Tuesday, November 30, 2010

WHAT I’D TELL MY 15 YEAR OLD SELF

I love YA. I love representing YA manuscripts and interacting with the YA writing community online. But more than that, I am representative of a huge portion of the YA reading audience. Because YA book buyers fall (mostly) into two categories: fifteen year old girls and those of us who still feel fifteen at heart.

I love reading YA. Those firsts are moments I love reliving, because I still feel fifteen. (And I’m definitely not). But I taught high school for six years, and it’s hard to grow up when you’re surrounded by those tumultuous emotions, that whirlwind where everything feels like it’s Life or Death, like this might be the Most Important Moment of your life.

But thankfully I’ve gained a few insights since I actually was 15. And I’ve seen going around, first on twitter and now on several blogs, letters or advice to your teenage self.

I have to say I can’t really think anything I’d do differently if I suddenly had the chance to go back. Okay, well maybe a couple things. But through all that drama (and oh, there WAS drama), I don’t have regrets.

And even if my future and older self came to give me advice when I was in high school, I would have scoffed at it. (I was one of those teenagers who Knew Everything, trust me, and I wasn’t going to listen to anyone, let alone myself).

But here’s my top five anyway.

5. It’s the little things that make you feel alive: leave your windows open, walk barefoot, eat dessert first, stay up to see the sunrise, buy yourself flowers, change your hair color often, and laugh as loud as you want.

4. One day that obsessive personality and hardcore perfectionism will serve you well, but focus them. Reading Cry the Beloved Country to the point of memorization is probably not the best use of your time.

3. It doesn’t matter how pretty the guy is - it matters that he’s nice to you.  A swoonworthy smile, a six pack, and chiseled hip lines don't ever make him less of an ass.

2. You'll never have another teacher like Mrs. Hall - she really is that awesome.  But it doesn't matter.  The written word, books, and Lucky by Alice Sebold will save your life.

1. What you think of yourself is the only thing that matters.


**And yes, these are authentic high school photos**

14 comments:

Kristina Fugate said...

This is a great post! It makes me feel all nostalgic for my freshman year. The drama was scandalous, but it was well worth it. I made some really awesome memories that year.

Thanks for sharing :)

Emilia Plater said...

That last one is something I'd love to tell my 15-year-old self, too. (But she'd be like PSSHH) Crazy what 2 years can bring :D This post is awesome!! And you look adorable in those pics, hehe <3

Dan said...

I'd only have one word for my fifteen-year-old self:

Microsoft. :)

Kate Larkindale said...

I still feel fifteen too. It freaks me out sometimes when I look in the mirror and don't see a fifteen year old looking back at me.

Kate Hart said...

OMG, high school Suzie is too cute for words.

Kara Mustafa said...

Looove #3 :D

Lindsay said...

Love this! =] #4 made me laugh.

Meredith Barnes said...

Great post, Suz. We love you!!

Quinn said...

If I could go back and talk to my 15 year old self, he wouldn't listen. Instead, he spend all his time trying to figure out time travel.

Liked your list though.

Ariane said...

It scares me that Lucky will save you :( I hope you were okay, when you were a teen. That book is a tough savior.

Great advice though. I wish I could tell my younger self similar things.

Elaine AM Smith said...

I loved this post:
I understood #3 then.
Needed to know reading less might have been a good idea.
Would have loved to have done everything on #5 then rather than ten years later.

Nicola Marsh said...

Great post, Suzie, making me feel very nostalgic!

mynfel said...

You are about the cutest thing ever. Just sayin'. *love* those pics.

Mackenzie Brady said...

COACH BOB!!!! haha loved the pictures.

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Five Random Things About Suzie

1. I drink so much orange soda, it's probably running through my veins. I've been known to go through a twelve pack of diet sunkist in a day.

2. I'm legitimately nocturnal (or a vampire). I will be so exhausted at two pm that I'm falling asleep standing up - it has happened before, at Six Flags no less - but as soon as the sun goes down I'm wide awake.

3. I have a gorgeous unused $6000 Reem Acra wedding dress hanging in my closet, and it showed up on my doorstep the same day my (now ex) fiance broke up with me. And thank God for that. I wouldn't have wanted to waste that dress on him.

4. Social anxiety plagues me daily. I write a script and practice in front of the mirror when I have to make a phone call, but most people who interact with me have no idea how nervous I am (or perhaps they lie) because I've worked so hard to try to overcome it.

5. I'm actually worried that I will never love my children (when I do have them in the far off future) as much as I love my dogs. I just like animals better than people - they're sweet and innocent and soft and furry - is that so wrong?