Tag Archives: future

A Letter to My (future) Daughter

Last week I shared with you a letter a father wrote his daughter about the pressures of growing up in this “better be perfect looking or else” culture we live in today when “perfection” is just a wave of the mascara wand away.

I gave myself the challenge to write a letter to my future 13-year-old daughter on how to relish life, though I’m not even close to knowing “it all.” Here we go!

daughterDear (future) daughter of mine,
Hey Lovely, in life there will be challenges and difficulties (like puberty), celebrations and triumphs (like acing that math test), but all of those lessons learned and victories won are moments that shape your You. A life puzzle… of sorts.

Here are my top 5 (so far) things you should know:

ONE: Become a Thunkie
Or a thinking junkie. Your brain is beautiful, use it! Show your personality, communicate your dreams. Soak up all the knowledge from not only the classroom, but also life’s experiences. Pick up a book, a real one…smell the pages, have your eyes scroll across the serif text, learn something of value. Because in the end your brain is your most valuable tool, though sometimes you’ll wish it would shut up so you can follow your heart.

TWO: Don’t Believe Everything You Read (and watch)
The 10 Ways to Get Every Man to Want You”
“5 Days to Flawless Skin”
“The Get Toned by Tuesday Workout.”
All of the above could have (and no doubt have) been headlines for the women teen magazine, Cosmopolitan. Don’t believe the hype, I admittedly tried the 10 ways… didn’t work. Flawless skin? I’ll keep my laugh lines, thank you. And you can never get toned by Tuesday, ever. Also those models and celebs on the cover, they’re photoshopped to have beaming sun-kissed skin and the perfect hourglass shape.
In life many things are based around appearance, influenced by marketers. In today’s (2014) culture there’s a high value on appearance. For women we’re told to be younger, thinner, and more natural by caking on make-up.
Today, were even lacking in powerful female characters in TV/movies and even in real life. In the off chance a woman of power like former secretary of state for the Obama administration Hillary Clinton,  is in the news she’s labeled as a “bitch” or “bossy” and often critiqued more on her appearance than her work. Bet you didn’t’ know you were getting a culture history lesson, did ya?
Lovely, if people call you “bossy,” shoot them a warm smile and reply “thanks,” you’ll catch them completely off guard leaving you to bask in your Thunkie glory.

THREE: Always Believe Your Mother
I know, I know you’re like “mommmmm, seriously?” Dead. Deal with it. As you grow and mature you’ll be thanking me one day, as I did my own mother (yup, tastes like vinegar). However, I’m not going to silver platter these “told you sos,” some you’ll have the privilege of learning on your own. Like, social media. Just know what happens on social media is being collected by the Library of Congress and will no doubt come back to spook you during that important job interview. Which is why you shouldn’t put up a fight when I say you have to be in college before your granted the responsibility of running your own reputation on the wild, wild web.

FOUR: You Only Live Once
This has been my life motto since I was 12, until Drake went and ruined it with his overplayed tune. Even my screen name was “ulive1” on AIM (which was basically text messaging via the Internet). Anywho! Please remember that this life is precious. You only get one shot to make the most of it. Everyday is a blessing. Don’t drink and drive. Do travel. Don’t speed. Do work hard because it will pay off. Don’t worry too much. Do dance around your room and Do and ask your mother to join you.

FIVE: Be Vibrant, Be You
Be strong, be steadfast, be giving. Take responsibility of your happiness. Dismiss those who prove toxic on your well-being leaving room for others that paint your world in positivity and love. Positive thinking is powerful and how you view yourself affects how others, in all aspects of your life, view you. So make the promise to yourself—you deserve it—because you are beautiful, because you are you

Be the best You, you deserve it and so does the world!

With all the XOs,

What are some life lessons you would share in a letter to your future child or current sister, cousin, friend? Share in the comments!




Dance Like No One’s Watching, Except Someone Always Is

I was teaching Wednesday night at the dance studio when spotted this inspirational and oh-so-true quote posted up on the white board in one of the classrooms:

“If you ever feel like giving up, just remember there’s a little girl watching who wants to be just like you. Don’t disappoint her.”

BallerinaQuoteI realized the reality of this quote was right in front of me as the four classes gathered in the big studio to “share” their pieces as well as practice being a good audience.

When the “big girls” stood up to perform their contemporary pointe piece the pre-ballet girls, who are around seven-years-old, sat up a little taller, crossed their ankles and looked on wide-eyed. These “big girls” are their role models. It was true when I was growing up at the studio and it was true when I was a “big girl” and it still holds true today even as a dance teacher. And heck(!!) this quote is even true in the professional world. There is always someone looking on, admiring you from a far for numerous reasons. (that sounded creepy, but you know what I mean.)

"big girls" running their pointe pieces as pre-ballet girls watch on.

“big girls” running their pointe pieces as pre-ballet girls watch on.

The annual recitals are this weekend and I’ve been reflecting back on what the studio taught me growing up that prepared me for success in the Real World*. I am now a part-time teacher (in addition to my full-time gig) at my “second home,” where a lot of my teachers are now my co-workers and role models.
Here are the Top 5 life lessons from my time at the dance studio from age 3-18 that I hope to pass on to my dance kiddos:

  1. Be prompt—I am always on time for everything (actually most of the time I’m early) because in dance, time is of the essence and if you’re late for rehearsals or miss your cue on stage people that are counting on you are not happy with you. Same goes for Real World interviews, meetings and deadlines. Your time is valuable and so is everyone else’s, honor that.
  2. Be respectful—Three Forms:
    a.     To Teachers: Teachers are there to educate dancers on the discipline and tenacity needed to accomplish the art form. Teachers are there to inform dancers on the rules of the dance class and how to reach their goals. Sure, there will be challenges, maybe you don’t like the choreography, but you have to respect the teacher/choreographer’s passion for the work, because guess what? reality states you’re going to do things that you don’t want to do and you’re going to have to do it with a beaming smile.
    b.    To Peers: The always challenging peer-to-peer relationships, which as you can imagine is often fueled through competition (more so than ever in recent years). This competitive spirit trains dancers for multiple real world scenarios: setting goals, disappointments, pain, failure, triumph, and confidence. However, it’s important that through these challenges that mutual respect for one another is created. This is not to say, “Hey let’s be BFFs and ever,” but realizing that if you do decide to dance professionally, it’s a small industry, you may be standing next to that person during a piece where they may have to lift you up over their head…they could drop you. Just sayin’. Be kind to each other people!
    c.     To Yourself : You (proper noun, big Y-o-u) is often the hardest person to respect, but at the end of the day You are all you have. So what the heck, be nice would ya!?! At the studio, just like the real world, we are afraid of failure but the truth is you have to fail in order to improve. Can’t get your leg in a 6:00 tilt, no problem. Stretch more. Figuring out how the heck you’re going to give up sugar for 5 days during this detox? Breathe, it’s just an experiment just plan your meals ahead of time and you’ll be good! It’s all about self-love.
  3. Be organized—When you’re shimmying off your sequins in the dark on the side of the stage and have two minutes to change tights, hair, costumes and shoes knowing that the show waits for no one, you tend to be organized. Just like in life, juggling multiple things at one time and on a tight deadline you are expected to execute the project(s) on time and with the highest quality.
    More on Life Lessons Learned Through Dance Discipline