Friday, June 29, 2012

Letter to my YA self - Jessa Russo

Our next letter to my YA self comes from YA author Jessa Russo. Jessa's debut novel, EVER, will be released soon from Curiosity Quills Press.


Dear Sixteen Year Old Me,

Your dad just died. You’re broken and scared and your emotions are so crazy you don’t know which way is up half the time. The pain is intense. But you have free reign now. Mom wants you to be happy, so she’s letting you do whatever you want for the most part. You’re taking advantage of her pain, going to parties, getting drunk, and trying to grow up way too fast.

You’re going to meet a guy soon, and he’s going to be gorgeous. You’re going to swoon about that. When you meet him at that party, and he teases you, your friend will say, “Wow, you’re so lucky – he’s never shown interest in any of my friends before.” She is an idiot. He is an asshole. RUN AWAY. You'll think he's so beautiful, and so strong. You aren't going to believe that he wants you. But he does. He wants you because you are broken and vulnerable and he can see that. He wants to break you more. And he will. If you let him.

When he starts to lie to you, you’ll think you are crazy. You are not.

When he starts to verbally abuse you, you will believe him. Please do not.

When he starts to physically abuse you, you’ll be scared and confused and you’ll stay with him. PLEASE DO NOT. You will wear the scars internally for the rest of your life. I can attest to that. When he abuses you in front of one of your friends, she will do nothing. This will confuse you, and you'll think maybe its no big deal. She didn't help you, or say anything, so maybe you're overreacting. No. You are not overreacting. She is not your friend.

When you try to end things with him – and you will, many many times – he will turn it around on you to the point where you are begging him not to end things. This is his mind-f*ck. He’s really good at it and he will do it to you repeatedly. You will fall for it almost every time.

I want to tell you to stay away from him, but I know you won’t. I want to tell you to run for the hills, but I know you won’t. I want to tell you to steer clear and avoid him at all costs, but you’re a fixer and you want so badly to fix him. So I am going to tell you this: One day, shortly after your 21st birthday, you will leave him for the last time. And you will mean it. You will never look back. Down the road, you will still be somewhat broken, and your scars will remain a constant reminder etched on your heart, but you will move on. You will meet a beautiful man and start a family. You will never look back.

You are 32 years old now. You’re going to publish your first book. Your husband is awesome. Your daughter is awesome. You still have so many of the same friends you grew up with, and a group of wonderful new friends. You are beyond blessed.

Your scars remain, yes, but they are part of what makes you the fearless woman you are today. You persevere. You are stubborn. You are strong.

So make your mistakes because I know you will – you’re far too stubborn to heed any advice I could give you. But make those mistakes knowing that everything you do in your life will bring you to this. A happy, healthy family of three, and a career that is only just beginning.

Continue writing those poems - its practice for what's to come, and therapy for what you're going through now.

Keep on keepin’ on, and know that you will persevere. Know that you deserve happiness. You are worth it.

Most of all, love YOU unconditionally.


You in 16 years. Slightly wiser, a little older, and a lot more comfortable in your own skin.


Thank you so much, Jessa. That was fearless and beautiful, just like you. :)


  1. <3

    P.S. You have no idea how awesome you're going to be in a few years! :D

  2. Well, said, all of it. And very brave to say.

    Cheers from a fellow author.

  3. WEll said! you are awesome.

  4. Very emotional, very real! I think it's funny that you, me, Krystal & Sharon are all the same age:) I wrote poetry allllllllll the time growing up as a way to deal with my pain. So sorry you lost your dad in h.s.:-( He'd be very proud of you though! Awesome letter~huggs

  5. I love the idea of letters to yourself while growing up!

  6. This was very brave of you to share! You've been through so much, but you are so strong for it!

  7. This was beautifully written, so excited to be publishing my first novel with such talent as Jessa, Sharon, and Victoria. :) Love being a CQ girl.

  8. This is beautiful and inspiring and moved me to tears! Maybe I should so something like this later down the road.

  9. And I am the proud Mama who let you get away with murder and was unaware of the pain he was causing. No excuses...I was in pain too. I love you, Bud! You are the princess I always knew you would be!


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