Updated: Oct 8, 2020
As many people will say, freshman year was a TOUGH one. I had no idea that this would be the year I would crumble and have no hope of reassembling my life in the near future. I spent so much of the year trying to paint a mask - a beautiful, colorful, yet "normal" mask. I look back to the numerous times I was pulled into my counselor's office to discuss my future plans after high school. After many failed attempts throughout the year, my counselor closed his book and said so kindly, "Lillianna, who are you going to be?" I sat up in my seat and looked at my callused hands from gymnastics and countless hours playing viola. Partially perplexed why my counselor did not ask me what I was going to be, I was still ashamed I could not respond to either question. I felt in that instant moment I have wasted nearly my entire freshman year. But more importantly, the question he asked would hang over me for the next few years of my life. Who was I going to be?
In April 2016, my family was notified that we would officially be moving across the Pacific Ocean to Seoul, South Korea. I spent much of the time leading up to the move in denial. I felt as if a curtain made of gray mesh fell upon the way I viewed the world. After all, I had finally spent enough time to develop and create meaningful and life-changing friendships just to leave AGAIN. I feel as if every military kid will feel that feeling of disappointment in oneself. I wish I didn't have to say that was a "normal" and frequent feeling but it is; you are not alone.
To the adults in our life, parents, teachers, relatives etc., I am sorry at times it might feel that you can not protect us from the struggles we experience as military kids. However, you must understand in our lifetime moving can be the hardest moments in life for us just as it can be for you. We must learn that we will have both positive and negative relationships that teach us about who we want to be. Most of the time, we have to figure it out for ourselves! After all, moving IS how we learn to bloom!
As I traveled around South Korea, my feeling of loneliness dissipated. I would soon find a new group of friends who would plant seeds seeds that direct me towards my newfound faith. I participated in many clubs that taught me how to be a leader. I would experience my first relationship, my first mission trip, my first breakup, my first real loss of a friend, my first love, my first time driving a car, my first AP test, and so many other firsts. But that's the funny thing about all of my firsts - they all shaped me to be the best version of myself!
If you ask me today, "Who are you going to be?", I cannot give you a clear answer, but you must know that I am going to be who the world shapes me to be. I am in control of choosing the people who make up my supportive, passionate, nurturing, unique, close-knit, and inspiring world. I know this will take time to set in. We are not meant to understand the ways of the world. Yes, it is true we can not always control where we go or what we lose in life, but we have control of who we choose to be.