The letter below is part of an ongoing 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. Today's guest is Bridget Hodder, co-author of The Button Box, which just came out at the beginning of this month.
Hey there, Past Me!
Is it okay by you if I project myself backward in time and talk to you about the difference between fitting in and belonging?
I hope so. Because-- here I go.
So much of what you're struggling with right now, as a kid and as a teen, is how hard it is to fit in with a culture where you don't really belong.
Why don't you belong in your middle-class and surprisingly well integrated California beach suburban high school? You know already: it has to do with your upbringing.
Your father loves kids, but he works a lot at his job. So you've been raised by a stay-at-home mom who's an immigrant, whose first language was not English, and more importantly, whose outlook on the world was shaped by things you have yet to understand. War. Genocide. Fear. That's why your mother and grandparents had to flee to the U.S. And the imprint of that trauma will never leave them, or anyone in your family.
Bridget Hodder as a teen