When I was in kindergarten, I walked up to the tallest person in the playground and asked what grade they were in. They said year 6. I was gobsmacked. School really went all the way up to year 6! Would I ever make it that far?
When I was 7 years old, my mum and I moved in with my dad. I went to a school that went all the way from prep to year 12. I remember getting a lot of dental work done and being scared and rebellious. Did a kid like me have a future?
When I was 10 years old we moved back to Australia and suddenly I was the weird foreign kid. I had all these new experiences to share but I was too strange for anyone to want to sit down and hear it. Would I ever find my place?
When I was 16 I cried after my birthday party and I didn't know why. I felt alone in a room full of friends and didn't know what I was feeling let alone how to express it. I soon found myself dropping out of high school and leaving home. Was this feeling going to eat me alive?
When I was 19 I tried to work and study and found I was still scared, and although I now had a better understanding of why I felt this way, I still didn't know how to control it. Could I ever have a normal life?
When I was 20, I got a casual job in a spare room of an office that would only last a couple of weeks. A manager asked to meet with me and told me of how the staff around me were praising my quick learning and good work ethic. She offered me a full time position in the company. Was I finally growing up?
I am 21.
I have been through and seen so much in my short life, and just the thought of it all and that I got out alive blows my mind. Healing took a long time but I am here now, I am finally one with myself. I don't think I've found my final place of belonging but rather the road to that place, open doors I never thought I'd see, hope I never thought I could have.
I want to sincerely thank my mother for being the one constant in my life. We have had tremendous highs and plummeting lows but through it all we have always been by each others sides and I feel so lucky and blessed to have you as my mum. I never felt like I was missing anything even when it was just you and me in a granny flat. I strive every day to be half of the generous, graceful, funny woman you are, to have as much humility and compassion for others, I am always in awe of your selflessness and what you have sacrificed for me and I can only hope that I am finally making you proud. Even when we fight you are perfect, even when we disagree I adore you, I cannot imagine my world without you and I thank you, I thank you with everything I have for loving me the way you have.
I want to thank my fiance Adam for being endlessly patient, loving, caring and kind with me. You have loved me at my worst and now we will go forth at our best. I'll never truly believe that I deserve you but I am going to hold onto you with everything I've got. I will never be able to thank you enough for the way you have supported me and stuck by me. I would never have made it through these past four years without you, not a chance in hell. I love you.
I want to thank Amy, Audrey and Bonnie for making me feel like a princess. Thank you for restoring my faith in friendship. You are all beautiful and I am literally always telling people how much I love you guys. I'm blessed to have met you three and I am so happy we can all be friends together- and on that note let's all have many more lunch dates in the future.
Finally I will thank anyone that's ever been kind to me here on the world wide web- if you're wondering if this is about you it is. Sometimes online friends are all I have and you have all been stellar. I'm sorry for being so annoying on twitter. I want to especially mention Lama, Ariel, Ashley, Ruth and Kiko.
Today I got to have lunch with my closest friends and tomorrow my coworkers are taking me out, then I am having dinner with my family. I feel blessed, I feel loved. I am happy.