I’ve been thinking a lot about myself, my past, the future… I wonder how the new me will react to the current me. So on and so forth, which brings me to what I’ve thought about lately: high school. *shudder*
When I think back to high school, I don’t even consider the girl I was then to be the woman I am now. Would I be friends with her today? Maybe, maybe not. But there is a change in myself that I have learned grows over time.
In high school, I suffered from depression but wasn’t aware of what it was at the time. I would struggle with social activities, I was lonely, I never had a sleepover or had friends at my house. Honestly, I didn’t have friends.
Nobody asked me to prom, I wasn’t invited to birthday parties or events, and during the summer – my social life was completely shut out. Nobody to talk to at the seat next to mine because there was no seat, there was nobody.
I wanted so badly to make friends. When I moved to Texas, I was not thrilled at all. The only possible positive I saw in my new ‘hometown,’ was the minuscule possibility that I would somehow run into Matthew McConaughey (guys, I had to legit google his name. I cannot spell it at all) in my neighborhood Walmart.
Nebraska felt like the only place that I would love. I felt so attached to that town, to those people, and the person I was back then. Middle school Alaina felt so confident in herself. She loved herself and she loved her life. She had friends, she had a social life, she went to sleepovers and parties and the summer was the best time ever.
And then middle school Alaina was gone and it was time for ‘New Girl’ Alaina to emerge. And she did… by crying in the bathroom stall for a week straight during lunch. She did by avoiding any social activities around the campus. She did by hiding behind her books and her papers and her Myspace page. And as every day moved forward, every day for her became lonelier and lonelier.
Enter sophomore year and I find Speech and Debate. I dove headfirst, straight to the deep end. I was determined to be great. I am thankful today that ‘New Girl’ Alaina had debate… because without it, she may not be here.
While I don’t think I really had ‘friends,’ per say, I did have multiple weekends where I would go out of town with forty other kids just as nerdy and strong-willed as I was. I could bond with them over something mutual. And so for three years, that was my life. I lived and breathed it.
But graduation comes and high school ends. What do you do with yourself when the only thing you loved was gone? What do you do when you no longer have friends to get on a cramped bus and spend a weekend with? And what do you do when you no longer have something to work towards?
I went to college. A college I didn’t want to attend but did anyway. I needed out, and the Disney College Program was the ticket. So I applied, got accepted, moved to Orlando.
Here’s where the Alaina was. The brave woman who traveled across the country to live out her dream. The person who interacted with hundreds of people every day from all over the globe. This girl did not struggle with making friends. She made them easily for the first time since Middle School Alaina.
And then that ended too. And life was hard, very very hard. And Austin Alaina emerged. Strong and brave, scared and hopeful, lonely and worried, she was here with all of herself.
Even that Austin Alaina from three years ago isn’t the same girl that I am today: Current Alaina.
Now that you’ve read this entire depressing history of loneliness, I’ve come to what I wanted to talk about in the first place.
Accepting the bad, knowing that shitty things happened, saying ok, and moving on. When I was younger and I was in trouble with my father, I would always tell myself “this can’t last forever. He can’t do this forever. He won’t be mad forever.” I’d do the same when I took tests. It was the same when I went to social events. And somewhere down the line, I’ve lost that inner truth.
So, Current Alaina, today cannot last forever. The bad things that happen will be over eventually. Tomorrow is a new day.
You’ve survived this long. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. You survived. Every day has not lasted forever, and if you can handle all of those times when it felt like forever, then I’m sure you can make it through this one too.
Be resilient, be strong, and be Princess Leia even when you feel like Darth Vader.