Be True to You

I can just about guarantee that when I get together with my Mom, she’s going to bring me a box of things from my childhood. From baby clothes to kindergarten crafts, I’ve seen it all. I don’t know where she gets all the stuff, it just keeps coming!

I’ve never been much of a sentimental person, especially for things I haven’t seen in over 15 years, so about 99% of it goes in the trash.

But there was one item in the last batch of childhood memories that caught my eye…

My Grandma, on my Dad’s side, was quite the writer. In 2000, 8 years before she passed, she embarked on a 2 year project of self publishing a book about our family from 1630 onward.

She’d asked everyone in the family to contribute stories, pictures and snippets from their lives to make the book a success. Over 60 of us wrote to her and expressed, in our own words, the world we had around us, and what was important to us.

I was 13 years old when my Grandma invited me to write something for her book. I’d always dreamed of being a writer… and an actress, a gourmet chef, a professional dancer, a lawyer and a teacher ;), so writing my first article in something I knew was going to be read was a dream come true!

I peeled open the pages to the book the other day, found my contribution, and read it aloud to Kevin, stopping along the way to suck back my tears.

At 13, I had respect for myself, love for my body, and a wholesome approach to life and love. I was fearless, hopeful, and full of dreams. Reading my entry helped to affirm everything I know to be true to who I am, and reminded me of how important it is to hold on to that truth and live the life I was meant to live – to not be scared of the fact that I’m leaving my full time job in 47 days, to embrace change, to stay positive, and to take chances.

Here’s a snippet from my entry,

I live my life with this motto in mind…

You only have one life, be diligent.

Work to achieve it all.

You are the only one who can make you happy, so what are you waiting for?


Friends are a gift for your heart.

They show you how to live, how to love, and how to improve yourself beyond your wildest dreams.

Learn to make friends, stay true to them, love them, and everything they bring to your life.

Stay open to the possibility that one person can change your heart and soul.


Your body is the best instrument you’ll ever have. Respect it.

Learn to love what you’ve been given because it’s original, beautiful, free, and 100% yours, forever and always.

Don’t be afraid. Trust it, live it, and be true to who you were born to be.

What would your 13 year old self say about the way you treat your body?

What would she tell you is your most powerful asset?

What would she be most proud of you for accomplishing?

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  1. Leanne, I think you were one of the wisest 13 year olds I’ve ever known! What a beautiful entry. In my 13th year, I had just moved to the Middle East, the beginning of a 5 year stint where I gained a ton of weight, but lost it in exchange for a gain in self confidence and belief in myself that I could control my own health, and my future. I think my 13 year old self wouldn’t have believed it at the time if someone had told her that she was going to come out of living in the Middle East having learned as much as I did about myself and about all sorts of other things too.

    • I love your childhood stories of moving and experiencing new cultures, so fascinating! I can only imagine how challenging it was to get up and move that far at such a young age. But… you did it!

  2. Wow! Those are some pretty insightful and power words from a 13-year old. I’m pretty sure my entry would have been more about what boy I liked that didn’t like me, who my best friend was, and maybe something super wise like that I love math! Your words have clearly shaped who you are today and you should be so proud that you’ve lived the way you envisioned at such an innocent age. I’m glad that I’ve grown into a deeper person than I “think” I was when I was 13! Thanks for sharing. I love the idea that your grandmother had and I’m so glad you didn’t throw that one away (:

  3. What a wise 13 year old you were! Wonderful piece of writing. I was just thinking about this morning actually… Loving our bodies because it is the only body we have! I wish I had had the self-confidence and outlook you had when I was 13. These days I am feeling much better and am becoming proud of myself and the things I’ve accomplished!

  4. Good grief you were a smart cookie at 13! I wanted to be all those things too when I was that age! I think my 13 year old self would be proud of where I am today. I can’t say the road has been easy, but I’m proud of where I am now.

    • It’s interesting, I see such strength in my words, and just a couple years later I believed the exact opposite of myself. Regardless of the road we’ve taken to get to where we are (bumpy or not) it’s great to step back and appreciate all we’ve overcome for this moment!

  5. love it. when I graduated from college I received a letter from myself written on the first day of freshmen orientation– mine wasn’t nearly as insightful. mostly about boys and the tattoo I never got!

    • Oh my gosh, what a great idea! Did your school organize the letters? I switched High Schools a couple of times (problem child that I was!) but it would have been cool to see the world from freshmen to senior. Very fun activity!

  6. My 13-year-old self was just on the other side of s few tough, really insecure years and was slowly gaining confidence in herself and developing a stronger self image. I think she’d be proud of me becoming a more independent and confident young women and for constantly putting myself in situations that are out of my comfort zone, and simply not caring as much about what everyone else will think! Thanks for the beautiful post :)

    • I remember sitting watching women at a department store when I was about 15, thinking to myself, “When I’m 25 or 30, I’m going to be so confident and comfortable with who I am!” I’m so happy that that’s the case as we get older and wiser!

  7. Awesome post!! Got me a little teary! All so true!

    When I was younger I (think?) I wrote this poem…. if I didn’t write it – I clearly stole it from somewhere and made it my own – because I always thought I wrote it! haha

    Break the Rules
    Stand apart
    Keep your Head
    Go with your Heart!

    Ohhhhh hahaha – I just googled it – and I guess I did steal it! Regardless – I always tried to follow that!

  8. Incredible Leanne! My mouth is wide open in awe! I cannot believe you wrote that at 13! That is incredible. I am speechless. Best post ever

    • Thanks Meg! I was pretty amazed too, just because I don’t remember being that… loving at that age. Shortly after, I started developing hatred toward my body, isolated myself from my friends and became quite the negative Nancy! But, I guess that’s what happens as we grow up, exploring different paths and finding ourselves in the process. Glad you liked the post!

  9. Wow, I’m impressed! I can’t believe a 13 year old wrote that. Show’s you had (and have) a good head on your shoulders.

    I’m pretty sure I was like most teenage girls & was not secure in my own skin or body. I still struggle with that to this day, but I’d like to think I’m getting better.

    Learning your family’s history is eye-opening & important–that’s super cool you have a compiled book for your family. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Amazing! Your 13-year-old self seems like an old soul, with wisdom beyond her years. And I love your grandmother’s book and her efforts to preserve your family’s history – I think that is tremendous!

  11. oh boy .. at 13, I was no where close to wise! Not that I am now, but I am at least better ;) But that book you mentioned.. you grandmom.. the stories .. how amazing it must be. You should pass it on .. and this book should keep saving stories. yeah! I am kind of a emotional person :)

  12. I too am leaving my full time job (and career of 13 years) at the end of July — to enter a nursing program. I’ve never been so scared (in a good way) and excited in my life! These words you wrote are timeless and have just as much application and meaning in my life right now than ever. Powerful and thought provoking, and just what I needed. Thanks you for sharing it with us.

    • Congratulations on having the courage to step out of your comfort zone, Kasey! I’m happy my words resonated with you!

  13. Wow,I love your entry! It’s so beautiful.
    Mine wouldn’t have been as optimistic,I guess. When I was 13,depression & my ED determined my life already,issues that haven’t left me until now.
    Your words are so inspiring,though,and I am so glad you shared them with us! Thank you!

  14. Leanne, thank you for this beautiful post! It’s so heartfelt, genuine, though-provoking..just absolutely tremendous! Wow! you truly ARE a writer!! (Please excuse all the exclamation points!! I am just so in awe!). I cannot believe you wrote that at 13. At that age, I was reading Dr. Seuss and desperately trying to learn English. What would my innocent, daring, confident, vibrant 13 year old self think of me now? For some reason, this question opened the floodgates of tears this morning. I can’t even muster up the courage to ask her this question. She would be so ashamed of my struggles with an eating disorder, depression, relationships, everything! However, I’m on the road to recovery, and hopefully I can ask her the question again with confidence, peace, and contentment. For a start, I just started my own blog for myself. I know too well that I’m not a writer, and there’s grammar and spelling mistakes run rampant, but it’s for myself and for my soul. That’s all that matters! Thanks Leanne once again for this beautiful post!!

  15. “Your body is the best instrument you’ll ever have. Respect it.
    Learn to love what you’ve been given because it’s original, beautiful, free, and 100% yours, forever and always.
    Don’t be afraid. Trust it, live it, and be true to who you were born to be.”

    Thank You, been having a very hard time and when I read this today in my email, I smiled and said that is all I can do.

  16. Oh Leanne, I didn’t care about sentimental things either until I was in my mid 50’s & I so regret that now. In fact a co-worker once told me I didn’t have a sentamental bone in my body. lol & it was true but not anymore. I wish I had kept some of my thing from my childhood & more of my childrens thingscause once it’s gone , sold-trashed whatever it’s gone for good. I just found this blog today & am really enjoying it. I am trying to eat healthy & walk, lose some weight & get my cholesterol & BP under control with out meds.Thank you for this interesting site.

    • I know you’re right, 100%. I’ve kept a small amount of things and may regret not holding on to more.

      I’m so happy you found me and like the blog. Good for you for taking your health into your hands and making some lasting changes that will surely benefit your health. Enjoy the journey!

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