My mother was killed when I was 13 and my father is a recovering drug addict living two states away striving to support my younger brother and himself. At first I felt as though I was all on my own for college, but then I realized we live in a beautiful world where people will go to no end to help those in need. With your help I wont be doing this alone. Here's my story:
I learned what it meant to live behind a white picket fence the first time I went to a friend’s house and realized that the standard home only houses one family, unlike the Women and Children’s Shelter my siblings and I spent several months too many accompanying. As a child, the importance of education was engraved into my head over and over again as I witnessed the continuous thread of bad decisions that my mother made when it came to picking men. While my mom worked days and took college classes at night, I grew up eating peanut butter jelly and uncooked top ramen. My siblings and I were so used to the power being shut off on us that we figured out how to toast bread above the flame of a candle because no matter how hard my mom worked it seemed like it was impossible to keep the electricity on.
Unable to rid myself of the unceasingly overbearing violence surrounding me as my family and I hopped from home to home, eviction after eviction, abuse after abuse, I began to read. Starting with short stories and advancing into chapter books followed by mystery and romance novels; I craved the feeling of living the lives of the characters rather than my own. My mother taught me the art of literacy so fast that I was the only student in my fourth grade class who was reading at a college level. She taught me how to escape. In my life, education is not a “want.” Education is a need.
Up until my mother’s death, my drive for a constant advancement in knowledge was the only thing keeping me going in continuance. It was the end of my seventh grade year when she was killed. At roughly 1:30 am my sister opened the door to a grave figure towering over us in height. It took her less than half a second to figure out who he was by an abrupt glance down at his name badge that read “coroner.” Before any exchanging of words had chance to take place she ran to the bathroom and beat on the door. Having heard the noise coming from the living room I quickly stepped out of the shower and opened the door to an embrace so cold and heavy we dropped, hugging each other on the ground, sobbing uncontrollably. My aunt took us in that night. For awhile I let the pain of my mother’s absence consume me until I saw the grief eat my siblings alive. I had to step up and fill the void my mother left behind. Later on my sister and I realized that my aunt stole all of the money my mother’s insurance left us so we moved out and lived on our own. We never saw a penny of it but her kids saw a huge two story house with a Cinderella staircase. It took a long while but I forgave her.
Through this stress I became an all around athlete and attained a varsity letter in water polo, wrestling, soccer, swim and track. On top of athletic achievements, I continued to pursue advanced placement education courses throughout high school. While struggling to maintain a high GPA and athletic record I was in and out of the court system. My travels to the courthouse became so prominent in my schedule that I felt I could describe every inch and detail of each court room in the city. Throughout this process, my siblings and I were thrown into the system and split up several times. My little brother now lives in Oregon with my father, a recovering drug addict. I spent most of my junior year of high school “couch surfing,” or temporarily staying in a series of other people’s homes. I now live on my own and pay all of my own bills including my health incurable, car insurance, food, etc. The only way I can do this is to work two jobs while still going to school everyday. My entire life was a constant struggle and to press onward, no matter how heavy the setback may be, has been my mentality since birth.
At the age of six years old I discovered what it meant to be your own savior when my father turned to drugs instead of the beautiful love provided by us. My sister and I raised ourselves and our baby brother while my mother worked full time during the day and took night courses to get her GED. At the age of 18 I realized that being your own savior is one of the most powerful things someone can be, until God shows you that he is your savior and that no matter what troubles or difficulties you go through you can send them up to him and keep moving in the way of his word. Ecclesiastes 4:10 explains that if you walk alone you won’t have any people to lift you up. Relying on God is not a weakness, but your greatest strength.
My hope is to carry on my story, to share it with the people surrounding me everyday and to prove that overpowering the hardship and embracing the good is the most successful way to get through life and that getting through life is important, but sailing through with the love of God will be the most rewarding because nothing will stand against you. With the love and dedication to God we will preserver for eternity and that is what keeps me dedicated to school, work and a genuine smile every day.