Twelve

So, I’m sure you all heard the news at one point or another a few weeks ago. I turned 18! Okay, I know that’s not a big deal for some of you, but it was for me! It was like this huge checkpoint I had set for myself, a “goal” that I’ve been working toward. I got to celebrate it in the best way possible, too: spending time with my very favorite people in the world for practically the entire day. My mom and sister went out and bought a small cupcake and stuck a candle in it to sing me happy birthday in my room in the morning, and even though I couldn’t eat it (which my sister enjoyed), it was touching that they cared enough to do that even after all these years. 

They say birthdays get lame as you get older, and I guess that’s true for people who are getting old. My family says that everyone stops caring after you turn seventeen, that it’s not really a big deal to have a birthday at that point. I don’t know about that. Birthdays mark another year you’ve survived on this earth! That’s quite an admirable feat, if you ask me, and I think it’s a day that should always be celebrated in some way. 

I know that it’s somewhat taboo to talk about mental health still (let’s change that soon society, hmm?), but I think that for one blog post it will be okay. For many years, I’ve struggled with a lot of anxiety and depression, and it’s made a huge impact on my life. Not like an oh, I’m sometimes sad thing. That’s not just what depression is. It made an impact in the way that I had a hard time making it through a day without crying, without wishing that some sort of void from outer space would zap me up so I could stop being trapped inside my head with my thoughts for a while. My mind is my own worst enemy, and we’ve always hated one another.

Back when I was a sophomore, I couldn’t fathom the idea of turning eighteen years old. To me, back then, that was something that would never be accomplished.

Yet here I am! That same girl who didn’t think this day would come had a hell of a good time hearing Pentatonix sing her happy birthday at their sound check. And now it’s two weeks later, and I’m still breathing. Still living. Still Sofia.

I guess what I’m trying to say is… If you’re reading this, and the future seems unfathomable because your present is too much to bear, don’t give up hope. Even if you are dead certain that you know exactly what is ahead of you. Because, realistically? You don’t, no matter how much you believe otherwise. You have no idea what’s around the corner!

Am I saying that within a few years all of your problems will bippity-bop themselves away? No, hah. I wish it was that easy! Forget glass slippers and a pretty dress, Fairy Godmother, I wanna stop being upset even when good things are happening to me!

What I’m saying is that things change. They really do.

Kevin told me to take my story and inspire others to live their lives to the fullest despite their circumstances. So, like, that’s some heavy stuff, and I don’t know if anything I’ve got to say is that impactful, but I do wanna take his advice and let you know that things can remain crappy for a very, very long time. But there are so many good things that can happen to you despite this. Is it always going to be easy? Absolutely not. I wish more than anything that I could tell you otherwise, but I can’t. Life happens, and it’s not always fair.

You know what I do when I’m sitting in my room, having one of those nights where I can’t stop crying and hoping that music starts helping soon? I flash back to my favorite memories. It sounds tacky, but I really do suggest that you guys try doing this as well. Write down your very best moments, times where you were so very happy to be alive. Keep that piece of paper you write them on handy, so that when it all gets dark you can remember the light. 

For example, I remember how loved I felt when I made a mistake and Alexx and Anna still forgave me. I remember how comforted I felt when Mitch held me in a hug, back in December. I remember Taylor Swift blowing Anna and I a kiss. I remember having one of the best days of my life at a Neon Trees concert. I remember jumping on the bed with my cousin Anna and screaming Complicated at the top of our lungs. 

When things are dark, it’s important to remember the light. Vital, even. It can be so hard to do, because the dark is so much more powerful and makes us forget that light even exists at all.

But can I tell you something? Your life isn’t done yet. You can’t even begin to imagine how many more good times are headed your way!

So, don’t give up. Don’t stop running. I’m glad I didn’t, despite all of the struggles I still have.

Maybe you’re dreading a birthday like I was dreading mine. Try to think of it in a different light. It’s kind of like you’ve made it to the finish line of a really long and tiring race, and now to celebrate you get to eat cake! (Speaking of…. I already miss that beautiful gluten-free cake my sister Erica made me. Complete heaven. Can I have another??)

Also, thank you to everyone for the kind birthday wishes! I really did have a great day/week. My mom bought me a Peanuts balloon that I’m obsessed with. She still hasn’t completely deflated, miraculously.
Oh, and I just have to share this photo. When Avi came out to see us after the concert, I asked him if he wanted to wear the birthday sash I had on (thanks Alexx) for a picture. You know, since it was his birthday as well. It turned out pretty great.

Love you all.

Sofia.