This Isn't My Autobiography by Susie Eldred, Norwell, MAThis isn't my autobiography. I feel that looking back and writing about my past experiences at this age is, to put it bluntly, absolutely ridiculous. The vast years which lie ahead of me hold so much more life that cannot be predicted. I can honestly say that I have not a clue as to where I will be in ten or twenty years. I have dreams and aspirations like anyone (more, perhaps), but past experiences have also demonstrated the need for practicality. Needless to say, I am not a pragmatic dreamer. I am someone who can dream while, at the same time, realizing that not all dreams come true. Sometimes, it is the dream itself that keeps me inspired, not the possibility of its reality. I am content living in dreams. To wake up to this somewhat dysfunctional reality called "the world" does not usually appeal to me.But I do wake up and I look around. I have to. What I see are the juxtapositions of pain and glory, happiness and misery, laughter and tears in each individual's life. I open my eyes and see the injustice of the world in which we live - the discrimination, the poverty, the eating disorders, the suicide - and this makes me sad. Seventeen years have empowered me with many little epiphanies - some significant, some ridiculous (to the common man). They present nostalgic memories of my past. It is a past which cannot be forgotten and my past is significant in its own small way.I have had my moments when I wished that I could crawl up into the ground and just sleep forever. They have been the darkest moments. (It can't be sunny every day.) Yet I am a survivor. I have risen above all of the pain that weighed me down and I am stronger, much stronger. All of these times, I have struggled alone. It is amazing how at the lowest moments when one feels that he or she is tunneling into the earth at a jillion miles per hour, just falling and twisting helplessly into the ground, no one seems to be "there." But amidst this all, I am constantly smiling. I feel that it is imperative to smile because it is contagious and I could make one person's day a little brighter. I feel the necessity to smile because, although times get rough (and it might just rain without a rainbow), one can always find something to smile about. The sun rises every morning; it sets every day and this constancy makes the world worthwile for me, even at my darkest moments.Politics won't be perfect and people could never be (but would you want them to be). A broken heart may happen and, trust me, it will feel more painful than a spinal tap, but yet I move on. All of my dreams might not come true and someday I could lose someone who means everything to me and yet I still can move forward. My steps may be small and shaky. There may still lie a little trepidation in my heart, but I will move on and I will keep that smile. Because I can. Because the sun rises every morning and sets every evening and that, my friends, that is reason enough for me. c
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.