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Dear Teen Me: A Letter by Magan

magan and estelle write letters to their teen selvesDear Teen Me: Authors Write Letters to Their Teen Selves
Publication Date: October 31, 2012
Publisher: Zest Books
Pages: 192
Target audience: Young Adult
Keywords: weight battles, suicide, LGBT, parental problems, rape, relationships
Format read: ARC from Zest Books at ALA (Thank you!)

Summary: More than 70 authors write therapeutic letters to their teen selves, providing advice or guidance revolving around a variety of topics.


*Estelle and I each wrote letters to our teen selves in the format of Dear Teen Me. Stay tuned for E’s letter later today! Add DTM on Goodreads and Amazon.

Dear Magan:

It’s been almost ten years since you escaped the halls of high school, the ones that made you feel self-conscious and ugly. There was so much about high school that confused and overwhelmed you. You didn’t know how to stand up to be your own person. You wanted to impress everyone and strife or disagreements made you incredibly uncomfortable. Somehow you always felt that someone’s anger or sadness was a reflection of something you did wrong. You took everything too personally.

You participated in lots of sports – volleyball, basketball, and track – but you never felt good enough. You could never run fast enough, jump high enough, or shoot consistently enough. Despite trying your hardest, always, you felt the pressure to be greater. The summer before your senior year, you started taking diet pills. You thought that if you could just shed some weight and run faster, you’d be a better athlete and so many things would improve as a result of that: more playing time, camaraderie with your teammates, feeling like you were a useful part of the team.

All summer you dieted and the weight dropped off. You were barely eating anything. Your heart hammered inside of your chest. As a requirement for basketball season you had to go out and run 3 miles eighteen different times in the excessive Texas heat after volleyball practice was over. There were times you ran alone along those windy back roads and I can remember your heart seemed to stop beating sometimes. You would push through it, mentally telling yourself that if you could do this, nothing was impossible.

I wish I could tell you that losing weight made everything perfect. It didn’t. Your coaches did see improvement in your abilities, but you gained a sense of entitlement that left you even more hurt than before if you were benched. Being skinnier didn’t mean you had more friends. Your friends, the ones you had before you lost the weight, were still there and they were still the same amazing people. You realized that you didn’t want new friends. (Thank goodness because some of them, all these years later, are still good friends of yours. One of them is now your sister-in-law!) You didn’t become an all-star athlete. You didn’t gain scholarships based on your athletic abilities and you certainly didn’t get a modeling contract by losing weight.

There was a really awkward moment when your future mother-in-law (yep, you married your high school boyfriend!) discovered your diet pill problem. She begged you to quit taking them and listed all the problems they could cause. It was enough to scare you and make you stop. That wasn’t easy for you to do. You feared putting all the weight back on. You thought Dustyn wouldn’t find you beautiful. You were scared of what people (even strangers you’d never see again – people who probably didn’t even notice you) would think when they saw you.

I’ll be honest and say that your weight continues to be a struggle and battle for you. You’ve gone through ups and downs. My biggest piece of advice: learn how to eat correctly. Don’t be afraid of eating. You’ve lost a friend to anorexia. Eat fruits and vegetables. Figure out how to make healthy meals. Oh, and another thing: don’t fixate on the number on the scale. Dustyn will love you no matter what. He will be the best, most supportive husband a girl could ask for. He will always tell you that you’re beautiful, even when you’re not feeling like it.

Love is not measured by your weight or how skinny you are.

You have a big heart. You listen to people. You’re compassionate and empathize. These are things that matter. Don’t focus on trying to make people love you. Love other people. Be kind and considerate. Smile at strangers.

Never ever think that you’re not good enough and that your weight will change that.


October 30, 2012 - 4:15 pm

April Books & Wine - Damn you for making me tear up at work.

Magan, I am so sorry you went through this struggle with your weight.

It sucks that the whole weight thing is a problem with teen girls and well a lot of women too. I hate that our society and media tells us that we have to look a certain way to be beautiful/pretty therefore worthy. It’s so dumb. :-/


October 30, 2012 - 2:28 am

Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl - Magan, thanks for sharing. I was almost in tears over here, because you really spoke to my heart. I’ve always struggled with my weight as well, and I was anorexic in high school. I ended up destroying my metabolism, and managing my weight has become even harder. I appreciate your story, and think it’s amazing how much you’ve learned. I haven’t quite gotten to where you are yet, but I now have hope I’ll get there eventually. 🙂 *hugs*

October 28, 2012 - 10:10 pm

kailia @ Reading the Best of the Best - *HUGS* I’m currently 17 years old and I feel like I battle my weight every single day! Thank you for sharing your story!

October 28, 2012 - 8:04 pm

Estelle: Shelve It from Rather Be Reading Blog (10/28/2012) - […] Review: Dante’s Girl by Courtney Cole + Dear Teen Me: A Letter From Estelle + Dear Teen Me: A Letter From Magan + Review: Better than Chocolate by Sheila Roberts + Helping Books of Wonder in NYC  + Review: All […]

October 28, 2012 - 12:08 pm

Allison L - I’m a little late because I didn’t realize that you had written a ‘Dear Teen Me’ letter too, Magan. Sorry! Thank you for bravely opening up, and sharing a piece of your story with us. It was very touching to read! <3

October 27, 2012 - 3:24 pm

elena - oh teenage magan, i adore you and you are such a beautiful soul. i went through my issues in high school too and although they weren’t the same as yours, it really can be quite debilitating and hard to overcome. thank you so much for posting this letter and sharing. this & estelle’s letter are some of my very favourite on your blogs. <3

October 27, 2012 - 12:16 am

Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books - Oh M, thank you so much for opening up and sharing a part of your story, the one that makes you YOU, with us by writing this letter. I certainly think that you are one of the most BEAUTIFUL and AMAZING people I’ve ever had the fortune to meet and call a friend. I wish I could give you a hug in person right now!

October 26, 2012 - 5:13 pm

Lisa - Thank you for sharing this, Magan!

I would also tell my teen self to get over the whole weight thing. When you find the love of your life who cherishes you the way you are and loves your heart, that’s all that matters. Honestly.

You are gorgeous and brave and I adore you so!

October 26, 2012 - 10:56 am

Kelly - This is heartbreakingly beautiful and inspiring! You’re so brave to share something so personal, and the bit about your husband being there no matter the number on the scale made me a wee bit weepy.

I don’t know what you look like, but you are a beautiful person – and that’s what matters most!

October 26, 2012 - 6:06 am

Lori - Magan, this is so touching! You’re so brave and wonderful! *hugs*

October 26, 2012 - 2:54 am

Kristen - This is beautiful and brave and heartbreaking all at the same time. YOU are beautiful and brave. Thank you so much for sharing this. I love these letters so much. I need to get this book and read it. *hug*

October 25, 2012 - 9:18 pm

Tara - Oh Magan, I <3 you so much! I think you are beautiful and amazing and if I were with you right now, I'd give you the biggest hug ever.

October 25, 2012 - 8:22 pm

Jamie - HUGS! Loved this! Teen Jamie struggled with her weight (which was insane as she really was quite skinny. It’s sad that a lot of us of all shapes and sizes struggle with it. So many mixed messages out there! I used to get made fun of for being too skinny and girls would call me anorexic. My sister who is in high school struggles with this. It’s crazy because either you are “too fat” or “too skinny” or you have too big of boobs or not big enough. It’s exhausting. It’s sad how much we all struggle. Just wish we could all realize that most of us were really fine the way we were. Most of us were healthy and of a fine weight — whether or not or genes made us predisposed to be a rail or a little bit bigger than average. Being a girl sucked (sucks still) sometimes.

October 25, 2012 - 5:52 pm

Anna - Where is teen Magan? I NEED TO HUG HER! I NEED TO HUG ADULT MAGAN TOO! Major smooches. This touched my heart!

October 25, 2012 - 4:49 pm

Jess @ Gone with the Words - I wish I could give you a Magan hug right now. You know the ones. They leave you feeling like you’re special and cared for dearly. 🙂

You’re wonderful. This post is so incredibly touching, Magan.

October 25, 2012 - 9:56 am

Elizabeth - What is it with high schools and diet pills?
I, too, tried to lose weight in high school by downing diet pills with a Diet Coke everyday.
Looking back, it definitely didn’t make anything better.
Your letter was beautifully written.
This past Mother’s Day, I wrote a similiar letter but to my kids…just the advice I thought they would need from all the experiences I have had.
It is truly therapeutic to write about.

October 25, 2012 - 8:35 am

Ginger @ GReads! - Oh my sweet Magan, I wish I could hug you right now. Your letter was so very touching. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. Probably one of the most beautiful people I have the pleasure of calling my friend. I am constantly inspired by your creativity and generosity towards others. I wish I would have known you in high school. We could have encouraged each other to lose weight the healthy way, and also remind one another that it’s about being HAPPY.. not about the number on the scale. Teen Ginger struggled with that, too. Love you so incredibly much! xoxo

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