Skip to main content

Dear Me

I made a very sweaty resolution on New Years Eve. I was with some of my closest friends and just after midnight we were discussing what we wanted in 2012.  For me it was a simple one word answer: Freedom.

My resolution was sweaty because I had just lived out my dream of dancing in pajamas on NYE. To kick off freedom year, I wanted to dance with my friends and my husband... in pajamas... with a disco ball. I didn't want to be judged or self conscious and I definitely didn't want to be uncomfortable with pesky "real clothes" so the pajama dance party dream was brought to life by my friends and was executed to a level that I never imagined possible. Since that night I have intentionally started embracing my real self and doing something that frees me a little more each day.  This could be dancing, singing, making cookies at 11pm, NOT cleaning (I have a little cleaning obsession and many perfectly good Saturdays have been ruined by my cleaning projects and I say NO MORE - Saturdays are for coffee and snuggling and being with family), telling the truth (I have gotten into a habit of telling white-lies if I don't want to do something.. "oh, I can't today.. all of my hair just fell out".. lies.  NO MORE) and working on having real relationships.  It's harder than it sounds.  

While visiting my parents today I hit the motherload of treasures. I found 4 giant boxes of old photos, most of which I had daydreamed about setting on fire but settled on the thought that maybe they'd just stay in those boxes until I was long gone and I'd never have to see some of them again.  Every kid goes through "awkward" phases but it seems like I had an awkward 10 years (give or take another 5 years) and as I looked through the photos I started saying things to my younger self (quietly in my head).  I tried hard to explain to awkward Hannah that one day when you're almost 30, you're going to find your freedom and it's going to feel so good.  

A few hours into this experience, I decided I was going to share it.  I'll let these photos and their captions tell the story. Some of these will make you laugh and some of them may make you uncomfortable, but don't be.  Freedom for me is loving every phase of my life - even the extremely awkward ones. 

Dear Baby Me, you look like a son you'll have one day named Conrad. That lady holding you is going to be your best friend for the rest of your life. Sorry that you have a mullet.
Dear 3 or 4(ish) Me,  you are going to love singing more than anything. You are lucky your daddy makes you sing at church every week because you are learning about harmonies and such and that will benefit you later.

Dear Cool Hair Little Me, you should have just stuck with this hairstyle your entire life.  It would have saved you a lot of trouble since 30 year old me has your exact hair.  Full circle. 

Dear Birthday Me, you should celebrate yourself in a HUGE way every year. Oh, and you will still be friends with Jamie when you're 30. At one point, she's going to marry that guy you liked but you weren't supposed to marry him anyway so it all works out.  I promise. 

Dear Painter's Daughter Me,  learning how to paint will really serve you well.  You're holding the brush all wrong now, but later you'll be able to cut-in without even taping off and when you're 8 months pregnant with Conrad, you're going to paint his room all by yourself and it's going to look awesome.

Dear Lady Like Me, I'm so glad you learned to cross your legs.  You sat like a boy all the time before this photo and that would have never worked out because you always wear skirts.

Dear Sweet Tooth Me, I wish you'd have never learned that you can't eat chocolate every day. Who told you that? Chocolate is awesome.

Dear Scissor Happy Me, you'll still be cutting your own bangs when you're 30.  Mom will still get mad at you and it still won't look right, but at least you didn't have to pay someone else to do it. Bad news is you can't blame it on your imaginary friend "Jake" anymore, unless you want to be put on medication. 

Dear Christmas Me,  that sweatshirt rocked and you were popping your collar before it was cool.  

Dear Kindergarden Me, you are always going to hate school so you might as well settle in for the long haul instead of trying to fake sick everyday for the next 12 years.  

Dear 2nd Grade Me,  please don't cry.  Flubbing your dance moves in the Silver Grove Elementary Talent Show will not be the end-all for you.  You're going to keep singing and dancing for years to come. Great call on the matching shirt and socks. It looks great. 
Dear Jean Jacket Me, that hand me-down from your brother is not doing you any favors. 

Dear Wedding-Planner Me, you do NOT want a fountain in your wedding cake so cross that out in your wedding book that you've already started. When Dad sees that sneaky little bracelet you're wearing, he's going to take it from you and this will start years and years of you trying to sneak and wear jewelry and Dad hiding it from you. It's in the Bible that you can't wear it... somewhere in there.  

Dear Really Good at Posing Me, the hand under the chin is genius.  Your high-tops are awesome. 

Dear Confident Me, why did you ever become uncomfortable with your body?  I wish you could have stayed free like this forever. You're awesome.

Dear Junior Camper Me,  "Hot Sticks" are the devil.  Please don't curl your hair with those!! 

Dear Fashion Fail Me, The "Eastland" / white athletic sock combo will never work.   Tight rolled sleeves on a shirt that says "No Comment" will never work.  A scrunchie headband will never work.  

Dear Curly Me, you started getting perms.  This phase is really going to mess your hair up for years to come.  Years.  You look great in this photo so you should order tons of them and hand them out to all your friends. 

Dear Great Idea Me,  making mom order these in every possible size was genius. You want people to have this image of you in their homes and wallets for the rest of your life. 

Dear MovieStar Me, Glamour Shots TOTALLY made up for that permed hair and pink and gold chain outfit fiasco last year.  You're looking pretty awesome, cowgirl. 

Dear Left Over Hair Me, maybe an 8am call time for photos with mom wasn't a great idea.  You both made it on time but didn't get to wash your faces or fully wake up.  It's a good thing you have great leftover hair from church last night or this could have been bad. 

Dear Awkward Teenage Me, I'm sorry that you got another perm and wore that unfortunate faux denim vest.  Don't be sad.  I promise you will not always look like this.

Dear Uncomfortable Me,  I see you've gotten another perm.  In a couple of months  a lot of things are going to change for you, including your diet.  One day when you smile, people will still be able to see your blue eyes.

Dear Just Started Losing Weight Me,  I know you feel beautiful, but the one straight strand of hair on the face thing is never going to work for you.  Just slick it all back. 

Dear Just Lost 100 Pounds Me, I'm so happy for you.  You worked so hard and you feel amazing.  I 'm sorry that you've discovered plucking/shaving your eyebrows.  This is not going to end well for you at all. 

Dear Braces and Glasses Me,  the braces sucked for two years but your teeth turn out pretty great.  I'm sorry that you've almost completely shaved off your eyebrows.  They are never supposed to be that far apart.  Those frames may have also not been the best choice, but you'll get contacts in a few years. I see you've went back to the perm again.  It never looks how you imagine it will in your head, so please stop. Seriously.

Dear 16 Year Old Me, you are wearing prescription contact lenses that are tinted purple with non-prescription glasses just to look cool. That is lame. When you are 30, you will have those exact frames but with a strong prescription because when you're 25 your eyesight turns to crap and you're not allowed to drive without your cool big black glasses.  I think it's Karma.

Dear First Half of My Life Me, I'm not sure why you were so uncomfortable with being who you were.  You were always cool, but you wasted so much time wishing to be someone else (with better hair or eyebrows).  You can't go back and do it all again, but don't worry - everything turns out great.  One day you'll finally get to be the princess that 6 year old you always wanted to be.  Your mom is still your best friend and you married a handsome prince and now have your very own baby that is WAY cooler than all your cabbage patch kids (although he strongly resembles them).

Dear January 2012 Me, please don't start to doubt yourself and erase this tomorrow. That's not freedom :)  You have nieces and future daughters and granddaughters that need to know they're awesome being exactly who they are today. You might save them from years of trouble and/or really bad perms. 


  1. Thank you. This just made me like and admire you even more!

  2. Not to post a comment on every entry but..................

    I'm standing up and clapping about this one. :)


  3. I really am going to miss out on getting to know you. Except for the fact that I can not sing or dance to save my life, I think we were separated at birth. I wish you all the best of luck in Cleveland. Maybe our paths will cross again someday and I will be sure to take advantage of it.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

I'm Doing My Freaking Best

One of the wisest men I know once wrote me a note that read: 

"I suspect you, like me, have a confident exterior, but are plauged with inner doubts, like an impostor.. improvising every day, afraid the "real experts" are going to find you out.  The thruth is - we are ALL improvising.  Embrace improvisation.  Usually "experts" have maxed out and have very little capacity for improvisation.  If I could choose - consciously - I would choose improvisation" 

The above paragraph was part of a much longer letter of sorts that was written to me when I made the choice to move to Cleveland with my husband and son to start the next season of our life as a family of three. I understood the letter to be about my professional life and my ability to improvise in my job. While I had always been cool and confident in my work on the surface, just beneath I was constantly kicking and trying to keep myself above water, often looking around a room of people 10, 15, even 20 year…

Gymnastics and Puppets and Musicals, Oh My!

I like to imagine that I've always had the ability to make anyone believe anything I say and can often convince people to join me when I get a wild hair and want to do something "awesome".  Life is never dull because I'm always on to the next adventure. 

Some of my first memories are riding in the car with my mom to pick my brother up from school and telling her all about the "amazing day I had at school" and how "my friends and I had SO much fun in class".  My mom knew full well that I had been at home with her all day long and that I hadn't been in school at all. I had been in my room setting up my stuffed animals and dolls in order of vocal part (sopranos on the left, tenors in the middle and altos on the right) and directing my gospel choir of animals, Barbies and Cabbage Patch Kids. She went along with everything I said and let me describe in detail the things my teacher said, how well I did on my test, how much fun recess was, etc. I blam…

Bits and Pieces

There are lots of little things that I've been wanting to share lately, but nothing interesting enough for a stand-alone post. Here are three (3) short stories.  1.) Irrational Things New Parents Say in the Middle of the Night
The longer I'm a parent (a whopping 7 months now), the more I realize there isn't much that other parents haven't already experienced so why don't we talk about it?   People tried to tell us how hard it would be to go from being married without kids to married with kid(s) but I feel like we had no idea what was about to hit us in the face. 
I remember when our biggest decision was where we were going to get coffee after we slept 10 hours straight and were still in bed at 10am on any given Saturday morning. Those days were over for us on June 1, 2011. The most amusing (not at the time, but later) thing is the CRAZY stuff new parents say to each other in the middle of the night when you want to sleep but your baby has decided it's time for Scr…