“Walking the Stage”

Walking the Stage symbolizes leaving the old and stepping into the new. That is what I did on Wednesday. I received my diploma. I graduated. Everybody makes a big deal out of it; people say that you are going to feel different after Graduation. I don’t. Not yet, anyway. I don’t feel any different than I did a few days ago. Sure, I feel older, but I AM older (older than I was yesterday).

I don’t remember receiving my diploma. I remember the before and the after. The actual moment I reached out and took my diploma from the President of the Board of Education, is a blur. I must have been concentrating too hard on walking and trying not to trip as I crossed the stage. The only reason I know I graduated is because my Diploma was sitting on the table at my Graduation Party yesterday, right next to various accolades I received throughout my High School Years.

With that being said, I am relieved that High School is over. This year was particularly hard because of how hard I challenged myself (never, ever take 7 APs unless you want to have numerous mental breakdowns). Not only that, but I had a hard time getting along with a lot of my teachers. I don’t have to see certain people anymore. I can break out of this box that has been holding me captive for so long.

I won’t miss High School, per se; but, a part of me will always be at Gates Chili. My locker, that has seen so many faces before mine and will continue to see faces for many years to come, is there. I will miss the, for lack of a better word, comfort that Gates provided; I had grown to learn which hallways to avoid, which hallways were the least populated, which hallways were the quickest, the fastest routes to get anywhere in the school.

High School has helped shape me into the person I am today. I am leaving it with lessons that will continue to aid my development. I am leaving it less innocent than most people, but I am leaving it stronger than I was before.

So, for now, all I have to say is “Adieu, Gates Chili. I’m on to bigger and better things. My future is as bright as the sun in the sky.”

 

 

 

 

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2 Years

For those of you who have been paying attention to my life, today marks the 2 year anniversary since I last cut myself. In these last two years, I’ve learned a lot. Some of it is good; some of it is not.

When I first began to share my story, the general response of shock, terror, sadness was commonplace. If I had a nickel for every time I heard, “Oh my gosh! I’m so sorry. I had no idea!,” I’d have at least $100. But, after some time, two more responses have become common: placing me on a pedestal, or resenting me. The former creates feelings of being unknowable. The latter creates feelings of knowing too much. That’s when I begin to wonder if I’ve said too much. Before a few weeks ago, I never ever regretted telling my story. Before a few weeks ago, I never doubted the help that it could give.

But that all changed. I can’t tell you exactly when it happened–maybe it was a series of events, maybe it was a few too many whispers behind my back–who knows. What I’ve been through has been used against me, many times. That doesn’t bother me too much, because I know that people will always try to hurt me. What hurts though is the talking about me behind my back, like I can’t hear, like I’m completely oblivious. Every time someone mentions “cutting,” people look at me; they talk about me. And, yes, I know. I have no idea what they are saying. That doesn’t necessarily make it hurt any less.

I get it, I’ve been open about whats happened to me (mostly because I can’t keep it bottled up inside. Sometimes because I think it will help people. But, I digress). I get that it’s hard for people to relate to what I’ve been through unless they’ve been through it themselves. But I’m still human. I have more accessible stories–I’ve lost family members, I’ve lost friends, I’ve had a parent that can’t always be there in the important times, I’ve been bullied. I can tell those stories too. I want people to be able to relate to me. I want to be accepted, to be loved, to not be judged. So, if I need to tell those stories, fine. I’ll tell those stories too.

But I can’t neglect the fact that I’ve had really dark times.

It’s all a part of me. Who I am. It’s made me who I am today. All of it.

So, yes, I can tell different stories if it will have me some heartache. But if you don’t like me for my whole story, then sue me (I’d rather you didn’t do that. You could just not be my friend anymore).

I’m human. I make mistakes. I want my life to be as normal as possible. That’s hard to do sometimes when my story is out there. If I could go and change the past, I would. It would definitely make it easier for me to “blend in.” I wouldn’t have this label on my forehead that says, “ex-cutter,” or one that says, “victim of sexual assault.”  It doesn’t make it easier to be who I want to be. Sometimes it makes it harder. I want life to be easy. I want people to not be afraid to get to know me, to talk to me if they are having problems. I’ll tell different stories that make me seem more human. I’d much rather have a label that says, “Lost a Grandparent, victim of bullying, etc.” I don’t know. I’m trying.

“And sometimes I don’t know what I’m doing. But I’m trying my hardest to figure it out. Because life is a mystery with all it’s unanswered questions. And you have to take the pieces apart, rearrange them, and put them back together in order to figure out the big picture.”

I’ve never, ever regretted telling my story. And I’m so very, very confused right now. And that’s really all I have to say.

 

Somebody’s Kind of Perfect.

There are so many thoughts running through my head right now, too many to count. But, to make some sense of what is going on, I am writing this blog post. These thoughts have come to fruition because of conversations I’ve had over the last few days, and because of things I’ve read.

1. Graduation is coming, sooner than I originally realized. My locker, my security through 4 years of high school, stands empty. I cleaned it out for the last time Thursday. There’s nothing left in it. My whiteboard filled with reminders of things to bring home is gone. The mirror I used to steal a quick glance of myself between classes, that I used to fix my hair, that I used to make sure I looked semi-presentable, is gone. As one of my friends mentioned, lockers are more than hunks of steel; they are a part of everyday life in High School. Even though mine was pretty bare, save the whiteboard, mirror, empty boxes of food, and my books and binders, it holds great memories. I’ll miss the Autistic Kid who shared a locker next to mine. I’ll miss the way he could always put a smile on my face, and the way he talked about dinosaurs and Pokemon. And even though I was never the girl who had crushes meet me at my locker, because every guy I seem to have a crush on barely gives me the time of day, my friends and I had great talks there.

2. A lot can change in 4 years. I’ve gone from a quiet, insecure Freshman to a loud, sometimes obnoxious,sometimes confident, mostly insecure Senior. 4 years of emotional pain. 4 years of relentless bullying. 4 years of being talked about. 4 years of being on the outside, of being an outcast are ending (the change that has occurred over the last 4 years is how the book I’m writing is ending. It’s only fitting seeing as how it ends at Graduation).

3. I’ve realized that the friends that I want to keep in touch with are the ones I’ve had meaningful conversations with. They are a part of me, and they are the ones that encourage me daily.

4. I keep thinking that I’m a horrible human being. I’ve lost friends over the last few years, and while some relationships are beginning to heal, I know they’ll never be the same. And I can’t dwell on that. I can’t change the past, and I know that. But I regret the mistakes that I’ve made, and the words that I’ve left unsaid. And no matter how hard I try to live in the present, and live in hope of the future, I keep returning to the “used to be’s.” I’m learning to use the things that have happened to help others. I’m learning not to focus on the negatives, but to focus on the positives that have developed out of the negatives. Does it make me a horrible person for wanting to change my past? Does it make me a horrible person for making people aware of the bad things in life?

5. I keep thinking about how I wish I could change myself. I want to be better at talking about my feelings, instead of writing them out. I want to change how I look. I constantly compare myself to others, even though I know I shouldn’t. It’s not healthy. “If I were a little bit skinnier, if I were prettier, maybe then I’d be happier with myself.” I wish I could change the fact that I get loud and obnoxious whenever a guy I like is within a 50m radius of me. I wish I had more self-confidence.

6. I keep thinking about people who keep their feelings bottled up, hidden behind 300 ft high concrete walls, because they don’t want to get hurt. I realized that getting hurt is in the cards for most people. I continually put myself out there through my writing, and I continually get hurt again and again. It’s a never ending cycle, but it makes me stronger. And after a while, it stings less.

7. I keep thinking about what I want to do with the rest of my life. The fact that I really have no idea terrifies me.

8. This is a petty, not very important thought, but I wonder if I’ll ever find a boyfriend. I know I’m not the ‘ideal’ girl; my past is rocky at best; I read too much, and I let the characters become real; I day dream more than I should; I hurt when people around me are hurting; I’m a hopeless romantic; I’m secretly a nerd at heart, and learning new things is my favorite thing to do. I fight for things that are important to me. I stand up for those who won’t defend themselves. I’m stubborn, and I talk more than I should about things that I have strong opinions on. My self-esteem is low, but it is gradually increasing. I’m still a little kid at heart, and I want to believe that I live in a fairy-tale dreamworld. I have too many blonde moments to count, and I wish my life were a Jane Austen novel.

Maybe one day, I’ll be somebody’s kind of perfect.

 

Faith

This blog post is a little bit different than my normal blog posts; but after spending my weekend up in the woods at a camp with other teenagers, I need to share what’s on my heart. 

I am a Senior this year, and with only 6 instructional days left, my whole life is about to change. At the beginning of this year, I was nervous. I was nervous about leaving my friends and creating new ones. I was nervous about leaving everything I’ve come to know over the last few years. I was nervous about venturing into the unknown. But, looking back on my four years of High School, I’m not so nervous anymore. You see, High School has tried to make me fit in this 8″ by 8″ box. After a while, my edges were sanded away, everything that people considered “different” was removed, it’s as if a big chunk of me is missing.

 Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

For a long time, I have had trouble trusting God with things because I have questioned whether or not he really cares and whether he’s really there. “…certain of what we do not see.” Believing in something that I cannot see is hard for me. I like to be able to touch things. I like to be able to see things with my own eyes. How do I know things exist if I cannot see them?

But then I realized how stupid that all sounded. I don’t have to see God to believe that he exists, because I’ve seen him work around me. He didn’t desert me when I was at my lowest, deepest, darkest point. He didn’t desert me when I wanted to end it all. He didn’t desert me, not ever.

Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

NEVER. What a great promise that is.

I know God exists because he saved me from myself. He has answered my prayers, sometimes in the most unconventional ways, but, nonetheless, they are answered.

There was a time when I couldn’t make it through the day without cutting myself at least once (How I got to that point is a story all of its own). But my depression got to the point where I felt nothing–no sadness, no pain, no happiness, nada. I had to feel something. I needed to make sure I was still alive.

“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

He was always there, through it all. Through all the doubts about my worth, my inner battles, my anger at him, he was there. Always.

June 16, 2010, almost two years ago, was the day that I last cut myself. To say that it’s been easy would be a lie. Everyday I struggle with inner demons telling me I’m not pretty enough, I’m not good enough, I’m not worth anything. There are easier to resist now though. God has changed me. He’s made me stronger by pushing me to my limits. He’s made me put all my trust in him by putting my life on the line.

“You’re not pretty enough. You’re not smart enough. You’ll never amount to anything.” Those lies don’t have a hold on me anymore. Because God is stronger than that.

 

 

I don’t know what is beyond this bend in the road. I don’t know what is ahead for me in the next few years. I don’t even know what I want to do with the rest of my life (maybe I’ll write a book). But, I do know that God will be with me every step of the way, even with my doubts, my insecurities, the questioning of my faith. For He will never leave me; nor will He forsake me.