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My frenemies, my sweet, sweet frenemies. They would never know how I twisted and manipulated them into doing things that they didn't want to do. They never saw how many roadblocks I had placed in their way. The fights they had to endure, the struggles that seemed so random were maybe not so random after all? Traitors are not rewarded. Welcome to the big leagues.

That's what I believed until I didn't.

When I decided that they had suffered enough, it was so simple to undo the damage. That's what I thought. It turns out, actions have consequences, and sometimes the punishment doesn't fit the crime. I didn't mean to cause long-term suffering. If I had, that would make me a monster. It would make me the villain in my own story, and that simply cannot be possible.

I walked home alone that day. The emptiness filled me like a glass without water. Home, it would seem was my only option. For now. My mind began to race the closer I got to the place I called home. Things were going to change I decided. Once I had set my mind to the task, I knew exactly what I needed to do to achieve my goals.

First, I needed to make money. The money would buy me things and these things were going to set me on the path that I needed to follow. Second, I would need to fix myself. Once home, I looked in the mirror and cried for hours as I stared at my reflection.

Dirty brown hair flecked across my face. Dandruff, covered my shoulders. My brown eyes swollen from the tears. Lips chapped and begging for moisture. Deep sorrow seeping into my very essence.

That! would be the last time I cried for 2 years.

As I stared at my reflection all I could see was an ugly girl. A feeble girl. I was a dirty girl that needed to be cleansed. "Weak!" I spat to my reflection.

How had it come to this? Things would change, they would change because I was going to make that change. It was decided, and with that last tear that fell from my eyes, I resolved that no more tears would fall from these eyes. "Never again," I told myself.

"You are so full of shit Cathy," You'd say.

I hear you. Think again, princess. Even though it isn't easy to change, change does happen. You have to be ready and prepared for the change. You have to have such an intense burning desire for this change that nothing can stand in your way. It takes courage to break out of old patterns and to make decisions to BE different. I was dirty, I was ugly, and I was weak.

Things would change. I would change, and that was all there was to it. I started washing my face every single day. I stopped cutting my bangs and let them grow out so that I could pull my hair out of my face. The pimples that had formed across my forehead started to fade away.

Washing my hair more frequently got rid of dandruff and my hair shined while my skin glowed. Within a few months, I was looking more like the person I wanted to be. I was the designer of my own destiny, and no one could stop this train from leaving the station.

It took me a little over a year to get to the point where I could feel good about my physical appearance. "You go, girl, work it!" I said to my reflection.

I was starting to do a little modeling, and my confidence was given a boost, but it still wasn't enough. The people made me feel beautiful when I modeled, so it helped. One day, it turns out that one of the photographers was watching me get dressed.

I didn't see him, but my mom did. She was furious. I heard her screaming at him from inside the changing room. "She's only 11 years old. She's just a child you pig!" I could barely make out him trying to explain, but it was too late. She pulled me from the room and said we were leaving. I wasn't sure if I should be happy with her or angry. In the end, I decided I would be satisfied. She cared enough about me not to want to see me hurt. Yes, I could accept that.

Unfortunately, though, that meant that I needed to find a way to earn more money. I'd also need to gain more confidence. The modeling was perfect for the confidence boost. Finding another method was going to be challenging, and middle school was fast approaching. If I didn't start strong, all of this effort would have been for nothing.

No pain, no gain. That's what I was taught, so it didn't bother me to lose a summer. I had just turned 12 in the spring, and I was prepared to do whatever it took to achieve my goals. During that summer I had asked to work for my aunt's boyfriend. He owned a small grocery store. He let me work there a few hours a day during the summer.

I stayed with my grandmother so that I could maximize the time I spent at the store. It was tempting to have all of that cash every day, but I had bigger plans. I needed every last dime if I was going to pull off this grand transformation.

It needed to be perfect, or I would walk into middle school the way I walked out of elementary...a tragic loser, THAT would not be tolerated. "No, thank you," enough said.


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