Yes, I Have Changed

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You told me that I changed; that you could no longer recognize who I am. You said that with disappointment traced in your voice. I, on the other hand, took it as a compliment.

Looking back at who I was just months ago, I can see how far I have come. We often look at how we change over the years but seem to forgot that we are constantly changing. Each and every day we experience new things, encounter new obstacles, and grow, even if we do not see these small changes at first. And as you grow and change for the better, you may begin to outgrow old habits and old people. Eventually, we reach a point where old relationships and friendships are tested.

I realized that this is the main reason why I am no longer in touch with some people. When I look at my past, I know that I am not nearly as confident or independent as I am now. Although there are still times where I am unsure of myself, I have grown enough to know my own worth and that it is not determined by others. I used to thrive off of approval and recognition, and in this stage of my life was where I met some of my closest friends.

These friends seemed to know that, and took advantage. I was blinded by my love for these friends, so much that I could not see the effect they had on me. I changed because of them- for the worse- and lost touch with what was important to me. Although as time passed while I surrounded myself with toxic people, I had to learn where to draw the line. For a long time, I chose to be around people who were simply not interested in bettering themselves or the world around them.  As I grew out of old habits, they were not pleased with me. They did not like who I was becoming, mainly because it did not fit their ‘criteria’. I began to wonder, why did they not support me? Why did I need their approval? They did not like to see that I was changing.

I grew out of that mentality as I began to focus on myself and my goals, which included being independent. I knew that I could never do so  and from then on I could see the negative impact that those friendships had on me. I can not blame them, but I had to accept that we just did not share the same values. In some ways I grew to be more mature than these old friends and slowly we grew apart. In my time away from toxic relationships, I built better ones where we support each other. These relationships have promoted me to grow and have taught my that the only approval I need is from myself.

Don’t fear change; embrace it. Take each and every experience, every person, and each obstacle as a lesson. You will find yourself flourishing once you finally give yourself the chance to grow.

 

What Makes Us Who We Are.

We all reach times in our lives where we are tested for our breaking points. It can be when we are thirty or when we are as young as thirteen, but for me, that was at a very young age and it changed my perspective on life forever.

When I was exposed to violence at such a young age I felt like part of my childhood was ripped from my hands and I could not take it back. I recalled the years I spent growing up and how early I was forced to adapt to the world around me.

Often times I would take pity on myself, wondering why others could live such simple lives. I wished that I had the same things that they had, because I thought that maybe if I had grown up in a better environment that I would have better opportunities.

It took time for me to realize that I was looking at my life from the wrong perspective. I spent so long dwelling on what I did not have that I failed to see what was right in front of me. That the experiences I had starting from a young age pushed me, revealing qualities of me that I would never have discovered if it were not for that push.

I have grown enough to know that where I grew up, the people in my life, and what I have experienced are what makes me who I am. Everything that has happened and everyone who I have allowed into my life have shaped me in ways I can not begin to explain. I may resent the challenges that I faced growing up but I can take pride in who I have become. They have led me on a path of discovering my own strengths and weaknesses, where I am meant to be.

We are not defined by our past failures, nor the challenges we may face in life. Although we are forever defined by the choices we make to overcome them. That is what makes us who we are.

Letting Go

“Sometimes, I catch myself smiling at the mere thought of you. More and more I can see myself changing and it’s all for the better. That’s what good people do. They heal you.”

Before I knew my worth, I was drawn to toxic friends. I would cling on to old friendships for the glorified memories rather than the truth. I was afraid to let go because if I did, where would I turn to? I thought that maybe it was better to stay safe. Only the the truth is that these people were toxic to me. They were unhappy with themselves and so they chose to inflict the same feelings upon me; they would take advantage of me for my kindness and manipulate my emotions.In time where I did not know that I deserved better,  I chose people who did not choose me.

I urge you to be courageous and let go of these toxic, manipulative relationships. It is one of the hardest things for you to let go of people you have known for so long. We tend to look back at the few good times, but we can’t forget the times when they were not there for us. Letting go of unhealthy relationships a step we all must take if we ever wish to rise above.

Let go. Choosing to surround myself with positive people was the best choice I have ever made. I can now say that I have friends who are always there, support me, and want nothing but the best for me. You deserve it, too.

 

 

 

Suicide Awareness

We can not continue to let the stigma around mental illnesses put the health of ourselves others at risk.

We are afraid to discuss mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, and more simply because we are afraid. We are afraid because it is out of our comfort zones; after all, it is intimidating to open up about such a personal topic. Except how long will we shy away from such a prevalent issue in our society?

Throughout the last few months, two students in my town committed suicide. After a student of our own passed away, we were handed out yellow ribbons to wear for support. Some students pinned them to their shirts, while others discarded them, throwing them away or mindlessly placing them in their pockets. We hung up posters during our home football and soccer games and painted his name for everyone to see. The teachers and school administrators reached out to the students, asking us a series of questions in hopes that they would understand why he chose to take his life. While this unity is important, it is short lived. Weeks later the unity dissolves and we are back to where we started.

The problem is, even after the funerals, and the grieving, and the goodbyes, the problem is still here. Discussing suicide after it happens is similar to teaching someone how to drive after they get into a car accident: it will never prevent the accident. In our society, there is such a strong stigma around mental illnesses that we are afraid to speak up. No one ever wishes to talk about real problems because it is not in our comfort zones. Discussing mental illnesses is difficult, but if we never discuss the reality of suicide we can never heal. We can not let our memories of these students fade away. They are reminders that we lost two precious lives due to suicide.

Many teenagers today do not open up about their health because they do not wish to be labeled. Teenagers are left in the dark, alone, without knowing where to turn. If we continuously ignore the important of mental health, we risk losing lives due to suicide again. Life is unpredictable.

Together, we all must show support to one another. We must prove that we can fight against this. We can no longer let depression, anxiety, or any mental illness define who we are. We are all so much more. We must solve this problem one step at a time and raise awareness. By doing this, we can truly save lives.