High school has changed me. It has made me cold.

Right now, I am friends with the wrong people. I just want to be popular, I know. I just want to be loved. People will talk behind my back, and I will talk behind theirs. I know I am always on edge because I am afraid of what they will say about me. This is not friendship. I will figure that out before you graduate. I will have real friends by the time I leave. I just want to fit it in. I want to be popular, to be liked, to be known

I will fall apart because of the pressure I put on myself.

My best friend turned into someone I cannot stand. It felt like it is me and her against the world. It’s not. It was me against her, and the world is just watching. Things happened quickly. It only took a month. I go from talking to her every day to not even looking at each other. We have both grown in different directions. Everyone says we will be friends again, but deep down I feel like we won’t. I’m right.

The person I think I am right now is not the real me. The person I am right now is the result of everyone trying to make me into something that works for them, into something they want me to be. I do not have to be anything for anyone. By the end of my senior year, I will finally understand this. I will be a different person walking across the stage at graduation than I was walking around the school during the year. I know I will get lost along the way, but I will get there eventually.

High school taught me to smile when I’m tired, when I have things to do and when I’m stressed. It taught me not to hide what I’m feeling or going through. It’s okay to have fun when you struggle. In fact, having those times makes going through hard things easier. Not everything has to be taken seriously. It’s okay to live in the moment. I learned how to let go of things and to have fun, even if I didn’t think I deserved to. I learned to relax and take things for what they are. I learned that I don’t have to know what my future is. I learned to take life one day at a time. But most importantly, I learned that I am never finished learning. I don’t know all the answers and I never will. Sometimes, “I don’t know” is the only response I have, and that is okay.

When I think it is too much to handle, and when I feel like giving up, just remember that someday you will be the best version of yourself. I want be the person I am truly supposed to be, not the person they think I am, not even the person I thought I was. The real me will crawl her way out from underneath all of those protective layers, and I will shine brighter than you, or I, could have ever hoped.

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