Growing up as one of four, a quadruplet, made finding my own identity rather difficult. I was constantly confused for one of my sisters, continually mistaken for someone I was not. With this, how could I possibly escape the label of “one of the girls” and become known as an individual with her own unique characteristics? How was I supposed to survive outside the comfort zone of the group of sisters I’d been sheltered by throughout my entire life?
Once I entered high school, things got really tough. For years I’d already been trying desperately to find my “special talents,” but whether it was a dance group, soccer team, or orchestra that I joined, I still struggled to feel confident in myself as my own person. I began to fight with my sisters, to argue out of jealousy and secret admiration. I found myself in the office of a therapist every weekend trying to sort out my angers and frustrations and to find a positive outlook on my own life. With the end of this period of sisterly tension (tough love, as I like to call it now), I finally began to feel a sense of pride in my own abilities and comfort in my growing independence.
Just when I felt that I had both feet on the ground, my newfound sense of having a place in this world was turned upside down. It was the afternoon of my sixteenth birthday and we’d just gotten back from the beach. The phone rang and my mom answered. She soon told me the last thing I expected to hear; she broke to me the news of my cousin’s death, a death caused by a heroin overdose. He was only 23. This hit me hard. There had to be some reason this happened on that day, some message I was supposed to figure out, I was sure of it. I wondered why people are here on Earth, why I, just one person, even matter. I read books about Heaven, prayed endlessly, and cried like I never had before. I eventually came to realize that there are some questions in life that have no answer.
I may never know why people live and die, why some people care and others don’t, why some suffer while others flourish, what my life might have been like without such an identity struggle, what my purpose here on Earth may be. However, this hasn’t stopped me from striving to be the best person that I can. It hasn’t stopped me from working hard for the best grades in school, taking advantage of once in a lifetime opportunities, and trying to live each day like there is no tomorrow, filled with as much love and laughter as possible. I can proudly admit that I don’t know all the answers to life’s questions, but what I do know is this: striving to discover the unknown, even if it is impossible to find, can be the most educational, inspirational, and rewarding way to live. This I believe.
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