Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Happy Birthday, Dear Teen Me!
Today my life will change. Not in a huge "nothing will ever be the same again" kind of way, but maybe sort of that way. Today I feel more justified in this path that I've chosen, more validated. Today my first ever published piece is making it way around the country to booksellers and libraries and lovely friends who have been so gracious to buy it in the form of a book called Dear Teen Me. Today, I am a published author. Today, I am a mix of emotions.
I've known for months that this blog post was going to be written. I've written it many times in my head, but never actually typed anything. Never scribbled thoughts down on paper or in notebooks or on bits of napkins. Each time I wrote it differently. Some times I'd write about how insecure I felt as a teen. Some days I'd write about how I'd grow up to marry my high school sweetheart. Other days I'd talk about the time I got my skirt stuck in my panties at church and walked all the way to my pew before anyone told me (long story).
Most days I didn't form my thoughts into words, though. I felt things. The rush of excitement about being published for the first time. The queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach when I remember that I'm the only previously unpublished, unagented person in the book. What if this is my only chance? Gratitude toward my husband for not only putting up with my craziness, but letting me live my dream even when it doesn't make sense sometimes. And also gratitude for every single person in my life that has supported me. People sometimes talk about how writing is a job you do alone, but I disagree; writing is something that I could not do alone. And I don't think it makes me a lesser writer for having said that.
It's funny that even though I've aged on the outside, on the inside I still feel exactly the same as I did when I was 16. I still have those same insecurities and doubtful thoughts about myself that I did then. I find that as an adult I do handle them a bit better. I've come to grips with what it means to be the person I am and whether I like it or not, I have to just be myself. Nobody can do that for me.
So if you're out and about this week, pick up a copy of Dear Teen Me. Inside you'll find over 70 letters of love, loss, depression, eating disorders, anxiety, and many, many more (there's happy ones too, I swear!). When you're done reading it, give it to your daughter, your son, your next door neighbor, donate it to your local library. Or, you know, keeping it for yourself isn't a bad idea either. ;)
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