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Dear Friend,

Three weeks in and I already feel like I’m going to explode. In all honesty I’m rather glad to be drowning in work, after all, my personal life?… it’s a mess right now and I would much rather distract myself with soul-killing busy work than think about it, not that forgetting about it is even possible. Sure, it’s my mess, but I wish I didn’t have to deal with it. There is so much floating in the air, so much uncertainty. I hate not knowing. Not knowing what other people mean, why they do what they do. But even worse? I hate feeling responsible. Over Christmas Break my Dad said to me, “I never really realized how responsible you felt…” A little confused I asked, “About what?” and he replied, “I don’t know, everything.” Everything. It’s so true, I feel responsible for the actions of those around me… if someone doesn’t talk to me, doesn’t invite me, doesn’t trust me…it’s my fault. At least that’s how I feel. This is very frustrating. In fact, it’s a habit I’m trying to end, but habits are rooted deep,  and this fear of “What if it’s MY fault?” goes back as far as I can remember.

I have lots of fears. In my senior presentation I briefly mentioned the fact that my middle school years brought with them fears that I couldn’t seem to shed. Fears of people, failure, darkness, heights, myself (in more of a “am I good enough?” way not an “am I dangerous?” way)… My goal this year (School year) was to be more confident, to shed some of that fear and start letting people see me for who I am… not the “cover” I wear on a daily basis. I’m not sure if I’ve been succeeding. Sure, I’ve taken a few steps in the right direction, I haven’t been afraid to attempt expressing my beliefs even though I know not everyone agrees (or even really understands what I’m trying to say), I’ve been able to voice my need for dialogue with friends, I even admitted to a friend that I liked him all through high school (sorta), but most importantly I’ve been willing to wear clothes. Now that sounds weird, after all you should all know that I am not part of any nudist cult(ure), but what I’m trying to say is, I’m getting better at letting people see me, with their eyes. I don’t feel like I have to hide underneath my sweatshirt all the time. There are definitely days when I rock a hoodie, but more and more, I feel confident enough to pull on a t-shirt, pair of jeans, and maybe a scarf or cardigan and just walk out that door. This, more than anything else makes me proud of myself.

So what’s in my future? I don’t really know. There are some things I’m hoping for, a hug, an apology, some improved communication, but at the top of the list? Some answers. After all, I hate the unknown.

Lots of Love, Mandi Jo