Growing Up: Changes that Change Us

Growing Up: Changes that Change Us

My own take on how growing up has changed me and my life slowly but also, quickly.

Lately, I have been thinking way too much (dangerous, I know) about who I was in high school, and even in my first couple years of college. Obviously, we know growing up and changing happens to all of us as we move through these different chapters in our lives. There are times where we lose a sense of time and move from day to day doing the same routine; class, work, bed, eat, and repeat. There is no stopping the fastest machine; the human body. This slew of habits becomes us, and we do not slow down and try to think of where we came from, where we are heading or what will happen if we don't appreciate life.

These thoughts have been flooding my brain, making me contemplate whether or not the decisions I have made were worth it. Maybe I could have saved those friendships that fell apart, or maybe I could have studied harder, tried to be better. Yet, the past is the past, move on, just don't forget where you came from. As thinking back to high school, I remember my best friends I was with all the time, day in and day out, and how we were inseparable and couldn't be stopped. I truly believed that these people would be at my wedding in the future, but now I don't even know if they are okay or how their family is doing. I couldn't go a week without them, and now I don't even have a passing thought about them. Growing up sucks, it's weird and disappointing to a fault. We made decisions, on both sides of the wall, to either keep our distance or try to stay in touch, but we layered the bricks one by one, day by day, to not talk or communicate. I hope you are all doing well, those reading this, and I hope your old friends are okay as well.

Another thought I had, was when did it become senior year and law school approach so quickly? There seems to be no time between starting the school year and graduating, heading to adulthood real fast. People said high school would be the fastest four years of my life. I never believed them and now I'm just one day, one week, closer to ending my undergraduate career of college. This isn't happening, there is no way I need to apply to another set of schools, that I need to take more tests and go on to more education. My life is going by insanely fast, and I know my friends are thinking the same thing, they just won't admit it. Admitting it means it is actually happening, and we don't want to face that just yet.

For me, growing up and furthering my education, becoming more of an adult, means my younger brother is also. Nothing makes you feel older than thinking about someone younger also growing up to be just as much as an adult as you are. My brother and I just had a conversation the other day, he is looking at furthering his education after culinary school and it took me a second not to cry at the thought that he is getting older too. We hope to move to the same area for school and then live together, but imagining my own apartment is horrifying, I have to pay real bills and get real insurance and all that crap. My friends here are talking about graduate school, looking at full-time jobs following graduation, becoming something better than they are. That is the ultimate goal; to become someone you would have looked up to as a child. As much as growing up sucks, and is scary and terrifying, it is also new, amazing and eye-opening. These changes that are shaping us are here to show us there is more out there than just ourselves.

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.


When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

SEE ALSO: They're Not Junkies, You're Just Uneducated

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

Most of all, thank you for showing me how to turn my hurt into motivation.

I have learned that the cycle of addiction is not something that will continue into my life. You have hurt me more than anyone, but through that hurt, I have pushed myself to become the best version of myself.

Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

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Batter Up

Because someone needed to teach her rotten boyfriend a lesson about how to treat a woman.


I have this memory from when I was younger,

I must have been six, maybe seven? An age

When you can remember, but not quite

Understand. I remember the landline

Ringing sometime in the middle

Of the night in my grandmother's small,

But adequate house. I had been sleeping,

Tucked under a shield of satin covers,

My grandmother next to me, blanketless,

And stiff, on the very edge of the queen mattress

Like she was anticipating some sort of disaster.

It wasn't the phone that pulled me from my sleep,

It was my grandmother's instant jerk, her eyes

Flipping open quicker than a light switch,

The mattress springing back up, adjusting

To the new lightness as she fled the room. My waking

Was soft like a song. Slow and humane.

My eyes adjusting to the dark, my ears absorbing the ringing,

My mind reminding itself that I was at my grandmother's house.

Then, the ringing stopped;

Abrupt, like a disarmed fire alarm.

It was just a drill, I thought.

But, then I heard the mumbling

From behind the door, panicked mumbling.

Rapid, like gunfire. My grandmother's Rs

Rolling down the hallway and under the door crack.

She only spoke Spanish when she was angry.

The call ended, my grandmother returned to the room,

Wrapped me in a blanket, and carried me into the night.

She buckled me into the backseat of her Toyota and said,

We were going to Auntie Mandy's house because someone

Needed to teach her rotten boyfriend a lesson about how to treat

A woman.

When we arrived at the house, we found the front door

Wide open, the house lights spilling out onto the porch.

A truck, I had seen once before, was parked a foot away

From the front door, aggressive. The truck had trampled

Over the dandelions and daisies, which lay wounded

In the front yard. A scene that begged for investigation.

My grandmother told me to stay put in my seat.

I watched as she walked to the back of the car, her normally pretty

Face turned straight, looked masculine. I watched as she pulled

Something wooden out of her trunk, then in her feline walk,

Approached the house. She turned to me, and I saw the

Baseball bat, immense in her female hands.

I slouched in my seat, the window above my head.

I never saw her go into the house.

I don't remember how long I sat,

Until the red and blue lights came.

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