Growing up in the typical American middle class nuclear family I have long believed that I was the typical American teenage girl. As senior year of high school came, this average straight A- girl with a boyfriend, applied to nine universities and colleges before the middle of October, in search of the “perfect” school for me. Swayed by family, friends, and everyone around me, I looked to what was best for me in what was best for those around me.
I began to define myself not by my actions, my interests, and myself, but by my peers. I got lost in the image of the “Straight A, goody two shoes”, with an older boyfriend. I choose things I normally did not choose. I abandoned friends and would only do things if my boyfriend came with. I became friends with his friends, not because I liked them, but because I did not want him to pick his other friends over me. I did what the others wanted me to do, but I still never did anything I did not want to do. I never drank, smoked, did drugs, or had sex, but I was emotionally controlled by them. I was never controlled by any force, but by guilt.
“Would you come pick me up, I don’t feel like driving.” “Would you pay for that, I’ll pay next time?” “Why did you schedule your lesson then, how are you going to see me then?” “I don’t want to come over to your house. Well then, I guess you can’t see me if you don’t come over to my house.”
These were all phrases that I heard almost every time I talked on the phone. I could never say no. What would happen if he got mad at me? I could not handle the guilt of disappointing someone, of even letting him or her down in the slightest bit. Guilt consumed me, although I did nothing that would cause guilt.
Every time I thought of who I was, I immediately thought of those who were my “friends”, not who I was, what I was like or what I chose to do. Every time I talked of college, I would be given where I should go so I can be with so and so, or because that is where my family went. This pressure from those around me even came from people who I know truly cared about me, my family.
I believe that this treatment is the downfall of a young women who is still trying to understand herself. One needs to learn to truly understand him or herself not those around him or her, not even by actions, but by what and who the person thinks he or she is. In my case, I believe, that I am a n eighteen year old girl with a love life, beauty, politics, and music. I have spunk, I believe in morals, and I believe that I will find myself, not in others, but with others.
True friends help to bring out the soul and just the person everyone is. It may be through the crazy up-all-night chat the night away parties, where sugar was the main attraction of the evening. Or it just may be talking a friend though a bad situation. Whatever it may be, I believe that true friends help to bring out a person, a not to define him or her. This is what I believe.