Brandice - Riverton, Utah
Entered on December 3, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

Having grown up in a strongly religious community, I have always believed in having a strong family ties, yet I have also come to the realization that your friends affect the person you become. Having lived away from my parents for years, it has been my friends that have helped get me through crisis after crisis.

I have seen that as I befriend people who go entirely against everything that I was taught as a child, I have changed. Thinking that I could change them for the better and into something that my family would like for me to follow around, I changed instead of them. I would lie to my parents because I knew that they would never let me go and ‘help’ my friend. At first I couldn’t tell a difference in myself; then I noticed that all I thought about was how I could help my friend see what she was missing. I so desperately wanted her to see things that way I saw them, but it was no use. Countless times I gave up one principle or another just so I could make sure that she was ‘staying out of trouble.’ Nothing seemed good to me. I couldn’t seem to do anything right; my friend was still heading the direction that I thought was wrong, and I was following right at her heels. I was changed so much so that I contemplated ending my life, and a few times tried it. I was ready to give it all up because of what my friends would say or do to me. I couldn’t imagine that I could ever find myself and who I was meant to be.

Once I had hit this point in my life, I left. I left everything that I had known and believed. I left a broken girl behind. Once I left and started a fresh life on my own, I was starting all over again. I had to redefine myself into something that I wanted to be. As I began to find myself, through experiment after experiment, I noticed that certain types of people would congregate around me; I didn’t have to search high and low for them, they would just come to me. When I first was out on my own all I had was what my family had instilled in me as a child, but even that was so buried inside of me that I didn’t even know I had it. All I knew that I had was common sense; I knew that was given to me by my parents. Once I knew what direction I wanted to go, I had already found a group of people that would help me get there. I was, and am finally happy.