I’m brave and I’m tough.

People think I’m weak. They think I’m afraid of everything and I’m jumpy as hell, and I’m going to break. Or that I’m already broken, and I’ve got irrevocable damage.

I’m a fantastical Starshine with a few scars, that’s all. Whenever life throws me for a loop, and things change, and I get scared, yes, I get weak. I feel hopeless and scared and I want to just throw in the towel and give up. I want to quit this life. But I always stay determined. And I want to challenge myself even more to be that strong.

When the worst happens…

when I get fired, or laid off, or when I can’t afford rent… when I’m in a homeless shelter, or I get kicked out of the homeless shelter because I didn’t make it back in time for curfew… when I’m sleeping on the streets… when I lose everything I worked hard to own, all my books, all my music, all my everything…

I want to smile.

I want to have the courage, the strength, and the toughness to smile. I want to give the world a big cheerful smile, full of genuine joy and say:

I’m fantastical!

I’ve been through it before, I know I’m strong enough to go through it again. I will be more than ok. I will be incredible. I’m Holiday Adventure Starshine.

When bad things happen, smile. Don’t let bad things have any power over you.

I never thought I’d own a bookshelf, or have my own safe space, my own little room with a door that closed. I never thought I’d own a car or learn how to drive. I never thought I’d live to be 15 years old, let alone ten, twenty, fifty years past that. I never thought I’d graduate high school, let alone college and graduate school.

I never thought I’d be anything but worthless street trash.

Well, I’m not worthless. No one is. And the only way I’m going to help girls like me who’ve been through the things I’ve been through… is to fight, and stay strong, and stay determined. And to smile and always have hope, even in the darkest of times.

Yeah, I’m scared about my hours getting cut at work. Yes, I’m worried about money. But I’m not going back to bad things. I am a strong, independent woman. I need to channel my inner Khaleesi and inner Beyonc√©.

“The next time you lay a hand on me will be the last time you have hands!”

(You will only understand this if you are familiar with Game of Thrones and you also understand my life).

I dream it, I work hard, and I grind ’til I own it.

(You will understand this if you have been alive and not in a coma for the past year, and you have ears… I ain’t sorry).