She walks down the hallway not really wanting to talk to anyone, but she wants to be noticed, she wants to be remembered. She smiles and laughs and makes jokes that crack up the whole classroom. She may be overly outgoing sometimes, like a bit too much chocolate cake eaten at a birthday party, or too many drinks that make you nearly swoon, but you can't get tired of her. Why? That's because you barely ever see her. She is an expert at being seen, noticed, but when she wants to disappear nobody can compare to her invisibility skills. At house parties she's the girl who will probably shut herself in the bathroom wishing she'd never showed up, but previous to that she'll be the life of the party. Nobody ever really does see her outside of school...and when they do she dodges them or forces herself to talk to them when they approach her. At school everyone knows her name, has seen her around, and has heard a thing or two about her. Even the students' parents know who she is, whether from pictures or small town talk. But why is she such a complex creature - with her beautiful smile and expressive big brown eyes, but those eyes can be so empty and her smile can not come on demand sometimes. You wonder to yourself, what more is there to her than the persona she puts on? What she never told you - and you think she blurts everything without thinking - is she has a tragic childhood behind her, and even though it's behind her it often catches up to her. Because your childhood may be in the past, but it made you who you are. Haunted by her own demons, she loves people yet gets so tired of them and has to hide away like she's done since she was seven, or maybe even earlier. No child should wonder why they were even born, but she did, and she still does. She is something the boys won't go for because she's not easy to understand, she's a storm without a warning, and she's not easy. And that's okay. She has lived in unstable foster homes most of her life, been repeatedly moved, never really made friends, and was repeatedly alienated by her caregivers, and she wondered what was wrong with her that the world treated her so badly when she was so young. You don't know that, and you know it's none of your business anyway, but I feel like she'd allow me to share it with you because it's about time she feels heard. But she's always plastering on a smile and making a scene and laughing and flirting, and then she disappears for a while and you think where'd she go? It's okay that you wonder about her, she wonders about herself. And you know how I know all that about her?

Because that girl is me. Broken and forcing laughs at only eighteen. And I didn't write this so you'd feel bad for me, or compare yourself to me. I wrote it because I want to feel understood, and if you relate to me that's cool too. But I want to have a voice for once in my life, and that starts now. Not only do I owe it to that scared and confused child I once was, but I owe it to all the other people with mental health issues, and the children who clearly display warnings of mental illness but nobody bothers to sympathize, like in my case.

"Beauty queen of only eighteen, she had some trouble with herself."