Everything I Wish I Knew 10 Years ago II Paris Photographer

Recently I saw someone write a letter to themselves 10 years ago and it got me thinking about what I would say to myself as a teenager. 

When I think about me as a teenager, I remember my shyness around people I didn’t know, lack of confidence and fears. I also remember my determination and disregard for roadblocks to my dreams. I'm still shy with strangers or in large groups of people I don't know but I don't lack self confidence, and I'm pretty fearless in the main aspects of my life. Sometimes I wonder how I got here. I think one day I just decided that I'm worthy and that I'm beautiful inside. It helped that my old boss once asked me why I wasn't confident and I didn't have a real answer. So that day, I decided to be. 

Along the road for the last 10 years I've been, and still am, a constant work in progress.

I've decided to be less competitive and more of a team player, to worry about myself first so that I have the skills and energy to help others. I made compassion in my life a priority as well as to speak my mind. I'm not confrontational and prefer to diffuse a situation which can be a hard thing when someone needs to speak up first. But I work on being that first voice and not worrying if any other voices will follow me. It's the part of being fearless that's the hardest for me.

I like who I see now in the mirror and I'm not sure I was so in love with me 10 years ago. Life was changing constantly and I couldn't seem to find the stability and control in my life that I have now. I wish I could tell that girl so much. On that note, here's my letter...


Hey babe,

It's you, in the future, and everything's fine. That search you had for the sense of home?

You found it.

In a person.

That second language you were dieing to speak?

Nailed it.

The worldly perspective you wanted?

Working on it, but that's a lifelong venture.

That camera you picked up once and couldn't put back down?

Yeah, that's still around.

It's great you're a hard worker, but try and have a little more moxie.

Be daring.

Tell yourself you're a god damn rockstar even if that little voice in your head is saying, “What right do you have to say that?”. Go tell that voice to simmer down, that no one has time for that kind of negativity. 

You have permission to be you, raw and without apology. You have permission to say no, to people you love, to bosses, and to strangers. You have permission to accept no as an answer, and realize it is not a reflection of your self worth but a reflection of the other persons priorities. 

Sweetheart, money does not bring happiness, nor does it make a good person or a bad person. Money is a tool and with or without it you may be whomever you choose to be. 

Work to live don't live to work.

Don't get caught up in the NYC lifestyle, it'll turn you bitter.

Figure out what you love and how to do that every day. You'll be happy, have a wealth of determination, confident in what you do and will figure out how to make your living.

Work hard.

Be passionate.

Say yes when it's a hell yes and no when you're any bit less excited. 

You have the right to be excitable, and optimistic, and real. To encourage others and embrace encouragement. 

Be gracious and thank everyone. 

Hug your grandpa and spend as much time as possible with him. 

My dear, above all you must follow your heart. Take big risks and don't be afraid to fall.

You have one life, choose your happiness and then choose it over and over again. Set wildly outrageous goals. Believe you can achieve them and then put a plan in place to do it. 

And always remember:

You are loved.

You are worthy.

You are creative. 

You are smart.

You are brave. 

You are beautiful.