RTW: Like… Anyone but myself!

Road Trip Wednesday is a “Blog Carnival,” where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on their blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

This Week’s Topic: In honor of the release of Like Mandarin by YAHighway contributor Kirsten Hubbard

First, I find it only appropriate to share a share a short synopsis of Like Mandarin, a book that’s been on my To-Read list for months, and just came out yesterday.

From Goodreads: It’s hard finding beauty in the badlands of Washokey, Wyoming, but 14-year-old Grace Carpenter knows it’s not her mother’s pageant obsessions, or the cowboy dances adored by her small-town classmates. True beauty is wild-girl Mandarin Ramey: 17, shameless and utterly carefree. Grace would give anything to be like Mandarin. When they’re united for a project, they form an unlikely, explosive friendship, packed with nights spent skinny-dipping in the canal, liberating the town’s animal-head trophies, and searching for someplace magic. Grace plays along when Mandarin suggests they run away together. Blame it on the crazy-making wildwinds plaguing their Badlands town. Because all too soon, Grace discovers Mandarin’s unique beauty hides a girl who’s troubled, broken, and even dangerous. And no matter how hard Grace fights to keep the magic, no friendship can withstand betrayal.

So, who did I want to be like when I was Grace’s age? Um, anyone but myself? Thirteen, fourteen, and fifteen were not my best years–in fact, I’d probably go so far as to call them my WORST. Braces, perm (I know!), and very little confidence… Really, did anyone have a good time in middle school?

Much like Mandarin‘s Grace, I was envious of people who were full of poise and self-assurance. People who didn’t seem to register  or care about what others thought of them. People who did what felt right without days of consideration and doubt. I wanted to be someone who flew free without a worry in the world.

As I’ve grown up and into myself, I’ve learned that no one’s like that all the time. We’ve all wondered if we’re good enough, we’ve all stressed about a big decision, and we’ve all felt left out. So, while I would have been happy being just about anyone other than myself back then, I think now I’ve found confidence that only comes with time and experience.

So, who’d you want to be like when you were younger? And don’t forget to stop by YAHighway to see what everyone’s posting!

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21 responses to “RTW: Like… Anyone but myself!

  1. “So, while I would have been happy being just about anyone other than myself back then, I think now I’ve found confidence that only comes with time and experience.” That’s a beautiful point. I wish we all could go back and tell our younger selves to stop stressing and enjoy what makes us *us.*

    • Totally agree! I’m sure my parents told me that all the time growing up, but it’s hard to listen to the wisdom of adults when you’re smack in the middle of adolescence. Thanks, Rebecca!

  2. “Really, did anyone have a good time in middle school?” <– Truer words have never been spoken. I too had the awful perm.

  3. No, I’m pretty sure middle school sucked for 95 percent of people. The other 5 percent made middle school suck for everyone else. I agree that learning to be comfortable with who you are takes time and understanding that the girl everyone loves, the one who can make or break your reputation in an instant, sometimes hates her life, too.

  4. It’s funny how we can’t be the person we want to be in high school…until AFTER high school. 🙂

  5. what were we thinking with the perms? It just seems like such a bad idea. I blame the older people for not talking some sense into me… as if they could have!

  6. It’s so true that everyone feels this way! Recently I had a convo with one of my Mandarins (we’re still great friends) and she told me she had no clue what she was doing in junior high. But she totally exuded confidence. It helps to know we’re all a little lost at that age — just wish I could tell my 13yo self that.

  7. So true. I talk to my high school friends – people I used to think walked on water. They were just as unsure as I was.

    Great post!

  8. Ditto – I’d consider returning shortly to HS, but you couldn’t pay me enough to relive junior high.

  9. Middle school was more hell for my best friend than for me, but I got some of the spill-over BECAUSE we were friends. The bullies after her, took notice of me because I hung out with her, but I never backed down (be still my beating heart…lol…).

    I don’t recall wanting to be anyone else besides myself. I was pretty confident about who I was and comfortable with it. I thought a lot of the OTHER kids were the crazy ones! 🙂

    • Oh, I definitely thought other kids were crazy! I was never bullied and had plenty of friends, but it still took me awhile to gain confidence. I suppose I wouldn’t want it to be any other way now. Thanks, June!

  10. Yes those are exactly the kinds of people I wanted to be like! The ones who seemed like they really had it together and didn’t need anyone’s approval.

  11. yep, so true! confidence only really comes with experience, and maturity 🙂
    anyway, do you know that when you click the ‘my web page’ on your blogger profile it shows up at a nonexistent wordpress profile, which then redirects to your actual blog? just thought id let you know…:)

  12. From all the posts it seems like everyone was busy wanting to be someone else during their teen years. I can’t say I’m surprised.
    – Sophia.