Thursday, August 13, 2009
Author Guest Blog: Jennifer Banash
Jennifer Banash is the author of the wonderful Elite series, whose third book was just released a few weeks ago! Here she is telling us ten things she wished she knew when she was sixteen.
When the question came through my inbox with notice of Hope’s Blogoversery (YAY!), I sat there in a funk for most of the afternoon, staring at my computer screen, the cursor blinking at me insolently. What did I wish I knew when I was a teenager that I know now?
Jeez, Hope, where do I START????? J
I could sit here and pound out a long, complicated story that has a moral, not to mention a beginning, middle, and end, but that would be boring, and probably sanctimonious and irritating. So in the hopes of not putting you to sleep, here’s my top ten list of things I’d wish I’d known as a teenager.
1. Do not let relatives or parents take pictures of you in fashionably challenged outfits. These pics will invariably be posted on Facebook by some “well meaning” distant acquaintance, and will feature you posed in a mall somewhere wearing fluorescent leggings from America Apparel or some other such nonsense, and you will immediately wish you could climb into the computer and strangle the person who posted them—or at least learn to untag properly . . .
2. Think, really think, before you speak or write. Certain things cannot be taken back once they leave your mouth—or outbox. If you’re really angry, sleep on it before reacting. I guarantee that most of your fury and indignation will have exhausted itself by the time your eyes open to a new day.
3. If you have a serious crush on someone, do not call him excessively and hang up. Do not ride your bike past his house so many times that people start to think you’re the mailman. If you write him a love letter, work on it for most of an entire day, then stuff it into your desk drawer. Do not, under any circumstances, mail it. And if you do mail it, do not walk over to him during lunch, in front of all of his friends, and ask if he's read it yet. Trust me on this.
4. Keep some things private, and for you alone. If you tell your friends everything about your experiences, it tends to lessen them somehow. This especially pertains to matter of the heart for some strange reason. The more you tell, the less you will have for yourself as special and unique.
5. This also extends to your virtual life. Be careful what you post on the Internet—chances are it will be on there for the rest of your natural life, impossible to retrieve. Those half-naked pics of you after prom? Yes, I’m referring to those J
6. Even if your parents drive you bananas, try to make peace with them in some way. Remember, as hard as it is to imagine right now, they were teenagers once too. This will become especially important when you reach your twenties/thirties, and your relationship begins to shift into a kind of friendship. You wouldn’t want to miss that. Without teenage angst coming between you, you can really begin to know your parents as people, and that is a very cool thing indeed.
7. Forgive those who wrong you with all your heart, but never forget.
8. You will have your heart broken—probably more than once if you’re lucky—but it will never, ever hurt as much as the first time. That I can promise you. You are not going to die, although your chest will hurt so much that you will become convinced that you have some sort of heart problem. It will pass eventually, and it will never hurt in quite the same way again.
9. Don’t rush to grow up—you miss out on so much if you do. I spent most of my teenage years like a tiny adult—rushing toward moving out of my parent’s house, falling in love, rushing towards losing my virginity, rushing into adulthood. Savor the freedom of your teenage years, the lack of adult responsibility. It will never come again, so don’t waste this time, or throw it away.
10. And above all, love your body. Be happy with who you are right now, and try to live in the present moment. I spent my teen years picking apart my body, seeing nothing but flaws and imperfections, and when I look at photos of myself now, 13 and staring uncomfortably into the camera, I shake my head, marveling at how things have shifted. I was so very beautiful back then, even in my imperfectness, and I had no idea. I thought I was completely hideous. The old adage that you have to love yourself first, or nobody else will, is very, very true. So make friends with your body—you will, hopefully, have it for a long time.
Thank you, Jennifer! Visit the blog later for a chance to win all three books in the Elite series!