Hi, everyone! Today I have a guest post from the authors of Tempestuous, Kim Askew and Amy Helmes. After reading about their advice to themselves, be sure the use the Rafflecopter below to enter to win your own copy of Tempestuous! To be eligible, you must be ages 13+ and living in the United States or Canada.
Dear Me: Advice to Our Teenage Selves
By Kim Askew and Amy Helmes,
Authors of the Shakespeare-inspired YA series Twisted Lit, featuring Tempestuous and Exposure (Merit Press)
As teenage girls go, the heroines in our Twisted Lit novels couldn't be more different. In Tempestuous (our take on Shakespeare's "The Tempest"), Miranda Prospero is powerful, assertive, and confident, perhaps too much so at times. In Exposure (our retelling of "Macbeth"), Skye Kingston is an insecure wallflower whose default mode is hiding her head in the sand whenever possible. While both characters have their inner demons to battle, it's fair to say that as teenagers we were each more like "Skye" than "Miranda." If we could go back in time and offer up some advice to our younger selves, here are a few of the things we'd say:
Your "peeps" are out there . . . you just haven't met them yet.
At age seventeen, I looked like I was twelve, but felt like I was forty. Needless to say, I never really fit in. Growing up before the dawn of the Internet age, it was tough to find peers who were into Merchant-Ivory flicks or who shared my opinion that Mick Jagger was more swoon-worthy than the cheesy boy-bands of my era. (NKOTB, for anyone curious). I eventually broke free of my insular surroundings and found plenty of kindred spirits who shared my sensibilities. Trust that you won't always feel like the proverbial odd man out.
There's no point in finding "Mr. Right" too soon.
No one ends up with their high school sweetheart. Okay, sure, it occasionally happens, but it's not likely. Besides, the type of guy you're going to be attracted to when you're ready to settle down won't be anything like the so-called "hottie" you're swooning over at the high school dance. (In fact, you'll probably look back at your yearbook in 15 years and wonder, "Eww -- what was I thinking?") It's okay to fall in love, but maybe hold off on naming your future children. And if you're desperate and dateless like I was, all the more reason not to sweat it.
You'll thank your parents later.
My parents didn't pony up money to fund my adolescent lifestyle. Any "luxuries" I deemed necessary came from babysitting money. I even paid my own way through college. Their tight purse-strings (which I deemed stingy at the time) taught me how to manage my money wisely and live within my means, a lesson that proved priceless. When your parents say, "We're doing this for your own good," it might actually be true.
Back away from the hairspray!
Photo albums in unspecified locations bear sad witness to my younger self's ill-advised stylistic leanings. I won't beat myself up over fashion choices that now make me cringe, but I wish I would have embraced the "natural" look instead of experimenting (badly) with beauty products. For god's sake -- you're 16, young, and wrinkle-free! Lay off the heavy foundation, bad eyeliner and shellacked bangs that defy gravity...and know that you're beautiful without it!
Hiding your nose in a book isn't the worst thing in the world.
Like most book lovers, I sometimes retreated into literature to escape awkward social interactions or uncomfortable situations. However, with hindsight, it's pretty clear that, as far as methods of escapism go, reading is probably one of the best (and safest) around. It taught me a lot about life, people, and worlds far from my doorstep. Now I wouldn't give that knowledge up for ANYTHING.
You are way cooler than you think.
You might not feel like it, but if you're reading this, I can pretty much guarantee that you are. Think of this as a message from your future self: the more you develop your own interests and learn to trust your instincts, the cooler you become. Sure, you might not see it when you look in the mirror, but from someone who's been there: it's happening. Feeling lame is just a waste of time.
Everyone else is as insecure as you are . . . more so, maybe!
Down deep, we're all pretty insecure. So give yourself a break, and give your classmates the benefit of the doubt. High school is tough. You're kind of all in it together, whether anyone realizes it or not. True story: I finally pulled my nose out of a book long enough to go to a party the last week of my senior year. Someone I thought was particularly cool actually said to me: "Wow, you're really nice. I thought you were a snob." A lightbulb moment if there ever was one.
Don't sweat the trigonometry class. Seriously.
School was always easy-peasy for me until trigonometry came along and ruined it for me. It wasn't fun to suddenly just not "get it." According to my own standards of perfection, I had to be great at everything. Of course, I realize now that I set myself up for disappointment because I don't know anyone who is perfect. How come I expected myself to be? So definitely give it your all, but if you've done your best, that's good enough. Nobody's perfect.
© 2012 Kim Askew and Amy Helmes, authors of Tempestuous: A Twisted Lit Novel
Kim Askew, co-author of Tempestuous: A Twisted Lit Novel, whose work has appeared in Elle and other magazines, is a content manager for the Webby-winning teen site www.FashionClub.com, for which she has covered the Teen Choice and MTV awards. Follow Kim on Twitter @kaskew.
Amy Helmes, co-author of Tempestuous: A Twisted Lit Novel, is co-author of Boys of a Feather: A Field Guide to American Males and is also a weekly contributor to The Rundown, a free daily e-mail service that keeps subscribers informed on what's new and cool in LA. Follow Amy on Twitter @amyhelmes.
Both Kim and Amy think Shakespeare understood the young's true love and pain like no other, from Hamlet's sorry stepdad to Juliet's trauma drama, hence this literate farce, based on "The Tempest."
For more information please visit http://twistedlitbooks.com and http://www.adamsmedia.com/merit-press-books
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