I am so excited to take part in this special feature that Ginger over at GReads! has started. After reaching out to several bloggers, she was able to get a total of 25 bloggers to participate and write an open letter to our teenage self. The purpose of the Open Letter to My YA self is to reflect back, share some advice, and to recommend a few books.
As I sit down to write my personal letter, I can’t help but be filled with an overwhelming sense of nostalgia. My birthday is just days away and I can’t help but wonder what my fifteen year old self would think reading my letter on the cusp of her sixteenth birthday.
I wish I could say that your sixteenth year of life will be amazing, but it will be one of the most trying years of your high school experience. But don’t let that discourage you. This year, this chapter of your life, will make you stronger. You have so many dreams and wishes for your life, don’t let the trials you face this year discourage you from going after those dreams and making those wishes come true.
Very soon you will experience a broken friendship. You will feel alone & like you don’t belong, but trust me when I tell you, you will be okay. I know it hurts & as you walk down the hallways to all the whispers and judging looks, you will want to go home & cry yourself to sleep. Please don’t. I promise that you will be okay. You did the right thing standing up for what you believe in. You were brave. You were strong. Your honesty will be rewarded, it’ll just take time. The doors of this friendship closing, will open the door to an amazing group of girls that you will continue to call your best friends throughout the rest of high school, all through college, and beyond. These four friends will support you, they will encourage you, and they will hold your hand through all of the good and bad that has yet to come. You will survive this. And I’ll let you in on a secret, that broken friendship…will be repaired. It’ll just take time.
You will ‘fall in love’ & have your heart torn to shreds. You will feel small & like you don’t matter, but at the start of your junior year of high school, you will open your heart again. You’ve always worn your heart on your sleeve & it will cause you to have your heart “broken” but it will allow you to fall hard & fast for one of the most amazing guys you’ve ever met. You may not believe me when you read this, but that boy, the one you opened your heart to after having it broken, will become your husband. You will meet the man you’ll spend the rest of your life with when you’re 15, start dating him at 16, become engaged to him at 18, and marry him at 20. You may laugh at that, but you’ve always been told you’ll be the first of your friends to get married. Just blame it on the hopeless romantic living inside of you. 🙂 Don’t be scared though! You’ve got such a big heart. You give yourself completely to your friends, your family, and this one particular boy.
You’ve always been a reader, but this stage of your life will have you falling in love with the written word. You will be the one who carries a book with you wherever you go and be the one sitting at the lunch table with your nose in a book. Your friends will laugh, but it’s one of the things they love most about you. They know that you will get lost in the story & zone out from time to time, but they let you have that brief vacation from high reality and will welcome you back to the real word as soon as the bell rings.
This love of reading will inspire you to write. Do it! Don’t let fear overcome and shy you away from pursuing this dream. I will tell you that at almost 24, you still have yet to finish a book of your own, but it will happen. There are so many stories living inside of you. Listen to it. Listen to the voices of the characters and write. Don’t be afraid. You’ll stumble upon the world of blogging where you’ll ‘meet’ some amazing friends who will encourage you.
Now, before I close, I’ve included a few books that you should read. These books, these characters will speak to you. They will encourage you, because to be honest, these characters have bits and pieces of you living inside them. They’ve faced some of the same things you’ve experienced or have yet to experience. Embrace them. Treasure them. These books will find a home on your bookshelf and you’ll find yourself revisiting them from time to time.
As I leave you, please know that you are loved. Throughout high school, college, and into your first year in the “real world”, always know that you are loved. Treasure this life you’ve been given and never take it for granted. No matter what, even through all of the pain. Never forget that beauty surrounds you all the time & know that even today, days before you turn 24, you still find comfort in the saying, “la bella vita”.
Ps. You’ll eventually get that saying, “la bella vita”, tattooed on your foot. 😉
To go along with Ginger’s month long An Open Letter to My YA Self feature, she’s selected some fabulous YA contemporaries that should find a home on everyone’s bookshelf. To enter, check out the form below.