Leaving My Nest

Jaclin - Venice, California
Entered on June 22, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I could never find my place in middle school, everything always seemed forced, unnatural, and I always felt like I had to prove myself to be accepted by the people who were my “friends”. I was so concerned with how I was viewed by others that I was completely unaware of my own feelings about myself. Everyone around me associated me with that group I was in. I no longer had an identity; I was that girl who was in the popular group at school. People assumed that I was the exact same as everyone in that group. Soon rumors spread, people got hurt, and I was lost. People I surrounded myself with formed opinions about me that became my own opinions about myself. Suddenly, I didn’t have my own thoughts, my own words, I was a mindless robot controlled by my peers. I had lost myself.

I believe in my inner strength, the acceptance of who I am and who I want to be. I believe in surrounding myself with people who accept me for who I am.

I was in 6th grade, alone, a brand-new school full of terrifying new faces. Transitioning from a small private elementary school to a large public middle school, I felt like a bird leaving its nest for the first time. Everything around me appeared larger then it was. I was overwhelmed; everyone around me seemed to know each other. There would never be a place for me here; I was an outsider that could never be let in.

Then I saw them. They were packed together like birds being fed, hungry for the satisfaction of humiliating anyone in sight. Their laughter could be heard miles away and I was desperate to find out the entertaining topic. These girls soon became my friends. I changed for these girls and did things I wouldn’t normally do. I was responsible for rumors and gossip that hurt many people. I betrayed and disappointed everyone and the guilt soon began to hit me.

After a night of several disagreements with my parents and my sister, screaming and yelling at the top of our lungs, my mother came into my room to find a scared and confused girl sobbing into her pillow. She reminded me of how kind and respectful I used to be. How I used to enjoy life and walk around with a smile not caring about what anyone thought about me. She told me that I used to spend time doing things I love with people I cared about.

I began to distance myself. I found people that had positive things to say and made me feel good. All the negative thoughts about myself that I used to have and constantly talk about with my other group of friends were gone. I was a more happy person because I wasn’t pretending to be someone that I wasn’t. I found people that loved the me that I loved; I found the strength to be myself. I was finally prepared to leave my nest of comfort and fly into the real world.