Most adults look back on their teenage years with a sense of nostalgia for the good and reckless times, as well as relief that they never have to experience the crock pot of emotions that came with it. Yep. I’m smack in the middle of it. 16 is a delicate age. You begin to question everything you once knew about yourself. I have always known I am “different”. Not quirky like Ellen Page in Juno or hopelessly mysterious and alluring like Holy Golightly. Just different. I have never been great in social situations, and friends (especially girls) were not my forte. I was a biracial and anorexic-ly skinny child in a sea of Connecticut basics. I loved to dress in the fashion trends of the day, standing out from the yoga pants and pink sweatshirts of my generation. I preferred penny loafers and black cigarette pants. However, my biggest “difference” was my intense and somewhat unpleasant demeanor. I walked around my school with resting bitch-face. I still do. I am incredibly driven and, sometimes, too serious. And this is very obviously a turn off for most fun-loving teenagers. But my hard exterior is not just evidence of my academic intention. There is an emotional scar. I do not find it easy to be myself around others. I do not find it easy to trust. And this is my biggest difference. My biggest challenge. But it is evolving, from an accepted way of living to something I can overcome. I can work my hardest to be more open. To lighten up. To be happy. To live a life where I can experience the joys and make change in the world. My difference has taken it’s toll on me for too long. Yes I still get emotional and cry and internalize about the way I am. But I will no longer let it define me. Because we all have a choice to take our life into our own hands and not let our insecurities bring us down. My teenage years have and will be hard. But I will not regret them. I am becoming me.