t have somewhere to be - any morning I’m waiting for my hair to dry or only running out to the drive through Starbucks a town over.  And every once in a while when I’m dropping by my parents’ where the bin no longer resides but my grandparents have moved in to an in-law apartment.  Whenever Nanny sees me in it, she beams.  

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Check yourself...

Because I have some of the best friends in the world, I get birthday gifts from time to time even though all I really ever need to feel spoiled already is the gift of their presence in my life.

This year I got a book of story prompts and a couple years back I got two books with autobiographical prompts.  Prompts are my jam.  Prompts are all I need to be off and running my fingers over the keyboard or pen over paper.

And in honor of the new book I went back to look at one of the old ones... they were selling it at Paper Source's and stores like that in the fall of 2013 

Glorious, right?!  I had filled it cover to cover by mid January of 2014.  The other one I got

I have on my to-do list to complete when I'm approaching 35 (the age I'd be privy to becoming president if I were so inclined... ahhh how I love arbitrary rationalizations)!

Anyway, I thought I'd post two of the essays I wrote in late November/early December of 2013.  I thought maybe I wasn't posting much around then on here, but it looks like I did at least a handful of times.  Nevertheless, it's still pseudo noteworthy... here's my answer to the question "how would you describe yourself" as of this time of year three years ago...

"Is it a bad thing talking about myself comes so easily to me?  Self-aware - that's the way I'd start describing myself I guess.  Eternally if not relentlessly optimistic.  A glass half full kind of girl.  A type A person who wishes she could be a free spirit.  A "Yes" person with a high tolerance for bullshit.  Remarkably unobservant.  Pretty impressively patient in my personal opinion.  Loyal.  Loving.  Lovable I 'd like to think.  I love to laugh, love to learn, love to lean in when I feel like I have something worthwhile to bring to the table.  I'm a homebody who loves to travel and loves to make the world feel a little smaller with each new trip around it.  I'd say I'm a leader by nature most likely due to my eldest sibling role.  I'm a straight shooting sagittarius and a little slight of tact sometimes if I'm being honest.  I have high expectations of the people I love because I believe in them with every fiber of my being, but I'm pretty hard to disappoint because I'm pretty level-headed anreven keeled.  I'm not a very passionate person, but I love to do the things I say I'm going to, andI am great at committing for the long haul to projects that I either believe in or think are important.  I'm pretty maternal, but also self-serving.  Self motivated, easily excitable, always open to being newly inspired.  I'm open and accepting and always trying to stop my natural instincts to judge.  I'm Catholic with a little 'c.' The oldest of 5 kids. Irish/Catholic/Italian/French Canadian and a couple other things.  A boston girl at heart.  And way more of a city girl than country bumpkin."

This all still applies.

I'll add that I'm grateful.

Sunday, November 13, 2016


When I was little, my curls were unruly.  They had a mind of their own and a traffic pattern my mother, God love her, couldn't seem to navigate gracefully for the life of her.

She'd rake through my hair with a brush when I got out of the bath, and as my head was yanked backwards with each stroke, she'd relent, "you've got snarls in there..."

I haven't heard or even thought of that word in decades.  By the time my sisters were born there were detangling shampoos for kids and no-more-tangles sprays my mom would use on their manes to make the process more bearable.

These days I know how to work with my curls.  "People pay good money for curls like those," people used to say to me when I was little, and these days I pay good money to manicure mine.

I've been devoted to the devachan method for five years

The process is 100% worth the time it took to learn and master.

The point of this post though... I just realized, is that I will always have snarls, I have just acquired patience and tools necessary to smooth them.

There is so much to say about this mess of a week and the messy divide our country is raking through in the aftermath of the election.  For tonight I can rest resolved to be willing to figure out how to work through the snarls.

My first day as a Deva girl

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Falling back

My issue with falling back is the falling part.

I love getting back the hour.  I will always take and maximize free time, bonus hours, minutes that are up for grabs.

But I can't help falling a little when the days get short.

The SAD in the air is contagious if not oppressive.

And I will find rays of sun shine like it's my job.  I will, I can, I have.

It's a fight though, and I hate fights.  I don't fight, in fact.  I say it often, "I don't fight, I win," but winning is exhausting, it's draining.  I don't know how Hillary's doing it.  I am positive the toll it will take on her.  She fights to win.  I wonder if she knew all along 2008 wasn't hers, and just made the bid to get people ready for this run....

Anyway, election talk gets so dark.  Now I'm doing this to myself.  It's awful.

I think a cop out's in order.  Here let me fall back on this:  Oh, Autumn in New York :)

It's relative - I spent the second half of this last week pounding the pavement and checking out my bff's new digs

Sunday, October 30, 2016

ImWithHer I'm just not sure where from reinforced what I was confident about already.  HRC is my candidate of choice in this year's wild and crazy election.

My "loft" portion of our place on Taylor is my abode of choice at this point in the crazy adventure called life.

And I'm confident about residing here.  I think I'm doing good work, saving money, being creative, filling up my love tank, taking advantage of being conveniently located close to the majority of my favorite people in the world and only 20 minutes from an airport.

But I certainly wouldn't hate if someone came up with the sort of questionnaire they have you fill out on to validate a vast range of my life decisions. 

A girl can dream, can't she?