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My Red Jacket

Sometimes it takes just one person to remind you of who you once were, and how much you have grown and changed. Last night, after work, I planned to pass by my friend’s brand-new apartment and drop off some housewarming gifts. I ended up staying for a few hours. After an hour or two, an old face from school, Kasie Ickes, dropped by. She apologized for dropping off the face of the Earth after tenth grade. Personally, I think everyone should drop off the face of the Earth for a little bit, it is cathartic.

As the night progressed, it was fun. We had pizza, Dr. Pepper, and some good laughs. One thing that Kasie said stuck with me though. Kasie and I have known each other since the fourth grade. Throughout middle school and the beginning of tenth grade, I hid behind a jacket. Every single day in the Florida heat, I wore a jacket. I did not want to be perceived or looked at. I was self-conscious about being scrawny, and my eczema was embarrassing. I was so anxious all the time that I barely enjoyed being present for school.

Kasie mentioned my red jacket from tenth grade. She elaborated saying how nice it was to see me break out of my shell, my jacket. We were on the News Crew together in eleventh grade when I was one of the lead anchors for the show. Getting out of my jacket and into the role of anchor really helped me break out of my own personal anxieties.

I have worn various jackets over the years, the red jacket being my last jacket I used to hide behind. This was taken in 2016.

Kasie reminded me that I was not always the person I am today. That I took crucial steps out of my comfort zone, my red jacket, and tried to grow as a person. Eventually, I shed that red jacket. I do not wear it anymore, but it does not mean I do not still have it. I struggle with insecurities, and my anxiety. I constantly make the decision in my head that I do not want to hide behind a jacket anymore. I want to experience the wind on my skin. Sometimes my anxiety says that I am not good enough, but I know I am. There are times where I want to put a metaphorical red jacket back on. Without a thought, I always put that red jacket back in the closet. I do not put it on. Last night, I remembered why I put it away.

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