October 18, 2012

Dear Teen Me-Feature 9

About this Feature:
Dear Teen Me (Edited by E. Kristen Anderson & Miranda Kenneally) includes advice from over 70 authors and I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour. My tour stop date is Tuesday October 30th, and on that date I’ll be posting a review, hosting a giveaway and sharing my own Dear Teen Me letter. In the meantime, I was inspired by the book and decided to invite friends, fellow bloggers, and authors to write their own letter. Through out the month of October I’ll be be posting them here.

Today I welcome a dear friend of mine Donna. Donna and I met when we facilitated a teen book club together. She’s a high school teacher and also a guest reviewer on this blog as well.

Dear Younger Donna,
Hey you—it’s the older version of yourself, writing to you almost three decades into the future. I could say a lot of things to you; I could tell you that you have three beautiful daughters and are happily married. However, what I want to do is warn you of a momentous event that is about to happen; I want to try to stop it from happening.

It is September 10th, 1985. I know that you are really pumped to be in OAC at ______________Collegiate Institute. You had a great summer with friends; you maintained the old connections and made some new ones. You made good money working at the mall and babysitting. You actually got along with your sister for most of the family trip to Myrtle Beach. Your stepfather has finally left to live in Tennessee, leaving the house a lot more quiet and safe. Your classes have started off really well. You like your teachers, especially Mr. Carter, whose English class you’ve wanted to be in, like , forever. You have a solid group of like-minded friends in all of your classes and you are committed to doing well this year. After all, it’s off to university next fall….

This day is critical to your future, Donna. As much as you are going to want to, do not stay late after ________’s party. Do not get sucked into being alone with _____________. Yes, he is gorgeous. Yes, he is popular and clever. But, Donna: he is also very dangerous.
Trust me when I say this: he will deeply affect the way your life turns out. At the very moment he asks you to stick around, you need to resist your instincts to say yes. Please say “no”. Please turn and leave.
Do you want me to prove it to you?!

Your decision to be his girlfriend will change the way you see yourself. Your obsession with him will sever the relationships you have built over a decade. You will focus all of your attention on his wellbeing, forgetting your own. You will give up your own interests to support his. You will lie to your mother over and over again, because, deep in your heart, you know what you’re doing is wrong. You will disappoint your teachers. You will drop a course because your music teacher actually challenges you on your behaviour. You will make a spectacle of yourself at the biggest party of the year. Your desperation to keep him will make you act recklessly and dangerously.

You will forget that you are a really wonderful young woman with a dream of teaching. You will forget that you have a kooky sense of humour and that you have a passion for reading and writing. You will forget that your friends once loved you for being able to act silly and honestly. You will begin to truly believe that you are pathetic, overly-sensitive and boring. You will begin to truly believe that you don’t deserve to be happy.
You will eventually disappear and re-emerge into a woman who makes terrible choices in men. The words, actions and smallest of comments made by _____________ will be heard again and again. His treatment of you will be replaced again and again by other boyfriends and a husband.

I beg of you, Donna: leave the party alone. Call your friends to hang out. Laugh uproariously with your sister. Read the pile of books beside your bed. Look into the mirror each day and celebrate the face that looks back.

Value yourself on this fateful day in September and know that the two decades that follow will be filled with pride, respect and love.

Older Donna

Thanks so much Donna (XO)

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