A/N: In Careers class, we had to write a sample college entrance essay about an event that had a drastic effect on us. The jist of the is a true story, though some creative liberties have been taken.


I know now that life is cheapened when you live it through someone else. My closest friend and I shared a summer together, living our days through the same rain, the same sun, the same wind. She breathed, I breathed. She suggested that we go running, and soon both our feet were pounding the earth. Her opinions became my own; her moods were soon echoed in my heart.

She knew that a word from her held the power to make me laugh or cry, and that a single glance from her held expression that could make me feel like I was the most powerful person in the world, or make me want to die. I looked at her and knew what I was: the one in the shadows, not smart enough or talented enough or pretty enough to measure up to her. I was the tagalong best friend, the silent one who turned to her in the face of problems because she could always take care of things. On my own, I felt alone and unstable. My eyes cast downward and when spoken to, I found it hard to respond. I had no one to draw my strength from; no one to lean on. My dependency and my shyness toward anyone else had reached the point where I cried when I could not be with her.

Everything changed at the football game. The rain was cold, but her stare was colder. "We'll still be friends," she said, her eyebrows raised and lips pursed in view of my pathetic tears. "But I have new priorities now." She turned and left me standing alone. I fell. Not physically perhaps, but with my pillar of strength leaning away from me my spirit crashed to the ground. That night, I cried for hours. I was confused, and that confusion remains to this day; my status as best friend had fallen to less than enemy, to one-to-be-ignored, over the course of an hour.

I didn't see her for two days. When I came back to school on Monday, my black eyeliner was thick and my defenses were thicker. I glared at her, not realizing that she had made me just as cold as she was. I took me so long to learn the lesson that she was meant to teach me, but at last one night I came to the realization that I had truly been unhappy with her, and how much it messed up my emotions to draw strength from another instead of myself. One day, I looked in the mirror and realized what I should have known: that I could not be a whole person while I let someone else's moods and opinions rule my life.

A new Chloe speaks to you know, a phoenix born beautiful from the ashes. I've succeeded in doing what I thought was impossible: being happy because I want to be happy, rather than being happy because those around me are happy. I'm content with myself, and I can walk down a road alone and still smile.