I don't find I'm ever really aware of the fact that I'm changing and growing and accomplishing things. I get so caught up in the present and everything I need to do and oh my god I'm getting old haven't I finished editing that novel yet? (No, I haven't. I'm trying. I have a pile of schoolwork to do. I've been neglecting my emails and this blog and the outside world.)
But just tonight I stepped back a little bit – care of rediscovering a self-questionnaire I did when I was just-turned fifteen and a bunch of photos from when I was twelve, thirteen, fourteen. So this all seems like it would be recent history and I feel like the same person I was then. And yet I'm not. Younger Steph is someone yearning to finish a novel, to be published, to be an author. And me, now, I'm the realisation of all the things I wanted to be. Which feels almost normal now – I have a book out there, being read by people, I speak in schools and at festivals, this is my reality that comes with all sorts of different challenges than being an aspiring author does. But Steph two years ago would be amazed.
This probably sounds narcissistic and awful, but it's true – sometimes I'll read an interview I've done or watch a video of myself from ages ago or find something I wrote when I was younger, and I think – hey, you're adorable. I give myself crap constantly for being too different or not different enough or selfish or false or whatever else, but sometimes I can look at myself (slightly more) objectively and think, you were a wonderful kid and you're becoming exactly the kind of person you wanted to be. Maybe not as happy as you wanted to be, but someone who is working hard and doing their own thing and trying their best to be a good person. And I love you and I hope you're happy with how things are coming along.
I was also reminded of the fact that I haven't been to a party that I really enjoyed since I turned thirteen. This is a major disappointment – I was expecting teenage parties to be way better. You guys! Someone throw a fabulous party! Let's have a garden soiree. You bring red cordial and picnic blankets. I'll bring the fairy bread and rad tunes. Bring cardigans so we can stay out to see the stars and write love letters to our younger selves/the universe/everybody ever. It'll be grand.
Anyway, what I have to say to you, dear reader (thanks for sticking around despite my frequent disappearances of late from this blog, by the way) is that you should probably give yourself more credit, and remind yourself of all the wonderful things you've done in the past and the great effect you've had on others, even if you didn't notice it at the time. And keep writing and reading, goddamn it! I haven't been doing either of those things enough.
*My favourite Matchbox Twenty album, by the way.