Fourteen. It’s an age that I’m soon going to turn. I’m quite nervous because that’s the age where teenagers begin to transform, break out of their cage, but get themselves into a hefty amount of trouble. Drugs, alcohol, sex, relationships, school, sports, and more fill the air for us high schoolers. I’ve been used to abnormal behavior, but nothing of intense peer pressure. I’ve had a pretty rough experience growing up in my elementary and middle school. I wasn’t like the others, which meant I didn’t feed into the popularity and change my opinions based on what others said for attention. I stuck up for myself in time of need and spoke out for my fellow classmates. Basically, I was….different, but not the kind of different where I knit cashmere sweaters day to night and feed twelve cats in my bedroom and have a ten year old bologna sandwich in my locker. I was the kind of different that one would admire and aspire to be. When things went downhill, I lifted my head and looked on to a brighter path. It was always essential to have a positive mindset and to never have doubt in yourself especially when almost everyone around with. The secret is: if you can convince yourself you are worth noticing, then slowly people will believe that as well. Third grade was extremely awful and it just piled on from there. As a little blonde haired girl with green eyes, I would sit in one of the school’s bathrooms with my lunchbox and eat on the floor. I had no place to sit in the cafeteria and I couldn’t bare the feeling of sitting alone and chewing uncomfortably as many sets of eyes glared at you from all corners of the spacious room. I hate that feeling. Things didn’t change in fourth grade, but became worse. I lost friends that I didn’t think I had to start with, ended up in detention most of the time because the popular girl of my grade would lie and find a way any way and any time she could to land me in the principal’s office, and dreaded lunch and recess. The only highlight of school: class. I became engrossed into academics and strived to be one of the best kids in my class, which I accomplished successfully as I worked diligently over the years. There was one thing that I enjoyed the most and had always kept my spirit up: writing. I fell in love with the thought of relinquishing my thoughts and feelings down on paper where I was able to look back and reflect on the words. With reading and writing, a phrase or sentence can be said and perceived in any and many ways. With speaking, there’s only one perception and it’s how the discussion is being shown. As a girl who’s about to turn fourteen in less than a month, I’ve went through more than girls my age would think of. Of course, my anxiety hasn’t disappeared and my depression is almost gone. I take antidepresants for my anxiety disorder. I’ve changed how I look and act. This doesn’t mean I changed who I am, but it means I’ve created a new me: someone I’ll be proud to call myself and to live out in high school. My past is lurking behind, but I never let it catch up to me and decide things for itself. I swore to myself I’d never smoke a single cigarette, cigar, drug, e-cig, etc… as long as I live. I promised myself I won’t let boys and men take advantage of me and to have an open mind and don’t be afraid of relationships and commitment. I promised myself I’d never lose sight of myself and forget about the ones who’ve stood by me from the beginning: my family. I’ll gain friends through my personality. I’ll gain popularity by being kind, involved, wise, sociable, and compassionate; not by doing illegal acts and hooking up with boys day after day. I think I’m ready for high school and all of its challenges, uphills, and downhills. I think I’m ready to be fourteen and the responsibility I possess afterwards. I’m ready. Thirteen, here comes fourteen.

-Nic Randi

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