I wanted to tell it like it is, that they were right: it’s nerve-wracking being a teenager. But instead, I explained to them the importance of being a trusted friend, and that friendship made the teenage years fun, when true camaraderie grew and developed.

My friend Bailey is looking at me with tears in her eyes and a smile of pure joy. She sees me, the real me, not the broken little bird that my mother sees, or the Ambassador of Hope that my father sees, or the girl who was stupid enough to walk off with a stranger and ruin everyone’s lives that my sister sees. Bailey sees me as I want to be: a normal, non-newsworthy, non-broken, non-victimized sixteen-year-old girl.

If knowledge is lacking, your destruction is inevitable.
Hosea 4:6

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