Angel Butler, Gwinnett Magazine Intern
Life is a movie with no sequel. The camera starts rolling the minute you take your first breath on this earth. There is no script, it's all improv. Never knowing what will come next. In all my years of being on this earth, I never knew things would have ever turned out the way they did.
For the first time ever, I was in unfamiliar territory...a small fish in a pond bigger than I even thought to dream of. My life was the same routine; it was familiar. It was comfortable.
Being in a different environment with different people makes you feel...in lamest terms, Just Different. My personal little slice of stability heaven was shattered. I was faced with probably one of the biggest tragedies to ever happen to a 13-year-old girl. In the midst of me figuring out the beginning of my teenage angst and who I was as a person, a piece of me was snatched from my life without a moment's notice.
A girl was without her Dad. There are so many things that I always assumed my dad would be there to see me accomplish and that was not a possibility anymore. He was gone. That's a hard pill to swallow. I was a mess, angry at the world and sinking so deep in my inner turmoil that I couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Now, as I look back on it, maybe I wanted to be angry. So many tears shed, and words unsaid. I felt so alone. Like no one could understand the pain I felt. How can I vocalize my hurt and let someone else see my deepest vulnerabilities? My solution was to bottle it up and push it all deep inside myself. And like an explosion waiting to happen, more fuel was added.
A big change happened -- high school. The torch was lit, and I had two choices to make -- let the fire rage into a uncontrollable mess or use that fire to spark something for the greater good.
I took my hurt and made it work. My anger was now my motivation. As crazy as it sounds, I had to prove to myself that despite all the change beyond my control, I would be alright.
Yes, there are long nights of frustrations and tears. Days where I question EVERY part of my existence. Those are the days I look to my mom and my amazing support system to let me vent and get back into the game. I am a strong believer of everything happening for a reason. I never knew I possessed the strength within myself until I had no choice but to be strong. I had to rebuild myself after my father's death almost destroyed me.
Looking back, the girl I was would never in a million years think of doing half the things I do today. If I could go back and tell 13-year-old me one thing, I would tell her, "Everything will be okay, you're stronger than you think." I am thankful for the pain because without it, I wouldn't have known that there is beauty in the madness that is this thing called life.