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There was a basketball game that night, a home game. I was wearing my cheer uniform, yet barefoot. I made my way to the restroom. I walked down what appeared to be the longest, creepiest hallway (It was the only way to the bathroom) I guess I really had to go, I would never willingly walk through a hallway like that alone in real life.

It was a dream. I was walking down this lonely hallway. I realized as I walked, I was watching some of my toughest moments in life. Every step I took brought pain, sadness, regret. At every single step, my feet would become wounded. As I replay my dream to better describe to my readers, it's almost like reenacting the quote "Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes", you guys ever hear people say that? It's said so that others aren't judging us without knowing the challenges we face/have faced or our experiences. Some may say "Your always sad" - for example, but am I? Or are you being judgmental based on an experience I've shared? See where I am going with that? Anyway... back to my dream. I soon realized I was getting shorter (like if 4ft 9 at almost 16 yrs old isn't short enough) enough of that. The farther I got the shorter I got. Sort of like when you sharpen a pencil, it becomes shorter and shorter in time. I soon found myself “at the bathroom”, but it was a wooden box. “How am I supposed to use the bathroom?” I left. I kept walking but this time things were happening in the hallway that I hadn’t lived through yet. I walked all the way down the other end of the hall, I made it to a nice bathroom and found it to be relaxing to finally get there. When I woke up, I replayed that dream, replayed my life and realized the connection. Ever hear the saying, “There’s a light at the end of the tunnel”, I really believe that’s what I will take away from my dream.

Sometimes we get caught up in our feelings, whatever they may be - good or bad. We have good days and bad days. We make mistakes, we have regrets, we go through peer pressure, teen struggles, expectations of others etc. We are hard on ourselves, we want to be happy every day of our lives. We want to be loved, liked, appreciated, valued, respected, but we forget. We forget that life isn’t supposed to be chirping birds on a Saturday morning outside of our bedroom windows. Life is hard. We will meet good people and we will meet people that will challenge us, break us and make us question who we are. People judge constantly, what we wear, who we hang out with, what we post, how we look, how short or how tall we are, our weight, what we do for fun or simply what we are passionate about. In fact, you might be judging my writing right now. Sometimes we forget how far we’ve come, how strong we are, even when others remind us. Often times we feel like it’s our parents or our mentors job to tell us “I’m proud of you”. It really does take independence, growth and quiet time to reflect on all of our adversities, look in the mirror and say “I am proud of YOU”. Be proud of yourself. Your struggles and your battles are real and yours, but it’s going to take YOU to realize you’re stronger than those struggles. Remember “you grow through what you go through”. Be proud of yourself for getting through the toughest times of your life, allow those tough times prepare you for tougher times. Be patient with yourself when healing is necessary. I am turning 16 in 19 days, SIX - TEEN! It took this dream for me to reflect on the most painful times of my life. Sometimes we want to forget, we want to avoid feeling disappointed by others, hurt etc. we replace those feelings with keeping ourselves busy or find distractions until we are alone, until we have no choice but to replay those painful moments. Be patient with yourself, it's ok to have feelings, to have bad days, to be vulnerable - it takes courage to do all of these things.

Take time for yourself, be good to yourself, forgive yourself and forgive others. I hope this blog is relatable to my readers (after all, that is my purpose for writing). There is no such thing as perfection, let's work on being genuine, real, kind & happy. You don't owe anything to anyone but yourself - be good to you.

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