Dear Teenage Me,
If I had the time, I would sit down and tell you everything – how you made your writing dream come true, how you really aren’t fat at all (so stop obsessing), how everything will work out so much better than you ever dreamed. Yeah, it was hard—sometimes excruciatingly so—but so, so worth it. But instead, I’m going to tell you this, because I know that this is what you need to hear most: you matter. Right now, at this stupid moment where you’re probably scrunching your hair, pulling on your cheer uniform, or crumpled into a little ball because of him, because of what they say, you need to know that you matter.
I know you—I know me—so you’re probably going to roll your eyes and spit out something like, “yeah, whatever lady,” but do me this one favor and pay attention. You matter. And yeah, I’m going to keep repeating it because we both know we’re a little thick in the head.
What does “you matter” mean for you, at fifteen, and for me, at thirty-seven? It means that you are just as important as every single person who looks you in the face and says something that makes you hurt. Your hurt matters. You don’t deserve it. Even more so, you don’t deserve it when you do it to yourself standing in the mirror, agreeing with people you barely know who call you fat or ugly or a bitch, agreeing with him because you made him so mad he hit you. They don’t matter. You do.
They’ll do their best to tear you down. And they’ll be pretty darn good at it. They’ll do their best to convince you that you’re nothing, that you’re worthless, that what you get is what you deserve. And they’re pretty good at that, too.
But you’re better.
You’re better because you’ll carry every inch of that hate and disdain with you like a heavy burden for years. You’ll cower from men and shy away from groups and life and fun activities until you realize that you matter.
Someone will come along and say, “don’t fall too hard because that’s not the one that matters.” You’ll misunderstand and think he’s talking about love, but he’s not. He’s talking about life. Don’t fall down for girls who try to push. Don’t fall down for the guy that thinks love and violence go hand and hand. Don’t fall down because you think no one cares.
“Don’t fall too hard because that’s not the one that matters.”
You are the one who matters.
You, in roughly twenty years with way better hair.
Hannah Jayne lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and writes urban fantasy, young adult fiction, chick lit, and grocery lists that she never seems to remember to bring to the grocery store. Jayne shares a house with two neurotic, feet-attacking cats and has a Kryptonite-like weakness for doughnuts. She is the author of the Underworld Detection Agency Chronicles series and the young adult thrillers SEE JANE RUN and TRULY, MADLY, DEADLY.