Thursday, December 29, 2011

on being a teenager.

Now, I know that there is no magnificent transformation that will happen at midnight or anything, but I'm sure there will be a lot of differences from have a tiny little '1' in front of my age and a big ol' '2' in front of my age now. I'm an honest person, and for some people this will be horrifyingly so.

In hindsight, the last seven years of my life were life changing.

Let's start with age 13. For those of you who have been in my life since this point in time or before, you're probably aware of the biggest life change my first year as an official teenager began. In March of 2005, approximately three months after the big birthday I lost my father to his lifelong ailments that were ever present throughout my life. Despite his illnesses he was my best friend. He was a wonderfully childish stay at home dad who, even at my earliest memories, was there to wait on me hand and foot. He spoiled the hell out of me and loved me to pieces and I know that even though he isn't here in person, he still loves me more than anyone on this earth (besides my mom!). But despite my knowing how sick he truly was and knowing that he wouldn't be in my life for as long as other kids, it still hit me incredibly hard.
There is a huge blank space in my memory spanning months where I don't remember much about my life or my friends, I honestly couldn't tell you who my classmates were, who I had for teachers or what my grades were like. At this point, though, there is one thing I do remember clearly. I had found someone who, despite my incapability of having any feelings other than anger and grief, took me in and let me cry everyday. Looking back now, I should have known it wasn't a good idea but it was one of my many life lessons that I can look back on now and say that I learned something so important about myself... I learned about my capability to love. This relationship lasted about two years and had an incredibly messy breakup. I don't talk to him, and for good measure. This is one of the only things that I remember about being 14. There's something to be said about young love. Many think it doesn't exist, but to me in that relationship I was in "love". It may not seem that way to me now, or fit the definition of love by normal standards, but to me love at that time was just having someone there to comfort me when I was sad; to make me forget how I was feeling, even if it was hurting me emotionally, and even at one time physically.
I spent the better part of the end of 7th grade and all of 8th grade anywhere but class. I was at school and I passed my classes, but I sought the company and conversation of the school counselors. I can honestly say that they saved my life when I was 14 after a horrifying lesson learned about myself and how close I came to ending my own. They were honestly my saving grace, as was most of the staff at my junior high, and that includes my current boyfriend's own mother, Melisa.

Fastforward to 15 and I was smack dab in the middle of my freshman year of high school. I was transitioning out of the hardest part of my adolescence by this point and was reevaluating many things in my life, including who I was and who I was associating myself with. I was a greenhand in our high school's FFA chapter and only beginning to understand all the opportunities that would lay before me in the next three years. In February of 2007 I met Austin. This meeting changed me, and my feelings. It opened my eyes to the current relationship I was in and, essentially, ended it. It took me sometime, but I eventually finished things with the boy who was there for me when I needed him most at the point in my life. I feel horrible sometimes, almost as if I swept him under the rug once something better came along... the day I left him I cried myself to sleep, feeling like all of the ugly names he called me. I recovered though, feeling as if I had finally rid myself of the one thing holding me back; the one thing that kept me connected to the darkest time in my life.
And then there's a list of things that happened... becoming an officer in FFA, officially becoming Austin's girlfriend, going to my first FFA State Convention and making the happiest memories in life after 2 years of nothing but sad ones. I'm all smiles right now thinking about this.

Then there was 16, with my first animal for FFA during my sophomore year and my drivers license. All of the awkwardness that came with having a new boyfriend; the first kiss, the first 'I love you', the first time meeting his family. Writing this comparison of the first years being a teenager almost don't add up to me... I feel as if I'm writing about two completely different people. And I honestly believe I am.

And 17 was nothing by accomplishments either; getting my first job at Rainforest Cafe, being a junior in high school, going to state in Chapter Conducting, Mr. Oliver leaving Morton Ranch, and Austin Graduating high school (along with Garrett, Patti, Andrew, Brandon and Meigan [even though we didn't know each other yet]) and him getting accepted to Texas A&M.

And boy, did that summer before Austin went to college fly by... and it was the scariest feeling when he went off to school. I am honestly willing to bet that I didn't have any idea how insecure I was until he went to school. I'm not one to lie about myself, and I can honestly say that Austin is a saint for what he had to put up with when he first went to school. I was jealous of every person I didn't know, made him feel guilty for spending time with girls (Meigan was one of them, to be honest), and was just a huge pain in the ass. It took a serious sit down and talking to to change my ways, otherwise we wouldn't be together.

Hello 18, I do say that quite a lot happened when you showed up. And by that I mean hello senior year, tattoos, waiting tables, graduation, and getting accepted to and attending Texas A&M! Senior year flew by once I had all of my insecurities ironed out. I mean, being Vice President and then President of our FFA chapter was practically a full time job and then actually working full time hours waiting tables didn't give me much room to breathe... let alone having three animals in the course of the school year and for a little while, all at once. My reserve champion titles came out on top though, as one of my accomplishments, along with the scholarships (Elks Lodge, State FFA, L.D. Robinson, Troy Oliver, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo) and the Award of Excellence given out by the Superintendent of Katy ISD. I feel like I'm bragging, but if I can say that I earned these things then shouldn't I? I felt so blessed and felt as if all of the hard work I had put in in the last four years was actually worth something. The best feeling, though, was that of how proud my dad would have been of me. Graduation flew by and so did the summer before I went off to school.

I remember the day I moved into my dorm... it was four flights of hell in a handbasket. Four flights of carrying boxes and boxes of my clothes and shoes into the smallest room on the planet. I had a great first roommate and consider myself incredibly lucky to have someone who could put up with all of the sundays (and occasional satudays) that required me to be up at the crack of dawn for my fish year doing Bonfire. And boy, does Bonfire define the first semester of my college experience. The hard work, dedication, and determination required to continue to put the time and effort into something so much more than yourself. Not to mention the awesome friends and memories.

Then, as quickly as 18 came, so did 19. Honestly, this year was the year I learned the most about myself since I was in that dark place in my life. I got to move into a place I can fully call my home with some of the best people in my life. But just as life is, when there are good things, there are bad.. and boy was there some bad. It may be resolved now, but it's still in the front of my mind. All while I was ninteen, I was a baby green, then actually a green and then dead... all in one Bonfire season. I could be like everyone and say it was all sunshine and butterflies, but it wasn't. I learned a lot about myself and others, as well as how I feel as if I should treat others and how I conversely should be treated. You can take a look back at how I feel about this year in my last blog post though!

All in all, I'm very proud of who I have become in the last seven years and look forward to the next ten years that are supposed to be the funnest years of my adult life before I round the corner into my thirties. Now that is a weird thought.

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