I’ve been doing assignments on time, trying to talk to more people at school, and getting to class when I’m supposed to. My life is less of a mess now. It’s like I’ve shelved all of the bad relationships and the sadness that used to overwhelm me. I’ve been talking to people who understand me more, and spending less time with people who want to dig their fingers into me and mold me in their image as if I were a lump of clay. They don’t even exist to me anymore.

It feels like I’ve wiped a layer of dust from my brain—my thoughts are flowing through me more freely. I can’t tell if I’m growing up or discovering something that was hiding inside of me all along.

I’ve been talking to a boy named Luke,* just friendly stuff about music and life—it’s nice to finally have such a nice, easy connection to someone. I’ve also been talking to a girl named Angela*—we went to junior high together, but we never hung out or even had one conversation. When I share my thoughts with them now, I don’t feel like such a pariah.

I’ve gone back to thinking of reading and writing as hobbies instead of something I can use to help me hide from the world. Now when I write, it feels like going home, and everything is just the way I left it. I like life better this way. ♦

* These names have been changed.