When I look back over the year I see the changes I used to expect in a day when I was young. This year has been a huge one for me for growth. Last year on my 16th birthday I was still sad about my best friends moving away to the point where I didn't want to make any more, I was depressed, and enough that I didn't want to do anything for my birthday. I was having issues thinking past tomorrow, let alone down the road. I was afraid to show who I really was for fear of rejection. I was still cutting. I did everything in my power to blend in and go along with everyone else. I'm not saying that everything is different. I'm still scared to tell my parents how I really feel about them. I'm still struggling everyday to make the right choices. I still have moments when I question if life is even worth it. I still hurt about my friends leaving, even though it doesn't have a major impact on my life anymore.
Not everything that happened this year was great, and not everything was obvious growth. I went through some pretty dark times. I still struggle to stay with God and to live for Him. I still struggle with depression, and I think it will be a small part of me forever. I still hate myself and my body. I am still scared to talk to either of my parents. I still suck at dealing with pain in my life. I still try to blend in to the crowd. BUT... there has been growth. I don't think about killing myself everyday anymore. I don't worry as much about what people think of me. I'm less scared to express who I am. I can handle my pain in a healthy way. I no longer cut. I am not taking meds for depression. I got baptized. I spend everyday striving to live for God. I understand that when times get rough if I turn to God it's better then turning to drinking, drugs, or self destruction. I am able to cry again, which I hadn't for a long time. And all in all... if I think about it... I'm happy. That's something I couldn't say a year ago.
Every year marks a year of growth. It doesn't mean that suddenly on your birthday you are more mature. It means that everyday is growth. Everyday if a struggle and changes who you are. Every time it hurts to be you, every time you wish you could undo something, every time you are proud of what you've done or ashamed of it. THAT is the growth. Growth happens in the littlest moments, from choosing to do something for someone else, or realizing it's time to do something for yourself for a change, that's when the growth happens. You can't see it right away but it's there. So as I lay in bed at one in the morning, hopefully I will grow to learn that I need to go to sleep before midnight. For now... I'm 17. I have a lot more growing to do. I may have done a little more growing then the other people my age, or maybe just in different ways. Either way, I am alive today, against some odds, and I am proud of who I am. The crazy, goofy, protective, sometimes smart, and loved person I am. It just took me some time to become me.