So in this blog I'm just going to get a little personal. IAt first I didn't really think I should post this, but I decided it's something the world can know about me. I'm trying to be open.
Since I didn't do much today, after being so tired from the party, I decided to write about the effect Germany has had on me.
Throughout middle school and high school everyone is trying to find themselves. There's the kids who go out and party every weekend, the ones who don't care about school or learn to care about school, the ones who just want to find a close group of friends, and the ones who feel alone.
I'll tell you a little secret: I always classified myself as the one who felt alone. Sure, I had friends and best friends, but all the while, there was a part of me that was alone. Separated from the rest of the group. I don't know why, but I never truly felt like I belonged. I was happy when people talked to me because half the time I'd be ignored (although that may partially have something to do with the fact that my voice is very quiet) by kids at school. I basically never got invited to parties, although I probably wouldn't have gone anyway. I felt out of place and blah blah blah. I could go on but I'm not going to. I think you guys know where I'd be going with that.
Anyway, that all changed. At language camp I finally had people I could openly talk to, and nearly everyone talked to each other. There was no ignoring, pretending people weren't there, etc. It was the first time I felt like I belonged to a group, a family. Sure we had our issues, but in the end we were really close and it was a blast. I found that being part of something did amazing things for me, for my self-esteem, for my self-confidence, everything. I didn't feel alone anymore. That was the beginning.
I started school in Germany in my senior year. Everyone in my grade has known each other since the 5th grade, and I was the newbie. So of course I was nervous. I didn't know if I'd be able to make friends that easily considering I am a quiet person (at first), but what I experienced was the complete opposite of what I expected. Within the first few days all of my doubts and worries went away. I was welcomed with open arms by everyone in my grade. People were excited to get to know me. For the first time I'd get a few "Heys" in the hallway (which btw still makes me happy) on my way to class. People were eager to help me find things and explain how things worked at the school. I got invited to a couple of parties within the first week, and people were just overall friendly. I've found my really good friends and my other friends. I know they genuinely care, and aren't just putting on a fake act (as, I'm sorry to say, happened a lot at my high school). I finally feel like I'm really a part of something bigger. Like I matter. Like it's cool to get to know me. And while it's never been about popularity, it's nice to know that I'm not invisible anymore. It's nice to know that people know who I am...that they're kind to me...that they really want to know how I'm doing and so on. Through this feeling of acceptance among my peers I've finally been able to come out of my shell. I was in a shell so long I forgot what it was like to just let loose once in a while and have fun with people I care about. So yes, I have changed. I've become me. A better version of me. A more confident me. A me who knows what I want and knows how to get it. A me that has fun and doesn't always care about being little miss perfect (which is all I had to hold onto as an identity for the past few years). I have grown up, changed, become more independent, become confident, and I honestly never want to go back. So after all the struggles of trying to find myself in my entire high school career, all it took was a little kindness and the love of others to teach me about who I am as a person, a friend, an athlete, a young woman. And for that I say thank you.