It's January 4th, now.
It was today, at this time a year ago, that I became homeless.
Going from couches and air mattresses and blankets in corners of rooms and even a food pantry,
to sitting in a bed at the very same day and time of my escape,
Writing my testimony on a notepad.
I've received scholarships since then.
I've worked sixteen hour shifts, six days a week over summer.
I've worked fulltime while still maintaining a high school education.
Depending solely on myself.
I've been accepted into the university of my dreams since then as well.
I became homeless as a Junior in high school.
So much has changed in a year.
The place I am now, compared to then.
The people around me.
Even how I wear my hair compared to the same style I had for half my life.
My mindset has become more positive.
It was a year ago today that I threw eighteen years away.
I was a child that had to make a grownups decision.
And you want to know something?
It's made me all the wiser and so much happier than I could have ever known.
It's taught me that happiness has no limits and to appreciate the little things in life.
The one thing that hasn't changed, however, are my shoes.
The boots I wore the night I left home in freezing temperatures.
The boots I walked down a dark, unlit road with everything to my name in a duffel bag.
They're an extension of me.
Who I was and who I am now.
I love those boots.
When I wear them, I can still sense the strength of frightened child, walking towards something she knows nothing about.
She was so alone and yet so beautifully bold.
I love those boots, because I love her.
I hope to be as brave as the child that risked everything for me to live.
I want to know her secret.
I want to know how she gave up eighteen years, walked down that road, and never, not once, looked behind her.
She and I are two different people.
How does one possess that strength?