This week has been one of those weeks where it just kind-of happens. Really, it wasn’t extraordinarily special, but I did come to a conclusion. Throughout the past few years, I have focused on being as close to perfect I can be for others. Now, I have grown up a lot, and I’ve learned a lot about myself and what direction I need to be heading in. I’ve also learned that once you reach a certain age, you can’t let others make your decisions for you.
For example, I have tried to go outside of my little box A TON this past year. First, of course, I started with this blog. I used to be so scared to write about certain things because I didn’t know how others would react. However, I’ve learned that you can only gain the right kind of readers for your work if you stay true to yourself about everything you write. Besides the blog, I’ve also branched out with a new job, an internship, and now I have even signed up to be in my high school’s beauty pageant. All of these experiences have helped me grow into the person I am today, and I’m glad I’m pushing myself to earn back my confidence, to become the person I’ve been wishing to be.
I am one of those people who firmly believes in that everything happens for a reason. If an opportunity keeps pushing itself at me then I know it’s supposed to happen. The bad part is that only you can tell when an opportunity keeps knocking at your door. No one else but you can see what you see. So, once you step off the yellow brick road everyone else is wanting you to follow, you must have confidence in your own decision.
So, today’s Teacup Friday is really about growing up. At 16, I know that I still have a lot of room to grow, but I also know that who I was a couple months ago is nothing like the person I see in the mirror today. I’m more confident, more responsible, and much more mature. I’ve really come to find myself this past year. Now that I’m about to turn 17 in March, I know that there will be anymore opportunities and many more complications to come. However, I won’t let anyone stop me from doing what I know, in my heart, is what I’m meant to be doing. From my perspective, that could be doing what needs to be done to get my book out there or developing better relationships with the people in my life who have truly come to my rescue this past year and been a friend to me when I didn’t feel like I had anybody. Because I know that I have more room to grow, I also know that I’m going to have to do things on my own too. Sometimes, I’ve realized, it takes doing something no one else expects you to do for them to open their eyes and recognize that you’re responsible enough to decide your life’s path. Some people may take that in a negative way, but you can’t grow up by living by everyone else’s rules and standards. As terrible as it might seem for you to spread your wings, the flight will be worth it.
Truly, what inspired me to write all this are two of my favorite quotes by the same author and from the same book.
These two quotes have made me really think about my life lately, and I hope they help you too. “Our fearlessness shall be our secret weapon” from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green has become sort of a motto for me. Fear I believe is a problem for each and every one of us. Whether it be fear of not being good enough or fear of being too different, it doesn’t matter because you cannot let fear run your life. Fear, really, is a figment of our imaginations. It’s the monster under the bed that we used to be scared of as children. It’s something that exists because we allow it too, and it’s a bully. Just like bullies, you can’t give in to fear. You must either be brave enough to fight against it or have the courage to ignore it.
The second quote from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is, “You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, but you do have some say in who hurts you.” This quote, I think, is a quote anyone of any age should seriously analyze. It’s such a rebellious but logical quote that it’s almost confusing. We really don’t get any say on if we get hurt in this world. It’s sad, but it’s the truth, and anyone who thinks they can prevent someone from hurting is way in over their head. I also think, especially when it comes to parents and their kids, that it’s hard to face the fact that people who don’t deserve to hurt do get hurt. It’s almost like that girl who starts hanging out with a new crowd. Whether she hangs out with that crowd or the other one, she’ll probably get hurt somehow either way. However, she did get the choice in what group that would be. By restricting someone on their choice of who hurts them, you’re restricting them from finding a piece of who they are until later in life. You can protect them now, but you can’t protect them later. Doesn’t it make more sense to let a person grow and go off while you still know that they’ll come back? For me, that’s the logical way of thinking. I’ve watched numerous people in my life go through things they don’t deserve, but I can tell you right now that every single one of them learned something they couldn’t have learned other wise. People are complex and curious creatures. They may look like the kind of person you’d tag a warning to, but then they might also be that one person you’ve been needing in your life to make you happy.
So, I’ve found that if you combine these two quotes, you can come up with the ultimate life lesson on growing up: You cannot fear the hurt, because the hurt is what will make you stronger. Decisions should be made cautiously, but just like a book can not be judged by it’s cover and the general synopsis, a person must be given a chance to change the cover to match the content. They can’t do that if someone is throwing them out, tearing the pages, and coming up with conclusions through ignorance. First hand, I know that it’s better to do things on your own some times than continuously look toward a horizon no one else can see.
Though I know this Friday’s Teacup Friday was a bit on the serious side, I hope my story and overall advice will help some of you become the wonderful person you’re meant to be. It can be a lot of work, and it can mean going against some really tough forces, but in the end, it will be worth your time to watch yourself blossom.
Jinapher J. Hoffman