Our next letter to be jettisoned into the past is from YA author Jamie Ayers. Jamie Ayres writes young adult paranormal love stories by night and teaches young adults as a public school teacher by day. When not at home on her laptop or at school, she can often be found at a local book store grabbing random children and reading to them. So far, she has not been arrested for this. She loves lazy pajama days, the first page of a good book, stupid funny movies, and sharing stories with fantastic people like you. Her first novel, 18 Things, will be published by Curiosity Quills later this year. Visit her website at www.jamieayres.com.
Dear Jamie Reynolds,
If my calculations are correct, you will receive this letter on your fourteenth birthday, August 28, 1993. First, let me assure you that you are alive and well. You’re 32 now, but your story is still being written. Your life has become so much bigger than what you ever expected. You have a novel coming out soon! You’re a teacher, able to affect your students’ lives just like so many teachers touched yours when you thought nobody cared. You married a good and honest man who is committed and believes in you like no one else ever has. You’ve been married for 14 yrs now, and you’re about to meet him soon! You have two beautiful daughters together and you’re giving them the loving, joyful, secure childhood you never had. See . . . .
Even though you are perfectly happy now, there are a few things I’d like to warn you about. I know you’re severely depressed right now and contemplating suicide. Please hear me out and listen to my advice.
Don’t change so much to fit in. Be bold about who you really are. Don’t seek popularity at all, but significance. Mother Teresa knew her mission in life. She said, “I’m but a pencil in the hands of the Creator, writing a love letter to His people.” Later on, you’ll join a whole misfit group of literary marauders who never fit in either and it won’t matter anymore. You’re original and you get to make a career out of being different and creative. Now that’s cool!
You’re devastated because your cool boyfriend broke up with you. You’ll be better off. He’ll start doing drugs and get a girl pregnant in high school. There will be other guys, but don’t do things this first year of high school that make you uncomfortable just to feel loved and cared for. They don’t care about you and will use you. Will lie and say you did more than you actually did and you’ll get a bad reputation that follows you around the rest of high school. People you thought were your friends will believe them and won’t stick up for you--will even join the haters and make fun of you. And for the love of God--Don’t go out with that guy you meet at Burger King!!! He’ll go on to rape your best friend. Also, don’t date one of your good friends your senior year. He’s a rebound. You wanted to be in love with him because he seemed like the perfect guy, but you weren’t and you ended up hurting him and losing him as a friend. YOU WANT SECURITY BUT YOU DON’T NEED A GUY FOR THAT!
Don’t have a one track mind and lose yourself as an individual. Yeah, you date this guy for over three years and it seems right and fun at the time, but it ruins the pureness of your relationship. True love is nurturing and helps people grow—not hold them back. It makes them a better person, not an obsessed and jealous one. I know it’s hard, but wait until you’re married. Hormones are not, I said NOT, to be trusted! DO you hear me, young lady?!
You have pimples. Build yourself a bridge and get over it! What teenager doesn’t? Quit whining and go buy yourself some Clearasil or something. And yes, your boobs are ginormous compared to all the other girls your age right now. Who cares? Embrace it! And you’re fat? Really?!?! Let me tell ya something honey, you’ll never look this good again! Shut up already, and go eat some more chocolate while your fat-burning potential is at its height. Believe me, your metabolism is all downhill from here.
Don’t depend on others to boost your sense of worth. Don’t let insecurities, worry, stress, and fear guide your decisions. Base your decisions on what you need, not what others are telling you to do. Quit striving to please others and love yourself. You can’t truly love anyone else until you do. Your life is a journey, not a destination. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been; it matters where you’re going. All those years of obscurity, God was working on your roots. It’s who you were in the dark all those years that determines how you’ll shine in the future. Don’t let place or time or age or upbringing or social status determine your potential. Don’t be unwilling to accept the help of others because you think you’re not worth their effort. You are!
So that about covers it. Please listen to my advice, and try to look into the future outside of the next ten minutes. Yes, you’ll still make mistakes. After all, nobody is perfect, so pick yourself up and try, try again. You deserve every good thing God has planned for your life. Keep this letter as a seal upon your heart over the next few years when life seems so hard. The best days are ahead of you, but first there’s high school. And so Jamie, I now say farewell and wish you Godspeed.
(P.S. Yep, your last name is Ayres now, not Reynolds. Spoiler Alert! Go get ‘em, girl!)