Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Question of the Day #28

So before I headed out for the holidays, I had a girls night with Helen & Lauren. Lauren had asked to borrow some books and I readily supplied her with Alyson Noel's SAVING ZOE and Sarah Dessen's KEEPING THE MOON, plus my own manuscript.

We got to talking about why I write for teenagers and I said it's because almost everything that happens during that time somehow impacts the person you become. Because emotions and wants and needs are magnified during that period. And the smallest occurance can mean the biggest thing.

For example, in eighth grade, I got kicked out of my clique. That might seem trivial, but when your world is only as big as the people around you, and suddenly they ignore you at the lunch table and you have no idea why, it's heartbreaking. My self esteem plummeted. But worse than that, I lost trust. Because if my best friends could hurt me like that, what could my enemies do?

Now, not all teenage incidents breed sadness and insecurity. And I am by no means one of those people who hated high school and is still mad about it. Once I got past the clique dumping, I actually loved high school. Stealing the mic at the prom and belting out Pat Benatar to the screaming crowd felt better than anything I'd ever felt. Getting roses from the hottest guy in my class gave me ultra-confidence during senior year. And crazy late nights with friends gave me experiences and highs that I still sometimes long for now.

It's those moments who make up who I am. Good and bad. Right and wrong. Smart and not-so-smart.

What are some moments that helped mold who you are today?



  1. What? No takers on this one, or did you activate the comment filter to keep the spammers at bay, so these'll all go on in a big group?

    Hmm. Tough question. That sucks how you got dumped by your clique in 8th grade! Let's see...I was 20 pounds overweight all through high school--that definitely shaped my life perspective. Also, my parents could have done better at parenting. Rejection from guy after guy after guy shaped my world view, as well. I think the topper was when (and I'll tell you this because I'm never going to use it in a story--too painful!) this one guy accused me of date rape. Sure, there were some good times in high school, but much of it was massive suckage.

  2. Yay for Ara going first. I've been checking periodically. I can't really answer this without being a total drag. I'm sure there were some good times but, to use Ara's word, it's only the suckage I remember. And there was a lot of suckage. I can't answer this one. It would be too much like pissing on the party. I'll try to think of something not so downer and get back to you.

  3. I loved high school, most of the time. You feel things so acutely as a teenager and everything seems so much more dramatic as you're living it than it does in hindsight.

    I remember liking this guy James in my class and being thrilled when he finally asked me out at the start of Senior year. My father wouldn't let me go because it was a double date and he didn't trust the other girl who would be along. James asked out my best friend instead and they dated for the rest of high school. I was in the depths of depression for weeks. I hated my father and my former best friend.

    But a couple months later I met this other guy, fell in love, had my first kiss (yes, I was sweet 16 and never been kissed!) and actually made up with my ex-best friend.

    I missed my 10-year high school reunion. (I was under quarantine, but that's a totally different story!) James died from a liver disease the following year and I was so sad that I'd never had the chance to talk to him again and tell him I didn't hate him anymore.

    I don't know if that's molded who I am today, but it made an impression, a little hole in my heart where I held him. I guess that experience, along with many others, has taught me to stand up for what I want and to go for things even when I'm scared because I might not have another chance.

    Sorry, didn't mean to write a book!

  4. Thank you for answering so bravely. I had no idea this question would dredge up such suckage!

  5. A BIG moment (or rather, period of time? shift in direction?) that contributed a lot to who I am today was when my parents divorced and I moved to Canada. I really, really, REALLY did not fit in where I had been growing up. Everyone was in clique but me, it seemed, and I really could not even figure out who it was I was supposed to be - what was my personality? But then I moved to a new town - heck, a small town in a whole different country - and I had a chance to sort of invent myself (not re-invent, as I think my invention had not yet happened). Luckily, when I invented myself as some sort of hippie-punk, everyone in my new school was really nice and accepting about that. They even thought I was interesting, maybe a little bit cool. That was such an awesome thing, realizing I could express myself without fear of rejection or scorn. I think I would have ended up a very different person if I had stayed where I was before.

  6. Wow, I love Heather's response. What great perspective to have on your high school experience. I think I'm going to relocate my kids to Canada!
    I'm way late in answering this but I had a bad, bad, bad family life. I don't think it defines me today but it certainly influenced the road to becoming me. I will leave it at that. Love the question and honest answers.


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