Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I need YOUR help ;P

with character development

So if any of you have parents / aunts / uncles / family friends, or know anyone in their 40's, preferably early to mid rather than late, no matter how remotely, leave me some information please?

just like, male or female, approx. age, if they have children and if so how many, etc
their jobs
if they've had any other jobs, if so, what were they, how long did they keep them for
what they do in their spare time, in family time, their hobbies, interests, favourite tv shows even
what things are important to them, what concerns them, what world events catch their attention
blah blah blah
what do they talk about a lot, do they bring up old memories much or talk about the future, or present, or recent memories?
do they talk about / see family; parents, siblings, nephews, nieces, etc
and how they feel about their in laws
just anything, pretty much
thanks (:


Thursday, December 4, 2008

I want to write a story that is the length of a decent sized novel

i have several stories on the go, i have one which def won't be long, and the other, eh...
There is one serious contender for it, the Ten Years Today one. Except I still don't know what I'm doing with it.
I'll put up the beginnings of the others later

p.s. i must do this coz someone told me i can't stick to it long enough to write a novel length story ^_^
and you know what i'm like with proving people wrong..


Sunday, November 16, 2008

"I had sex with my father to make him happy" who wants a longer version?

sighhh. Okay so I called it "Her Daddy Said So" but you know, sure, "I had sex with my father" describes it far more clearly ^_^
anyway so two people have asked for like, a longer, proper version
ehhh not a fan of rewriting or restructuring stuff i've already written but if i get more than two people wanting, well i am but here to serve /pssh
sooo if you want more, >.<, people always want more lol aha little cynical voice there,
anyway, yeah you have to comment, not just tick those damn boxes, stupid idea >.<
soooo comment
and i'll get to work on that other thing previously as well, ze washing machine / lighter / letter thing....
so.. /bows
what would you like, my people?
AHAHAHAH my people...
i appreciate constructive criticism a lot.


Sunday, November 9, 2008


Toivoaa is allowing people to read a portion of her writing, not just the completed thing... I hate hate hate having people read something of mine when its not finished, or at least you can see a sizeable amount of it and know the direction its going in. i'm very tentative with regards to my writing, even more so in it's unfinished stages. even if i think it's good, i worry that i have flawed judgement and so, anxiously await the critique of others; then think that they're just being nice coz they're friends... until i allow myself to be convinced, kind of. i'm probably overly critical of my writing, but ah well.
anyway this is completely unrefined, it's going to need some working over, plus i'm still turning over in my head different directions it could go. and it could go many different directions ^_^
i have to pick one, maybe two and go with that. once i have tried one thing, it stays in my head and i can't shake it while trying to go somewhere else with the same beginning...
i'm nervous.
tell me if i should just can it now.

here goes...

[and yes it does finish mid sentence]

He read the letter one more time, carefully, before crumpling it in his hands. His hands, which were shaking, he noticed, absent-mindedly. It had been a long time. Ten years today, in fact. The old questions stirred to life once more, tumbling like the contents of a washing machine; yet never, it had seemed, to be hung out to dry. But now, finally, some had been laid to rest.
He turned from where he was standing still, suddenly, abruptly. His mind was no calmer than before, with these answers came yet more questions; more puzzles he may never know the answer to. The whirlwind had reawakened, and he was once more caught helplessly in the swirling turmoil it brought.

Sealing the envelope, she ignited the lighter. Holding it close to the paper, she watched the tiny flame flicker blue at the edges. So small, and yet contained unseen within its innocence and warmth, a terrible power lies. Power to destroy, to shatter lives, to take everything beautiful in


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Her Daddy Said So

So I found a hard copy of this story finally. I would not like to have lost it, since I keep records of everything. I got 18/20 for it... I wrote this last year in semester 2 for the Murder and Mayhem year 11 English course. Just in case the thought crosses your mind, this isn't written from experience in any way hahh. I haven't looked at it since I wrote it, sooo hopefully it's somewhat decent. From what I remember it was kindah horrifying and disturbingly painful to read, having got into the character while writing. Hopefully it is still as realistic as I thought it seemed then. I didn't have the heart to kill off my poor, brave, main suffering character, which could easily have happened with such a parent. >=( I wanted to leave an opening where she might escape and find a better life, out of her heartbreaking childhood. I guess hope comes out in my writing also.

She awoke from the pain, for an instant not knowing where she was. Bright lights assaulted her eyes as she attempted to see. The ever recognisable disinfectant smell that belonged almost solely to hospitals hung in the air [sentence too long aghhh]. She cringed. She hated the hospital, having been there often enough. Finally adjustng to the light, she saw her daddy sitting at the end of her bed. An involuntary shudder shook her small body once more.
"Daddy, I'm sorry!" she whispered. "I didn't mean to."
Her daddy looked up and smiled.
"It's good to see you awake, honey. You've been asleep for quite a while."
She smiled tentatively back at him as he turned to the nurse.
"She worries that everything is her fault... I'm not sure why. She's just a kid; they're always having accidents at this age. I could see it happening, too. I tried to stop her, but I was too far away. She just fell off the balcony like a little rag doll. God, I had my heart in my mouth."
Lowering his voice, he continued. She had to strain to hear [what he was saying].
"It's just that she seems to have more accidents than most, always falling off this or that, bumping into another. A few months back she managed to pull a mug of hot coffee off the kitchen bench. It poured all over her. Poor thing's screams could be heard around the whole neighbourhood, I'm sure. I'm worried she might have some sort of co-ordination or eyesight problems?"
The nurse gave a sympathetic nod.
"Yes, it's always tough when they're little. Mind you, it doesn't improve as they get older. The trouble I've had with my two boys... my God[, doesn't bear talking about.] Anyway, if you want, I could arrange for her to have a proper check up."
He thought for a while, then slowly shook his head.
"Might wait a bit, see if she grows out of it. I was quite clumsy as a child as well. It probably runs in the family."
He laughed, and the girl watching him intently from her bed relaxed further. When her daddy laughed, it was a good sign and meant she was less likely to do something wrong. But this was still one of those laughs that he used a lot around other people, especially at the hospital, when sometimes he was still angry but didn't want to show it. At times like that, he also said lots of things that weren't true, and was as nice to her as if she never did anything wrong. She still couldn't understand it.

But she was only a stupid girl, and she was so bad she couldn't understand the things other people did. Even when she tried her hardest, she still couldn't help but do something naughty. That's why she never went out of the house, except to the hospital. That was also why her daddy had to punish her, to teach her the right thing. One day she would be a good girl and her daddy would let her go outside to other places, and make friends with other people. Right now, if she was friends with anyone she would turn them into bad people too; she was a bad influence.

It was because of her that her mummy left, and because of her that her daddy was out of a job. It was because of her that the house was so messy, and her fault that daddy was always angry. If she could just be quieter, if she knew how to cook, if she cleaned and was good, then he would be happy and everything would be okay. But she was just a lazy bitch. Her daddy said so.

The nurse left the room, explaining she had some other patients to check on. The instant the door shut, her daddy stood up and came closer. He no longer made any effort to mask his anger, the fury twisting his face.
"You little shit! I'm trying to help you, and what do you do? You can't even learn a lesson without injuring yourself, costing your daddy even more money! I try to do right by you, but you don't appreciate anything!"
She fought not to cry, not to shrink down inside the blankets. She had done the wrong thing and had woken her daddy up too early. She had to accept her punishment. Crying was wrong. So was trying to not learn a lesson, which was why she nodded, taking every word to heart.
"I'm sorry, Daddy," she whispered once more.
"Oh, you will be! Just wait till you get home."
The nurse entered the room once more.
"That's a brave girl you've got there," she said brightly.
No she wasn't. She was a selfish brat.
Her daddy said so.


The girl was led upstairs. It was growing dark but she could see that the house her father had walked her to was just as dirty as theirs. The woman she was now standing in front of seemed rough and slightly grimy, in keeping with the surroundings.
"What's your name, girl?" the woman asked brusquely.
"I don't really have one, ma'am. But I think I was called Jesika, once."
She didn't say it aloud, but she thought this name had been given to her by her mother. She had a faint memory of a woman talking to her and smiling at her, [looking at her in a way she hadn't seen in a long time. In this memory the woman was] saying,
"Jesika, can you say Mummy? Can you smile for mummy? Come on..."
She was sure this was her mum. Maybe it was because she hadn't been able to smile and say "mummy" that her mother had left...

She was jolted out of her thoughts as the woman grabbed her arm.
"Come on, Jesika, then. I don't know if you know why you're here and if this is your choice, it's like as not, but that's not my business."
She stopped outside a door with no handle. Pushing it open, she said, "In you get."
Jesika walked in and sat down on the single item of furniture in the room, the small, grubby bed.
"Now wait here until someone comes in. Do what you are asked."

With those words, the door swung shut and she was left alone. When her father had left her here, it has been without a word of explanation. Without her father here, how could he tell her if she was doing something wrong? She needed him! Never had she been apart from him for longer than ten minutes, and never while away from home. She didn't go to school because she was so stupid; she couldn't even learn the lessons he tried to teach her.
So there was no way she could learn other, harder lessons.
Her daddy said so.
Before they had left the house today, he had told her it was time for her to get them some money, since she used so much of it. That had to be why she was here.
She didn't question the matter any longer. Questions were for people who were smarter than her.

Eventually the door opened once more and a man walked in, taking a swig from a bottle. Jesika sat on the bed looking at him. After a minute, he roared, "Well get on with it girl!"
"What do you want me to do, sir?" she asked, hesitantly.
He grabbed her by the collar and pulled her towards him, throwing the bottle to the ground as he did so. [The glass shattered, flying across the room.]
"I came here for a fuck, not a bloody question and answer session!"
He tore her shirt from the collar down, and from there ripped off the rest of her clothing [clothes].
He then slammed her onto the bed and took off his own clothing.
"You don't look like much, bich, but you sure are gonna learn a few things tonight!"
With another leer, he lowered himself on top of her.
All of this time, Jesika had remained silent. She had learned to accept anything without complaint. But even she could not stop her screams as her nine year old body was first entered by a man that night.


At the age of ten, she arrived home one morning to find her father passed out on the floor. Several beer bottles and a puddle of vomit lay around him. She knelt to wake him gently. Blearily, he opened his eyes and sat up.
"Ah, fuck." Putting his hand to his head, he cursed some more.
"I've got one bitch[hell] of a hangover and a lying slut[bitch] for a daughter who can't do anything but try to ruin my life. What'd I do to deserve all the shit in my life, huh?"
He snatched the ice pack she'd run to get and stumbled off to bed, leaving her to clean up.

Later that day, he called Jesika to his room.
"You want to be good some day, don't you?" he asked.
She nodded.
"Don't just nod!"
"Yes, Dad."
Now, do you see that you can't even answer a simple question right? How can you expect to ever make me happy, when I do so much for you and all I get in return are your screw-ups?"
"I don't know, Daddy. I'm sorry."
"Well, I've thought of something you might be able to do right, something that could make your daddy happy."
"I want you to show me what you can do in bed. You ought to be pretty experienced by now, yeah? Come on."
She hesitated. The chance for her to finally do something right, to make her dad happy, was the one thing she wanted most in the world, but this felt wrong somehow. Yet how could it be wrong? Her dad was telling her to do it, and he was never wrong.
Jesika slipped out of her clothes with practiced ease, clambering onto the bed. She was finally going to make him happy, and so she ignored the lingering doubt in her mind as she was united with her father in a way that was never meant to be.

Because her daddy said so.

Ms White : "Capable use of setting and dialogue and a sympathetic development of character."
- strong internal landscape
- middle section needs strengthening
- "A horrifyinh portrait of abuse. The protagonist's voice is clear and strong. How does this fit within the topic?"
Uhhhhh well I'd say it was just a little "mayhemic" but ehh fine. 18 out of 20, i'm happy. It's kinda bland at the start and I'm not so satisfied with it, tell me what you think?


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

You Drained Me Empty and Hung Me Out To Dry

"I wrote this two nights ago, so it's recent. Incredibly tentative about my writing of poetry... not so sure how well I can judge it's quality. But it's more for my benefit than yours..."

I'm out of words, and out of touch

To be honest I didn't think it could hurt this much

I'm losing feeling, brain cells too

I'm losing everything, I lost you.

I thought I could set anything down on a page

I thought that was the answer

But I'm sitting here dazed

And the thoughts are spinning around in my head

Washing machine, clothes dryer,

Just put me to bed.

I'm searching for letters, to make just one word,

But nothing is coming, say I'm being absurd.

And the fear is growing from deep in my chest

My one escape gone, help me, I'm out of my depth/

Well the light at the end of the tunnel has gone,

I'm so empty, so hollow, don't care what's going on,

And I'm dripping, I'm melting, I'm fading away,

Nothing you do makes me want to stay.

"Hello, I'm the ghost, the ghost of your past,

Aren't I familiar, did I slip by so fast?"

The words gallop away,

Leaving me trapped within

My deepest fear,

"Let me out", or come in!

I'm chasing these futile lines in the wind,

Leaving you to this world

So gloriously dim,

And I'll look back but keep on forever this way,

Keeping, keeping, the memories at bay.

"it's the worst thing ever, i only do prose. and it's unstructured, written on the top of my head, may come back and fix it later, but eh."


Fear of Exposure

"Hmm, I wrote this early this year, I believe. It was one of the worse times. I have changed so much (:"

We could tell them a story,
We could sing them a song,
We could pray that they’d listen,
That they’d known all along,
We could open our hearts,
We could break down and cry,
We could write them a letter.
But we’ll silently die.
For we are but stories,
Written ourself,
In our own language,
Kept closed on a shelf;
And if we exposed,
Our weak paper lives,
They’d be easy to burn,
And we couldn’t survive.



Okay so this is not something I'm really happy with, but ah well. For English earlier this semester, we had to write a short story beginning with the line, "The door opened to reveal..." I had no idea whatsoever as to what I could write about, until I decided to base it on a recent dream I had of one of my friends dying, which I woke up crying to. Since I was all out of ideas, I did use that, and managed to tie that line in, although it was terribly done. The ending was also rushed and I had no idea where to go with it. Sigh. I love him so much, I would be devastated if this ever actually happened, even considering circumstances. So, here, then, is "Remembering".


The door opened to reveal a bright array of clothes. Glaring out at her from her cupboard, they hurt her eyes. She struggled to focus. What could she wear? Then again, what did it matter? Tears slipped from her suddenly shut eyes.

Why was she finally crying now? Not even why; how?

It took her a while to notice, disinterestedly, that the tears had stopped. Drained of energy, she sank to the ground.

Then, before she had time to stop herself, the images were tearing through her head. Flashes, disjointed, each moment searing her memory, speeding past, but all in slow motion. A tiny voice within her mind rationalised that it was impossible for something to happen both slowly and quickly, and yet, it was happening right in front of her.

His face, oh god, she had never seen such pain on his face, never even seen so much expression. He was good at that, at hiding his emotions. How could such feeling be displayed in just one look? Her heart was about to shatter. Rejection, loneliness, and utter hopelessness, in that one expression. She was drowning in the depth of his eyes, anguish burning up every fibre of her body; her hurt quickly forming in answer to his. A million questions flooding her mind. She had to help, she had to comfort him. Yet, trapped, she couldn’t move. He was wrong, people cared. How could she make him see? He knew she loved him, she made sure of it, but sometimes one person wasn’t enough.

She fell back to the quiet room, thrust from her remembrance with a harsh suddenness which removed what remaining air she had in her lungs. As when it had happened, she wasn’t able to make a sound, wasn’t able to move. Every time she thought she’d found somewhere safe to stand, the earth tilted once more, leaving her scrambling for a grip on something, anything – just to hold onto until steady ground appeared.

Another voice inside questioned why she was trying to hang on. It was much easier to simply surrender to the chaos, to this broken, unfamiliar night which her world had become.

But something deep down wanted her to keep going. She’d thought she had never felt so helpless in her life as at that moment, but this, this was much worse. For this was final, now. She couldn’t save him anymore.

It should have been enough, one of her inner voices screamed. It could have been enough!

That was the one thing about him that she wished she could have added to; for him not to take things so personally, for him not to give up. He always took the little things to heart, the things that no one noticed. In a circle of friends, his input passing unheard or interrupted made him feel invisible, struggling to accept that in the exuberance of the group, comments by all were missed at times.

She remembered, with a piercing stab, the times he had mentioned to her how he was incapable of talking to others; running out of things to say, stumbling for ease of speech. She had only ever seen his distress about this in the form of anger, an emotion always simpler than misery.

Then her closed eyelids were acting as a movie screen again.

She was abnormally alert to everything around her in that instant. How could no one else notice it, stifling the air? If she wasn’t a statue, frozen in time, she would be bowed to the ground with its weight. She had felt the physical manifestation of emotional pain before, but never like this.

Gasping, she snapped open her eyes. It was too much. She found herself staring at her mirror. Her pale, tired face looked back at her, and she found that she could barely recognise herself. Strange that she could change so much in a few days, but then again, on the inside, she had changed so much more. The emptiness had started that day, from her soul, and quickly spread throughout her body. She was hollow throughout, a paper shell. There was nothing left of her; she was a vacant body with legs of wood – she could hear their clunking on the ground when she walked. Tilting her head, she watched the copy in the glass do the same. With a rush, the feelings welled up in her, and her reflection began to blur.

Tears, again. She felt strangely relieved. So she could cry about it. She wasn’t completely empty. This thought pressed the play button on the moment once more.

They were all walking along the footpath, on their way to the shops. There were about fifteen of them, all talking loudly, as usual. She had left him with a few of their friends for a while so she could spend time with some of her other friends amongst the group. She was also trying not to fuel the rumours that they were anything more than friends. They were best friends, nothing more.

He’d see, after a while, that people appreciated him. Soon. Still, after a few minutes, she turned to look for him, if only to make eye contact for a second, reassuring each other of their presence as they always did.

It was then that she saw him backing away, out onto the road.

His face, oh god, she had never seen such pain on his face, never even so much expression (but she had, she had seen this all before).

Their eyes locked. Her heart constricted. He was lying down, lying down on the road oh god, and she was screaming and screaming but she wasn’t making a sound, and he was closing his eyes, how was no one else noticing; “get up get up get up” but in her head; panic rising and spilling over, and rising higher still.

She saw the car, and everything slowed down. A few people turned, and saw, like she did. She heard screams, but still none were hers. Her screams were in her mind and in her tearing heart, pouring from her eyes and she was begging him to look at her, and to get up, and she was trying to run but she was a statue and she couldn’t move, and then she was hit by a car and she felt the impact but it wasn’t her it was him and the car was stopping and the driver was getting out and he was lying there and she was splintering into a million pieces…

This time the tears didn’t stop.

Later, the funeral. She had finally chosen something from her wardrobe, blindly, and somehow pulled it on. Somehow dragged herself down the stairs, out the door, into the car. Everything was a haze. She was vaguely aware of her parents next to her, and she was glad for their presence as she entered the funeral home; without their support she might collapse, walking on these wooden legs. She looked for the others, looked for a friend; and the first person she saw was his mum. Her breath caught, she felt like she was about to throw up, but she hadn’t eaten in a few days, and everything was spinning far too quickly around her. His mum looked completely destroyed, and suddenly it was a fight not to blame herself. She was there, she could have stopped it.

No no no.

And she was screaming inwardly again.

How long would she be doing this for?

This was all wrong!

This could not be happening.

The next few hours passed in a blur. She withdrew within herself as a natural reflex, blocking everything out.

The days and weeks afterward followed in the same way. She hadn’t returned to school and the thought was something she dreaded. How could she be there, and not have him there too? The memories would flood in unstoppably and her egg-shell barrier would cave. As it was, she thought of him all the time. The faintest thought would lead to some reminiscence, some remembrance of him and then she would be shaking. Nothing else seemed to matter.

One day, feeling as low as she could remember, she recalled him comforting her when she was upset. She remembered his words exactly, his, “It will get better, eventually. You just have to keep going.”

Why couldn’t you do the same?

She was sobbing, but what he’d said kept repeating in her mind.

Had she kept on going, really?

Sure, she had, physically; she was doing things – eating, sleeping, walking. But emotionally, she hadn’t. She had shut down, with no plans to continue. And something about that struck her as hypocritical, for she had said the same thing to him as well. He hadn’t thought she’d needed him, and she had, she still did. She missed him everyday. But was that an excuse? She had to keep going, like he had wanted her to. Tears were spilling down her face. Fighting not to feel all this time, she could no longer shut it out.

She didn’t need to move on; she would never move on, but she could keep going. She could prove to herself, and to him, that it was possible to do this, no matter what. Because that meant that he could have too, and in some strange way, that comforted her.

She got off her bed, and went to look in the mirror. Tried on a smile. It looked false, so she stopped. If she wasn’t ready to smile, that was okay. She’d take it slowly. It would never get easier, but she’d keep going with life, through the pain and the tears, and one day through the smiles and the laughter that would come. And everyday, she would remember.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Youth Opportunities Speech

I dunno why I'm putting this here lol. Mostly coz I want to post something but it's all on the other computer...

This is a speech I wrote at the end of term 1 this year after a course called Youth Opportunities that I partcipated in, this was the final night where we explained to family and friends what we had taken away. In all honesty, I need to read this again and let the truth of what I said then sink in again. I leave you to it.

Today I have a story to share with you, a story which many of you won't have heard before. This story is not yet complete, so it is only the beginning you will hear for now, but hopefully that will be enough for you to gain an understanding of how I am here, and what exactly that means for me, and the people around me.

My name is Larissa, and I guess there are many reasons why I'm here, why I needed to go through the process that brought me here in the first place. Some of these I can honestly say I don't know, some are fairly obvious, but however well you know me, you will no doubt have seen glimpses of some of these things.

At the start of high school I had very little confidence; I had only just started making friends after being painfully shy throughout most of primary school. Since none of these new friends were coming to the Hub with me, I was really nervous. However, I did make some more friends in the first term of year 8, some pretty much instantly, and as I got used to high school, I seemed fairly happy. But going on into year 9 and partway through year 10, I was secretly pretty miserable, although it hid it well, mostly. Some of you may ask what it was I had to be sad about, you may tell me about the other problems people have; and I am not looking for sympathy, this was never meant to be a sob story. All I know is that it was not life I hated, but myself. I secretly questioned what my friends saw in me, why they were even friends with me at all. I told myself that I didn't deserve friends, amongst other things; I actually could not see anything about myself positively, although I learned to fake it. Every time I said something seemingly nice, or good, about myself, I would inwardly turn it against myself so that I may as well have just said I wad worth nothing and could do nothing.

Let me tell you something. It is not hard to be miserable; it is one of the easiest things in the world. And happiness, well, you have to work for that, you have to keep going, keep getting up, every single time you fall; and sometimes, sometimes that is the hardest thing in the world to do. There was a time that I decided to give up on hope, hope that I would one day be happy with myself, and face up to reality. But this so called "reality" was in itself a lie, and I came to realise just how important hope actually is.

School work was a major problem for me during part of year 9; due to my terrible organisational skills and procrastination, a lot of my work was left to the last minute and I felt like I was drowning in school work for a lot of this. Not knowing how to deal with it as the work just kept piling up, I wanted to leave my life for a bit, just stick my head in the sand and try to forget everything that was happening. Needless to say, I was unable to make this happen, so I kept trying to avoid reality and put off the work as long as I could. Obviously in doing this I was just digging myself deeper and I knew this but I couldn't seem to stop. I ended up doing most of my assignments at the very last minute, staying up for hours the night before a due date when the necessity finally kicked me into action. Not sleeping more than 3 or 4 hours a night for weeks on end because of all the stress from school made me tired all the time, and that obviously didn't help anything. With the start of term 3 I began to get on top of all of that a bit, and my grades improved heaps, in my opinion at least. I wasn't terrified of coming to school for the first time in months.

Since then, things have slowly been getting better. There have been so many people in my life that have helped me get through things I never thought I would, some without even knowing just how much their presence in my life has comforted me, and I am incredibly grateful for them every day. I have been gradually learning to rely on these people that I have learned to trust more, learning that exposing our fears isn't so bad, that hiding problems only makes them darker, scarier, and more mysterious, giving them power over me that they never should have had.

But even with all the learning I was doing on my own, even as I was taking my first tentative steps outside my comfort zone, I needed something more. In spite of becoming ever more accepting of who I was, I still had my doubts, times when misery still seemed the easiest and most comforting option; really, the safest option.

Yet looking far ahead, I saw myself as happy, truly happy, not just outwardly happy, but as having an inner contentment. Youth Opportunities has given me the tools to achieve this, as long as I choose to use them along with other things in my life.

For me, it was really hard to decide to even choose to do the course in the first place. Upon first hearing of it, my first instinct was to run away and hide. I was so scared by the idea of doing the problem, and thinking about it, I realised the problem was that I knew it could help me if i wanted it to, but being helped was something I was scared of. It has long been a habit of mine to deny that anything is wrong, that I may ever need help, because that would force me to admit that things need to change; and change is one thing I was deathly scared of, without ever realising.

Change means leaving our comfort zones, breaking barriers and limitations that we ourselves have set, accepting the need to grow, and taking action on it; it means travelling to uncomfortable heights, uncomfortable places. Someone I greatly admire once wrote, "It is certainly easier to stay silent. That's what most people do. We don't like dirty laundry. We prefer to wear our cleanest shirt. But we have to learn to face our broken stuff. We have to do our laundry. We have to learn to let go, to grow." Throughout the past few months, I have come to realise just how true and how necessary this is for me.

By facing up to reality, and applying skills I have learnt in Youth Opportunities, I have begun to take responsibility in my life, and while I'll admit school work has become a problem again this year, I am working on fixing it. Being in this program has challenged me to make improvements in my life that I never would have made on my own, and I know it is now up to me to decide how I want to live my life. I have gained a sense of direction to my life; while I am still not sure what career I want to go into, I know my general purpose in this area, and this has helped me a lot. I can be happy and successful if I want, and making the decision to be happy every day is something that becomes easier and more of a habit the more I do it. Believing in myself and accepting myself is still an ongoing process, like most things in life, but I am confident that I can get there.