Why I No Longer Have A 'Do-Or-Die' Love For Jane Pratt

Jane Pratt Deena Cortese
Heartbreak, Family

"Sassy" helped me get past many a breakup. But while I've grown up, 49-year-old Jane Pratt has not.

I'm a Sassy girl. Yes, the adjective applies, but mostly I'm talking about the beloved teen magazine Sassy (RIP, 1988-1994).

To this day, I still own every issue of Sassy. Granted, they're piled up in a box in my parents' house in New Hampshire, but they're still there. I don't think I'll ever get rid of them. Every time I write a confessional piece about my love life, I realize exactly where that courage in me to expose myself with such raw, gut-wrenching honesty comes from: Sassy.

Sassy with a young Jane Pratt at the helm, for me, made confessional writing an important part of the post-breakup (and otherwise) healing process. Well, Sassy and a healthy dose of Sylvia Plath. It was in the ongoing segment "It Happened To Me" that I found my voice as a writer, and as a person who wanted to relate to my readers. The magazine showed me that not only was I not alone, but the freaks of the world had a platform for our voices.

When Sassy ceased to be the Sassy I had loved like a best friend after Pratt was no longer editor-in-chief, I dropped it and waited for Pratt's return. When her second attempt at a publication came around with the eponymously named magazine Jane, I went back for more. Again, I loved every minute of it. But then something changed: It no longer made sense in my life. I don't know if I grew up, evolved or just lost the Sassy girl I had always been. What once seemed irreverent to me, was no longer. I had had the necessary foundation that was Jane Pratt in my life, and suddenly, I no longer needed her. I'd like to think it's not because I grew up, but because her magazines had already taught me everything I needed to know about always being myself even if the masses didn't approve.

When xoJane rolled around in 2011 as a reincarnation of Jane magazine, again, I was excited at the notion of the new version of Pratt. Although she's 15 years older than me, I thought that now, as a woman in her early 30s and Pratt in her late 40s, the connection I felt from my Sassy days would be there once more. Perhaps we were finally on the same playing field again and it would be like having brunch with an old friend. It wasn't.

As a recent profile about her in New York mag says, Pratt has indeed been "15 for an awfully long time now;" she declares that as her "emotional" age, or the age you will never forget because something really life-changing happened to you. I guess mine is a bit older.

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