How ‘The Princess Diaries’ Saved 12-Year-Old Me

Being a young 12-year-old, about to turn 13, is probably one of the most difficult times in a young girl’s life. You don’t like the way you look, none of your clothes are right, and you spend a lot of your time wondering what other people think of you. It’s even harder when you manage to find some semblance of a normal life, only to have everything upended by a move.

My Life Changed When I Was 12 Years Old

I was 12 when my family moved away from the city I had lived in my whole life to a whole other one, which was much more rural and isolated (I had lived in one of those “big city” type places). I was already considered really awkward with glasses, bushy hair and acne, but now I was going to have to start all over. Not only that, but I was going to start off the school year with casts on both of my legs as I had had an operation on them during the summer.

A few days after my operation, my mom knew how miserable I was, unable to really move around or to get out. So she got a wheelchair and took me out, saying we were going to see a movie.

, and honestly…it changed my life.

I Identified With Mia In A Way I Never Had With Another Character

Mia Thermopolis was a character that I identified with to an almost embarrassing degree. I honestly looked a lot like her BEFORE the makeover for most of my life: I was constantly tripping over myself as I have cerebral palsy, and I didn’t really have a lot of friends once I started school.

All of these things aside, I honestly didn’t mind as it made me feel even more connected to her. Mia was the kind of person that I wanted to strive to be, comfortable in my own skin no matter what people thought of me. I never really was popular, but I did end up with a few very close friends, one of which reminded me a lot of Mia’s friend, Lily. Mia was a princess, but she was also a human being who felt things deeply. Seeing her gain confidence throughout the course of the film meant a lot and gave me courage. The quote by Eleanor Roosevelt in the film especially resonated with me:

At a young age, that was exactly what I needed to hear. I always let other people dictate how I felt and how I wanted to be perceived, and I lost a lot of my confidence because of that. Watching the movie, however, would always pick me up and make me feel like I was capable of doing anything. Even to this day, I put it on to remind myself that I am an amazing person and that I am not alone in how I feel.

I’ve Grown Into Myself But Some Days It’s Still A Struggle

I like to think that since my teenage years I have grown into myself, but I still sometimes feel like that 12-year-old unsure of how people would treat her. In the end, while I did make some amazing friends in that new town, I also encountered many who found me weird or didn’t like me.

Even now, I still second guess myself, my writing, my choices in life, what I eat for lunch…but we all do. Every one of us has a little bit of Mia Thermopolis in us, whether we want to see it or not. We just have to learn, like she did, . Keep moving forward and always remember that you can be more than what people expect you to be. My dream was always to be a writer, to let my voice be heard, and I never thought I would get there. But now here I am, and you are reading what I wrote. If you get anything from this, it’s that you aren’t alone. You are not a freak; you are an amazing person. Just hold yourself up, and remember that there is life after school.


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