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Wishing myself a happy new year

It is a new year, and it seems as if everyone has at least one New Year's resolution. I have decided to handle my resolutions differently this year. I have been so down on myself for the past several years that I think it is time for me to focus on what is good about me for a change.

I know that is not the intent of New Year's resolutions, but why not? I do not understand why changes must be made to "fix" something bad about ourselves.

When I look back over the past few years, I see myself as a kid with lots of fears about everything. I remember not wanting to ask questions or make requests of anyone. I became a follower and not the leader that was inside me. I knew I was not just a "yes" person. But I thought that if I took a stand, I would have to be more accountable in all parts of my life. Being accountable in my teen years seemed to be a stupid standard to hold myself to for the rest of my life.

Then an amazing thing happened to me, or maybe I just got tired of being someone I was not. I left my awkwardness behind me and found the surprising person inside me that had been there all along.

I realized I was fun to be around and did not have to depend on someone else to invite me to tag along. I discovered people liked me for myself, not for the group I had always associated with just to fit in. I accepted the fact that I am smart. It is a good thing for me to make good grades, not for money or so that my parents won't restrict me, but because I want to, regardless of what my friends have decided to do. I started to see me as someone I liked hanging out with and, interestingly enough, others started to see that in me, too.

I stopped being so afraid of what everyone else thought and decided it was time for me to trust my own thoughts, decisions and ideas. I liked what I was discovering about ME!

All of this came about because I got tired of pretending. My "acting days," trying to fit in, made me sick when I looked in the mirror every morning. I knew who I really was and was disgusted with myself when I confronted how fake I had been. I knew a person inside me would be dying if I did not let them out. I was very unhappy, though to everyone else I appeared happy.

It was just that: happy to fit in and miserable with what I had chosen for myself. I was happy but not proud of who I was becoming. My life had to get better or worse, but I could not keep things the way they had been.

I like me most of the time now because I am the same "me" on the inside and the outside. My life is easier this way. My New Year's resolution is about my rediscovering the me I lost when I entered middle school. I still want others to like me, but this year I will be more concerned about liking myself.

I will be true to myself and spend the year looking for all the good in me. I have always been told to look for the good in others, and I do that well. This is the year for the others to look for the good in me. Finding it just might be fun!

_ IT! (Private thoughts of the Indomitable Teen) is written by Cecilia Tucker under the editorial guidance of a panel of teenagers (in exchange for pizza and volunteer hours). Tucker is a licensed marriage and family therapist at the Counseling Center for New Direction in Seminole. Comments are welcome. You may write c/o: IT!, Xpress, the Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731, or e-mail If you are interested in being on the teen editorial panel, please contact Cecilia Tucker at