When I grow up

You know, I used to want to be a princess, or a ballerina. I had a little tutu and I loved pink and I went to class every Tuesday and Thursday. My biggest worries were whether or not my mom would buy the hot pink box for my slippers or the light pink (I wanted the hot pink).

When I got a little older I got a little more scared. I started to run off the stage during performances and I screamed at my mother for making me start school. I quit ballet because my classmates made fun of my tutu and tights. 3rd graders really are a rough crowd. I got a bully that year named Valerie and she always made me feel terrible about myself. I didn't really want to be a ballerina anymore.

In 5th grade I had a crush on Jeremy and he said I could be his girlfriend when we started middle school, but on the first day he never showed up. Someone told me he moved away over summer. I didn't have the coolest clothes or the converse shoes or the jansport backpacks. I didn't believe in makeup and I didn't straighten or dye my hair. I was smart and that's not cool. I had a Twilight phase which I may deny to anyone who asks but secretly I really did love it. I wanted to be popular, and I failed, and then I left. Things were okay.

In high school I wanted to be loved. When I was a freshman I had a lot of friends. I went to a Catholic girls school with people I didn't know but they were all really nice to me. I was happy. The next year my friends and I had a falling out and we never spoke again, except for Faye, but now she goes to a film school in Nebraska. After the fight I fell into a bad crowd. Everyone was toxic and the girls tried to kiss me and eventually I kissed them back and I liked it. But these people were sick, they taught me how to cut my wrists and while I tried to fit in with them I just couldn't cut myself quite as deep as they did. They almost killed themselves over the weekends a couple times and I trudged to school in dread on Mondays just waiting for the announcement that my best friends were dead. But it never came. I just wanted it to end.

I fell hopelessly in love with one of them and she succeeded in pulling me down farther than I ever dreamed. I graduated and we still hung out sometimes. I wasn't allowed to see her, but I would walk or take the bus and she would sneak away from her girlfriend and we were bad people. She tossed me into the trash after two years and I was alone again. I tried to run away from home. I only wore black and I listened to music which sounded more like screams. I didn't look anyone in the eye and my dad didn't speak to me for a month.

In summer I wanted to be better. I stopped thinking about her and took better care of myself. I bore no scars and I listened to nicer songs. At college I met a lot of great people, and we hung out almost every day and I wasn't looking for anyone to fill the gaps in my chest.  It was when I stopped looking that I found him. We went to an arcade on our first date and grabbed a 7/11 pizza and had a picnic in this abandoned park and it started to rain and Nicholas Sparks could not have written it better. He doesn't hide things from  me and he doesn't pretend to be something he's not. He has a past and I have mine but we aren't those people anymore.

When I grew up I found that I wanted to be real, and god it feels good to breathe again.

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