My life consists of pieces – some tell a story about the six years I lived in India, others about the two that I spent in Sunnyvale, California or the four in which I enjoyed the slow, drawling life of Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina. Some describe the six months that I spent in a miniscule town in New Jersey or the year in which I basked in the never-ending sunshine of Fruit Cove, Florida. When I tell people this, I’m assaulted by “Oh, you poor thing!” and “How could your parents do this to you?” But my parents are not to blame – I am. I was always given a choice; my parents valued my opinion enough to take it into consideration in the matters of shifting our lives to a completely new place. And my answer to their “Are you okay with moving?” was always yes.
The hardest place to leave was South Carolina, where I formed the deepest friendships. Saying goodbye hurt us all tremendously. My closest friend told me that everything happens for a reason. The reason, in this case, happened to be me. How could I have wanted to move? Because my life had grown to feel monotonous and protected – everything was just too perfect. I needed some chaos and fear to beat back the growing monster of ennui. I wanted to do something that scared me out of my mind.
My seemingly twisted reasoning actually makes a lot of sense. I believe in taking chances and doing what scares us the most. That is the only way to dispose of our fears. I continuously threw myself at my fears of being away from people I had grown to love and becoming the new oddity from another state who would sit alone and read at lunch.
I’m sometimes asked if I regret having traversed what seems like every corner of America. I don’t. I have never regretted it, not even when the movers broke most of our furniture when we went off into the sunset to Florida. I am what I am now because of the northerners, southerners, and westerners I have met, hated, and admired. I’ve grown up playing in hot, sticky, Carolinian marshes, and I’ve stared at an almighty northeastern blizzard from my bedroom window. But the biggest reward from all of this was that I conquered my fears.
When I inevitably left Florida to start again in Georgia, I did not shed a tear. At my new school, I found that I didn’t care at all about what others were thinking of me, the strange novelty. I believe in taking risks. Not because I want to prove to others that I’m not afraid, but because I want to prove it to myself.
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