When I Encountered My Idol

When I Encountered My Idol

When Your Aspirations Correlate with Hers
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One would sight the marvelous Miss Isabella Beeton in frequent company of Martha Stewart or Julia Child, had the triumvirate been contemporaries. As a successful marketing expert, food connoisseur, and author, she was undoubtedly the entrepreneurial mastermind of her day, having created England’s cherished prize, “The Book of Household Management.

I treaded the Derbyshire moors toward her childhood home, the Ascot grandstands. It was here where Isabella learned to simultaneously be a housewife and businesswoman; I presumed that the responsibility she must have endured raising twelve siblings must have had a significant toll on her future view of life.

As I closely squinted into the massive building at the foot of the grandstands, minimal light exposure revealed her weary eyes and stalwart countenance, signs of her unwavering dedication a male-dominated world of journalism. The room’s darkness concealed her neatly pressed hourglass petticoat, strategically covering a buttoned-up soul, one withheld by societal expectations and physical constraints.

I thanked her for propagating an unspoken truth, that the potential to create a positive impact on our familiar female comrades resided in ourselves.

We discussed the woman’s battle of conscience.

How does one find a compromise between household obligations and her inconspicuous professional desires?

How did Beeton herself prove her Victorian society wrong by becoming a self-satisfied woman pursuing her passion for professional writing?

I contemplated her reaction to both my and society's criticism and praise, with her unbeknownst to the welcoming reception she would receive today. She revealed that persistence allowed her to prove her gender-segregated surroundings wrong, that a woman can indeed be respected for pursuing her dreams and ultimately financially support herself for her publications.

Beeton captured the potential of youth, of an unexpected level of confidence unfairly terminated. She went above and beyond most women of her day, and even that may be an understatement. I asked her if she knew how widespread her inspiring influence has grown through the past one hundred fifty years, and how she would react to such positivity.

Though she wrote of culinary methods and fashion trends now departed from our current tastes palettes, I revealed to her my motives to preserve these traditions, as history embodies a culture within itself. Her no-nonsense persona parallels my own staunch determination to be of service to my society, to enter the professional workforce and become an influential being to those around me.

Cover Image Credit: Stevens Historical Research Associates

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Dear College Freshmen, Can I Be Real With You?

Positive energy, from me to you.

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First, welcome to your first year of college. I hope you are ready for this new stage in life. This is a moment you and your parents will never forget, so be excited about this, but also be prepared for when college life is not fun.

I am sure you have heard about all the nightmares that can happen in college and some of that is true. You may be stuck with an awful roommate, have impossible professors or make dumb decisions. It is okay if any of this happens. You are human and life will go on no matter what unfortunate events may occur.

However, do not let these events rule your life. You may see some of your fellow classmates use excuses to justify skipping class. This will catch up to them. I saw it during my first year in college. Let me tell you those people were not happy with their results when exam time came.

No one is demanding that you be perfect because no one expects that. Your professors want you to try hard and come to them for help. Your parents want you to be the best student you can be. You should want to be successful because you made a decision to go to college to continue your education.

College will not always be all work and no play. Find a nice balance and be smart about the fun you're having. Go to concerts and college events. Have a couple movie nights with your new besties. Join that club that catches your eye at the involvement fair. The solution to any concerns you may have about alcohol or anything else is to follow the law and school rules. It is that easy, I promise.

The one thing I want you to remember the most is not everyone you meet will be kind to you. Even if this is true, do not allow others to disrespect you. Be the bigger person and walk away because you do not need that negativity in your life. Surround yourself with good vibes and you will be fine.

I hope your freshman year will be great! Positive energy from me to you.

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An Open Letter To My Youngest Self

From, the young adult finding comfort in the past while lost in the present.

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Dear future big person,

Speaking from experience, the world is a crazy place. It's sad, yet exciting to know what the future holds for you. The world has been taken over by devices and electronics most never thought were possible.

If you're wondering why I'm writing to you, it's because I care a lot more now than I did back when I was you. I'm your Marty McFly, here to tell you how to prepare for the future. (Don't ask me what that reference is –you figure it out!).

For starters, let's talk about this technology thing. Gameboys, Nintendo DS', Wiis, Xboxes –don't mess with them. Television is fine –if the people from the Cold War survived it, we can, too. I want you to spend time enjoying the real world, not the electronic, fake one.

I want you to go outside and sit in the grass, pick those dandelions and mash them up into "paint." Paint mom something nice and maybe go for a bike ride with dad. Catch lightning bugs at dusk and bottle them all up in a mason jar. Eventually, let them free, all together.

Your brother is gross and weird, but he actually turns out to be a pretty cool kid. You don't have to be all mushy with him, but be sure he knows you love him. After all, he is family.

Make friends in the neighborhood, even if they are boys. So what? Challenge them. Race them on your bike with awesome purple and white streamers drifting from the handlebars. Push hard, through the soles of your Sketchers covered feet.

Pick up a piece of chalk and create a world of your own world with 3,000 Toys R Us stores, one police station, and only a few stop signs. Create and color your own flowers, whether they actually exist or not. Let your imagination run wild!

Turn on the radio and dance like crazy! Scream the lyrics to Smashmouth's "All Star" and Gwen Stefani's "Sweet Escape." Change the station every now and then to hear something new; it's always interesting to see your reactions to these interesting creations.

I want you to wear what you feel like and don't care what the others say about you. If you want to wear your purple dress-up shoes with your matching purse and hat, then do it. If you want to wear a Hula skirt in the dead of winter, do it (but please bring some leggings so mom doesn't flip out). If you want to wear those bedazzled jeans, then rock 'em.

If you're wondering why I'm telling you to do these silly things, it's only because we lost these traits along the way. I don't want you to miss the experiences that only come from the natural world because you had your head stuck in a tablet; it will all pass you in the blink of an eye.

I don't want you to ever feel trapped inside your house, no matter the weather. There is always a way out.

Don't let other people stop you from getting something you want. Don't let them intimidate you or talk you out of something you are passionate about.

Your friends will be the people you escape to when the house seems inescapable. Treat them the way you would like to be treated.

Your imagination is one of the greatest gifts you'll ever have. It drives you –your hopes and dreams, your wishes in the fountain and your kisses to the dandelions. Don't ever stop chasing them.

Always, always do what you want to do. You sing karaoke to that super catchy song because you know you'll kill it. Wear what you want however you want because you know that you look good in some strange way. (As long as you're not naked, that is). Stubbornness is good.

Your family will always be your family. What they do affects you, and vice versa. Bring them good, positive news. They don't need any more trouble.

Stand up for yourself, for your friends and family, for your beliefs and wishes. Be proud of the work you do and the life you live. Many people around you wish they could have lived like you did.

Most importantly, do not let your past define your future. A lot of things will happen, some of which may or may not go horribly wrong. There is nothing you can do to stop these things, except hope. You can always change for the better as long as you don't look back. Be proud of your past, but be known for your future –whatever you want that to be.

Please, promise me these things. I can't stress enough how important it is for you to never lose these traits –hold them tightly and never release them. I can't tell you how this life is going to go, because that simply isn't the way this world works. Just breathe through it and listen to your gut –that's the future guiding you.

I, and many others, love you –your character, your curls, your studded jeans,your pink Power Ranger costume, your Hello Kitty backpack, and your goofy smile.

Don't ever forget that.

With love,

The Girl Who Is Lost And Trying To Turn Back Time.

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