What is DearHolly?

DearHolly is a community art project in which people send in advice to Holly – a girl who is about to turn 13 – via the back of a postcard or envelope. Each weekend I will publish the advice cards that arrive so that you can share them with the Holly in your life – a young girl either just about to enter her teens, or mid way through.

This collection is about providing advice, sharing secrets and anecdotes. Maybe you want to tell Holly to march to the beat of her own drum because your teenage years were spent in the chorus. Maybe you want to tell her to go to ‘that party’, kiss ‘that boy’, or stick it out at ‘that school’.

Together we can create a living, breathing collection of real, gritty and heartfelt advice that teenage girls the world over can can share, gasp at, learn from, and live by. No longer will teenage girls have to rely on the repetitive, commercialised advice found in any given women’s magazine. From the moment DearHolly receives its first postcard, I, you, and the 1000s of other contributors will paint a picture of teenage life to help inspire, support and comfort those currently entering or going through it.

I’m doing this for the Holly in my life. You should do it for the Holly in yours, or the Holly that you once were. Join me.

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What to do:

  • Address a postcard/letter in envelope to DearHolly (for girls) or DearOlly (for boys)
  • Write your advice anonymously (you can include your age and gender for context if you like)
  • Stamp and mail the postcard or letter

Send your postcard to:
Knox City Centre Post Office,
PO Box 4180,
Knox City Centre,
VICTORIA, Australia, 3152

If you’d rather email your submissions, then you can write, scan, upload, photograph, or digitally create your message and email it to: dearhollyproject@gmail.com

** Also accepting advice for males – simply address your message to ‘DearOlly’ instead. A dedicated website for boys will be created in due time, until then all submissions will be posted here each Saturday.

Submissions: Week 2

dear holly

Hi there Holly,

This is for you.

You will experience so many good things and so many not so good things throughout your life and I want you to know that whatever you experience is all for the good of you…to help you GROW and to help you KNOW what it is you want to include in your life and what you don’t. When you struggle to put things into perspective and feel like it’s all too much, read these words and reach for thoughts that make you feel good.

Lots of Love,

KJ (Get Positive Revolution)

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DearHolly: Open letter to the world.

It is almost 20 years now. I was 20 years old, a young model living in Los Angeles that was spending the holidays at home with her family. There I was in the emergency room because I wasn’t feeling well at all. The doctor on duty didn’t consider my case of such emergency because she thought; ‘a model living in LA, it must be overdose’. The fact is that I never did drugs. I was as clean as a whistle and that misjudgment cost me my mobility. I was having a stroke and as the hours went passing by, and I was not getting the adequate treatment. The outcome of that miserable night was that I was left with this condition called; ‘LOCKED-IN SYNDROME’. I was almost completely paralyzed; I could not even move my fingers or whisper a word, and the only thing I could move were my eyes.

It was like the worst thing that could ever happen. That night my life came tumble ling down. At first glance it seemed that fate just knocked me down flat with its best shot and that the rest of my life would be as miserable as any life can be.

Please let me share a little secret with you; ‘misery is not a reality, it is a state of mind’.

Of course, fate did manage to make me miserable for a while.  It did take some time for me to accept reality, to heal my soul, to learn to talk by using my eyes to spell out the words and to even learn how to eat. The fact was that I will never be able to stand on my own again, but that was not going to stop me from being the best that I can be. It will not stop me from living and enjoying my life as much as possible.

The real disabilities in life are not physical. Having a physical disability is really nothing more than just a challenge. And if you accept the challenge and give it the best you have, it will not be able to stop you from doing what you want in one way or the other. The only disability that can really stop you from being all that you can be is your state of mind and your attitude towards life.

It does not matter if you are in perfect health, if you suffer from any condition, if you are disabled in any way, old or young, man or woman. Only thing you need is air to breathe and a good attitude (great attitude), a will to live, a positive attitude and determination to persevere. Nothing that is really worth having in life will come fast and easy, but with faith and determination you can and will achieve much more than you can imagine.

At certain moment I decided that if all that I would be able to do is just sit in a chair and look what is going on around me, I would do this looking the best way possible. You might think that I mean looking glamorous, well sometimes yes, but that is not what I mean. Looking good starts with hygiene and the maintenance of oneself; mind, soul and body. A real woman should always look and act like a lady (even in their bitchy moments). So the first step of looking as great as possible is being as great as possible. And the only way to do that is by never neglecting yourself, ever. Because before you know it becomes a habit and soon after it becomes an attitude.

As a woman we should always enhance ourselves a little with some make up and some bling-bling, but we should always remember that our best asset is ourselves, and we should not hide our face behind make-up or lose our image in the shining of the bling. And the one and only truth is; that the best way to enhance your self is with a true smile. The only thing a woman needs to get the world at her feet is to curl her lips into a smile and to let her eyes shine (those eyes give the best bling ever, more than any diamond could ever do).

Being in a wheelchair or having any other kind of disability does not give you an excuse to stop taking care of yourself. It does not matter what kind of shape your body is in, it is still the vessel of our souls and it should be treated with the love and respect that it deserves.

Every single moment of the day (when I am not in bed) I spend tied to my chair (I have to be tied to it because at any moment my muscles can have a contraction and if I am not tied down I could fall out of the chair). I cannot move my hands and that means that I cannot do anything at all. I need assistant for everything, eating, drinking and yes, also for those things that people usually do in private. The only thing that I can do by myself is work on the computer. This is because I can move my neck a little. My computer has this special program in which an infrared camera that is placed on the top of the monitor catches the reflection of a sticker that is placed on my forehead. This stick is my mouse. There is a keyboard display on the screen of my computer and I type in the letters using the mouse.

Technology surely helps me allot in being all that I can be. It helps me in keeping contact with my family and friends. It helps me when it comes to writing my diaries, my blog and my book. It even played a great role in getting my husband and me together. It has been a ‘blessing’.

If you would ask me what the secret of success is, what is the most important thing that you need to live a great life despite of any circumstance? I would say; faith, positivism, determination, perseverance and of course love which starts by loving oneself.

Kati of http://katilepisto.fi/en

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Dear Holy, I believe life is measured by happiness. Only you can produce it. Listen to your heart .And take the Lords hand.Follow him. I have learned that he is the leader not you sometimes the answer he gives to you is not what you want to hear.But listen he sends it directly to your heart. Xoxo always to your heart and soul

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Dear Holly-that-was-me:

I am 43 now, and want to write to you to say a few things.

I can barely remember what was going on for me when I was 13, but I do remember a naïve hope, longing for love and fame and doing something grand. I can’t really remember what that was, exactly. I remember wanting to be desired, to be made love to, to be special. To fly, to soar, to be different. To be just uniquely me.

It’s been a bit of a strange road between then and now, although I wouldn’t change anything. I’ve learned so much. And I’m tempted to say to you, don’t do anything different, because then you’ll change everything that you are going to become in 30 years. (And that’s not bad, even if I do say so myself! You’ve come a long way, baby!)

But maybe I’d like to play the time-changing game for a moment, even if the story changes and something different happens for you.

If the life I’d lived in the past 30 years hadn’t been so hard, bewildering and challenging, I’d never have learned to be strong, ferocious, even, never had my two blessed girls, never seen as much of life as possible so far, never gone through the fire to come out the other end a wiser, happier, stronger woman. Never made the one choice that was most crucial to me at a time when it was the best possible time to make it. Who knows?

So a few things I’d like to tell you, my darling little one, my cherished 13 year old self.

1)  If something or someone feels erky, off, disgusting, you are correct, and leave immediately. Scream if you have to. You ARE NOT obliged to hang around anything that makes you scared or suspicious or that doesn’t seem right for you. You are correct, IT IS ERKY, GET OUT.

2)  DON’T go to St Michael’s. You’ll have to face the challenge of fighting against the herd. It’s very hard. Teenage boys are, above all, a pain in the ass. They want you to think they’re superior, they bluff a lot, but they really don’t know a thing. They don’t know more than you. They are just as clueless as yourself. Believe that your art and your ideas are important and worth more than something. You are worthy of love, but not from someone sillier than yourself. Please wait for it!

3)  DO find a way to work with a psychoanalyst when you are 15. DO IT DO IT DO IT! Ask your grandparents for the money. DON’T tell your mother, though. You’re not obliged to let her invade that much. It’s not a sin to keep your privacy to yourself.

4)  DON’T let your mother talk you out of moving out of home. GET A JOB AND DO IT ANYWAY. It’s not as scary as she says.

5)  DON’T let you mother talk you out of travelling to Europe for a year. You can afford it, you’ll find a way. DON’T, above all, get too scared.

6)  GO TO MORE GIGS! For god’s sake, GO TO THE RAMONES!!!! If you happen to see a quiet, nerdy looking guy with curly blondish hair doing something interesting in the corner with a tape recorder, GO AND TALK TO HIM. IMMEDIATELY!!!! If nothing happens that night (and it probably won’t), don’t for god’s sake give up here. Go to other gigs you like, you’ll see him there. If you spot him in the record stores you hang out in, talk to him. Say hi. And smile.

7)  DON’T pursue Matthew. For god’s sake, DON’T invite him to live in your home! Stay there yourself, insist that he finds his own place; go out with him once in a while, but when he makes a certain suggestion, and says you don’t love him if you don’t do what he wants, RUN AWAY!!!! You’ll be happier off without all that, no matter what your hormones say. Be single for a while. It’s not the end of the earth. Sometimes it’s happier to be single that be with a really crap man. Find a better job and pursue your writing harder.

8)  DO go to confest, DO sleep with some of those cute guys, but DON’T linger and try to reconnect with them after. SPECIFICALLY DON’T marry any of them!

DON’T, my precious darling, EVER be afraid of speaking out, saying what you need to say. It really, truly doesn’t matter that your opinion is different from someone else’s. It doesn’t make you a bad person.

DON’T ever believe that the other knows more than you, is superior to you, and DON’T believe it when they try to convince you that this is the case. No other is ever more than you; they are the same as you, only bluffing or defensive. PLEASE, never silence yourself. Ask your questions, state what you need, what you want, what you DON’T want to do. DO NOT BE AFRAID.

DON’T ever believe that your mother is inside you, inside your head, that she is right and you are wrong. GET AWAY from her, create a distance so that you can learn to be yourself, strong for yourself and your heart and your life. Don’t stop loving her, but love is not an invasion, nor is it being invaded. DON’T let her get into you and your loves, whether it’s writing, or a man, or a home, or your children. She CATEGORICALLY DOES NOT OWN YOU. Find your boundary ant stick to it. DON’T be so afraid of her, other people will and do love you too.

DON’T believe you are what she says you are. DON’T believe that you should be what she says you should be. Truly, she doesn’t know what’s inside your head, only YOU know that. DON’T think that what she demands you to be is the only right way to be; you have to work that out for yourself. Insist—even if just to yourself, privately—on your right that what you want and desire is ok, and yours alone. You can ask your dad to stand up for you more, but don’t rely on it.

Only YOU own you, only YOU are responsible for your safety and happiness and desire. Respect yourself. It will make it easier for you to respect others.

DO REALIZE that there is a vast difference between love and sex. AND that it is OK to have sex for the fun of it (BE SAFE AT ALL TIMES, though!). Not all sex turns into love, and sex that comes when love enters already is just the best thing in the world. I know it’s hard to learn the difference, but don’t drive yourself mad because you feel that sex and love MUST go together. It’s OK to have fun with a man and not love him. It’s NOT OK to let the guilt get into you so much that it makes you mad. It’s not ok to let the guilt get to you so much you stop enjoying sex. And stop liking individual men for themselves alone.

Thus saying, you’ve done a lot of good things too; you’ve been brave and strong and have been challenged beyond endurance. I just want to let you know that it’s OK, in fact healthy, to say no a little more, to leave a little sooner, to believe that the actions speak louder than the words—even and especially if the words are all you want to hear. You already are tough, you don’t have to keep proving it.

You’ve risen to the fight and you’ve done things even you wouldn’t have dreamed of. You’ve become the woman you’ve always wanted to be. Perhaps a little later than you reckoned with, but better late than never!

All in all, though, you’ve learned from everything that’s happened to you; that which does not kill you truly does make you stronger. This will save you some day.

You’ve managed to find a way to capture your desire, you get what you wanted in the end. Lucky you! It’s blissful! Perhaps, also in hindsight, all the more precious now than if it had happened before you’ve become the woman you are to be.

Good luck my little one. I love you so very much! Even if no-one else ends up loving you, you know that I do, at that’s the most important thing in the world. Being alone for a while is not the end of the world. In fact, in can be very peaceful.

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First submissions

In just under 2 hours from the official launch today, we have our first submission that arrived via email. Thank you so much to ‘the woman who sat on the couch’ for kicking us off!

**Once we’re up and running I’ll only be posting once weekly to show off all the beautiful submissions. But for now, while we’re finding our legs, I’ll post a few up ahead of time to help inspire you.

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