99

a song comes on that reminds you
of everything you used to feel
and when it’s over, you play it again

funny how memories are debossed on music
like grooves in a record
and we swear we’ll never replay old mistakes
until we do

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fake it til ya make it

dear, you (1)

Let’s talk about confidence.

I’ve known plenty of successful, confident people who didn’t know what they were talking about—in this case, let’s call him Steven. I can objectively say that the Stevens I’ve met in my life are rambunctious, driven and hold heads up high despite (and let’s face it) we know a lot more than him. But he is so confident in his abilities that he convinces others of it: he moves up in the ladder, gets the promotion, gets the better grade or whatever it is, while it always seems that you get left behind.

Now, that’s not any fault of Steven for being able to portray that level of self-esteem and leverage it to get what he wants. But it does provide a disservice to us if we don’t do the same—especially if we have the same (or better!) capabilities that he does.

And while you and I both know that Steven may not be the smartest guy in the room, we also know for a fact that it’s the confidence that got him there. This week, I want you to walk into every encounter with the exact same level of confidence that Steven has. Even if you feel like you may not totally know what you’re doing or if you feel completely out of your depth. Hold your head up high. Drown out your insecurities. Believe in your own ability.

I know that sounds terrifying and uncomfortable to be so self-assured, but you know that you know your stuff. People like Steven have faked it until they made it; lucky for you, you already have it. You just need to be ready to share it with everyone else.

Be assertive. Be confident. Know your worth. If Steven can win over a crowd and have no idea what he’s talking about, you can walk in with that same enthusiasm, a lot more knowledge, and woo the crowd over, too.

 

***

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love,
ELLE

98

350 degrees
bake for 8-10 minutes
until golden at the edges

the smell of cookies would wander through rooms
dance us through nostalgia
and we’d count down the minutes until
we could burn the tips of our tongues
by choice

as a child I’d imagine all the things I’d get up to
all the cookies I could eat without
permission granted
if only I was older

today, I’m on the precipice of the rest of my life
and consumed by what the right choice is
or even if there is one
I recall that sense of fearlessness
of burning myself and not thinking twice
I could use some of that bravery now

gone swimming

dear, you (1)

Hard decisions are really freaking hard. I’ve recently had to make an important choice myself: Will I go over the deep end and try something terrifying, unsure and potentially life-changing, or stay in the shallow pool where it’s safe and guaranteed I (probably) won’t drown?

This sort of self-reflection is so tough to swallow. A year ago last year, you felt so blessed to be in this position and now you’re seeking something bigger. Why can’t you be happy with what you have? Because you’ve grown. And you’re still growing.

It could be as big as a career change or even as everyday as going out when you’d usually stay in. Whatever it is, there is no wrong answer to that tough choice. Though, I will say this: I can’t tell you about the nights I stayed in. Even times when I went out and was bored by the company, at least I had a funny story to tell.

Staying on the shallow side isn’t a bad thing – just don’t ever think it’s all there is. Even if it’s scary, even if it seems monumental, we have the rest of our lives to get it right, and maybe even a little wrong, too.
Let’s mess things up sometimes. We can forgive ourselves later.

***

Did someone forward this to you? Subscribe here to receive a pep-talk straight to your inbox every Wednesday. Until then, see ya next week!

Thanks to Otakuaegyochan for this week’s theme, “making important choices.” Click the comment button below to tell me what themes you’d like to hear about next week! Until then, see you Sunday.

love,
ELLE

 

97

the tale of my life
marred with working class dreams
and making ends meet
and violent boys
and skipping dinners I didn’t deserve

if it’s really true that we all have our own burdens to carry
and some are invisible and some are so terribly heavy
I hope that the words I write down and the stories I tell
of every bad thing that’s ever happened to me
become someone else’s survival guide
in how to be thrown into the depths
when you swore you weren’t the drowning type
and learning how to swim to shore.

 

 

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love,
ELLE

93

these snapshots in time
of being a child but swearing
that you’re not one.

I can feel the gravel under my feet
as we snuck out of the cottage
and ran to the beach, barefoot
the air was heavy, humid
I was young, wild

I can’t imagine the fear the adults felt
when they checked on our beds and we
weren’t there
but I can imagine the way the summer
breezed through my hair
like pages of a book in the wind
the moon parallel to the crown of my head
the ocean crashing at my feet
and the cellphone I didn’t own yet.

I swear I can still smell the salt on my skin some nights
just before I fall asleep
until a notification buzzes
and it’s back to work.

92

There’s a carousel of people I know
nestled into my phone feed
that are having kids, buying homes
doing everything right and
looking good doing it

There are nights I stay up late
and imagine all the things I’ve done wrong
and how I could’ve grasped perfection
plucked it off the tree
if I had tried hard enough.

By morning, I’m forgiving myself
heading to the market and seeking
only the best fruit
I’m digging my fingernails into the flesh
making sure the peach is sweet
I’m poking and prodding and
making sure there’s not a single bruise
that I end up creating one anyway.