In one of them, I found literally dozens of certificates and awards.
Arianna — Most Likely to Succeed
Arianna — Congratulations on your outstanding copy writing!
Arianna — Sterling Scholar Finalist
Arianna — National Honor Society — 4 Years in a Row
Arianna — Presidential Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement
I ended up fighting tears and shoving those binders into a corner. The old me would be so disappointed.
It seems stupid, but I put so much effort into getting those papers and so much weight on them when I received them. When I looked at those tonight, I saw part of my soul, and I realized that the younger me would have been devastated to see her 3.9 drop to a 3.5, her hard-earned achievements tossed aside like they were worth nothing. Back then, that’s the only thing I had to hang on to. That and my stories. They were my credentials, my only source of confidence that was hard to come by.
And now I opened up one of my eleventh grade journals.
“Things will just get worse when I eventually fall in love with someone who likes my friends better.”
“I always lose my best friends.”
“Why couldn’t I say anything (or another variation of that)? I’m so stupid.”
“I wasn’t a good editor. I’ll never be. I’ll never be brilliant. Never be original. I’m just stupid, selfish me.”
“I don’t think I’ll ever find anyone who wants to talk to me and enjoy my company. Everyone hates me too much. And I know that Christ is always there but I just wish he could be here in person because he would understand me and cheer me up and want to be with me. No one else does.”
I wrote those things. Me. And I can’t…if you could read what I’m reading right now…
How did that little girl get through it all?