Friday, January 27, 2012

Coming Into Your Own

When I was a senior in high school, I was not the most popular girl in the world. On the outside, I was kind of a goody two-shoes. A girl who did everything right - joined all of the clubs, got straight A's, etc. etc. But on the inside, I was an awkward mess. I had no idea how to put together cute outfits the way some girls seemed to do effortlessly on a daily basis. My face was constantly broken out. I felt awkward in my own body, never knowing how to act in a crowd or get into the parties.

I found out later that a lot of the people in my school thought I was stuck up, but that wasn't the truth at all. In truth, I was painfully self-conscious. What other people saw as confidence, I felt as never-good-enough.

That's when my mother showed me an audition announcement in the paper. The Macon Little Theater was putting on Fiddler on The Roof, one of my absolute favorite musicals. I'd grown up watching the movie version of the musical and singing along, especially with the character of Hodel, the beautiful second oldest daughter who falls in love with the revolutionary and follows him to prison in Siberia. The moment I read about the audition, I knew I wanted that part. I didn't care that the theater was almost an hour away.

When I got to that audition and saw how many other girls my age had shown up, my self-doubt rose to the surface. But the second I got on the stage to sing, I was a new person. I was Hodel. I felt instantly transformed. I won the part and loved every minute of my time working on the musical. I met new friends that saw me as a true part of their group. I found new confidence each time I stepped onto the stage. I found a beauty within myself I hadn't realized was there. For the first time in my life, I had come into my own.

And isn't that something we all love about Young Adult fiction? Isn't that something we can all relate to? We've all felt awkward at some point in our lives, haven't we? One thing I love about reading YA is that we recognize ourselves in these young heroines. We know her pain. That gawky girl resonates with us. The heroine who doesn't yet understand who she is or what her true destiny is? She's just like us.

There's magic in that moment of coming into your own. Of suddenly finding that one thing that you were always meant to do. The one place where you suddenly shine. For Harper, the main character in my Peachville High Demons series, it's not until Book 5 that she truly comes into her own and realizes who she is and where her power comes from. It's a powerful moment, just like it was for me playing Hodel in that community theater production. I found a confidence that year that led me to take other risks. Risks like self-publishing and quitting my job to become a full time writer.

Do you have a favorite YA heroine that we get to see come into her own? What was one moment in your life where something suddenly clicked and you knew you had found something magical for yourself?

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Sarra Cannon always secretly wanted to be a cheerleader. And a witch. Now, she writes about both.  She is the author of the Peachville High Demons series, available now in ebook format. Sarra lives in North Carolina with her amazing husband and her teeny tiny pomeranian, Snickerdoodle.


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18 comments:

  1. This was a great post. I think, especially among writers, we all were a little more than the normal awkward, but made it through. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks Tasha. Yes, thank goodness we made it through and finally found our place in the world! Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. Love this story. It's fascinating to me that so often our feelings of awkwardness and insecurity are read by others as being stuck up. I've heard that a lot.

    As for my favorite, I don't know if I can pick just one. There are so many!

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    1. I know, I was honestly shocked to find out people thought I was stuck up! What I took as people not liking me was actually people being either intimidated by me or simply thinking I didn't like them. Ah, if only I knew that at the time, lol. Thanks for commenting Donna.

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  3. I had the same thing happen to me. I was shy and introverted, my family poor in a very rich town, and I just wanted to blend in and be ignored by those kids, since if I didn't catch their attention, they wouldn't bother picking on me. Turns out, people thought I was a total snob. Do snobs sit with a band kids every day during lunch or wear marching band uniforms? I don't think so...

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    1. Yay! I was a band geek too, hehe. Actually it seems like a lot of writers I knew were in the band when they were in high school... hmm. Might have to explore this further! Thanks for commenting Jessie.

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  4. Sarra, I love this.

    I, too, get the "snob" label quite often. And I act like a total freakazoid (yes, I did just say freakazoid).

    I love this idea of "coming into your own"- it's a good feeling and I hope to experience it more in my life.

    <3 u, lady!

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    1. <3 u too! And... you kind are a snob. JK! I never thought of you as a freakazoid, but now that you mention it...

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  5. Ha ha I quit the band in 10th grade b/c they made me wear this awful green polyester uniform and march during half time of the football game! Or I would've kept with band. I love how we put our memories and experiences into our work!

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    1. Laura, that's too funny! I loved marching at halftime, but we had cool red white and blue uniforms, haha. And yes, I know for sure that you can always find pieces of me in my characters.

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  6. Ack! I think I connect with *every* YA protagonist I read. I always find some kernel of me in the plots, the characters, etc. You know, those universal truths of adolescence that we all, in our way, needed to navigate. Great post!

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    1. Exactly Beth! That's what I love most about YA.

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  7. Does it make me a freakazoid if I'm STILL trying to come into my own at waaaay past HS age? Haha! I love this post and completely relate. Signed, Flute player.

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    1. Arla, this is awesome! I think the key is never to stop looking and exploring who we are deep down. Hey, I didn't become a self-published author until late 2010 and I was almost 34 years old.

      And yay! I played the flute too!

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  8. Love this post!I'm still shy, an introvert and awkward. I'm still trying to come into my own. Often labeled as stuck up I find it refreshing I'm not the only one that felt this way. I'm trying to break through as a writer(in the closet lol)because of these kind of "labels". And uh, I think I'm the biggest freakazoid Arla, I played a Scottish pipe-bag Haha!

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  9. I never would've made it through high school if I hadn't been a band geek and a theatre geek. (I was Fruma Sarah in Fiddler!)Many a weekend was spent at marching band and speech tournaments. I don't know what the popular kids did, I was having too much fun being a dork. We would've totally been friends in high school. :)

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  10. Oh, man. This post really hits home. I've always been *ahem* chunky and was teased all the time, so learned very early to not be noticed. I'd always find places to be where there weren't a lot of people. Now that I'm an adult and have a teensy bit more confidence, I find that people think I'm shy or stuck up. Even though I try to put myself out there and be more friendly. Writing and making friends online has really helped with that. Maybe I'm hiding behind my computer screen now.

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