Author Guest Post

Dear YA Me | Abigail Tarttelin

January 24, 2016
The Riveted Team
Believe In Your Shelf

Dear Nineteen-Year-Old-Abby,

You know how we never regret? Well, let’s start this off by stating that that is totally a good life choice. However, since this letter is from the future, I’m sending you some knowledge and bits of advice I maybe wish I had known at the time. But honestly, I’m totally cool with having learned all the lessons that I did (sort of, maybe).

First:  You don’t grow up! Nobody does. You just remain you. You don’t become more important, or profound, or smarter because you age. That’s something adults put on you because they’re insecure about being closer to death. Listen to your own voice. Your opinions, thoughts, and feelings are as important now as they will ever be—don’t let anyone undermine them.

Second:  You won’t constantly get more confident. It’s more like, you will be super confident at 23, crash around 25 and learn a lot, then get more confident. In the long-term, it’s also less about the, “I-can-do-anything-crusader,” confidence and more about the, “I-have-done-a-lot, watch-me-get-through-this,” toughness that comes from hitting rock bottom, and then clawing your way back up like a total badass. I’m not sure I should be telling you this stuff about rock bottom—I don’t want to bum you out.—but no one dies, though, okay? So that’s good.

Just keep aiming high. People will think you’re crazy, but you’ll be right. I want to thank you for working hard, and having dreams, because I am living in the run-off of your struggle, and it is sunny.

Third:  It is completely okay to be a tad shallow when it comes to guys. The hot ones are hotter to touch, as you will learn from your relationships. Just don’t EVER sacrifice a SINGLE DAMN THING for a man. Avoid the ones that smile “indulgently” about how weird you are; anyone who uses the words ‘fat’, ‘weight’, or makes a face when you eat; the arrogant; men who quietly resent; he who abuses/cheats on/undermines women; those who insult their exes; stoners, and flirts. Also, you were right about the three-month rule—if he’s not committed after that long, break it off. It’s fairer on you both in the long run, and a lot easier to handle.

One day, however, one will come along who loves you for who you are. I’m not going to tell you when, but I will say don’t waste time waiting. Enjoy the buffet until the four-tier-cake arrives.

Fourth:  Get to know your grandparents. There is much to see, fun to be had, people to love, and lessons to learn. Life can be a fiasco or a feast, it depends how you see it, and what you do with it—Grandad said that.

Fifth:  Sometimes people will hate you. If you pay attention, you’ll find it is mostly when you are doing stuff. There are those who do, and those who criticize. Ignore the latter.

As we come to a close, I want to thank you. The teenage years are the hardest, and you’re going through them so I can have a better life. Thank you for not being mean; that would be horrendous to look back on. Thank you for embracing feminism before it was cool. Thank you for not doing drugs—my body is a temple. Thank you for working hard. Thank you for not giving up on me. I promise I’m still taking care of you, and all your crazy dreams. And also? Totally make time to write that book you’ve been thinking about. It’s… let’s just say it’s a good idea.

Lastly? Never forget all the lessons Buffy taught us.



P.S. Please get a tattoo. I can’t decide on one. Do it for me.

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