Dear Teen Me: A Letter By Estelle

Today Magan & I are celebrating the upcoming release of Dear Teen Me, a collection of letters written by authors to their teen selves. It’s available from Zest Books on Halloween, October 31! ( Amazon | Goodreads )

Dear Teen Me,

Here are a few things you need to know: Katie Holmes married and divorced Tom Cruise. (It’s a long story.) James Van Der Beek is currently playing himself on a new TV show. (It’s hilarious.) Your man, Joshua Jackson, stars on a show you don’t watch (it’s not your thing) but looks positively stylish and handsome, even more so than he did as Pacey. And the one who continues to garner the most buzz due to her acting talents (and unfortunate death of her daughter’s dad) is Michelle Williams. She was even nominated for an Oscar.

Crazy and unexpected right?

Just when those Capeside kids were closing up shop, you were graduating high school. Off to a college near the beach, a place where none of your fellow graduates would attend. Your new campus was sprawling with space; you couldn’t wait to write near the beach. You wanted to be a journalist. You were dating the most beautiful boy you had ever seen (up until that point) who wrote you love notes and made you mixed CDs. Like any normal teenager, you fought with your mom quite a bit. You also had some pretty awesome friends at home you were going to miss dearly.

You’d never think that the beautiful boy would break your heart into a thousand or so pieces, time and time again. That you would become the crazy of your suite because his drama sucked the life out of you. Or despite your hefty tuition and that new “green” library they were planning to build, your school was in a crapload of debt and would be closing its doors after your sophomore year. Or maybe that some of your good friends would drift away (one would even pass away – a day you still think about all the time).

Okay, those are the bad things.

But, ya know, despite the fact that the boy kept hurting you, you kept trying. You’ll still get mad that you didn’t end things sooner. That you weren’t stronger. But it’s part of the reason you are who you are. You fight like mad. You don’t give up on people. Or things. Even when your school announced its impending doom, you stayed. You became the youngest editor-in-chief of the campus paper. You tried to raise morale. You and your friends teamed up to “save the school”. You even tried out for a show in the theater. Even though you’d rather hang out in the background, the actual theater became your refuge (that smell of burnt coffee!). You starred (yes, you read that right) in a student-directed full-length movie. Sure, the school felt like a ghost town, but you still worked hard to get the best grades and made the most of all its opportunities (while partaking in round 2 of the college search).

Your drive wasn’t the only thing that remained consistent. You had support pouring in from all angles – the three ladies you grew up with, your parents who might not always understand or approve of your choices but trusted you to make the right ones (so it’s okay to stand up to them when it’s important), and two science-y girls from college by the beach. It’s amazing to think how one little choice, one friendship, can change your course and enhance your life. People come and go, but like a wise pal told you recently, they’ll come back if they’re meant to. Trust me when I say… you are the luckiest girl in town.

If anything, you’ve learned that life has its own ideas and can turn the best laid plans into a disaster and a blessing at the same time. You graduated from school in the city. You reconnected with the last person you ever thought and he ended up being the person you married. A man who makes you feel smart and beautiful, who encourages you to be your silly self, who deals with your moods, who listens to you, and who loves to go to Disney as much as you do. (This is why rewriting history and not going to your first school is not an option!) Maybe at this time certain details aren’t perfect. They aren’t ideal. But, like always, you keep on trucking. You make mistakes! You keep on fighting to do what you need to do to find happiness and move into the right direction.

When you were 18 – hell, even when you were 13 — you thought you understood the meaning of “it was the end of everything simple, and the beginning of everything else,” the little saying on those season 1 Dawson’s Creek posters. Girl, you didn’t even know the half of it. And that’s okay. Because you are a happier, better dressed, super honest person who knows what she deserves and what she can accomplish because of all of that.

Hey, if you can dream it, you can do it.


P.S. If it’s possible, you love Disney even more than you did then. Also, your music of choice is country. Seriously.

19 thoughts on “Dear Teen Me: A Letter By Estelle

  1. Ginger @ GReads! says:

    Estelle, I could read what you write every day, any day. Your words are always full of heart, truth, and humor. I love this letter to your teenage self. We tend to want to go back and re-do things (usually make the bad things right again), but what you’ve captured here is the importance of living through those adventures is what makes you YOU today.

    Thank you for sharing this part of yourself, xoxo. You are such a beautiful person Estelle!

  2. Ginger @ GReads! says:

    PS – I laughed at the Dawsons Creek references in the beginning, but the quote at the end made me have an “aww” moment 🙂 Nicely done.

  3. Mary @ My Sisters Bookshelf says:

    Estelle, you had me at Dawson’s Creek! I was the perfect age for that show – I lived high school alongside them!

    What a fabulous concept. I think teen me was pretty strong but I’d tell her she’s smarter than she realizes! And she has lots of time…

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Love, love, love this.
    How insightful we all are with 20/20 hindsight…..oh, if I could tell my teenage self a thing or two.
    It would be one long letter.
    Starting with: Drop the loser. He never amounts to anything and you will go on to find the most surprisingly perfect soul mate. The sooner you get over the first “love” you thought you had the sooner you can meet the man that will provide you with laughter and a lifetime of love. Not to mention three pretty great kids.

  5. Jess @ Gone with the Words says:

    Dear Teen Estelle,

    Today you really DO listen to country a lot…and share the best songs (that go perfectly with some books!) with your friends, who you chat with on the internet. No, not AOL, it’s GChat now. AOL is nonexistent.

    You are awesome, and this letter really touched me. 🙂

  6. Ghenet Myrthil says:

    I loved reading this! Our teen selves would definitely have been friends because I was obsessed with Dawson’s and Felicity back then too. I’ve also had not-so-great moments in high school/college that formed who I am today. So no regrets! I love the idea of Dear Teen Me. 🙂

  7. Tara says:

    Estelle, you had me tearing up, then laughing, then back to tearing up. You’re amazing! This was such a great letter and I’m so happy we’ve gotten the chance to know each other more over the past few months.

    PS – I have lots of questions for you for GChat tomorrow 😉

  8. Kelly says:

    There’s always that guy that we hold on to for too long, eh? I would love to tell teen me to steer clear, but I wouldn’t be where I am today without having gone through that heartbreak – and coming out stronger because of it!

    I love this series; both you and Magan have made me a little weepy today, so I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to write this, and then share it with us all.

    You are one brave, beautiful lady!

  9. Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books says:

    Reading your letter made me smile. Because while we all have to deal with a ton of bad things in our lives, there’s always HOPE – that things will get better, or surpass our expectations, or surprise us. I love how you expressed your feelings about how sometimes, things that don’t necessarily look “good” are actually the perfect catalyst for things to fall into place as they should. *hug*

  10. Kristen says:

    I. love. this. This letter is beautiful in every way. Thank you for sharing, Estelle. So different to have the perspective of time and age and wisdom (hopefully!) to look back on.

  11. elena says:

    estelle, this letter is so wonderful and so perfect because it’s so YOU. i love that it’s so hopeful and kind and HEE at being better dressed. i am so glad you shared this, i <3 you.

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