I started to cry as I made my way through Phoenix. I wasn't sad... I wasn't regretful... I wasn't even so much as angry. The thought of other's being proud of me touched me in a way that I was unable to explain. And then I thought about it for a moment longer and realized the reason why I was crying wasn't because of others, yet because for the first time, maybe, I was proud of myself. I was able to stand up for myself and for my beliefs. I was able to put my foot down and yell, "Enough." I was able to put my foot down and show, "Enough."
Learned behavior gets easier with practice, and I realized at some point that the most exciting thing about establishing a boundary is in the relief of knowing that I will never find myself in this situation again. I was too young to be experiencing this anyway. And while me moving to Arizona was enough to stir things up a bit, I would've never learned had I not tried.
I took a long shower and wrapped myself up in a towel. I found myself thinking about my childhood- as I usually do in these times- and remembering how my mother would wrap me up in a towel after a bath. Then, the towel would cover my whole body easily, and even leave some to trail the ground.
I looked in the mirror and for the first time, I was able to see what my closest friends have been trying to tell me: Stephanie, you truly do deserve better.