Dear Teen Me,
Today, you walked into school and noticed people looking at you strangely. Whispering behind hidden hands. Giving you long, lingering glowers punctuated by slamming locker doors. You waved hello to a friend and she scurried away, looking at you like you had a pickle growing out of your forehead.
By the time you got to fourth period science a rock the size of Jupiter had settled into your stomach. But you told yourself it was nothing, just your usual over-the-top imagination. No reason to be concerned.
You settled into your seat and freed your spiral notebook from your bag, convinced that everything was fine, fine, fine. Then the boy in front of you turned around and glared at you, his hair flopping lazily over one eye.
“Did you really have an abortion?” He asked, with the same flatness you’d use to ask for a pencil or a sheet of paper.
You laughed, a high nervous cackle, because whaaa? Until you realized he wasn’t kidding.
“No,” you finally told him, blood rushing to your face in one single, gravity-defying whoosh. “Why in God’s name would you think that?” Continue reading Dear Teen Me from author Stacy Stokes (WHERE THE STAIRCASE ENDS)
Eighteen-year-old Amy on graduation day.
Dear Teen Me,
The “chauffeur” belts out the lyrics to the radio’s loud echoes of Phil Collins’ In the Air Tonight in his thick German accent. He taps out the drum beats on the steering wheel. The cool breeze whips across your face, making your glittery shawl flutter during the few moments the top-down convertible can reach speeds of 35 miles per hour. The girl next to you, the one whose boyfriend is across the globe (which makes her one of only two other girls without a date on her arm), is melting into the seat beside you. You don’t blame her—if it was your parent driving, you’d probably have figured out a way to leave your body to endure the ordeal—but since it’s not your parent, you can’t stop grinning. You don’t know the girl that well since she just transferred in that year, and you didn’t even plan to jump in her father’s car until she offered. But if you hadn’t gone to prom stag, if you hadn’t been the third wheel in every other couple’s way, you wouldn’t have those memories—and considering you spend the rest of the evening sitting at a table, tapping your feet, those are far and away the fondest memory you’ll have about that night. Continue reading Dear Teen Me from author Amy McNulty (NOBODY’S GODDESS)
Jordan in high school during lunch.
Dear Jordan at Sixteen,
Right now your maternal grandmother is one of your favorite people, a part of your “everything.” You need to appreciate the laughter now, because this is the year you notice things about her aren’t quite right. She needs help getting dressed now and she becomes confused at breakfast. You live with her right now because your parents moved, but you want to finish high school in the same district you’ve been at since kindergarten. Your family isn’t going to believe you about her struggle’s, but you are going to witness the progression of the confusion, and you will be the one she blames for irrational things – forgetting where her bobby pins are, losing her favorite mug, dropping the telephone.
Your grandmother, Amma, has dementia. Continue reading Dear Teen Me from author Jordan Elizabeth (Treasure Chronicles series)
Dear Teen Me,
Which one am I talking to, I wonder?
The thirteen-year-old with the parrot earrings, oversized Maggie Simpson T-shirt, and horrible perm?
The sixteen-year-old who had just dyed her hair black for the first time?
The nineteen-year-old who had just moved out of her parents’ house and suffered her first heartbreak?
Maybe all of you! You were just different people, despite being so few years apart. It’s amazing, the large changes and steps we took in such short spans of time back then. Nowadays it’s like years go by in the blink of an eye (that rhymes).
Continue reading Dear Teen Me from author Sara Taylor (BORING GIRLS)
Dear TEEN ME!
Let’s be real. Being a teenager kind of sucks ass for you. It’ll be a time you look back on with a wave of feelings that include fear, sadness and nausea.
But hey! You’re doing fine. You aren’t going do anything or say anything or kiss anyone in the near future that I’m here to scold you for. Plus I don’t know that I would. That would mess with the space-time continuum or something. (Our inner fangirls purr at the Back to the Future reference.)
Middle school is baffling to you. Fighting. Blood on the sidewalk almost weekly. Someone even wants to fight you. What a joke! She could bring you to your knees with a look. But you have some good friends right? Well . . . some of them are. But you never were a very good judge of character. Which is fine. You welcome people in with open arms. Trust until they’ve proved to be untrustful. And then you trust them again.
Boys are fascinating. And scary. And that’s okay. For now you just rock with your REM and RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS and do your thing in art class. Movies are your jam. Continue reading Dear Teen Me from author Monica Ropal (WHEN YOU LEAVE)
Ooooh, in such deep thought. Are you pondering whether your acid denim jacket is still cool?
Dear Teen Me,
Hey teen 80’s girl with the overly-permed, blow-dried, teased and hair-sprayed tresses. Underneath all that hair is the woman you will become. What would I say to you if you and your big hair were sitting across from me right now? First, you’re blocking my view. Second, well, here’s a few things you might like to know:
One day in the near future, disaster will strike. Your friend Kim will shake a burning marshmallow on a stick at a tobogganing party in attempt to put out the flames, and said marshmallow will dislodge from the end of that stick and shoot across the fire pit. The flaming, sugary meteorite will make a dramatic landing right on the very top of your bangs. (Why aren’t you wearing a hat at night, in winter? Cause you think you’re too cool for such nonsense.) But your hair is so tall that you will not even notice that a mini ball-of-fire is nesting there, and you will be horribly confused when your boyfriend starts pounding on your forehead to put it out. You will have to live with shorn bangs for months until they grow back. But you will survive. It’s nothing, really, compared to the suffering endured by the poor girl in your class who gets sprayed by a skunk.
By the way, remember that Sheena Easton haircut you tried unsuccessfully to pull off in seventh grade or so – or was it Pat Benatar? Guess what? You will try for short hair again in university, and it will stick. You’ll still have short hair many decades later. Continue reading Dear Teen Me from author Trina St. Jean (BLANK)
Laura at fifteen. Who would have thought that behind a face that screamed innocence lurked a soul longing for vicarious corruption?
Dear Teen Me,
Don’t freak out, 15-year-old Laura. I know it feels like the end of the world, or at any rate, the end of the world as you know it, but it’s not. Trust me on this. Just chill out, keep packing, and I’ll explain.
You are filling your father’s college trunk with enough T-shirts and cut-off jeans and insect repellant to get you through two weeks at church-sponsored drama camp. This is not your idea. You have been having the best summer of your life with your three closest friends, Susan F., Susan G., and Susan H., or as your mom has dubbed them, The Susans. They are cool, clever, bitingly sarcastic risk-takers. If the four of you were The Beatles, they would be three John Lennons and you would be George Harrison, forever playing back-up with a sweet, slightly goofy smile on your face. Your mother fears- with good reason- The Susans are dubious influences, so she signed you up for Camp Silverlake. You’re going, girl. Oh, and you might want to pack some extra deodorant. You’re going to need it.
The thing your mother doesn’t know (and you will soon discover) is just because a camp is church-sponsored doesn’t make it tame or pious. Some of the campers have been sent there not to avoid dubious influences, but because they, themselves, are dubious influences. The first day of camp you meet Kathy, who makes the Three Susans look like the Three Mother Teresas. Continue reading Dear Teen Me from author Laura Hurwitz (DISAPPEAR HOME)
Anne at her graduation!
Dear Teen Me,
Today you jumped off the three-story lava rock in Waimea Bay and into the see-all-the-way-to-the-sandy-bottom of the aquamarine water below.
This is the true you.
The one who is brave.
The one who took a chance.
Today you swam out to the rock at high tide, and climbed its prickly surface until you reached the top. Sure, you got scraped up along the way. Sure, the height made you dizzy. Sure, you had second and third thoughts. But your cousins and other daring souls were with you.
That’s the important part. You may live on an island. But you are not an island. Even if sometimes you feel that way.
So, you stood on the edge. Shivering in the bright sun. You looked across the bay and out to the horizon. You watched the tide move in and out, in and out. “Jump,” yelled your uncle and others treading water below. “You can do it!” Continue reading Dear Teen Me from author Anne Bustard (ANYWHERE BUT PARADISE)
Jacqueline at age 12 sitting at Eagle’s Nest Cafeteria in Vail, Colorado.
Dear Teen Me,
or as you are often called—String Bean, Green Bean & Monkey,
Take heart! All those sports you learned and practiced while growing up—the hundreds upon hundreds of hours you logged ice skating, swimming, pointing your toes in water ballet, running, cycling with your dad and your best friend, playing tennis, cross country and yes downhill skiing? Well, you may not believe me now, but all that time will pay off. Listen to me because I’m who you will become in the future; and try, really, really hard to forget about the popular girls who spend most weekday and weekend afternoons at the mall and by the time they are sixteen drive their chic little sports cars to school (even though they aren’t really athletic, except for one or two cheerleaders). Those girls may drive Corvettes and even jade green Land Rovers while you ride your ten speed or walk. But those girls won’t grow up and walk the Camino of Santiago all by themselves. Yes, that’s right; I’m talking to you, Monkey. Continue reading Dear Teen Me from author Jacqueline Kolosov (ALONG THE WAY)
Kristen milking a cow. No big deal. (She lived on a ranch.)
Dear Teen Me,
By now you’re probably thinking you’re pretty badass. You’ve succeeded in fooling your parents into believing you’re spending the night at a friend’s house, when really, you’re with half the upper classmen in school at a campsite in California. Which is not the state you live in.
You’re going to be sharing a sleeping bag with your boyfriend in the back of his dad’s truck along with three of his pals, so that’s bound to be super romantic. Plus, he bought a ton of beer and wine coolers with his fake ID, so dim the lights folks, things are about to get rowdy.
Okay, so you’re a little nervous. You’ve told people you’ve partied before – they asked, and what were you going to say? The truth? Haha. Nice try. The truth is you’ve never had a drink in your entire life. But tonight that’s going to change. It won’t be so hard. It’s drinking, for God’s sake. People have been doing it since the beginning of time.
You’re a teensy bit nervous – okay, a lot nervous – about some other things too. What if your parents call to check your story? You’ve ditched school before, and you’ve snuck out, but this is pretty big leap from that. There are pills being passed around. Pot. Other drugs you’ve never even heard of. Spending the night in the back of a truck with three guys now seems like not the smartest idea, especially with the jokes they’re telling. You’re not naïve, but they seemed harmless before. Now, not so much. Especially as one slides his hand up your thigh. And now you can’t even find your boyfriend. Oh, there he is. Playing drinking games with those girls from the senior class who are already halfway smashed and looking for love in all the wrong places. You are officially out of your league.
Spoiler alert: Your night is about to get much worse. Continue reading Dear Teen Me from author Kristen Simmons (THE GLASS ARROW, ARTICLE 5 SERIES)