I wanted to include something about the ninth anniversary of the attacks that shook America on September 11, 2001, in my last Bits of My Weekend post, but it just didn't seem like the appropriate way to talk about such a monumental day for our country. Like everyone who is old enough to recall the events of that day, I remember where I was. I was sitting in my sixth grade math class. I had heard murmurs in the hall as I passed from home room to my first period math class, but it wasn't until my teacher turned on our classroom television that I knew what was happening. We watched live as the second tower collapsed. Soon after, my teacher turned off the television and went on with her lesson as normally as possible. That's how most of the day went. Teachers tried to go about the day like nothing had happened, but it was more than obvious that everyone was distracted and scared about what the next hours, days, and months would hold. I remember that one particular teacher didn't teach that day and we had a study hall period instead. She was the teacher of my last class of the day and was out the door as soon as the bell rang. Students were constantly being called to the office as their parents came and picked them up from school.
The whole day was a blur and I know, at eleven years old, that I did not recognize the magnitude of what had happened. Honestly, I still don't know if I fully comprehend the events of that day. I remember being scared and the feeling of uncertainty that lingered in the air for quite some time. I remember bits and pieces of the conversations my parents had with me and my brother. They tried to explain what had happened and what it meant for the future of our country. I remember thinking how scared my mom must be to be bringing a new life into the world at this tumultuous time. My sister was born exactly three months later.
I have visited Ground Zero and have seen the damage. Although I do not, and probably will never, know the answers to all the questions I had inside of me, I do recognize the effect that fateful day had on our country. We pulled together and, through the fear and uncertainty, rediscovered our patriotism and love for the abundant freedom we have.
Nine years later, the anniversary was not an afterthought and was not forgotten by any means, but it was more of a recognition of the day that most people will never forget. I noted it in my head, but I wasn't reminded throughout the day because I didn't watch any television or anything. It wasn't intentional, but it just happened that way. I have to admit that it slipped my mind several times on Saturday. It wasn't until I was standing out by the football field at my old high school, waiting for my brother's marching band to perform their show, that I was reminded. The band played the national anthem. I have never had such chills in my life. Then, a trumpet sounded the familiar and eerie notes of "Taps" followed by a moment of silence. It was breathtaking, and beautiful, and the perfect tribute to the events that occurred nine years ago.
I found this on the wonderful Sweet Tea and Sunshine. This new year is coming at a good time. I realize that the months didn't turn just because I needed them to, but in so many ways, it is exactly what I needed. I am making a new start for myself, at a new school, new friends, new experiences, and most of all, a new outlook. I have the opportunity to come into my own and find out who I am supposed to be in this great, big world. Happy new year. I hope it brings everyone happiness, peace of mind, and a new, much needed start.
What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned this year?
I've learned, and am still learning, that things happen for a reason.
What is a new skill you’ve acquired?
I haven't completely acquired this skill, but I have definitely improved on it. I am a pretty big procrastinator and I have been working on the issue. I am making progress, but I definitely have a ways to go.
Did you do something big that you never thought you’d be able to? What was it?
I never thought I would be able to say goodbye to the people who I love the most, besides my family. I have realized, however, that it is never "goodbye". It will always be "see you soon" and that I will not lose the relationships I have with people at Mizzou just because I am not there physically. I also did not think I would be able to start over somewhere new as a junior in college, but look at me. I'm doing it! Some moments are definitely better than others, but I'm doing it.
What do you find beautiful about yourself that you didn’t before this year?
I have never really loved my hair. The curly, often frizzy, texture makes it hard to manage and almost impossible to straighten and have it last for a while. I am starting to appreciate my hair and the fact that it can be versatile when I am patient with it. I also love that I don't need to do anything to it in the morning besides use a little gel for it to look good. I realize this answer is shallow, but it's the first thing that came to mind.
Who did you grow to love even more?
I have grown to appreciate my family more, and love them in ways I maybe didn't before. The past few months have been difficult for me and I have really leaned on them a lot. They have always been there for me and have been supportive and that has only continued. I have recently realized how much they love me, not that I already didn't know, but I have needed them more recently than I have over the past few years.
Who did you grow to love or appreciate for the first time?
I have grown to appreciate my dad in a much different way than I already did. He really just has my best interests at heart and wants me to be happy and taken care of. He's always wanted those things, I have just had a hard time seeing it.
Who impacted you in a profoundly positive way?
Tom is a profoundly positive person. Throughout this entire transition, he has remained positive and has encouraged me so much. It would be so easy for him to blame me for leaving or be more concerned with his own sadness for me not being there, but he been so strong and helpful this whole time. He wants me to do well and be so happy here, which makes me want those things even more than I already did. I am so grateful for that.
Who surprised you?
My brother, Ethan, surprised me. He has grown up a lot this past year and is turning into an adult before my eyes. We have always gotten along well, but I feel like we have grown a lot closer since I came home from Mizzou in May. I am so excited to continue our relationship and watch him grow up.
Who infuriated you? Have you been able to come to terms with it?
I am not going to name names and be specific with details. In some ways I have come to terms with it and in some ways I am still upset about it. I know we are never going to agree on what happened, but I am hopeful that we can move forward and rebuild our relationship to some extent.
Who hurt you? Have you been able to forgive them?
Someone who I was very close to at one point hurt me. I have pretty much forgiven them.
What do you recognize in yourself that you want to work to improve?
I am in the process of recognizing my lack of independence. I am independent in the sense that I can take care of myself day to day and not have to be told what to do, etc., but I am dependent in a several other ways. Yes, I am in a vulnerable place right now, but I really need to be independent and take the initiative in shaping my life here at UNT. I need to go out and meet people and get involved, and I realize that I am the only one that can make that happen.
What food did you discover? Or what food did you grow to love?
I didn't discover them recently, but I have really grown to love avocados. I am pretty sure that I love them in any form and/or dish. They are the perfect snack and really add so much to foods. Yum!
What negative thing have you let go of?
I have, and currently am, trying to let go of all of my "woulda, shoulda, coulda" thoughts. I could have done so many things differently that would have impacted where I am now, but this is how things played out. I can't replay every detail of certain things over and over in my head. If I do that, there is no way I will be able to be successful or happy here.
What is something you’re truly sorry for?
I'm truly sorry for losing touch with people who I was once close with. I have a new goal of trying to put my all into maintaining relationships with those close to me. It should not be a difficult thing to keep up with the people I care about.
Who did you really hurt? Did you tell them you’re sorry?
I hurt someone that I was once very close to. I have apologized and I do mean it.
What goal did you accomplish? (It’s OK if it’s something “small.”)
I consider changing my major from journalism to English to be a sort of accomplishment. It was something I had thought about for a while and now that I have made the switch, I am confident that I made the right choice.
What are you really looking forward to?
I am really looking forward to seeing Tom during Thanksgiving! I seriously can't wait!!!
What is one of your favorite things about your life, looking back?
I have had a nice life so far and I have been lucky enough to experience a lot of things, see a lot of places, etc. My life would be nothing without the amazing people who I love and who love me. My friends and family are the best, hands down.
More to come,