Michaela Hook is a self-proclaimed nerd who spends most of her time (besides working for the lovely Teen Breathe) getting lost in fictional worlds and writing about them. A mad gamer and an amateur historian, she is also writing her first YA novel. Here are Michaela’s words to her teen self.
HI THERE, LITTLE ME.
How is 2010 so far? I’m sure you’re burying yourself in your books and escaping to fictional worlds in between your studies and rehearsal. I have to admit, I haven’t thought about you for a long time, but the truth is, I need to get in touch with you more, because you’ve always been the most genuine and incredible part of me. I still carry you with me to this day.
I know that at your age, it’s easy to get wrapped up in all the stress and drama of high school life. I know you’re trying your best to juggle so many things all at once. But right now, I want you to pause, take a deep breath, and understand this: you have a sparkle. Do you know that? I know you don’t see the value of it right now, but you do.
You’ll probably laugh and think I’m wrong – I know you feel like you’re different from your peers. Believe me, I remember how lonely that felt. To be different. An outcast. Thinking that there was something wrong with me. I know you sit by yourself to eat lunch and wonder why you can’t seem to fit in with anyone. But don’t worry about that, you’ll find your people. Soon, you’ll have this spontaneous burst of courage (one of your most beautiful traits) and join the school choir. Here, you’ll not only find your voice, but also the best of friends. They will love you for who you are and help your sparkle shine. Trust me when I say, you are so incredibly special, and those parts of you that you think are wrong, are actually what make you so wonderful.
Now that you’re probably a blubbering mess, maybe I should talk about how life turned out for you. Once you find your place in the arts, you make friends that accept and love you for who you are. Those countless hours of studying pay off – you earn top marks in school and graduate with honours! You go on to study your passion for creative writing for not only your undergrad degree, but postgraduate as well.
You take some brave, bold steps, deciding to follow where your creativity, and heart, lead you, and move across the globe to London. You get lost in the labyrinths of libraries, the history of the city, and the warm atmosphere of cafés where your imagination runs free, and you write more stories. Some of them didn’t get very far, but some of them turn into something truly special. Believe it or not, but those characters you come up with at your age? I finished writing that book, and I’m looking to get it published soon.
That brings us to the present. I’ve moved back to Australia and am working the dream job in publishing (Teen Breathe!), while still writing and being my nerdy, silly self. We worked so hard to get to where we are today, and if I’m being honest with you, we’re kind of killin’ it at life! You’d be really proud of where you end up.
I hope hearing all of this makes you excited for your future. I wish I could give you a hug and tell you that everything will be okay. The truth is, there is no time in this life to be anything but who you are. Authentically and beautifully you. Once you realise that, you are unstoppable. You may think that everyone else around you are normal, but that’s not true either. Everyone is different; that is the beauty of being human. We are all just unique creatures that have so many wonderful qualities to offer the world.
Loving yourself for who you are will help you feel so much better. It may seem hard at first, learning to embrace being different, but I promise that being yourself will be the best decision you ever make. And once you start doing that, you’ll realise that there was nothing to be afraid of. People love you for who you are, through and through. I promise.
See you in a few years, kiddo. Stay nerdy, keep studying, keep writing, and keep smiling. It will get better. May the Force be with you. You’re going to be brilliant.
ALL MY LOVE, MICKEY