Mackenna's biggest obstacle to overcome was when she was 10 to 16 years old...
"I've always struggled with friendships. In elementary school, I spent most recesses alone, sitting under the tree until it was over.
My best friend in middle school, who made me feel so welcome, moved away to Las Vegas a year after we met.
Another friend seemed to drift away during my freshman and sophomore years in high school. It eventually felt so one-sided, I stopped perusing that friendship. (Granted, I should've picked up on the cues I was getting from her, so I wouldn't have pushed her farther away) I also realized one of my friendships...wasn't a friendship at all.
This person started arguments with me over and over again and, at this point, I was so desperate for a friend, that I let myself think this unnecessary drama was tolerable in friendships.
(*Disclaimer: I WILL say that I had a decent friend by the time I started high school, but there wasn't much happening there.....yet ;))
My insecurities started kicking in after the years and I wondered if anyone would even *want* to be my friend.
There were many nights I spent crying over loneliness or friend drama...It definitely was one of the lowest points in my life so far. However, I realized it took time. YES, time STINKS because it feels like the hardships and loneliness will never end! But during that time of feeling isolated, I grew to really find enjoyment in MYSELF. Besides, I would much rather be friendless than have friends who are hurtful. ;)
I began developing self-love, spending time discovering myself a bit more and learning how to be alone, but still happy! Stepping away from the part of me so desperate for friends allowed real friends to come into my life.
Hannah, the girl who I was decent friends with a few years back, and I became good friends! We started hanging out more and we found a lot of similarities between us (like our deep obsession for Star Wars and Harry Potter. And singing together :))! Our friendship grew deep and special. Although I see her much less these days due to our separate busy schedules, I definitely consider her one of my best friends!
I also found an online friend through my old art account on Instagram. Talia and I could practically be sisters: we have so much in common! I was patient and took our online friendship slowly, and eventually, we started writing letters to each other. Which led to texting. Which led to FaceTimes. Which led to a wonderful friendship! :)
No matter what you're going through, I promise it'll get better! I know EVERYONE says that, but it's true! Things will work out the way they should, even in ways you won't expect. Just remember to be kind, compassionate, and patient. Beautiful things will be in store!"
Mackenna's biggest accomplishment was when she was 16...
"I would say my biggest accomplishment was speaking in front of the city Council about the importance of reducing plastic.
I am deeply passionate about animals in the ocean, and plastic is unfortunately destroying Earth's beauty because we only think of our own convenience. I was so nervous to give a speech in front of government adults, but I wanted to use my voice to stand up for the environment.
Despite being anxious that day, at the end, I was very proud of myself for doing something I believe was worth while. This affirmed me that I wanted to continue using my voice for the voiceless. And I have. :)"
Mackenna's biggest inspiration is...
"I can't say I have a single inspiration. I admire Ocean Ramsey for speaking up about the importance of saving the ocean and saving sharks. I admire Bethany Hamilton for her strength and good character. I admire Daisy Ridley for opening up about her deep insecurity of her skin problems (something I deeply relate to). And of course, I admire my parents, who help me grow more and more kind, compassionate, and open-minded."
Written by Mackenna Cady.
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