An Open Letter to My YA Self + Giveaway

Tuesday, March 31, 2015



Ginger of GReads! is hosting An Open Letter to My YA Self, where bloggers and authors write a letter to their teen self along with recommending contemporary YA novels. Of course I joined this event right away because I feel like I have lots of books I can recommend to the younger Dianne. I tried to be as personal as I can in my letter, even though presenting my deepest regrets and insecurities made me very uncomfortable.

If you want to read the letter I wrote for my twelve-year-old self, go right along. (You can also win books so there's that waiting for you as well under the cut.)

(Click on the banner to get to Ginger's introduction post and for the schedule!)



Dear Twelve-Year-Old Me,

Huzzah! It's you ten years, x pounds, and darker eyebags down the line! Don't question it, it's really me. To prove my identity to you, I, for a fact know that even though you kept telling everyone that Vic Zhou is your favorite in F4 and even though you kept on teasing your little sister Lianne about her liking Jerry Yan, you actually like Jerry Yan better than Vic Zhou. You just don't want to admit it because of his hideous pineapple hair in Meteor Garden. Believe me now?

I'm here to talk to you about things I wish I knew when I was you. (Okay, seriously, this is getting confusing.) Disclaimer: I will be sappy and you just have to deal with it.

You just turned twelve and it might be the saddest birthday you ever had. You’re in your first year in high school and I know it’s hard. I know you’re staying in a dorm, with three roommates who bullies you. That you cry while eating alone. That sometimes you don’t even eat because you don’t want to eat alone. That you cry in the shower. That you just want to go home every day than sleep in a room of people you don’t trust. That you’re the outcast in your class. That no one wants to partner up with you in class and anyone who ends up as your partner gets snickered at and gets pitied for having to deal with you. You seriously don’t know what you did wrong. All you know is that apparently, your roommates ganged up on you because you spoke ill of them behind their backs. Maybe that’s true. I honestly don’t remember. What I do remember is that when you left to go to the communal bathroom, they got your phone and texted a guy in your class that you love him or something like that. That they told everyone they could possibly tell and now your batchmates who’re staying in the dorm alienates you too. I know it’s hard and I know you feel like you just want to transfer schools and leave this great opportunity of studying in the most prestigious science high school in the Philippines just to escape it all.

But I’m telling you this, it’s all going to be okay. Not for a few months, not yet, but before the school year ends, everything's going to be okay. You’ll eventually have a friend on your class. Right now your friends are the sophomore dormers and you’re actually having fun. Your friend Honey will save you. Your guidance counselor will too. You’ll learn to play the guitar with Honey and while you’ll end up giving up, she’ll become so good at it. No biggie, you’ll just sing along. You’ll realize that you don’t have to spend time with people who don’t want you. That friends can come anywhere and you don’t have to be in the same grade.

Look at you. You’re coasting through school alright, even placing in the Dean’s List every quarter. You’ll eventually have a friend in your class. Patti will realize you’re not that bad and eventually, everyone else sees it too. Your roommates will forget why they ever hated you and while you can never trust them completely, that’s fine. Everyone deserves a second chance. You’ll be a part of a group and you guys will even start a blog together, posting whatever.

It gets better and I know it’s hard to believe right now but it will be.

By now, I've cried a bucketload just typing that. But hey, I'm not done yet! Let’s get to my biggest regret. All your life, you've been going to Lola Pening's every weekend. You’re totally a grandma’s kid. She spoils you with her mango ref cakes made from biscuits but you love it the most in the world. You play spot the difference using the Sunday paper every week. She gives you money when you win but later on, you just let her win or you don’t claim your prize at all. But now you’re in high school and you stay in the dorm and you just go home during the weekends. You’d rather spend your free time watching your jdoramas. I'm telling you, I’d trade anything now if I can spend a few hours with Lola every Sunday. I just miss her so much and I regret every single Sunday I didn't spend with her when she was still with us. Lola Pening was my favorite person in the whole world and I miss her so much it hurts. Cherish Lola and show her how much you love her before it’s too late.

And for now, my last message/tip to you. Don’t worry, this isn't going to make you cry. Just, love what you love, okay? Don’t be apologetic about not liking what your peers like. I know it’s a bit lonely to be the only one who’s obsessed on Japanese and Korean dramas and actors, but you won’t be alone soon. Heck, even other dormers will love Japanese dramas in a year or so, the Internet will make everything possible (more or less everything). Don’t ever be sorry for the things that you like. Be a geek. Geek out.

Whew. Now that I've let it out, let’s have some fun! I know you’re into literary fiction now because you’re on your ~pretentious~ phase (I love the pretentious phase, I'm not mocking you!) but here are some of my favorite contemporary young adult books because they all have a special place in my heart. Some made me open up about the grief of losing Lola (When You Were Here, There Will Come A Time), being okay about being different and an outcast (Stargirl, Noggin), being a geek (Life in Outer Space), being aware, accepting, and understanding (Two Boys Kissing, The Summer I Wasn't Me), being clueless and unsure (Althea & Oliver), and about being self-aware (The Paradox of Vertical Flight, We All Looked Up). Of course, I know how much of a fangirl you are so here are also books that will delight you and feed that celebrity romance daydream (American Girl on Saturn, This is What Happy Looks Like).

When You Were HereThere Will Come a TimeStargirl (Stargirl, #1)NogginLife in Outer SpaceTwo Boys KissingThe Summer I Wasn't MeAlthea & OliverThe Paradox of Vertical FlightWe All Looked UpAmerican Girl on Saturn (Saturn, #1)This Is What Happy Looks Like

We're going to be okay, Dianne. We're going to be great.

Love,

Turning-22-soon Dianne

***

So that's my letter! Excuse me while I hide out under the sheets. Feels good to talk to my teen self though. It was cathartic even though it made me cry A LOT.

Throughout the month, authors will be sharing their letters on Ginger's blog as well. I'm very excited to read them. As a plus, Ginger is giving away their books too. Good luck on the giveaway!



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26 comments:

  1. Dianneeeeeee!!!!! *hugs* You are one of the most cheerful and fun people I've met and I'm so sorry for what you went through in high school. I'm so glad it eventually got better and that you are the person you are today. I have to admit I cried a little reading your letter because I also lost my Lola, also my favourite person on earth, 4 years ago. I'll always miss her but I know she's very happy for me now. I know yours would be too. <3 You're awesome and I'm so glad to know you!

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    1. Hazel! Huhuhu thank you so much for reading my letter but I'm not sorry for making you cry. Haha! Grandmas are the best. <3 Sorry, I wanna say more but I feel like crying again because just, thank you. *hugs back*

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  2. Hi, 12-year-old Dianne!

    I am one of your future self's friends and in case you're wondering why you're feeling weird right now, I am currently hugging you. I'm sorry for what you went through during your first year in high school. You're a strong girl. Don't worry, whatever you're going through will pass and you will grow into a still-weird but fun and cheerful girl who is enthusiastic when it comes to books, movies and music.

    I can assure you that although your adult life might not be perfect, it will be as enjoyable as it can be. You'll me great people (include me! Haha) and you'll learn a lot of lessons in life. At gagaling ka sa pag-inom so kampay! Hahaha.

    I am so glad I met you, two years ago.

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    1. You know what? When I was a teen, I never thought I'll actually ENJOY drinking. I absolutely didn't plan on drinking but look at me now. Haha! And okay, way to rain praises on your greatness. Haha! Thank you, Charlie! <3 And I love that we're friends. <333

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  3. Ok let me try this again... I left a comment early this morning from my phone, but for some reason it never posted. Ack!

    I really enjoyed your letter, and how open and honest you are. I'm sorry you went through a tough situation growing up with your peers at school. I definitely wish I could go back & tell my younger self that even when times are difficult, it won't always feels that way, and it will eventually pass. Thank you so much for sharing your letter and being involved with this feature! xxoo

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    1. This feature is brilliant, Ginger! Thank you for letting me participate! (And sorry about the commenting platform being a pain.) <3

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  4. Wow! I am so amazed at how raw and personal this letter was! You are such a strong girl and I am really happy that everything worked out well! Also, Grandma's are truly the best! I felt your pain because I lost my maternal grandmother almost 6 years and I love her dearly.

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    1. Grandmas <3 Thank you for your kind words, Kevin. And for dropping by! I was so nervous at first with opening up but in the end, it was very calming and cathartic. I still cry when I remember my first year in high school and I don't like talking about it so this felt like a brave move. Kids and teens can be mean.

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  5. Thanks for such a sweet post! I'd tell my younger self to have more fun, not worry so much and read more :) thanks for sharing!

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    1. Yeah, teen years are for chilling out! Thanks for dropping by, Erin!

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  6. I'd tell my YA self to text your friends more. Maybe they would have told you all the fun stuff they did without you because they never thought of you for some odd reason.

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    1. I'm sorry if your friends left you out! :( But thanks for dropping by!

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  7. I would tell her to focus on studying!

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    1. I wouldn't tell mine that because she was already pretty focused! I'd tell my current self that because SCHOOL, ugh. Haha!

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  8. I would tell YA self to choose another subject to study such as graphic design.

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    1. I'm curious now. Did you end up in graphic design or are you regretting/unhappy with your course now? :(

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  9. Well that was such a long time ago..more than a decade...but i remember i was so very very shy at that age. Other people wants to be friendly with me but I was too shy and awkward to reciprocate their friendliness O.o So now looking back I would tell that 12 year old shy girl to smile more and don't be afraid to accept their friendship. I would probably recommend to her Wonder by Palacio...(more like a MG book but i really love the premise of this book)

    Ok now Hazel, that was an eye opening letter about you. I never thought you experienced such kind of harsh treatment. And I am impressed you have come such a long way then. I believe such kind of hardship shapes you into a better and stronger person if you rise above it all. Thank you for sharing a piece of you with us.

    And also thank you for this lovely giveaway, I have an eye on a copy of The Start of Me and You :)

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    1. I haven't read Wonder but I hope to get to it soon! Especially with its bullying theme. Thanks for stopping by, Laila!

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  10. Hi Diane! I loved your letter and I must say that I'm sorry to hear your problems while growing up. Kids are mean and teenage kids even more. Just listen to Taylor Swift's song Mean (maybe it's not up yet, but seriously this song would have solved a lot of our inside turmoils) and know you're probably better than them and that's why they keep bullying you. Happens to the best of us. No worries, everything's going to alright and these situations will make you wise in the future. This is what I would have told myself and your little 12 year old self ;)

    As for the YA Contemporary story... I would shake myself and shout at me to stop reading about vampires and start reading all books written by Jenny Han. And of course, if I had a time machine, I would give myself all books in the Crazy in Love series by Lauren K. McKellar, but I'm not sure if I would be able to appreciate all the emotions.

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    1. THANK YOU, PATRICIA! <3 *hugs* Sigh, I know, kids and teens can be mean. I hope that with all the awareness these days that more people (heck, everyone) will be more accepting of differences and revel in diversity. Thanks for checking out my letter!

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  11. I'd tell my younger self to life your life and you do what you want to do. Nothing is set in stone and you have the power to change the outcome. And a YA contemporary book I would recommend to my self is To All The Boys I Loved Before because I enjoyed reading it!
    Thank you for this amazing chance! :)

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    1. Oh yes, I also enjoyed and loved To All the Boys I've Loved Before! Now, why didn't I recommend this to my teenage self?! Thanks for stopping by, Michelle!

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  12. I'd tell my teen self to get an 8-10 hours of sleep while she still have time and doesn't have anything important to do yet. Studying will be much easier with a well-rested brain, especially in college.

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    1. My teen self loved staying up late and I still do. Haha! But you're right, I guess I would have treasured sleep more if I knew how much I won't get it as I get older. Thanks for dropping by, Erleen!

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  13. Hiiii :)

    Reading your letter to your twelve-year-old-self, I realized that you were in Pisay. (and that wow-ed me).

    It's great that your roommates didn't really affect your studies. To be honest, I'm a little jelly because I was never part of the list, but always almost. Your story is sad, but you're strong enough to handle it.


    To my twelve-year-old self, (note: I'm still twelve)

    You had a crush on a guy once, but he started going all-out gay. He became your bestfriend. You wrote him a thank you letter, with all sorts of secrets in it. "Please don't show this to anyone" was even part of it. He started getting cold, and your once-deep bestfriend suddenly disappeared.

    You started hanging out with new people, and unluckily, he was also part of the circle. When you were alone with your new girl bestfriend, she told you about the whole class knowing about the letter. That my "guy bestfriend" told her "okay lang 'yan, di naman niya malalaman na kinalat ko." You told her "Yeah, I'm okay, never ko naman siyang pinagkatiwalaan. Alam kong ikakalat niya yun one day." Truth: you were not okay. You suddenly started overthinking. You wanted to bang his head. You got over it after two months.
    --
    I can say that I learned something from my younger self: know your limits.

    And yeah, right now, I have trust issues with my batchmates.

    So this is my final message: Dear younger self, don't commit the same mistakes. I would love to see you reading To All the Boys I've Loved Before, because you know, letters.

    :)

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    1. Trust issues are the worst. Because sometimes, someone legitimately cares for you but since you've built all these walls, you might miss out on someone's really caring. I feel for you, Erin, because that's how I felt too with the incident that happened to me. I hope you'd learn to trust people again. <3

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