The feedback we’ve received from LOVE LETTERS has been overwhelming. These words need to be seen and I can’t wait to share them with you. We will post a new love letter every Monday until we run out and based on the conversations, emails and gorgeous responses, I’m really hoping that doesn’t happen. This is going to be beautiful.
Please remember we’d like to share your words too. Click on the Love Letters tab for details and email your brilliance to firstname.lastname@example.org
With that said, let’s get started.
I met Kimberly Derting through the blogosphere when she was on her path to publishing and finally met her in person in Phoenix to eat tacos and celebrate one of the stops on her first book tour. Kim is probably one of the coolest women I know. She once picked me up for a few hours when I was stuck in Seattle so I could take a shower at her house and get ready for a flight out. I met her husband who very quickly called me a moocher and offered me pho. Cool by me. If you’ve read any of her books you’ll know I was just happy that I escaped. We joked that, “With Kim. Still alive,” should’ve been my status update. Her Pinterest is the spookiest place I’ve visited.
What I love about Kim’s letter is that it comes from a soulful place. She didn’t start with this subject matter or the intention of writing what you see today, but it is where her heart landed.
And, it’s gorgeous.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Kimberly Derting:
Love Letter to Younger Kim by Kimberly Derting
Dear Young(er) Kim,
Believe in yourself.
Cliché, I know.
But your mom is right: You’re tougher than you think. Smarter too. You’re just as good as those who happen to have been born with more—more money, the chance for a better education, those whose families have their you-know-what together.
You just have to hang in there. Keep your nose to the grindstone and all those other hokey sayings. Good things are coming; you just have to work your ass off.
I spend a lot of time thinking about the woman I’ve become in contrast to where I came from. I know that much of what I’ve accomplished is because of my determination. But I also have to give credit to the woman who always said I could do it, and here’s the thing, Young Kim, you should too.
I know you don’t believe it now, but you should love your mom more. Hug her. Don’t roll your eyes (too often) and try not to be so embarrassed of her. I get how hard that is when literally everything embarrasses you—frizzy hair, the tiniest zit known to mankind, food stuck between your teeth—but get over yourself.
Seriously, your mom’s your biggest cheerleader.
Trust me, that woman’s got your back, girl. And that will never change.
She’ll be there when you get your period, go through your first heartbreak, and on the day you tell her you’re pregnant at only eighteen. And get this, she’ll be excited about it. She’ll walk you through stretch marks and hold your hand while you push that screaming 7-pound, 13-ounce little girl into this world.
She’ll be your best friend when you get divorced, and again when you meet your soul mate and have two more babies. She’ll laugh and cry with you, and then she’ll grow old on you. All the while, you’ll learn that you never, ever would have become the woman you are today—living a life you never could have imagined as you were stuck in project housing and standing in the free-lunch line at school.
You were a big dreamer, my friend, but she was always there, chanting, “You can do it. I believe in you.”
I’m crying as I write this because I wish I could go back and hug that mom—the one I never appreciated enough. The one I criticized and yelled at. The one I told to drop me off around the corner because I didn’t want to be seen with her. I wish I’d told her then what an amazing mother she was and that her faith in me was molding me into a strong, self-sufficient, confident woman.
I tell her now, as often as I can.
I wish you would too.
Older, no, More Mature Kim
Kimberly Derting is the author of the award-winning THE BODY FINDER series, THE PLEDGE trilogy, and THE TAKING and THE REPLACED (the first two books in THE TAKING trilogy).
Her books have been translated into 15 languages, and both THE BODY FINDER and THE PLEDGE were YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults selections.
She lives in the Pacific Northwest, where the gloomy weather is ideal for writing anything dark and creepy. You can find her online at www.kimberlyderting.com.