to whoever may need it,

Choices. Whose are they to make? Yours, mine, theirs? The correct answer in most situations is you—it’s your choice to make. The correct answer for every life decision you must make is also you. And I don’t think that a lot of people see it that way.

Your life IS your life. Your mistakes are your mistakes to make. Your choices are your choices. All of these are things YOU have to live with every day; no one else. People have their opinions, they always will. But you do not have to surrender to the words coming out of their mouths. I know firsthand that it’s not an easy task to step back and do what you believe is right for yourself, especially with multiple eyes on you, just waiting for you to fall.

I’m a firm believer that what other people say or think about you, is none of your business. I also believe that you can’t afford to allow any negative energy take up space in your brain; because I also know that that is a recipe for mistakes to be made. I say that because sometimes you have so many people surrounding you who keep telling you what you need to do, and who you need to be, and after a while you, yourself forget who you really are in the process. That’s not a fun trap to be stuck in. From that point on, unless you fight your way out, you’re stuck behind a glass wall watching your life be lived for you.

I think this is a good thing to know as a young adult. Because that is especially a time in your life where everyone is going to be bossing you around, trying to tell you what kind of life your supposed to live, when in reality, you should be telling them who you are or who you want to be.

I feel very, very strongly about this because the last four years of my life have been based around all of these things. I made the decision to leave public schools and be home schooled, not once, but two times.

Some nights I would lay awake after my choice had been made and wonder why in the hell my parents allowed me to do something so extreme with my life, even when they disagreed with it. Now, though, I’m thankful. They allowed me to make my own path, even if it did take a lot of fighting on my end. They understood that it was my life to live and if I wanted to leave all of my friends and sit at home alone every day, that was mine to decide.

The second time I decided to leave school was halfway through my junior year and during the middle of basketball season. Basketball was my first love. The ball in my hands was always a place of comfort for me. But being on the court watching the ball go through the net from behind the arc was what I lived for. I’d never feel more alive than I did in those moments after a made basket.

So as you can imagine, when I told my parents I wanted to do online schooling again and ALSO graduate early, surprised is a huge understatement of what they were feeling. I was willingly choosing to skip out of my last half of junior year season and my senior year? What in the world was going through my head?

This is a time when I allowed other people’s opinions towards me get the best of my life. I had so many things being thrown my direction I didn’t know which to try and catch first. So instead, I just let it all fall. I chose to listen to the voice in my head telling me I wasn’t good enough. I chose to let the words other people said about me reserve space in my head. And ultimately, I allowed myself to make a decision I wish every day that I wouldn’t have.

I sat on the sidelines watching my friends play the game I loved without me. The hardest part was living with the fact that it was my choice that put me on the sidelines in the first place. Yes, I had other people who were an influence in the situation. But were they the ones who went and pushed the idea at my parents every chance they had, causing huge arguments about whether or not it was the right thing to do? No.

In retrospect though, I can’t even begin to tell you how much that choice strengthened me in the end. I now feel confident enough to know that when I make another mistake, I’ll be able to grow from it. But I’m also infinitely grateful that my parents eventually allowed me to do what I felt I needed to. I won’t say that it was easy building up the strength to ask them and then fight for what I wanted. But the end result of being able to live my life the way I wanted to, was worth all of the pain in the end.

I guess that other kids aren’t as lucky as I was. A lot will have to fight way harder than I did to be the person they want to be. But to them I say doooo it. The only thing in your way is you. No one is stopping you from sticking up for yourself. And if you have to fight through hell and back to be the person you want or to live the life you want, I promise with my whole heart that it will be worth it.

I also know that you will have at least one person on your side who will willingly fight with you. So if you don’t have anything else that’s a guarantee, you can know that that is.

The world can be anything you want it to be. YOUR world can be anything you want it to be. It will almost never come easy, but the struggle is what makes you who you are. And I hope that you don’t ever lose sight of who you are, because I promise that the person looking back at you in the mirror has the will to fight for what they want, and is a hell of a lot stronger than you may feel at times.

Please, never forget this.

-Kelsi

 

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