Dear Teen Me,
Say hi back when the guy next door says hi while you are walking by. Don’t mumble and look down at the ground. Look up and say hi. You won’t die of embarrassment. I promise. And slow down instead of rushing by. You might actually make a guy friend…. Or more. He will not think you are fat, because you are beautiful and amazing. But if you never look up no one will ever get to see it. You are healthy and brilliant and brave, I know you are. So take some chances and let someone other than your best friends and your teachers see who you really are.
Don’t expect much from your family. They have their own problems. When they act crazy like they do, it’s not about you, it’s about them. If you get out more into the world you will see real love and find people who care about you. The kind of love and empathy you see in books—real love is a million times stronger. And it is out there. I promise you, once you break out of your protective shell, all of your dreams will come true.
I know you built up that shell because you had to protect yourself, and it did its job well, allowing you to disappear into television and books and movies and pull together pieces of character to create the amazing girl that you are. You made it through the tough part, don’t hide any longer.
You have become a unique, empathetic person and you did it all on your own. Now is the time to break free and find other teens who did the same. They are out there and together you can make the world of your dreams into reality.
All my love,
Julia is amazing at keeping other people’s secrets but completely incapable of guarding her own. Every embarrassing moment ends up in her writing. While at film school at U.S.C., Julia met her writing partner, Andrew Landis, and realized having two writers makes it harder for people to identify the autobiographical elements from her crazy past, present…and fantasies. Over the last decade, Julia and Andrew have written for television, features, theater, game design and now, her ultimate dream, a novel. Raised in L.A., with summers in Las Vegas and college at Columbia University in N.Y.C, Julia now happily lives in the suburbs with her three great loves—her husband, son and sweet, sad-faced rescue dog.