He said, “You have a lot of growing up to do, Amanda.”

The words hit me like I had just splashed myself with boiling water. The pain took a second to register, but once it did, it lingered. He said a lot of things that, as of this writing, I still wish I didn’t hear over and over in my head.

But that’s the thing – you think you’ve really been doing a good job. Holding it all together, working on bettering yourself, maintaining the status quo. And then, all of the sudden, life hits you with a big “talk to the left, ’cause you ain’t right”.

So whatever it is that I’m doing, or not doing, something needs to change. This person that I AM, the girl who gets mixed up with the wrong people, the woman who, at 27, still calls herself a girl, who loves too deeply but doesn’t love herself enough, the one who has experienced fleeting moments of happiness and permeating soul-crushing sadness… she’s going to change. Because she can no longer survive.

I am determined to live. To love. And so help me God, I will find my happiness and peace somewhere.

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