My seventeenth birthday will be coming up in a few days and I have recently been wanting to talk to you guys about a lot of things. I want to be able to share my life and my friends with you, talk about who has impacted my life in a big and super important way.

I was going to say I chose friends because a boy, in a romantic sense, has never impacted my life and can everyone please just say in chorus : “Bullshit.”

I have had romantic involvements that have created my ideal list of personalities that I want and don’t want from a guy because dating gives you an insight about what you want in the future and ignoring just how much they have impacted my life would just be idiotic and unrealistic.

So I have decided not to talk about those who have shaped my life because they know who they are, they know that I wouldn’t be where I am now had they not been in my life. They know how much they meant to me as they were some of my closest friends and they know that they will always matter to me.

Instead, this is a letter to myself. A letter to the freshly turned sixteen year old who thought she knew everything, the thirteen year old who thought her first kiss would be her last, the 11 year old who thought she would never lose any of her friends, the nine year old who was excited to be a grown up and even the six year old who dreamed of being behind the wheel.

At every point in my life, I thought everything would be exactly the same twenty years down the line or I had perfect pristine images in my head that was for sure going to happen. Only for the new year to come around where I would realize just how mistaken I was. Friends would come and go and I matured and needed different people surrounding me and vice versa, fights would pass, boys would be loved and lost.

And I, a little battered and a little bruised would still be me.

Being sixteen was honestly my reality check. The six year old me who was excited to one day drive had magically aged ten years and finally could. It was only then that I realized that this myth of freedom became my nightmare as I realized how much I HATED DRIVING (For all those who plan or have told me that it will change… Trust me. It hasn’t and it will not!)

The freedom in reality was paired with a jumble of nerves and a requirement to trust yourself and others behind the wheel. How am I supposed to trust utter strangers?

The eleven year old, so sweet and so innocent, was convinced she would never lose any of her friends but as years passed and she grew older, friends would come and go. When I was trying to be witty in making a comparison to friendships that came and went, I think of wind. Wind comes in so quickly and sometimes quietly but even so, you immediately feel the amazing impact of the friendship but eventually and just as quickly as it came, the friendship is over and you are moving on.

Just because you are no longer friends with these people doesn’t mean that you hate them, it just means that you guys grew up and drifted apart and you won’t ever forget any of them, they are amazing and they were your friend during a time that nobody else was but that also doesn’t mean you have to be friends with them forever. As amazing as this fantasy is.

The thirteen year old who naively thought her first kiss would be her last. Three years later and she finally did have her first kiss and at sixteen years old, your dreams seemed to be becoming a reality. It was sudden and nothing like what you expected but it was there and you still thought you would marry him but just as sudden as this (even though it was a month into the relationship) , it ended (which took about a month.)

The sixteen year old who thought she had life figured out. Her school, her major, her interest, her romantic life, her friends. She thought she was set and nothing would change.

But at almost seventeen years old, I am finding myself in a battle with my nine year old self who dreamed of growing up. Her innocent mind was unblemished from the real world and full of images and fantasies left her blinded… But me… Now seasoned and though I don’t know everything and I will openly admit that… I know that instead of being excited to grow up, you should be terrified and I am.

I know that I am going to constantly think I know everything right before I am thrown a curve ball that will undoubtedly change everything. At every point, I must be convinced that I will keep all of my friends and  that all of my relationships will not be thrown into a fire.

At almost seventeen, I realize that if I don’t live my life in that way then I will never truly live. That if I don’t love even with the chance of getting burned in the fire, I will never be given the chance to fall in love.

Which, in all honesty, is terrifying. I am walking into my life perfectly aware that my heart may get broken, that I may lose them in my life and I have to believe that everything will be okay in the end.

Are you excited to be seventeen?

No… I am terrified of growing up with that responsibility but honestly, I think the experience will be an amazing one that I will look on in later years and realize how important each and every event was.

So yeah,

Sabrina Ingram.

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