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On My Own This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   It all started when my mother remarried. I knew I had to get used to my stepfather, and be patient because I didn't really like him. I have an older sister who left home at the age of seventeen. She moved in with her boyfriend because she got pregnant. And ever since, my mother's husband had never let me live it down. Every time I did something wrong he would say I was gonna end up like my older sister, without an education or without a life, because she dropped out of high school. But what really hurt was seeing my mother standing there saying nothing. No matter how much I despised him, I never raised my voice or said he wasn't my real father, because I knew that it would hurt my mother more than it would hurt him.

When I couldn't take it anymore, I left home. I had told my mother that the day I left it would be because of him, not her. I left and went to my best friend's house, whom I have known since I was five. Her family is like a second family to me and her mother knew I was having problems at home. And with welcome arms she invited me to live with her and her family. I had just turned seventeen. It was painful. My first time celebrating my birthday without my real family was hard. But my best friend's family did everything possible for me to have a good time. I had friends over and a big cake. I thanked God for letting me be with such nice people, and when I blew out the candles, I wished for happiness and fortune in the future.

I'm still in school and working two jobs, one in the morning that the school arranged for me and which earns me credits. The other job is after school. I have a boyfriend who's always there for me. We've been going out for a month now, but it seems longer. He knows that I don't live at home. And sometimes when I start to talk about it, I cry and he hugs me tight. It feels good to have a shoulder to cry on. I've grown up a lot since I left home. I'm more aware. I knew that once I stepped foot out that door, that day I left home, I was on my own. But I'm staying in school, not like my older sister, and I'm going to make it. Then I'll make my mother's husband eat his words. I'm saving up from my two jobs because I want to go to college and take up business. If not, then I'm thinking about joining the army. Whatever I do, I know I'll succeed. n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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