Self-Worth and YA fiction

I was reading my horoscope the other (cue eye roll).

I know, I know. But I don’t read it to see if I’m going to win the lottery. I use it as sort of an introspection tool. And I only check in regularly with Eric Francis Coppolino at the Chronogram Arts Magazine. He’s not always on target but often enough, he brings up something that has been nibbling away at my psyche, something I am trying to ignore or not face.It helps me put my thoughts in order.

Anyway this month’s is all about self-worth. And it’s definitely something I struggle with. Not always. There were about fifteen years when I was brimming with confidence-one might say it bordered on arrogance. But that was when I owned a record label, had a business partner who was pretty cocky himself, and I was marketing and selling the art of others.

Now I am the sole proprietor and the artist. Scary! It takes a supreme amount of confidence to just put your ‘stuff’ out there. I’m working on keeping a positive attitude but I already know I will never be sure if what I write is ever good enough.

But I could say the same about every aspect of my life that matters to me. Mothering, wife-ing, boxing, baking.

Anyway I am working on it.

Then I started thinking about teen girl characters in YA fiction and how many I’ve read recently who have absolutely no idea of their self-worth. I think partly it’s a right of passage, part of growing up, something universal, and not relegated to one gender or the other. Although it does not seem to occur as much in ‘boy’ books or characters. And why is that?
The teen boys I know are full of doubt.

So many of us older folk are validated by our work.

But teenagers are still growing and searching for what is meaningful to them.

Some denigrate themselves. Some seek approval from others. Some fall into destructive patterns. SomeĀ  lose themselves. Some live for someone else. Some probably never think about it.

I know that as a teen, it was my friends who buoyed me up.

I’d like to see more strong, girl friends who are not there just as convenient tools, or disposable side-kicks, or just good to have around until the boy shows up. Those are not the kind of friendships I had, nor the kind I see my teenage niece having.

Self-worth comes from inside but maybe you have to be told occasionally how unique and amazing you are by someone whose opinion matters to you.

Or maybe you just need a good friend who’ll kick you in the butt and tell you to wake up.

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