A Letter to My 11 Year Old Self


Dearest Dani, I know things seem dire right now; you are wondering why you even exist, and questioning the logic in soldiering on. I am here to tell you, I’ve got you! We have way more strength and resilience than you’re aware of at this moment… I promise.

Let me tell you about the amazing life we’re going to have.  You don’t know this yet, but you’re a poet! Next year you will write your very first poem “Is This Love” and it will be published in your school newspaper.  It will be the start of you finding your voice. It will be the start of powerful cathartic healing through self expression, and you will find an audience that is interested in what you have to say.  You will go on to publish 4 poetry books, and people will buy them.  You will read aloud to strangers and they will applaud. You’re a Poet!

You’re a writer and an activist!  You will write letters to corporations that will result in changed policies; you will stand on street corners with signs educating the public. You will pen activist articles for blogs, and you will have a blog of your own “A Heart on the Matter”.  You will sign petitions, and collect signatures for petitions. You will vote and encourage others to vote. You will volunteer in election campaigns. You being you, and still being here will make the world a little better for some and a lot better for others.  Despite what you think now, YOU matter!

I know that you’ve been told by those you trust that your diminished vision will stop you from achieving all the things that you dream of, and right now you believe that. But Dani, they’re WRONG! You’re going to drive! Yes, that’s right DRIVE!  I know crazy right; I mean your parents didn’t even want you to ride a bike. Your vision is impaired, but it’s not as bad as you’ve been led to believe. You’re going to ride a motorcycle, and drive a car, a sports car even on a mountain road. You’ll be good at it, and it will bring you tremendous joy and freedom. When you’re in your thirties you will discover the computer, and it will open up a world you have never imagined.  You will be able to adjust everything to a comfortable size, and you will be able to do everything that others can do with ease.  You’re going to discover photography, and you will be in love.  You’re going to take some fantastic photos.  You will make canvas photo art that will hang in your home and the homes of others.  You will discover online tools to make your own gorgeous photo books.  People will pay you to do this for them, and you will be so proud! Now I’m not saying your lack of vision won’t get in your way, it will. You will lose jobs, you will be ridiculed, you will cry, it will hurt and it will be unfair, but you will prevail!

You’re going to be a mother. SHOCK, I know.  You’re pretty sure right now that motherhood is not for you. You are actually smart to think that way given all that you’ve been through.  One day though you will change your mind, and change it again, and yet again.  You will give birth to a beautiful red headed son who will be your joy, but also the most challenging person you’ve ever had to deal with.  In addition to your son you will be a stepmother to 3 other children, and I would venture to say they are happy to have had you in their lives. You will be a good mom, not the best mom, but a good one. You will love beyond what you thought possible, and you will advocate for your children the way no one ever advocated for you.  All the things done wrong to you, you will do right for them, but you will make all your own set of mistakes.  It’s life, nobody is perfect.

I know that you’ve suffered awfully and I’d be lying if I told you everything will be cushy going forward, it won’t. What I can tell you is that everything you go through is going to be worth it. SO worth it! You’re going to find all the love you haven’t received in spades. You’re sensitive so everything for you in life will be heightened.  The good news is as bad as bad can be will also be as good as good can be and then some. You will revel in the abundance that is nature; it will be your solace. Something as simple as snowfall will afford you profound inner peace. Wind and storms will feel like choreographed productions just for your enjoyment.  Flowing bodies of water will bring you immense joy, and will be your favorite places to visit.  One day you will find someone to share all this with, and it won’t be who you think. You will have your share of boyfriends, and a couple of husbands. You will know passion and wonder how people survive it because for you it will be more intense than it is for others.  For you, the third marriage will be the charm.  You will find the love of your life when you are 37.  She will complete you in every way. You may not believe this yet, but you will love women as well as men.  She will make you laugh.  Life with her will be like a slumber party that never ends.  You will never run out of things to say to each other, well at least we haven’t yet.  You will experience a synchronicity you never thought possible. You will build a home and family together full of love and laughter.  You will travel.  You will make art together, and people will buy it.  You will make greeting cards together, better than the one’s you love at the Hallmark store.  She will nurture you in every way and you will realize your potential.  You will be her rock, her protector, I know you can’t imagine yourself at this moment protecting anyone, but you will be fierce and a force to be reckoned with. You will be her organizer, her advocate, and the one who loves her beyond measure.  I’m certain you will spend the rest of your life with her.  Let’s just say it’s been nearly 20 years already. So it’s looking pretty great.

You’re going to know so much joy, laughter and happiness.  It will take a while to get it all figured out, but you will. The bumps and bruises and hurt along the way will only serve to make you a better writer, artist, and all around good person.  Life is going to be beautiful, complicated, messy, and exciting. I know this is a lot to take in, or believe at eleven, but trust me. I’ve got you! We’ve got this! Don’t give up now, it’s all going to be worth it!





Romanticizing Evil



What is it about the bad boys/girls?  Why are some people attracted to what they should instinctively know is bad for them?  Why are predatory, controlling, narcissists romanticized for entertainment value?  Unfortunately, I do not have the answers to these questions…only more questions.  It is a disturbing trend I have noticed in the last decade or so.   I recently saw a trailer for a new show on Netflix called YOU.  The trailer shows a stalker pouring over his next victims social media.  The narration is powerful and somewhat intoxicating, and I quickly clicked off of it, because I knew where it was going.  Same old story girl meets boy, gets stalked, controlled, tortured and killed.  I have made an effort to be careful what I watch, what sort of content I allow to occupy and program my brain.  But then I read a post on facebook raving about the show and equating it’s main character Joe to Dexter.  So I decided to watch after all.  I liked the show Dexter, we’ll get more into that in a bit.  The writing and narration in YOU are superb, but the content as I first had feared is most disturbing.  It is entertaining in a macabre way.  But what disturbs me most is that the main character Joe, a mentally ill, predatory stalker, and killer has fans, lots of fans.  That’s right…there are some, and a lot of them are young girls, who think Joe is the bees knees.  WTF?! How is stalking, and killing, for whatever reason hot, or romantic?  Because Joe is intelligent, slick, and has a couple of altruistic penchants some are willing to overlook his killing ways.  Even the actor Penn Badgley is shocked at the amount of adulation his psycho character is receiving.  Lets be clear, Dexter is nothing like Joe.  Dexter used his dark passenger to mete out justice where the system failed to.  He only killed those who truly had it coming, with the exception of those who got too close to catching him.  While Dexter could be charming, the series was careful to show his lack of emotion and empathy.  I worry that shows, books (50 Shades of Grey), are being created and written that glamorize, and romanticize predators.  Even psychopaths that aren’t killers (the vast majority) still leave landslides of emotional abuse and wreckage in their wakes.  Instead of glamorizing and romanticizing we should be teaching our sons and daughters what warning signs to watch out for.  They need to learn when further investigation is appropriate, and when to walk, if not run for the hills.  Of course, that’s not the responsibility of the entertainment industry, but at what point do they have to bare some responsibility for the harm their content can and does cause.  Why can’t we have shows similar to YOU that show a smart young woman who realizes the danger and escapes it while bringing her stalker/killer to justice? A show that shows the bad guy as a bad guy and shows the red flags to look for to flesh him out?  I would like to see in the next season of YOU the tables turned on Joe by Candace, who he clearly thought was dead.  At best we can view these type of shows, books, movies as teachable moments.  We should as parents watch with, pause to explain or wait till the end and have conversations about content.  That’s our job, but we can’t be there 100% of the time and the likelihood of our youth viewing something like this and forming the wrong opinion is a real threat.  Media, shapes us, and not always in the best ways.  We must be vigilant, and like with all things we vote with our dollars.  If we feel something is truly harmful we don’t have to watch, we don’t have to let our kids watch, if we can help it, and if they do, it is up to us to make sure they have all the right information to form valid, healthy opinions.


Hope for the Future

I recently learned that we will have the option to purchase green energy in our community at lower prices than what Edison charges.  This begs the question, if this is possible why haven’t we been doing this all along?  The answer, a greedy for profit business model designed only to benefit the for profit company that uses it.  Edison has enjoyed an unfair monopoly which has failed to serve well it’s customers or the planet.  As you might expect they are doing everything in their power to stop us from choosing to pay less and protect our environment.  How you might wonder, well they under collected funds due to a higher than normal 2018 energy demand and have left us holding the bag.  We are always left holding the bag unbeknownst to most.  The reason we are aware of it now is because the CCA is luring their customers away and Edison wants to charge us exit fees to cover their losses.  Some say they could have managed their contracts/funds differently to avoid the loss, but why would they care when they can just pass it on to us. Hence, the uprising.  California has been experiencing record heat and an almost year round fire season due to climate change.  People want green sustainable energy that is controlled locally. This would ensure an Enron type scandal where California energy prices were manipulated by greedy traders who could care less about the swelter we suffered as long as their pockets were lined, can’t happen again. Edison did not protect us then and they still want our money now.  At least one person died during the Enron Scandal that resulted in rolling blackouts during a record heat wave here in California when their dialysis machine lost power.  I read that we can reduce our emissions buying green power by 9%. That’s huge, and if cities all over start doing this and other things green, there is hope to alter our climate crisis.  By law we are automatically switched to the new CCA when our local government votes it in. As consumers we have the choice to opt out and stay with the greedy for profit Edison that has gouged us for decades.  Hopefully consumers will read up on the CCA Clean Power Alliance and not give in to Edison’s scare tactics.  This is what it is going to take to really enact change for the better.  We cannot rely on strictly for profit businesses or our current administration to do what is best for us.  We have to do it ourselves.  We have to take charge locally.  Together we CAN make a difference.