Dear Teen Lynn,
Wow, this is a tough letter to write, not because things didn’t go well for you, on the contrary, you’ve led an amazing life. No, this is difficult because your teen years weren’t all that easy. I guess that’s true for everyone. One thing is, you’ll learn. Oh how you’ll learn.
And speaking of learning, you need a kick in the butt there. For a very smart girl, you didn’t try very hard in school. By not being all you could be in school, you led others to believe you weren’t capable. We know this isn’t true. You only gave teachers, family, and friends brief glimpses into your excellence leaving them to believe that what they witnessed was a fluke. Had you made the effort in areas that didn’t interest you, you may not have excelled, but you still would have come out ahead of the game and gained the respect of those around you.
I think you suffered from low self-esteem, a buzz phrase we didn’t have back then. It certainly is a possibility with that crazy family of yours, but you still have to take responsibility for yourself. Be kinder to people along the way; it brings good karma. We have more control of our destiny than we can imagine. We can make our dreams come true even if we have to disregard advice from those in the know—like your parents. Go for what you want and make it happen.
Remember when you overheard your parents commenting on how well you wrote your sixth-grade autobiography, so you announced that you wanted to be a writer when you grew up and they shot you down? Writers starve and live in garrets. What do you think; the world is waiting for you? So you locked that dream away only to bring it out when you were positive no one would see it. But here’s the funny part, you will write that book, and a respected editor will say to you, “May I ask why you haven’t been writing all of your life?” So have faith in your dreams and abilities. You know yourself better than anyone. The world waited for you.
You do have big dreams and a vivid imagination. You always saw yourself travelling to exotic locations, wearing fabulous clothes, driving really fast sports cars. You weren’t sure how you were going to make it happen, but you did. All of those things happened for you. I’m still not sure how you did it and I lived through it, but you did. Your life turned out to be so much fun that it even exceeded what you imagined back then.
And here’s another surprise. I know you always imagined yourself to be a bit of a loner, and that’s still true, you’ll probably never be the girl with a huge circle of friends; but you will meet a wonderful man who you will marry and live happily ever after. Prospero is from Italy and he has big dreams too. Together there’s no stopping the two of you. You encourage each other to reach new heights and always have each other’s backs. So, Miss Independent, love hits you when you’re not even looking for it, and it will be a life-changing experience. Don’t shed one tear over anyone else beforehand. It’s not you; it’s THEM!
Lynn, put your mind at ease. You weren’t raised with religion, but you will become very spiritual. You weren’t raised in a loving family, but you will find true love. Life is very good to you. It’s a roller coaster, that’s for sure, but you’re in the lead car driving. Remember that! And there’s still more to come.
Much love through good times and bad,
Lynn Maddalena Menna, a former teacher, saw the beauty, talent, and radiant hopes of so many students like her character Marisol, and was inspired by wondering where those hopes would go in ten years. A magazine journalist and essayist, she lives in New Jersey with her husband, Prospero. PIECE OF MY HEART is her first novel.