This year (2017), has been one of the best and worst years of my life. It was a time of self discovery, unhappiness, boredom, sadness, happiness, realization, love, loss, and so much more I can't even describe.

This year, I discovered myself, truly. All of my life, I'd always wanted to be the "cool girl", "the rich girl", basically any of my friends. Because that's how I always thought of them. I wanted so badly to be like them, until about April or May this year.

I had too many fake friends who talked behind my back; so many fake friends who said it to my face. I was labelled as a "goody two-shoes", which didn't make me feel great at all. I was the pushover, the one that was so easy to make fun of, the one who you could look at and pick out everything wrong with her. The one who never took risks, the one who could see someone hug and it would have been like watching sex. I was miserable, and I broke down constantly, crying to my best friend (who tolerated with it, thank you) about the things people would say to me, and the rumors that would go around.

"Olivia, I can see your awful underwear lines." (congratulations, it's amazing that i wear underwear, isn't it?)

"Olivia, you complain too much about your period. It's not even that bad. " (from someone, who, might I add, has never had theirs. bravo, gynecologist in training)

"Olivia, you're too skinny." (oh, thanks. i'm working on that, cool.)

"Olivia, you have a little chub on your stomach." (WeLcOmE tO rEaL wOrLd ScIeNcE, wHeRe ThIs Is SoMeThInG nOrMaL!)

"Your hair looks awful. Do you even straighten it?" (Wow, you've heard of this thing called natural hair THAT IS STRAIGHT AND WAVY RIGHT?)

"You're too nice." (Gee, sorry I'm not a bitch.)

"You're annoying." (Welcome to the day I was born, where we figured this out!)

People can be extremely mean. I never thought it could happen to me, but seventh grade year was the worst of it. Everyone started talking behind my back. I had almost no friends.

This summer, I changed. Majorly. I realized that I really don't need to be someone I'm not-- this is where I got made fun of. I expressed myself so much. I'm not a pushover anymore. I can handle the worst insult. I have a great love for pretty much everything 1950s and 60s, and I thought that since technology was all the rage, I couldn't like that.

Openly, I did. I made a lot of new friends because of this (mainly boys), discussing old cars and old music. I cut off all my fake friends. I'm not labelled as a goody goody anymore. I think the best compliment I've ever gotten is "What happened to you?"

Guys, it's perfectly okay to be yourself. It may be scary, trust me, but in the end it's worth it. Since I started being myself and not caring what anyone else thinks, the rude remarks have changed to phrases that ring in my head daily.

"You're fine asf."

"You're so pretty."

"Ugh, I wish you were my friend, you seem so cool and interesting!"

"You're legit the sweetest person I've ever met."

"I would do anything for you."

"I really wanna date you, you're hella cute."

"You're cute."

Being myself was probably the biggest achievement of my life. And it was the best decision I've ever made.

--
This year, my town lost a girl very special to us; even the ones who didn't know her. Haylei. She died in a car wreck, on her way to school.

I never knew Haylei that well, but I had met her once. She was the sweetest person I've ever met. She came with her boyfriend, my friend's older brother, just to sit with my friend at lunch.

Everyone loved her. She was a star on the volleyball team and had a lot going for her. She died just as she was about to graduate high school. She was accepted into college. Everyone who knew her loved her. Everyone who didn't wished they did.

My high school threw a humongous funeral for her. The entire town was invited. Everyone threw balloons into the air, just for her. Just for her to catch when they floated up to heaven.

We love you Haylei, and not a day goes by that we don't think of you.

Since Haylei passed, our whole town has grown stronger. Yes, there is still our typical drama, but all in all, we're closer. We've been stronger. I, for one, grew even stronger than before.

--
This year has been a year full of ups and downs. I cut myself off from friends for a while, and was pretty lonely.

--
Dear 2018.
I hope you're even better than last year. It sucked. Take that, and make it into something wonderful. Help me achieve my goals. Help me be a better person. Help me remain the same way I am, bubbly and outgoing and loud, because that's what I love being. Just make my obnoxious laugh quieter. Please.

Do more amazing things.
See more amazing people.
Meet more amazing people.
Find someone.
Make memories.
Be yourself.
If you're worried about your weight, work out. It'll make you happier.

Love,
Olivia