When I turned 18, this is exactly what used to float aggressively through my mind: “So, I’m 18! Big deal! Everything is still going to be the same.” People expect freedom, but I don’t think of freedom the same way others do. Freedom is not prancing around in a mini skirt and halter top, intoxicated and ping-ponging from guy to guy. Freedom at any age is being more aware of your surroundings and being more positively influential. You may say that I shouldn’t think turning 18 means being a positive role model, but we all have things within us that need mending and fixing, and if we’re not honest with ourselves, then who will be? If we can’t do ourselves that favor, then forget about fixing and mending; you’ll be better off dreaming.

I remember being on the metro bus as a child when a couple of ladies said something to me that I was too tiny to comprehend. “When you lie, you’re only lying to yourself.” I looked at them with a dumbfounded expression and had to pretend that they weren’t completely crazy — Mom always told me to be considerate of people’s emotions.

I thought about what the ladies had said to me from time to time, and a few training bras later, I really started to understand what they meant. However, I never applied it until I came to a big point in my life when I said the wrong thing to the right person. When I attempted to take back what I said, he disappeared before I could even think of apologizing. I ended up realizing that I had been lying to myself all along and not only was I irresponsible, immature and impolite, I was still in love with him like it was the first day I heard him say it to me. The emotions vanished as quickly as it all started. Inevitably, he told me that I should expect, and not be surprised to find out, that he would most likely be open for love in another’s heart. I didn’t understand, though, I tried as hard as I could.

After that conversation, months went by and arguments came. I didn’t want to let go of my security blanket. The big strong man who told me that everything would get better if I just allowed my head to hit the pillow, forbid the tears to continue drowning my eyes and let the sunshine wake me up with feelings of hope and happiness was always right about that.

It came to the point where I realized that he had nothing to do with me anymore. We pulled apart instinctively, and my blanket was ripped away. That’s when I realized that after all the days spent together, all the arguments, all the laughter and all the emotions — it was all worth it. The late-night cries holding my giant Pooh Bear tight and telling myself that it was the end of the world, taught me important lessons. It was the end of the world — the world of immaturity and irresponsibility. I had to grow up and realize that people will leave you and that security is never going to be steady and eternal. The lessons we learn are immortal only if we choose to pass them along to fellow friends and lovers.

Security is all an illusion. Just make sure you always tell someone how you feel no matter what and make sure he or she knows. That will and should give you a sense of vulnerability, but how else can you accept true love and happiness if you have a blanket over your head, crying yourself to sleep every night? Just let go of all sense of security and tell yourself and everyone you speak to that I say, “Dance away upon the stars and don’t fall until the sun comes up. And when the sun comes up, allow the rays to dance upon your bare skin.”