At a certain age we all begin to wonder who we really are. I remember the first time I found myself alone, lost and completely forgotten. My best friends all started ignoring me on the same day and didn’t talk to me for years. My cousins who I was closer to then the sun is to the moon were sent away to a behavioral corrections ranch which would leave them severely traumatized for the rest of their life’s. I got scared before anything else; I had no idea how to be alone. I had lived my entire life surrounded by these people who were now taken away from me with no warning. My best friends since first grade deciding to ignore me for no reason left me questioning who I was and if the person people saw me as was really worth being. And with my cousins gone I had nobody to talk to about this dilemma. So I found comfort in the girl who I rode the bus with, Olivia. She found comfort in escaping. The first day I skipped school with her was not her first time skipping school, it was a new way for me to escape my problems and avoid my fears. We walked to target, the streets still iced over from the week before and it was really cold outside. I took a big red blanket and a book called ‘looking for Alaska’ We walked to her house and fell asleep on the couch after eating every snack we could find in her pantry which wasn’t much. That same day I came home and laying on my bed was a suitcase. My dad sat me down & explained that he was splitting up with my mom and going to stay at my aunts. At the time I didn’t know he hadn’t spoken to my mom or my siblings before talking to me. He gave me the choice, Him or my mom. My childhood home had been the victim of neglect, the carpets were full of pet hair & smelled of pee. I was 14 sharing a room with my slightly abusive little sister. It wasn’t a choice between my mom or dad it was a choice between that environment or a new one. There were too many memories and fears built up around that home. I left with my dad. When we got to my aunts I went upstairs and cried into my new red blanket. I cried because I wanted to go home. I cried because I wanted to talk to my friends. I cried because I wanted to see my cousins.
It took a few days for me to calm down and to let my parents’ problems fade in with my own. I started reading my book and I had never felt so understood. I kept skipping school and I kept stealing from target. Every night I would go to my aunts and lay under my big red blanket and my problems would become somebody else’s because I felt safe with Alaska and with my blanket and the comforting memory that the girl who rode my bus would always be there for me. After staying at my aunts for four months I was told we were going home so my parents could work it out. I was forced to move somewhere and here I had become comfortable and I began to feel safe again. but now I had to go back home and live under the roof which collapsed with fear and abandonment. I couldn’t understand it anymore; I didn’t want to be here. So I swallowed 52 aspirin hoping to fall asleep and wake up on a cloud without my family and everybody else that made me feel worse than I already did. But instead I felt crazy and more alone by the minute. I went into my brothers room and told him, he sat up, said “what?” and then laid back down when I didn’t respond. I decided to tell my mom, her & my dad fought for 30 minutes before finally taking me to the hospital.
Four months later I had a new best friend. One of my cousins had come home and we all kept up hope that the other one would come home soon. Never in my life had I been so grateful to be told I had meaning and to finally recognize this meaning. I’m not allowed to talk to Olivia anymore. Truth be told I never felt more important than when I was with her, I can forgive all of my friends who ignored me whether we are friends again or not. And now I can see my cousins when they come back. We are all meaningful and important and we all have a girl who rides our bus and we all have friends that will drop us and we all have cousins who disappear and we all have new best friends who mean more to us then the sun does to the moon, and we all have four more months. So don’t give up, don’t forget who you are and where you stand because one day all of this will matter and every choice you make is one more step closer to your next four months. Tonight Ill fall asleep after reading ‘looking for Alaska’ again for the sixth time under my big red blanket and wake up with a smile and hope that these next four months will only be another step towards becoming me.