Lisa Burstein

This Be Where I Blog

What I mean when I say, “I write to help girls like me turn into girls not like me.”

on August 14, 2012

During high school I was a girl who acted like she didn’t want to go to her prom, to football games, to pep-rallies, but really I did. I just didn’t feel welcome at any of those places. I just didn’t feel like the other people who were at those places really cared whether I was there or not; so it was easier to HATE all that. Much easier to pretend that I didn’t want to belong.

Freshman year I tried my hardest to fit in with these “prom-going” people. These girls who seemed like they had no problems, looked perfect, acted perfect, smelled perfect. I joined the pep-squad. I helped decorate homecoming floats. I joined student council. I was even on the field hockey team (yes I wore a plaid skirt), but I kept feeling like I was just a body. Just a warm pile of skin and bones taking up space around all these people who actually belonged there. No one made me feel like I belonged there. No one made me want to belong there, but I still felt like I should want it. I still tried very hard to be wanted. I still cried in my room at night about why I wasn’t wanted.

I was ignored. Made to feel like it didn’t matter if I existed or not. Not bullied exactly, but being ignored  is its own kind of mental bullying. It starts to turn you into someone who just feels need all the time. Who just feels lost all the time. You just want validation that you are normal.

After months and months of being ignored, of being made to feel like it didn’t matter if I existed, the only thing I felt like I could do was HATE. So instead of trying to be friends with them, I hated all of the popular girls. I hated everything they liked. I hated myself. It was easier than getting hurt, over and over and over again. It was better than admitting that I would never fit in with them.

Soon, I found other people who hated and we became friends. We made fun of everything the popular kids did. We hated things together. We hated ourselves together. We smoked and drank and did drugs together because that’s what people who hated themselves did. That’s what people who hated everything did.
I could ignore wanting to be like everyone else easily because I had other people next to me to make me forget that I had.

Since high school I have come to terms with the choices I made. The choices that felt like my only choices at the time. Writing PRETTY AMY helped me deal with these choices and what I missed out on because of them. I hope readers on both sides of the popularity coin will gain a better understanding of each other by reading it. I hope it will help girls like I was understand that other people feel what they feel too and that there are healthier ways to deal with those feelings.

So that is what I mean when I say, “I write to help girls like me turn into girls not like me.” PRETTY AMY was a book I knew I had to write, certainly for all the girls out there who feel and felt like me, but also for myself. I knew I had to make those years of hopelessness and emptiness into something. I knew I had to take all those feelings and put them somewhere and I guess I was lucky enough to be able to put them in a novel.

The thing is I know there are so many girls and even women like Amy, who just want someone, anyone to listen to them. Who try so hard to make sense of their lives that it hurts.

That is who I write for because I know sometimes that just saying and reading the scary and hard things can make you feel better. I know that because that’s what finally did it for me.

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Read the first chapter here

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12 responses to “What I mean when I say, “I write to help girls like me turn into girls not like me.”

  1. MTG Reviews says:

    This is an excellent post, Lisa. I have a feeling lots of “girls like you” would agree. It’s always amazing and an honor discovering the personal and emotion depth behind an author’s work – what drives them to write what they write. You provided one excellent example right here.

    Thanks for sharing such a personal story with us.

  2. Lea Nolan says:

    Love this post. PRETTY AMY is an important book. My 12 year old daughter is devouring it. 🙂

  3. Great post Lisa! I think that Pretty Amy is a fabulous book and I think that it’s a great book for teenage girls (and adults) to read. I love what you want to do for other girls and women out there “like you”.

  4. Sara Hantz says:

    Fantastic post! I’ve just read Pretty Amy, it’s awesome, poignant and thought provoking. I couldn’t put it down!

  5. sofiaandanna says:

    I JUST started my freshman year, and I already feel like I dont belong. I never have at any school, really. My family keeps telling me that I have to go out there and talk to somebody, but I’m just too scared. I’ve always been really really shy, and I would rather settle on being alone than sit at a random table at lunch and start talking to people. And I just have that feeling, despite my family’s encouraging words “it will get better”, that I will be this way for a while.
    which is why I really liked your post. My favorite part is where you say you weren’t like the prom-going girls who looked perfect, smelled perfect, ect. Thats exactly how I feel. It seems like every other girl besides me in my classes don’t have one single pimple. They don’t have to put on face powder. And they’re hair (God, they’re hair!) It’s always always always perfect! Not to mention that nowdays it’s a trend for girls my age to be skinny. I do pray every day that I wont get into troublesome things, like drugs or drinking. Because I really don’t want that.
    Sorry for rambling, but now I’m really anxious to read Pretty Amy! I just have to find myself a copy 🙂
    ~Sofia

    • sweetie, your comment means a lot. Please, please try to read Pretty Amy and please remember that there is life beyond high school, even though it doesn’t feel that way (((hugs))) 🙂

  6. Great post!!!! And I know Pretty Amy will reach so many people, because it is told from a heart of understanding. Someone who gets it, who has been there. That seeps through every word and every page, and is extremely powerful. So glad you chose to write it, girl ❤

  7. Tara Fuller says:

    Great post Lisa! I had a very similar experience in school, so I know how you feel. And you are completely right about being ignored. It is its own kind of torture for sure. Thanks for writing this! Something every teen needs to read.

  8. Brenda says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I think a LOT of people can relate.

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