Beautiful but cold just like snow

My FULL NAME is Meghan Rose Sundberg

I live in Mamaroneck, New York, with mom and Kate.

I am fourteen.

I used to live in Southampton, New York but we moved a little less than three years ago.

It is true that I used to be a gymnast, though I haven't practiced in years.

I used to be able to do five back handsprings in a row; now I can only do two.

I used to be able to get up right away in the morning; now I at least need ten minutes.

I used to be able to get good grades without studying, but now I need to study at least two days before.

It is true I almost never skip my homework.

It is true that I always pick out my outfit and do my hair the night before.

I always like being prepared, You can tell. Hair and outfits. It may seem I’m uptight, but it's only when it comes down to my appearance.

Outfits.

It may seem like an ordinary word, but it's my favorite.

My story starts about a year before I moved. September of 2010, when my dad passed.

Dad was an electrician. Best in Southampton. He wore company sweatshirts and Timberlands every day. He always smiled, and it made someone's day a little better even though it was slightly crooked. He loved Halloween but was easy to scare. He loved dogs, but for my second Christmas he bought me a kitten, and I love that cat with all my heart. He has four kids: Me, Kate then my half-brother Tj, and half sister Jordan but in my heart, they are just my brother and sister. He once told us that in all the places he's lived Southampton was his favorite. As much as he loved it, he hated what the town was going through.

Bye, bye, home

I didn't want to go, and neither did my sister. To be completely honest, I could tell my mom didn't want to go either. After we lost my father, how could we stay in a place he lived? A place where everybody knew who he was. A place he owned his business. A place where we dreaded walking out of the house because everywhere we looked, it was a constant reminder of him. I couldn't blame her. She needed to be close to her family and to people who loved her, and that wasn't in Southampton. Well not anymore. Consequently, we moved to Larchmont. Mom had grown up there. Her brother lives there. Most importantly, she didn't mind leaving the house. On moving day it was a beautiful day not a cloud in the sky. I thought it was kind of ironic. My mom seemed so happy, a little too happy. Every time we made eye contact, she was smiling from ear to ear. I didn't quite believe her, but I was too upset to say anything. Within two hours the rest of my furniture was packed into the moving truck, and it was only a matter of time before we had to leave my house, well my old house now. As I stepped into the car, I saw a familiar white BMW pull up. It was my mom's best friend, Beth. She was like an aunt to me. She walked up to my mom and pulled her away from us. They talked for about a minute or so then hugged. Beth walked over to my sister and me; she told us that she would be taking us to our new house. Our mom would just be about 45 minutes behind us. I didn’t mind that much, just a little surprised that she would do that because it was a two-hour drive maybe three with traffic. I just smiled, grabbed my iPod and put in my headphones. As we drove away, I quickly turned to look back at my house one last time, and that's when I saw my mom's cheerful smile turn into a frown. A frown I never want to see again. I looked up as a tear fell down my face, and that's when I saw a single storm cloud form in the sky. When we got to my house, my mom came about hour after and I could tell from her bloodshot eyes and puffiness, she had been crying. Probably throughout the entire drive.

I'll miss you, Maggie May

My family got their first dog when I was about two years old. Her name was Maggie May, but we just called her Maggie. Maggie was a beautiful golden retriever. She was a little different from your standard golden retriever. She had a bright golden red color. A color that could light up any darkness. My neighbor called her “the red dog.” She was the perfect dog: sweet, caring and “bubbly” as my six-month-old sister would say. Maggie would never hurt a soul, and she was loved by everyone. As the days went on Maggie grew older and weaker. She broke a few bones but quickly recovered Then one day I woke up, and she couldn't move. She refused to drink or eat anything. Within one hour of trying and failing to get her to move, we called my uncle, and we took her to the Stanford animal emergency hospital. My mom ran in, and less than two minutes later nurses came out with a large stretcher, and they picked up my sick dog and rushed her inside. I could tell by their concerned faces that this could end badly. They gave her steroids and other medication. They ran some x-rays and saw nothing. She was stable after about three hours. I calmed down and thanked God. The doctors said they wanted to keep an eye on her for the night and if nothing changed we could take her home. After two days I knew she would be around a little longer. So I stopped worrying. I gave my dog her last round of medication. I put the bright blue pills in the bacon flavored “Pill Pockets” that smelled awful, but she liked them. I left that night and slept over my best friends house. I walked in, and my friend, Bethany gave me a hug. Both her parents said they were glad that Maggie was okay and doing well. That was the last time I thought about my dog that night. We made cupcakes and popcorn then had a movie marathon. I fell asleep to the voice of Cher Horowitz from the movie Clueless. I was worry free.

I woke up the next morning with a missed call from my mom. It was time stamped 6:38 am. My stomach turned so quickly. I frantically opened my phone and pressed play.

“Hey, Meg.” Her voice cracked. “Morning honey. Hope you had a good night, but I'm coming to get you early, we have to talk.”

I knew exactly what it was. My dog had died, and in her last breath on this earth, I wasn't even thinking about her.

Fourteen is the first day at a new a school of life You are scared, you feel controlled, doubted and pressured.

At the ages of eleven, twelve and thirteen you are riding a rollercoaster, that only goes up. There are no worries. In middle school, you are who you are, in high school you are what they want you to be and who they want you to become.

Fourteen is about impressing the most “popular people.” Dressing the way you think they like. Acting the way you think they like. Holding your breath around them and praying you won't say the wrong thing. It's like walking on eggshells.

At 14, you always leave the house with a full face of makeup and an outfit you spent hours preparing. Everybody you make eye contact with is someone who needs to see you as your most presentable self. Your least favorite part of the day is taking off the pounds of makeup you spent forty-five minutes doing.

Fourteen is hating every natural part of your body. No matter how many times your mother tells you “you're beautiful just they way you are” it doesn't really mean a thing. And as much as you love shopping, trying on clothes has become terrifying.

Fourteen is wanting to be exactly like those girls you fear. Following them around like a magnet. You are the puppet, and they are the puppet master. They control you, and you can't tell if you like it or not. It is confusing, but you pretend that you know what you're doing.

At fourteen the amount of patience you have for mean people is through the roof. You put up with everything and anything. Your mother always tells you how you shouldn’t but, who listens to their mother at the age of fourteen?

Fourteen is constantly showing off to people but then going home and crying about how you feel so insignificant. It's putting on a show, so people won't wonder about what's behind the curtain. Sometimes it even comes down to the point where you feel the need to make someone else feel the way you do.

One day you strongly believe in something. Something you would gladly fight for until the end. But the most popular girl in the school thinks it's stupid and irrelevant. So the next day you too believe it's stupid and irrelevant and would fight until the end to prove that.

Fourteen is the worst year of your life for a girl. That's what most people say. The bullying, the changing, the pressure. People have told me that if there were one year they could skip, it would be the year of being fourteen. Even thinking about it makes their stomach turn. Whenever my mom says this she looks at me like I agree with her. But I don't. Even though I am still fourteen, I know that after all the hardships I have faced, and the ones I know are in the future I will look back and know that all of that was a lesson. A lesson for the ages 18, 30, 45 and 90. If someone asked which year I would have liked to skip, I don't quite know yet what I would say, but I know I wouldn't say fourteen.

This is 14. This is me. Now

Freshman Girl

On Mondays you wear baggy sweatshirts and Converse; on Tuesday you wear something pink; don't get lunch from the cafeteria, always go to Starbucks; don't order hot chocolates, only skinny vanilla lattes; if you're going to have a meal it has to be protein bars; either Atkins or Weight Watchers; this way people won't think you are weird when you go shopping always have a second opinion, that way you know whether or not it looks good; always look for discounts that way you can buy more; instead of ice cream, frozen yogurt with strawberries is the way to go; from a September to November, wear ankle booties with sweater dresses, from December to February wear high knee boots with cable knit sweaters and leggings; from March to may, wear capris with Supergas and floral patterned shirts; from June to August, wear jean shorts, tank tops and flip flops; always wear your hair down except when exercising, and you only go on the treadmill or elliptical; get good grades but never study; always leave the house with makeup on and brushed hair; always use proper manners and impress parents; never make yourself too available, play hard to get; never wear the same outfit within the two weeks; make your friends your main priority, when you have gym, make sure you are wearing leggings and you have a shirt and a scrunchie; this is how you braid hair, this is how you dress when going to a country club, this is how you act in front of boys, so they will like you, this is how you talk to retail employees, this is how you dress for parties; this is how you care for your skin, so you won't get pimples; this is how you edit your photos, so your Instagram feed will look good; this is how you take “selfies” on Snapchat; this way people won't think you're weird, always have to have on one piece of jewelry at all times. Whenever they invite you over always say yes; what if they don't invite me over?; you mean to tell me that after all of this you aren't the type of girl they want to invite over?

Authors Note

Over the summer I was really terrified to go to Mamaroneck High School. I liked the middle school. I was the oldest; all the teachers knew me, and I knew who my real friends were. In high school, it's supposed to be really different. You're the youngest, nobody knows who you are and everything is different. I was not looking forward to the change, in fact, I dreaded it. I didn’t think I was familiar with change at all. I thought I would walk through the doors, and it would be a whole different world, but it wasn't. Of course, it took some adjusting, but after the first day, I pretty much knew my way around. I always wondered why it was so easy and I still haven't figured it out… up until now. My whole life has been a series of changes. I lost my dad, lost my dog; I moved, and I’m now a Freshman. Writing this Multi-genre piece, I realized that change is a lot more common than we think and it happens to everyone. It's not always bad, and it's not always good. It may seem that you're completely unprepared or you may be that you've never been more ready for anything in your entire life. Change teaches lessons, and it gives advice. It makes you choose between right and wrong. In my life change has made me the person I am today. It has paved a way for me. Change is inevitable, and change is a gift.

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