Being a young 12-year-old, about to turn 13, is probably one of the most difficult times in a young girl's life. You don't like the way you look, none of your clothes are right, and you spend a lot of your time wondering what other people think of you. It's even harder when you manage to find some semblance of a normal life, only to have everything upended by a move.
My Life Changed When I Was 12 Years Old
I was 12 when my family moved away from the city I had lived in my whole life to a whole other one, which was much more rural and isolated (I had lived in one of those "big city" type places). I was already considered really awkward with glasses, bushy hair and acne, but now I was going to have to start all over. Not only that, but I was going to start off the school year with casts on both of my legs as I had had an operation on them during the summer.
A few days after my operation, my mom knew how miserable I was, unable to really move around or to get out. So she got a wheelchair and took me out, saying we were going to see a movie.
That movie was The Princess Diaries, and honestly...it changed my life.
I Identified With Mia In A Way I Never Had With Another Character
Mia Thermopolis was a character that I identified with to an almost embarrassing degree. I honestly looked a lot like her BEFORE the makeover for most of my life: I was constantly tripping over myself as I have cerebral palsy, and I didn't really have a lot of friends once I started school.
All of these things aside, I honestly didn't mind as it made me feel even more connected to her. Mia was the kind of person that I wanted to strive to be, comfortable in my own skin no matter what people thought of me. I never really was popular, but I did end up with a few very close friends, one of which reminded me a lot of Mia's friend, Lily. Mia was a princess, but she was also a human being who felt things deeply. Seeing her gain confidence throughout the course of the film meant a lot and gave me courage. The quote by Eleanor Roosevelt in the film especially resonated with me:
At a young age, that was exactly what I needed to hear. I always let other people dictate how I felt and how I wanted to be perceived, and I lost a lot of my confidence because of that. Watching the movie, however, would always pick me up and make me feel like I was capable of doing anything. Even to this day, I put it on to remind myself that I am an amazing person and that I am not alone in how I feel.
I've Grown Into Myself But Some Days It's Still A Struggle
I like to think that since my teenage years I have grown into myself, but I still sometimes feel like that 12-year-old unsure of how people would treat her. In the end, while I did make some amazing friends in that new town, I also encountered many who found me weird or didn't like me.
Even now, I still second guess myself, my writing, my choices in life, what I eat for lunch...but we all do. Every one of us has a little bit of Mia Thermopolis in us, whether we want to see it or not. We just have to learn, like she did, to pick ourselves up and be the best that we can be. Keep moving forward and always remember that you can be more than what people expect you to be. My dream was always to be a writer, to let my voice be heard, and I never thought I would get there. But now here I am, and you are reading what I wrote. If you get anything from this, it's that you aren't alone. You are not a freak; you are an amazing person. Just hold yourself up, and remember that there is life after school.