I moved from California to Arizona when I was twelve, in seventh grade, as an awkward, short girl with hair never far from a ponytail. When I was fourteen and a freshman in high school, I went through a horrendous period where I was bullied incessantly by two girls who had once been my best friends. They met through me, then turned on me, and I still don't know why. But I survived through an inner strength I didn't know I had, my friends who I'm still in occasional contact with now (I say occasional because college has a way of messing up life), and my books and writing. Looking back, I'm thankful I went through that, because I'm now a stronger person and I know that my two younger sisters--if they ever have to go through a hell like that--will always have me to look to for help. My junior year of high school was the hardest, but by the time my senior year came along, I was a confident eighteen-year-old halfway to a two-year college degree.
I think year nineteen was the one that brought about the most change, both internal and external. I had my first "real" boyfriend (high school relationships don't count in my book). I had to learn how to be friends with just myself while my friends got married or moved on to schools while I remained at home (for reasons I don't really want to get into). (As a side note, one of my former best friends who bullied me is now married.) I had my first real heartbreak (that I'm over now, not to worry) and in turn I broke someone's heart, too. I wrote a book that I will always love when I was eighteen, and I wrote a book that rewrote me in the process just a little over a month ago. I met my critique partners, who have become the closest friends I am so incredibly grateful to have. I know they'll be with me for the rest of my life, in some way, shape, or form. I've learned things about myself, about what I want and who I am and what I believe in. I've learned how to be strong not just for myself, but also for my family and my friends.
In fact, I am still learning all those things, and so many more. I'm learning while some friends were your best friends, they won't always remain that way but they will always hold a special place in your heart. I've learned that if something doesn't sit right with you, it's time to move on, no matter how much hurt it may cause. I've learned that fear is something you can overcome, if only you take the necessary plunge.
And so, as I say goodbye to my teenage years, I say hello to my twenties. I know they hold much more than I may be prepared for. I know things will not always be easy. I know I'll probably have my heart broken, and I know I'll probably break hearts in turn. I know that, whatever life throws at me, I will always be strong enough to pull through. Because I believe in myself, and no one can change that.
Over and out.