A little while ago, I was asked to write a letter to myself, my teenage self, by Dear Teen Me. It was what I, as an adult, would say to me as a teen. I gave it a lot of thought and I decided it was worth sharing here.
Dear Teen Me,
You know that boy you’re certain is going to break up with you because you don’t want to go all the way, and you know you’ll die when he does? Well, you are wrong. Not that he won’t break up with you. He will. But you won’t die. You made the right decision. I know it’s hard being you. I know you feel as if you don’t fit in. Even saying ‘here’ when the teacher calls your name makes you cringe. But don’t worry, once you find your real passion in life, all those insecurities fade away. Heck, you can even use those insecurities to help you achieve success in your career. Someday, you’ll stand up in front of thousands and give talks. You’ll make them laugh; you’ll encourage them to believe in themselves like you have learned to do.
I know you think I’m lying because you feel as if you’re not good at anything. The one thing you felt you could have been successful at was gymnastics. So short. So limber. Then you got boobs in fifth grade, before everyone else, and you were too embarrassed to do flips in front of people because they jiggled. Guess what? They’re going to jiggle a lot more when you’re older. But don’t worry, gymnastics didn’t turn out to be your passion. And yeah, school is really hard. You feel stupid, and those report cards validate that. Well, when you’re an adult, you’ll discover that you’re dyslexic, and you never were stupid. As a matter of fact, you’re not nearly as bad as you think you are.
But here’s the one thing you’re going to love knowing. Remember all those teachers and adults who told you if you didn’t get your head out of the clouds you’d never amount to anything? Little did they know that’s how you’d make your living—that, young lady, is your passion. Funny how you didn’t even consider being a writer. But getting lost in your head, in your dreams, creating those stories about all those cute guys, that wasn’t a waste of time. That was grist for mill, a writer in training. As an adult, you even took those tough times as a teen–your parents getting a divorce, losing a family member, getting pushed aside because you wouldn’t sleep with a guy–and you plagiarized your own life to create your character Kylie Galen in the Shadow Falls Series. Yeah, you’ll have to work hard to learn to put your stories down on paper, but you’ll eventually prove all those people wrong. You’re gonna make it. So don’t give up.
Oh, I know you’re going to make mistakes. Getting married so young. That wasn’t smart, but you know what? All those mistakes you’ve made molded and shaped you into the person you are today. So don’t worry so much about the mistakes, just learn from them. Because making a mistake isn’t so bad, it’s repeating them that makes us failures. So take a deep breath, get though the tough times of the teenage years, and the not happy early twenties years, you have a lot of life to live.
The Adult Me
So that’s what I wish I’d said to myself or at least someone would have told me when I was a teen. Of course if it would have been my mom telling me, I probably wouldn’t have listened. But life would have been a lot easier for me if I had.
Now, tell me what is it you wished you’d known when you were younger, or what do you think you’ll be telling younger self when you’re older ?
Last week’s winner of a Shadow Falls t-shirt is Carolyn McMahon. Congratulations, Carolyn! Please email your mailing address and t-shirt size to firstname.lastname@example.org.