First off, over a span of four years, I have lost 13 people that I hold near and dear to my heart. At my young age, I have already lost multiple family members, classmates, and best friends. They have all passed in different ways, ranging from cancer to drug overdose to drowning. This has taken a toll on me emotionally and mentally. I can barely recall the last time I cried, and I have learned to suppress emotion to the point where I can get sick.
Secondly, at the age of 16, my family was on the verge of losing my home. Imagine back to when you were a teenager. You probably did not worry much about family finances, taking care of much younger siblings on a daily basis, or finding ways to help the family save every single penny. Your mind was probably on what you want to do for prom, when you can see your friends this weekend, and what college you will be attending shortly. I was worrying about all the things listed, as well as how I could afford college, athletics, and extracurriculars.
Finally, I did not have one person that I could call a friend until I was 16. Imagine not having a single person that would be with you consistently, through all the ups and downs, good and bad times, and everything in between for 16 years of your life. I was horribly treated by people who I thought were my friends, and the ones that I was close to ended up passing away before I went to high school.
Just recently, my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer for the third time in her life. I know that I am on the verge of losing another person that I hold close to my heart and love deeply. I now have to suppress more emotion to not show weakness.
1) Life is way too short for regrets. I lost someone who was only 17 when he passed. He lived life to the fullest, and I am doing the same thing. I do everything with a purpose and a reason, and I will make sure that it gets done.
2) People will come and go from your life, and you must learn how to cope with it. Most of the people that passed away all died the end of my freshman year and beginning of my sophomore year of high school. I had to learn how to still put a smile on my face while internally I was crying and screaming. I learned how to move on when something horrible happens in my life.
3) Love yourself, and surround yourself with people who love you for you. I will be honest: I absolutely hated myself when I was younger. I did not like the person I saw in the mirror every morning. I created a fake personality, fake past, and fake persona to make myself socially acceptable. When I was in my junior year, I met someone that I praise and thank God everyday for being in my life: my best friend. She saved me from myself and introduced me to myself. I met people who loved me for me, not the fasad I had on for almost all of high school. Since then, I now have a better self-image and love me for me.
I know all three of these things sound incredibly generic; they are all true. All three of these things are ideals that have made me love myself again. Now I can wake up every morning with a purpose in life, look in the mirror, and not hate the reflection. It is an incredible feeling that I hope I can pass on to others across the globe. Let all the tragedies that roll into your life make you ten times stronger.