This is the first post for Teen Week: Words that Heal, written by Mara Glatzel of Medicinal Marzipan. I adore, admire (& myriad other A-words) Mara. I did before we met in person. I did even more so after that. Please to consider joining her this week.
When I was a teen, I remember voraciously consuming any and every written word that would help me figure out what to do with my body. I was always trying to figure out what to do with my body – a body that was cumbersome, heartbreaking, and the source of daily ridicule.
I read what was available to me, and I made plans.
Plans to starve myself, trick myself, sculpt myself, change myself, show myself in the best possible light, cover up myself, and some how make body easier, more palatable.
Plans to make people like me.
Plans to make me cool(er).
Plans to get me a boyfriend.
Plans to make me the kind of queer girl that was socially acceptable, after it became apparent that I didn’t want a boyfriend.
Plans to make me feel less alone.
While I was busying myself reading and making plans, I was able to distract myself from the pain I felt about my body and how others treated me. I was a work in progress. I didn’t have to worry.
Someday I would show them.
If I was doing something about my body then the boy who told me he’d date me if I lost a hundred pounds didn’t matter or the feeling of trying on every pair of jeans in the store only to find out none of them fit or the pained look in my mother’s eyes when they settled on my thighs.
I didn’t have anyone in my life telling me that I was perfectly fine, just the way that I was.
I created Teen Week: Words that Heal, because as bloggers we have incredible reach. We blog about all the aspects of our adult lives – whether we feel carefully pulled together in our adulthood or still rough around the edges. However, many of us have teens in our audiences, waiting in the wings, looking up to us, and consuming our words.
I wanted to create a week where a 14-year-old who was scared and consumed with self-loathing could reach out into the internet and find a sea of vulnerable, honest, and inspirational hands to hold.
I believed that we could, collectively, use our reach to reinforce the hearts of those who are desperately looking for a happy ending.
I believed that, as adults, we could benefit from retelling our stories, turning the awkward and the ugly into something gorgeous by repurposing it for someone else.
Teen Week officially launches tomorrow, March 26, and will last until Friday, March 30th, during which time bloggers all over the world with take to their computers and fill-up the internet with their stories.
I hope that you will join us.