When I was 10, I had no friends. I picked up the Warrior Cats books, and the cats became my friends, they were enough. I talked to them constantly.
When I was 11, I was getting bullied pretty bad. I found a fellow misfit and a role model in Katniss Everdeen. She fought for everything she had. She wore a mask no one could see through except the people she let in. She was the sister I always wanted to be but never could be.
When I was 12, I was miserable. I fell in love with Maximum Ride, she had wings and was in charge. She had been abused and dragged through the mud by the people who loved her. She used her misery to help people.
When I was 13, I went through a stage of school refusal. I read Perks of Being A Wallflower and found myself in Charlie. He was my prophecy.
When I was 14, I tried to commit suicide. I developed a cutting addiction. Holden Caulfield became my companion, we looked out for phonies. He taught me people suck and so do I.
When I was 15, I tried suicide again and the cutting got worse. I leaned on Pudge and Alaska from Looking For Alaska by John Green. They understood me.
When I was 16, and finally taking responsibility for my actions, I decided not to be like Holden. I let myself learn how to trust like Jace from The Mortal Instruments. Jace and I learned how to open ourselves up together. We killed our demons, one physically and one mentally.
I am 17, and recovering. I am a musician that bravely comes out of her shell like Tris. I am opening myself up bit by bit to people I am learning to trust like Katniss. I am trying not to be as pessimistic as Holden. I am as caring as Pudge and have a heart like Newt from the Maze Runner. I have a choice with how I live with my pain just like Kaz from the Six Of Crows. I can take my pain “brick by brick” and create beautiful things.
Pain does not end but suffering can.
Every one of the books mentioned got me through a hard time and taught me how to be a person. I’m happy to say I will never be done learning how to be human. I will never not have to choose to take my pain and do something with it. Just like Jared Padalecki said, and each one of these characters confirmed, “pain is mandatory, but suffering is optional.” I’m done suffering, and I have these wonderfully broken, beautiful characters to thank for that.