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Have you ever let a little meaningless comment change you completely? Have you ever taken one word and made it your life?
Well that's what my friends and I did at the beginning of this year, our freshman year in high school. A year of change, a year of growing up, a year that seems so important at the time.
At the beginning of the school year in high school, there are a bunch of little freshman, scared of all these experienced upper classmen, just looking for a place to squeeze into. That's what we all want anyway -- a place to fit into, to call our own, a name to define who and what we are. And within all of the freshman, figuring out who they were and where they belonged, there were my friends and I. We had been best friends since last year and had taken on this "I don't care" attitude -- not regarding life or school, but regarding the oppinions of others. Now, don't get me wrong, people weren't scared of us by any means. We weren't intimidating or bullies. It was just that when people would say anything about us, we would ignore it and brush it off.
Anyways, so there we were in high school, looking for our place and pretending we didn't care if we fit in at. We were guppies in a giant aquarium filled with sharks and poisonous fish out to get us. However, instead of showing fear like the other weak freshman, we went on laughing and having fun. Maybe even too much fun...
Well, one day, while in the process of this fun, we were being loud. And that's when it happened... A junior called us immature. Instead of reacting, we pretended we didn't care. We actually acted more immature to show them it didn't matter at all. We were completely contradicting ourselves by living up to their expectations to show them we didn't care. But it gave us a place, a name. We became progressively more "immature" to show them it didn't matter if that's what they thought. "Immature" became our most used word, and the thought of growing up was brushed aside as if it were merely dust. It became almost an obsession to show them just how immature we really were. We laughed loud enough for all to hear, we did things to get noticed, we ran in the hallways. We didn't even notice what we were doing. It seemed as if this was who we truly were. About half of the school hated our guts with a passion, the other half actually loved us more than anything. It was the same way with the teachers. They either couldn't wait for us to leave or couldn't wait for us to come back.
We may have been the happiest people in school for most of the first semester. However, when you're holding onto a thread so tightly, thinking it's a thick rope, you're bound to fall. And fall we did, hard and fast.
Reality kicked in. Everybody came at us at once, spelling out the words "grow up". Life beat us down.
We realized we had been going backwards in a year when we were supposed to be growing up. We had been trying to show them all we didn't care by being what they thought we were. We knew it was time to grow up and move on. We knew who we were.
We were people who laughed often, but not every second of the day. We were girls who liked to joke, but could be serious. We were freshmen who were happy most of the time, but that wasn't our only emotion. And we weren't immature.
We had changed so quickly at the beginning of the year, while we had been searching for a place to belong. But now, we already had a place. We were comfortable in our place. And so, the change wouldn't be easy by any means. We had to realize that while, no, we didn't have to care what they thought, we could be ourselves and not conform to their thoughts of us.
I had thought I would have a conclusion for this story, but the truth is...it's not over yet. I'm still changing, and I'm still growing up. I'm finding my place in this world, and I have no clue where I'm going. I'm nowhere near grown up, but I'm getting there and I'm trying. Sometimes, I want to crawl back to the word "immature" like a comfortable sweater I've grown out of, but still want to wear. It's been the only place I know, a word to define me.
So no, this story's not over. I am still changing, and I am growing. But I guess if it ends when I stop changing and growing, it'll be over when I am.