Aaron Raines was a member of the Royal News staff and PGTV staff in 2011-2012. Anyone who knew Aaron would affirm that she had a heart of gold and a smile that would light up every room she walked into. She died suddenly from an act of violence on Monday night in her New York apartment.

Our thoughts and prayers are with her family as they grieve her loss.

We will always remember Aaron and hold onto her words of wisdom wherever our lives take us. The power is truly in our hands to take charge of our own destiny.

Here is Aaron in her own words during her senior year with Royals Media. Originally published in April 2012.

This I believe. I believe if you act like you’re happy long enough then you’ll be happy. When I say act I don’t mean to pretend. I simply mean  that if you want the happy ending at the end of movie then you have to play the part. Fairytales aren’t just for princesses you know; we all get to be Cinderella and Jasmine now and then. You have to be strong enough to make it through the conflicts and find yourself along the way. If you can create magic without the help of Disney then the happiness you receive from  it just may be real.

When people look at me they don’t see what I’ve been through. They don’t know that my parents got divorced when I was four and my mother would never come home. They don’t know about the boyfriends she had and all of the horrible things they made her do. They don’t know that those things caused her to end up in prison for four years, four years when I needed her  the most. Can you imagine your first day of high school without your mother; or your first date or first kiss; no one to fight with and tell you what to wear and  how to part your hair. My high school years should have been  miserable, I should be graduating lost and confused, but I’m not.

You see Hollywood has it all wrong. Life isn’t in this perfect little order of conflict, rising action, climax, and resolution its way more complex. Life is what you make it, a phrase as true as it is cliché. The power really is in our hands we just chose to pretend sometimes that we’re helpless. I could have done that, just wallowed in a pool of self-pity. I could have sat silently in a corner hiding from the world waiting for somebody to tell me it was my turn to shine. But who has time to wait on life? Its true, life moves fast but you’ll find that when you wait on life the clock freezes. So I decided to take charge of my own destiny.

My mom missed my first kiss, but that same year I sent her a copy of my first book. She wasn’t there the countless time I got my heart broken, but that didn’t stop me either. Sometimes life pushes us, you fall, you cry, you get back up and life goes on. No pity parties for me thank you, I can do without the party hats and the balloons. Some people may feel sorry for me, they may think I need my mother. Maybe sometimes I did, but the only person I really needed was born February 24th and her name is me. She loves me more than anyone else ever could and at a young age I learned to love her too. I have made mistakes and life hasn’t always been great but I’m still here and at midnight I get a brand new day to try it all again. I don’t waste time being sad about the disappointments of yesterday. If I want something I take it, If I have something to say I say it, and if I fail it’s ok I’ll try again. I’m happy with the young woman I turned out to be and being happy with yourself is the real secret to true happiness. So every morning when I wake up and the camera starts to record, I smile; not because I have a reason but simply because I deserve to.