Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Welcome Wednesday: Rachel Harris's Absolute Rewind: Embrace the Different

I'm super thrilled to welcome my good friend, Rachel Harris back to the Welcome Wednesday spot. Rachel's the author of MY SUPER SWEET SIXTEENTH CENTURY and the brand new A TALE OF TWO CENTURIES.  She's got a super sweet swag giveaway to share but first, she's rewinding the way-back machine to tell us what she'd do differently as a teen if she had the chance....

Absolute Rewind: Embrace the Different

If I could go back to in time and change one thing, I’d totally tell my young self to embrace the weird. The strange. The unpopular.

See, I’m a people pleaser by birth. I like to be liked, and while that hasn’t changed that much over the years, what has is my perspective. Now, I want to be liked for the real me, not the version I wanted to be because I thought it would make more guys like me or I’d shoot to the top of the social ladder.

Too much of my teen years were wasted, worrying about what people thought of me. Not doing the things I wanted to do because I would be the only one in my circle of friends. Turning down the guys who treated me great and I actually liked just because they didn’t meet my social group’s idea of hot or cool. I never tried to think outside of the box or experiment with a variety of hobbies and activities—I was too scared of failure, wanting to stick with my same group at all times because it was safe and familiar.
The teen years should be about self-discovery. Can you imagine the time we’d save changing majors and flailing in college if we used high school as a chance to see what we liked? Discover the things we were good at instead of being consumed with parties and boyfriends and clothes?
If I could go back in time, I’d tell young Rachel to sing along to the radio in a crowded car of friends, even though she can’t carry a tune in a bucket. Who cares?

I’d say YES to the guy who may not have had the best skin in the world, but who had a kind heart, treated me like a princess, and actually gave me butterflies when talking on the phone. So what if my friends wouldn’t have thought he was cute—less competition!

I wouldn’t put myself in situations I hated at the time and embarrassed to think back on, just because I was afraid to say NO to my friends. If they were really my friends, they’d understand.

I’d try to enjoy being young, not try so hard to be older all the time. I’d appreciate those years set aside for pure learning without demands and soak up the knowledge. I’d pay attention in Spanish and actually learn it, so I wouldn’t be desperately trying to learn it now.

(It really is easier to learn things when you’re younger. Trust me.)

I wouldn’t worry so much about being kissed by the popular boys, or comparing how many boyfriends I had with the number my friends had. I’d realize that personal relationships are special. It’s not a competition or a race. They are to be treasured, taken slowly, and only entered into when you truly care about someone—not because it’s the popular choice.

And finally, I wouldn’t constantly brush aside family time to be with my friends. I’d actually listen to the stories—my family’s history—that my great grandparents would try to tell me while I still could. I’d be more willing to abide by my parents’ rules and listen to their advice….maybe they knew a thing or two after all.

Did you ever struggle with being different from the norm? What unpopular choice do you wish you could go back and make now? 

Rachel Harris grew up in New Orleans, where she watched soap operas with her grandmother and stayed up late sneak reading her mama's favorite romance novels. Now a Cajun cowgirl living in Houston, she still stays up way too late reading her favorite romances, only now, she can do so openly. She firmly believes life's problems can be solved with a hot, powdered-sugar-coated beignet or a thick slice of king cake, and that screaming at strangers for cheap, plastic beads is acceptable behavior in certain situations. 

When not typing furiously or flipping pages in an enthralling romance, she homeschools her two beautiful girls and watches way too much reality television with her amazing husband. She writes YA, NA, and Adult Fun & Flirty Escapes, and is the author of MY SUPER SWEET SIXTEENTH CENTURY, A TALE OF TWO CENTURIES, and her adult debut, TASTE THE HEAT. She loves talking with readers! Find her at
Alessandra D’Angeli is in need of an adventure. Tired of her sixteenth-century life in Italy and homesick for her time-traveling cousin, Cat, who visited her for a magical week and dazzled her with tales of the future, Alessandra is lost. Until the stars hear her plea.
One mystical spell later, Alessandra appears on Cat’s Beverly Hills doorstep five hundred years in the future. Surrounded by confusing gadgets, scary transportation, and scandalous clothing, Less is hesitant to live the life of a twenty-first century teen…until she meets the infuriating—and infuriatingly handsome—surfer Austin Michaels. Austin challenges everything she believes in…and introduces her to a world filled with possibility. 
With the clock ticking, Less knows she must live every moment of her modern life while she still can. But how will she return to the drab life of her past when the future is what holds everything she’s come to love?
And now for the giveaway...want to have this cutie to hold in your own adorable little palm? Rachel will sign this extra special trading card featuring Austin Michaels, the hero in A TALE OF TWO CENTURIES just for you. Do the Rafflethingee below and he might be yours!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Unknown said...

I got teary-eyed reading this post. This is exactly how I want to explain the teen years to my daughter when the time comes. Definitely saving this one for her! Thanks for sharing!

Unknown said...

I totally agree, Rachel. WAY too much time is wasted in high school worrying about our social status! I was even semi considered a nerd and a band/choir geek in high school, and I STILL let what other people think dictate some of the choices I made.
I also let a couple of situations where other people had 'hurt my feelings' make me stop doing things I loved. And yes, I definitely wish I would have spent more time studying! Things came so easily to me in most subjects that I didn't work very hard to get any better at them.

Rachel Harris said...

Hey Staci, Yep, I tell this to my girls ALL THE TIME. They're only 7 and 8 but I don't think you can learn this stuff early enough ;) Thanks so much for coming by!

Ashley, I still let what people think of me dictate some of my thoughts and choices, but I'm getting better. It's a habit. Your story sounds so similar to mine, I want to go back and hug both of our teen selves ;) Thanks for sharing!

<3 <3

Anonymous said...

OMG, it's like you were writing to teen (and early 20s) me! I've learned to embrace the weird and let my geek flag fly now; but there are so many opportunities I missed in HS & college trying because I was trying to hard to fit a mold and live up to other people's expectations. Hugs to you & here's to being weird :)

Meredith said...

Oh to go back with the wisdom I now have! I definitely abruptly ended things with nice guys because my friends suddenly didn't approve or think he was cool enough LOL. Ugh, that was horrible :( It wasn't until I finished college that I FINALLY stopped doing things to please other people and just did what I wanted. (Which included unplugging my phone on a weekend....EEEEEK...and just curling up with a good book)!

xCynyx said...

This was a great post!
That is a big problem, uh? Try to please everyone... but I like making people smile!

And Rachel, I can totally help you with your Spanish! You should've told me you were learning! Supposedly, I speak it fluently, at native's level... my parents wouldn't agree but my baby niece totally does!

Kristi Cook said...

Just adding an "Amen!" It's so hard to look back and see how much I missed out on as a teen, simply because I worried about what *other* people thought!