My year of self-exploration | Teen Ink

My year of self-exploration

February 12, 2008
By Anonymous

A yearly review for the year 2,007:
My year of self-exploration

What is a review of the year? What makes a year great, or not-so-great? To tell you the truth, I’m still not completely sure. I can’t review each and every moment that passed us by in the year. I can, however, review the moments that made my life in the year 2007. I am not one to pass judgment most times, but this year seemed to be about judging. A review, well, it’s as judgmental as you can get.

A lot happened in the year. Many things wonderful, many things still unexplainable, and even some I wouldn’t wish onto anybody. Single moments made my year the best of all. Strings of events made it the weirdest by far. There were times I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, times where I thought I’d be stuck forever, and times I just wish didn’t happen.

Quite a few tears slid down my face this year, I won’t say I didn’t cry at stupid times sometimes, because I did, but I had reasons. In the very beginning of the year, my whole world was flipping, and I landed on Okinawa, Japan. I hated the thought of moving. I hated leaving my amazing friends in Florida that had stuck by me since I was eleven years old. I couldn’t think of a life where I didn’t see them at all. A life where they weren’t a three-minute car ride away. I cried and cried, asking God why he would do a thing like that. Everyone told me that it was going to be an adventure. I was going to have an adventure of a lifetime. Oh how I hated the word “adventure”. Do you know what it even means? I do, it means a bold experience involving uncertainty and risky business. For the record, I had never been the girl to enjoy uncertainty, or risky things of any type and as for being bold… yeah right, only in my dreams.
I depended on my friends more than I depended on myself to help me get through life. Moving thousands of miles away from them was definitely a test of character and strength. I had to depend on myself, and my own instincts to get me by in the world. I felt more alone and more isolated then I had in my whole life.

When I first arrived in Japan, everything seemed surreal, as if it weren’t me, and I would wake up and laugh at myself. I had never wanted to visit Japan; in fact, I was the type of girl completely okay with having never been outside the good-ole US-of A. I didn’t like the idea, and felt resentful of God for making me move.

Reality struck as I started school and attempted to make friends, which wasn’t as easy as I had desperately hoped. I thought I was a pretty friendly person, but friendliness alone didn’t get you through being the new-kid. You had to be strong, and vulnerable and open all at the same time. You had to show everyone your good points, and hide your flaws; I had many flaws. Of course, I made a few great friends, but drama stilled transpired with those not warmed-up to my New York charm. I thought that maybe, I just would never truly find my place in the world of those kids. Kids aren’t always welcoming, if you know what I mean.

I survived through the rest of the winter, and even managed through the spring. Schoolwork was easy enough, and friends were becoming more important then ever, as I saw my siblings making them more and more, I longed for a place to fit in. Spring was a test for my endurance, something of mine that had never been challenged. I hadn’t realized yet that my endurance was something I held so dear. I endured months of the want and desire of something I still couldn’t figure out. I didn’t even know, at the point, if belonging was really what I was searching for. I endured spring, I survived those nights that I lied on my back, thinking that I would never find whatever it was my heart was searching for. Spring ended, and I realized that a full summer was coming right at me. I thought of it as a summer to find myself. The summer between middle school and high school, a very vital summer indeed, was on its way. The summer started with drama, as the last two days of school left the group I was hanging with in shatters. I didn’t belong in it with them, I was sure of it. I was on the quest for resolution. With months of survival under my belt, I felt a confidence I would find it. Only, I realized, about a week or two into m quest, that it was a false confidence, and I needed my friends back in Florida more than ever. My friends in Florida were my safety net, always ready to catch me when I fell. Independency was something I was lacking, so my calls to them became fewer and fewer, until we talked on the phone only once a week. I kept crying, thinking about my life. My life was warping into a lonely, soulless girl, whose only friends lived out of reach. I had many break-downs in which once I fell asleep in my closet crying. I cried every time I felt my heart aching for whatever it was that it wanted. The pain killed sometimes. I searched on.

I tried staying at home when my friends on island called to hang, because deep down, we all knew I didn’t belong in their circle. I felt it was my fault that the group was falling apart, and felt like everyone else knew it too. I kept my distance, not knowing what to do. Meanwhile, I was starting something I had never done on my own. I was trying out a youth group, where everyone seemed at ease with each other, and you didn’t need to be anyone but yourself, because God already knew who you are. I longed for a life completely like that, where everyone knew your story, and understood your pain, and your longing for acceptance. I figured that I was closer to whatever I was looking for, because by the final month of summer, my confidence became real.

I had a real confidence, and a real inspiration to keep searching. I turned fourteen soon after and felt like I could pull through anything. I was halted, though, with forces unexpected. I dated a guy, a guy who I absolutely fell for, despite my better judgment, and finished the summer, in the closest thing to love that I had ever felt. I was starting high school, taken, confident, but still not satisfied with the outcome of the use of my summer.

Fall came with the start of the school year, and I found true friendships. The group I once hung with wasn’t really together, and we divided into two halves, and surprisingly, I fitted right into one. In this group I felt so secure that I could depend on them, and still keep my independence. I wasn’t finished with my quest, and to get through my first quarter of high school was insane. The work load increased, and my morals went into overload as I realized that I wanted to be a person of dignity. That was the first time I truly felt heartbreak. My boyfriend broke up with me, and I felt alone again. I felt stupid and moronic for wasting my last half of the summer on him. I cried to my friends, and they helped me get up into a fun mode. I had fun. All the time, my job was to laugh, and to joke, and not to care. My grades weren’t taking much heat for it, so I continued and came to the realization that life was meant to be fun, and not a loathe-filled quest for the unknown.

God, was becoming an even bigger part of my life with each passing day, because finally I could have fun and know he wants me to enjoy life. My friends that I hung with brought me closer to God, and I helped them get closer too. I had feelings of inadequacy still, and my quest for my desire continued, but this time, along the way I had moments that I will never be able to forget. I hung out with the kids that understood me, and I felt more like a new person, a person that I actually liked. A person that had enough confidence to stick up for her beliefs, her friends and even enough confidence to stick up for herself, and I loved the fact that it was me all along.

My first quarter of high school ended, and I realized that once again I had survived, only this time, it was more like I thrived and “beasted” the quarter all-together. I came out with friends, happiness on my side, good grades and my newly-found and very welcoming confidence.

Quarter two followed right after, just like always. This time, it slid right down into it, and with the meaningless drama and lack of school work, my priorities were found to me jumbled in bunches. I knew that I would later find my grades slipping, but I couldn’t help but neglect my schoolwork to have some more fun. I needed more fun, I was addicted. I covered fun with my lack of success in the path of my soul.

As I said, my grades were slipping, and I was ignoring them, and I was in the midst of high school drama at its finest. I was confused. I had never been single for so long and was looking at guys, trying to find one to love. Love was something I was dying to find. A guy who loved me and would help me, because for some reason, I thought that was what my heart really wanted, as a guy to love me. I kept my eyes on the guy prize.

At the same time, I felt like everything I did amounted to nothing. I felt that I would never amount to anything of importance, and I shouldn’t be working so hard for nothing. I had spent my whole life working at being the best, and it never showed. I wasn’t rich, I wasn’t taken, I wasn’t even getting closer to my goal, or so I thought. Through days like that, I think I got through because of one person. My mom always had words of wisdom for me when I let her talk and when I listened to what it was she had to tell me. To her, I owe everything, because I know if I do ever become wealthy or amount to anything of importance; it’s all because she helped me through. She doesn’t fail to amaze me, each and every year.

Thanksgiving rolled through, but that weekend after thanksgiving was the most inspirational and meaningful weekend I had ever experienced. I will never forget that weekend. I spent the weekend on a retreat with my youth group. That last day, on a Sunday, I felt God. I was kneeling on the beach, praying to God about his wonders and what my search was about, and he told me. I felt him through my body, and my body shook as I cried hysterically. God was what I was searching for. My life wasn’t a quest for my desire, my life was a quest to be with God. The whole time I was searching, he had been blatantly right in front of me, asking me to love him in a way that was real.

My life, and my search fell into place. Mid-November, and I had finally found what I was looking for, God. God would always love me. God would always be there. I felt better than ever. I got my grades back up and prepared for the holiday rush. The holidays brought on trouble, boys and more trouble. I just prayed to God the whole way through, decided that I don’t need a guy and that my life was fine the way it was.

Here I am, in the last days of 2007, reflecting back on my year, my wonderful, horrible and glorious year. I don’t think I could have made it all the while without my friends in Florida, my security blanket when in need and advice-givers, or my friends here, my mentors in happiness or my mom, my inspiration and role model. Like I’ve said before, many things have happened, and 2007 has been quite an adventure, just like everyone told me it would be. I started out hating the word adventure, because it meant I would have trouble, and all I wanted was to fit in. I found something more meaningful in the process, I found unconditional love and grace, I found my niche and I found a place where I can be completely myself. I would like to say in many ways, I found me. 2007 was the worst and best year of my life. It has been my favorite by far. I hate to see it end, as it means that I am just growing older and growing up, and maturity scares me, but I also look forward totally and utterly to whatever 2008 is going to throw at me, because after the kind of the year I’ve had, I’m ready for anything.

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