My junior high and high school summers were when I reinvented myself. Hours spent trying out new hairstyles and makeup and fantasizing about how wowed my classmates would be when they saw the “New Me” in August. After I turned sixteen and got my driver’s license and a summer job, every bit of my salary was spent on new school clothes. Talk about ramping up the wow factor!
But my summer reinventions weren’t all about appearance. I imagined myself in the next grade being cool, sophisticated, blasé. No more tactless comments that had me literally slapping my head for days afterward. Next year, I’d consider every word that passed my lips. I'd never again make a foolish remark that would come back to bite me.
The first day of the new school year found me dressed in my eye-popping sweater—in 90-degree weather. Worse than being sweat-soaked was that nobody noticed the “New Me.” To my classmates, many of whom had known me since kindergarten, I was still the gawky nerd who sang in the chorus, acted in plays, and worried about <gasp> her grades! My loyal girlfriends commented on my stinky new sweater. The rest of the school was unconcerned.
Whether or not anyone else notices, experimenting with clothes, hairstyles, interests, and personalities is a huge part of growing up. One reason I love reading and writing YA is that our characters become stronger and more self-aware. They discover who they are.
Isn’t that what being a teen is all about?