When people write coming of age stories, they all go the same way. People have a problem and overcome it somehow, and this process of breaking down their biggest barrier is what helps these people become who they are and makes them “special.” Even though it's always the same outcome in the end. People thrive by these stories and become inspired to break down their own barriers and make their own stories of their success. Many of these stories take place over a period of time that varies for each person. Even though the amount of time varies, they all have something in common, they all have a time where they strike the first hit to the barrier and a time where it finally crumbles to the ground. They all have a time frame in which these stories occur. Well, mine starts when I was very young.
When I was a little girl, just growing up I had a very large misconception of the world and the people in it. Just like every other young child on this earth, I believed with my heart and soul that everyone was good and can do no harm. I learned the hard way that I was in fact, wrong. The world is a very cruel place, and even the people who seem like the nicest people can in fact hurt you. By being let down by people constantly before I even left middle school made me realize that investing your trust in people and letting them in is one of the worst mistakes a person can make. By doing this, not only are you giving the person the map that is your heart and soul, you're also giving them a knife and telling them where to cut for it to hurt the most. After I realized this I distanced myself from everyone. I was known as “the quiet weird girl in class.” I didn't have friends and I didn't mind it. The words from bullies stung of course, but it helped me build my armor and become stronger.
Then I discovered theatre and instantly I fell in love. I learned to talk and make friends which was something I never truly had. I learned that the people that stand beside you on that stage and in those school hallways aren't just a cast, they aren't just your friends — they're your family. They are people that will have your back no matter what. Theatre was the one thing to actually make me happy. When I switched over to the high school things changed and I had the very thing that I cherished and held close to my heart ripped away from me by the cruelness of this world. The people who I was taught to view as “family” became enemies. They were bullies just like everyone else. I dropped out of the Theatre Guild but I stayed in the class and took what I was learning and incorporated it into my everyday life.What started as masking my emotions then became building masks and I got awfully good at it. I had a mask for every occasion; from just sitting at home to being in school, and soon enough I had a different mask for every group of people I associated myself with. I could easily switch from mask to mask as I wanted to. I trained myself to be quiet the first time I met a person so that I could create a mask to their liking. By doing this I didn't make any more enemies, I actually made friends. People liked the masks, so I continued. I shielded myself the only way I knew how and made myself stronger. I thought I found out the secret to life.
While I built my masks I was still fooled by people I thought I could trust. For some reason, despite all the bad that has happened to me, I was still so stubborn as to try and see good in people. This led to me being hurt more often then sometimes, and without even realizing I became sick. I gave myself mental disorders that I never wanted. I gave myself anxiety and depression. That means that I strive to be perfect but don't have the energy to follow through and I freak out when I don't succeed. I lost motivation to do things I needed to: schoolwork, housework, even taking care of my self. I didn't have the energy to do those things anymore. I lost interests in the things I loved to do. Except theatre and music, somehow those always remained something that could bring me happiness, even if it was just a little bit.
One day in my theatre class I met this girl who was new. She was beautiful and skinny and was fantastic at theatre. Basically she was everything I wanted to be. Instantly for the first time ever, I was jealous. I would do anything for a fraction of what she had. Luckily though I didn't let the jealousy thing get in the way I just strived to be better. One day I was messing around with a Sharpie and one thing led to another and I drew all over the new girl's arm. We became best friends after that and then soon after we became sisters. She showed me what it was like to truly be accepted, flaws and all. With each other by our sides we were unstoppable. It was us against the world. I gained a new found confidence and along that gained new friends, real friends, my best friends and together we made up a group called “the signature square squad.” It was pretty lame, but I loved it. Slowly holes ripped in my masks but I didn't care enough to fix them. As far as I was concerned I didn't need them anymore. I was finally content with who I was. With her by my side I was even able to join the Theatre Guild again, and this time it truly felt like a family. For the first time since as long as i could remember, I was truly happy.
Then I graduated. When it happened I thought life couldn't get any better. Me and my friends were all going to the same college and she was going to join us when she graduated the following year. I didn't expect things to change, but they did. I did make new friends in college and even managed to get a boyfriend. I remained happy, for a while. Her and I didn't really talk anymore. She was still in the high school, and I was in college. She got accepted into the Theatre Guild in a way I never was. I am so proud of her, but I cant help be upset too. My first best friend, the one who helped me overcome so much, is gone. I still liked college though, it was fun there, but after a month things spiraled downwards. I broke up with my boyfriend, got shunned by some of the friends I made, and started growing distant from the ones I had. My depression and anxiety kicked in again, even worse than before. The cruelty was back and people could see through the holes in my masks. I wanted to cease to exist on this world, to die.
I'm beginning to realize now, that I don't want to die. I never did. What I truly want, is to live. I want to make a difference in not only my own life but someone else’s. I want to inspire someone. To be the person that I needed when I was younger. I want somebody to look at me one day and have a reason to say “because of you, I didn't give up.” I may want these things, but wanting is one thing and achieving is something completely different. It is difficult, but I fight everyday to succeed. My goal in the future is to be able to truthfully smile one day when I'm old and grey. To look back on my life and be able to honestly say “I did it.”
If I wrote this story in September, it would end with a sappy, fairytale-like, happily ever after. But this isn't a fairytale, and it isn't September. Which makes my story different. Majority of the coming of age stories written are about problems that are solved. Mine is different in the sense I make mistakes constantly, I am a flawed person and to this day I still stumble over my words as well as my feet. But with each flaw, with each mistake that I make I continue to mold and shape into the person I will be tomorrow, the person I will be everyday that follows, and the person I am destined to be. We as human beings change constantly, and I will not stop changing because one of the many problems in my life is solved. The problems that I have cannot be solved. I will forever trip over my own feet, I will never be perfect at spelling, and I will always have my flaws. Depression and anxiety aren’t things that can just go away, they’re things you learn to live with. So instead of trying to solve every problem that comes in my way, I will embrace them. I will not let my problems be used as barriers to stop me from moving forward, I am going to mold them into my bridges and use them to help me advance. And even though this is not a happily ever after story, it's a real story. My real story to be exact and every day that passes is a page that gets added and yes, they may not all be happy, but they're mine. And thats what makes them great.