75: Endings Can Be Beginnings

75: Endings Can Be Beginnings

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Time to Thrive

Endings Can Be Beginnings

Every story has an end but in life every ending is just a new beginning.

~Uptown Girls

I still clearly remember the night when my dad gathered our family in the living room. After nearly eleven months of unemployment, we could sense what this meant. Even though my dad usually had a way with words, he skirted around saying what we knew was coming. Finally, he said it: “I accepted a new job.” And in turn, I had to accept my fate.

I blurted out the obvious question, “Where?” Before my father could finish saying “Austin, Texas,” I had burst into tears, practically inconsolable. I would have to completely start over, which was less than ideal for a sophomore in high school. My crying continued well into the night.

After that I was done. Not another tear fell.

Following that December night I became numb, withdrawing into myself in an attempt to make leaving seem painless. While my dad commuted back and forth between California and Texas, my sister and I were allowed to finish out the school year, leaving me with six months to sabotage my relationships with people who cared about me. As a result I felt detached, almost as though I was living a double life while I kept this secret from my friends and others around me. I was consumed with self-pity, questioning the purpose of engaging in the world around me since I knew I was leaving. However, somewhere along the way of counting down the days in anticipation of the end, I found myself counting down the days in anticipation of the beginning.

Suddenly I stopped feeling sorry for myself. I decided to take charge of my life and add some certainty to my unclear future. I diligently researched high schools and neighborhoods, and in return my parents gave me a say in where we would begin the search for our new home in the Austin area. Once we purchased our new house, I could see my future unfolding before me. With knowledge comes power. I did not have to become a victim of my circumstance, but instead a victor. I could take this clean slate and use it as an opportunity for self-improvement.

My self-improvement began by emulating confidence. My end goal was to become proactive and independent, which at the time seemed overwhelming. I knew the only way to achieve this was by taking baby steps, so I e-mailed the tennis coach at my new high school and inquired about trying out for the team. The seemingly simple e-mail soon turned into a conversation as he put my mind at ease, reassuring me that I was “coming to a great school and tennis community,” and my prospective team was looking forward to having me.

The interaction could not have gone better. Little did I know that would set the course for my “new and improved” life. My coach had gone on to inform the team of my arrival. Within the week, I was communicating with a redheaded girl on the varsity team named Danielle who had reached out to me via Twitter. It dawned on me that the only things she knew about me came from an Instagram account and a horribly outdated Facebook profile. This was my chance to put my clean slate to use. I could assume the role of the confident girl I wanted to be. For the first time I felt like I was in control, because for so long I had let other people, whether friends or unacquainted peers, control me. This was my time.

More than six months after my family packed up our cars and drove to what I had come to view as my promised land, I have never felt more “me.” I successfully threw myself into everything I possibly could, enjoying the process of uncovering what I truly did and didn’t like, not what my peers dictated I should like.

At my old school I would have never given math club a second thought, even though I was fairly skilled in the subject. However, it was a new school, a new me, and I decided to challenge myself and join Mu Alpha Theta, a mathematics honor society. Shocking as it may be, I actually enjoyed being a “mathlete,” but even more shocking to me was the fact that no one teased me for my decision. It seemed as though everyone around me had already realized that they should “live and let live.”

It was then that I realized the judgments I perceived from others were, in actuality, nonexistent. The perceived ridicule was purely something I allowed myself to fear, and moving gave me the freedom to see that I decide what shapes me. The courage and confidence I had sought had been there all along, simply waiting beneath my insecurities to finally surface when the time was right.

The night I learned I was going to move, the person I used to be evaporated with my last tears. The debilitating dread of what I thought was the end was replaced by anticipation for a new beginning. While every new beginning contains an element of fear, it also contains an element of promise.

~Brianna Mears

You are currently enjoying a preview of this book.

Sign up here to get a Chicken Soup for the Soul story emailed to you every day for free!

Please note: Our premium story access has been discontinued (see more info).

view counter

More stories from our partners