Today is a very exciting day! Not only is it mothers day (AND I head to NYC today..) but it is is the official release date for BUT I LOVE HIM, the book I wrote under the psuedonym Amanda Grace.
Happy Birthday, little book!
To commemorate the release of this book, I'm sharing a letter I wrote to my teen self. (For a whole blog devoted to letters much more interesting than mine,go here.)
Dear Seventeen-Year-Old Mandy,
In a few months, you will meet a boy. A boy who will change everything.
It will be snowing the first time you really talk to him. The only time it will snow in a year, so you’ll know who he is. The thick snowflakes will make the night seem magical—or maybe that’s his smile, the way he looks at you. Either way, you’ll be swept away.
He’ll tell you you’re perfect. Beautiful. The one he’s been waiting for. You’ve never heard that before. He’ll buy you flowers so often the arrangements will overpower your bedroom and you’ll have to bring some of the vases downstairs. Your brother will joke that it’s a good thing he didn’t choose jewelry, or you’d look like Mr. T.
Maybe you should be embarrassed; maybe you should be concerned about how intense it is, right from the start. How he tells you he loves you, and it seems like you just met. But you won’t be worried. He means it. He really does. You love him back, more fiercely than you can imagine.
But it doesn’t take long for the relationship to bend and change. He’s never really happy. Some nights you’ll stay at his house past curfew, trying to fight the wars he never stops waging with himself. You want to fix him. At first, it seems like you can. At first, all you have to do is show up, and whatever is wrong in his life doesn’t seem to matter quite so much.
But you will never be enough, no matter how much you want to be.
He won’t like your friends. Your parents. Anyone, really. And they won’t like him. But you’ll choose him over them. You will spend every moment with him, until you hardly remember who you used to be. Because you love him, and you don’t think you can live without him. Besides, it’s easier that way. You’ll give up that club you love. Sometimes you skip school, or call in sick to work, because he needs you, and you’d do anything for him.
But as much as you love him, sometimes you won’t like him that much. That ugly sneer he gives you. The anxiety you feel when he tells you you’re lucky he doesn’t hit girls. How small you seem to get when he spits ugly words at you. But you won’t tell anyone about it. It will be a secret that curls inside you. They already hate him, so why prove them right? Besides, he doesn’t mean it. He loves you. He’s just broken, and he can’t always contain his anger. His depression.
Eventually, you’ll have nothing left to cling to. Once, you believed in true love, soul mates, and love at first sight. But in that year with him, he manages to take that from you, and you realize: it’s possible to fall in love with just about any one. Even people who are nothing like Prince Charming. One day it will fall apart, and you’ll slip into the stock room at the store where you work, and you’ll cry, hoping no one hears you.
You might think I’m writing this letter to warn you to stay away from this boy.
Even though he will break you, devastate you in ways you have never known, everything happens for a reason. You will learn more about yourself in one year than you did in the previous 17. You will change, and sadly, he will not.
A few months after he breaks your heart, while you are still trying to figure out who you are without him, you will meet someone else. Not a boy, this time, but a man, six years older than you. He will have brilliant blue eyes and a smile that never stops. He will make you laugh. Everyone loves him, and before long, you do too. He will admire the things about you you’ve always wished were different. Instead of cutting you down, he builds you up.
A few years later, he will propose to you at the top of the Space Needle. I’m sorry for spoiling that for you, but you figure it out anyway, an hour before it happens, because he made dinner reservations, and he never does that, and he’s adorably nervous, so you know something is up. Turns out Fairy Tales really do exist, and somehow, you believe in them again.
Eventually, you will write a book that is deeply rooted in that shattered romance. It will take scarcely more than two weeks to write the first draft, because once you’ve opened up that story, it seems impossible to stop. It pours out in a way nothing else ever has. You’ve wanted to write the story for years and once you were ready, it’s like the river over Niagara Falls.
It will be published in 2011, 10 years after you last saw that boy, and you’ll be proud, even if no one reads it. Even if no one cares about it. Because it’s real, and filled with more emotional truth than anything you’ve ever written.
And by then, you’ll be happy, and whole. He may never be. But you will.
Please remember that in the year that is to come. It will be the most trying of your life. But it will be worth it.
YOU are worth it.
PS: Read the first chapter of BUT I LOVE HIM