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Dear (Teen) Dahlia

Dear Teen Me,

I really wish you could see you now. I wish you could see that you went ahead and did the thing you never dreamed you'd be able to do. I wish you could see that you did the thing other people tried to make you feel you never would. There are so many things I want for you but none more than to stop taking other people's opinions about your writing ambitions for gospel because they don't know a damn thing about what you can and will do and the fact is that you're going to succeed at it where they barely try. And you're going to hear B's voice telling you over and over again that you give those boys too much weight and too much power, and by the time you get published you're going to know in your bones that she was right, that she was always right, and I wish for you that you'd known it at 17 the way you know it at 35.

Your life doesn't become exactly what you thought it would, but in almost every way, it's better. I know that right now, you can't even imagine that you actually tried to get published; I know that you thought you'd keep everything that wasn't a school assignment under lock and key forever. I'm not terribly proud to tell you that it's a lack of money that finally makes you take a shot, but no matter, because once you start, you don't stop. 

In truth, not much else about your life will shock you; you continue to love to read and write, to learn new languages, to watch TV, to eat copious amounts of Chinese food, and to be a slob. Everything that becomes your life gets its start by the time you leave your teen years behind: you'll be 18 when you have your first publishing internship and 19 when you meet your future husband and the father of your child. That city you live in right now? Yeah, you'll live there again. Your best friends? Yep, in twenty years, three of them will still be so present in your life that you have dinner with them every month. And that's really what it comes down to: you know yourself, and that's no small thing. 

So trust it, will you?


Future You

The letter above is part of an ongoing weekly series featuring letters from authors to their teen selves. If you're a published author who'd like to participate in this series, we'd love to have you. Just click here and let us know you're interested.


About The Author: Dahlia Adler is an Associate Editor of mathematics by day, a blogger for B&N Teens and LGBTQ Reads by night, and an author of Young Adult and New Adult novels at every spare moment in between. Her novels include the Daylight Falls duology, Just Visiting, and the Radleigh University trilogy, and she is the editor of the anthologies His Hideous Heart and That Way Madness Lies (2021). Dahlia lives in New York with her husband, son, and an obscene amount of books, and can be found on Twitter and Instagram at @MissDahlELama.


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