Dear YA Joli,
This isn’t the letter that I originally started to write to you, but of the many things I want to share with you, I realize this is the letter that you need from me. This is what is important to you right now. This is what consumes your thoughts and fills pages and pages of your diary. So I think it needs to be addressed.
Let me just put this out there . . . You are boy crazy.
You have numerous crushes, unrequited loves, and you desperately want a boy (sometimes any boy) to pay attention to you. Your friends have boyfriends. Your sisters seem to be experiencing these epic romances. You feel left behind. You feel awkward and sometimes lonely. Everyone seems to be having so much more fun than you, dating - doing boyfriend and girlfriend things (which you still aren’t positive what all of that entails). And while you have MAJOR crushes on boys and are smart and funny, these boys (who honestly aren’t worth your time) don’t think about you in the ways you want them to. You are too tall. You are too forthright. You are too innocent. YOU ARE and THERE ISN’T ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT. I want to tell you to EMBRACE it. It’s hard to do, when you want companionship, someone to hold your hand, someone to give you sweet kisses. All of this seems so important to you because it’s something that you don’t have . . . right now.
But there is something you need to know. While you think everyone else is having all the fun, you don’t realize that your friends are going through their own challenges too. They have self-doubts. They have relationships issues that you should really be grateful that you don’t have to deal with. There are pressures in these relationships and expectations that they aren’t sure how to handle. They don’t always share these things with you because they don’t think you can possibly understand what they are going through and well, you can be a bit judgemental. Sometimes they do open up to you, but you just don’t realize the honesty in their words. They claim to want your innocence which makes no sense to you because they say it in ways that embarrass you and it feels like they are making fun of you, but it is true.
Please be thankful for this time without a serious boyfriend. You get to discover who you are and want you want. You will gain confidence. Don’t worry, you will go on dates and there will be hand holding. You will have sweet kisses (LOTS OF THEM) and you will have relationships that are more that just crushes. But, all too soon, you will begin to understand these pressures your friends have dealt with for a while now. It will be messy and there will be break-ups and broken hearts, and you will shed many tears - so many tears.
I want to give you these books to help you through these times. Some of them will make you laugh; some of them will make you cry; some will help you to understand what your friends are going through when they are afraid to share their experiences with you (or with anyone).
As I write this letter to you, I laugh at myself (well, at you, really - now don’t get mad) because knowing what I do now, you had some really odd taste in boys. Just sayin’. I’m glad that most of those boys remained crushes. I can look back on them fondly without regrets. Because, you know, sometimes the relationship you imagined having is better than the one that you would have actually had.
I hope that you trust me in all that I've told you here. There is so much more that I want to tell you because you're dealing with a lot. So don't worry, this isn't the last you'll hear from me.
Many thanks go to Ginger of GReads! for organizing this feature. I am honored to be a part of it. To find out what inspired Ginger to create this feature and see a list of all of the participants, please check out this introductory post.