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All of my life as a foster youth I have acquired different skill sets based on the circumstance I was in. While at the time I thought that adapting to the scenarios I was put in was not having a major effect on who I was. It was not till later that i realized the truth.

As a child I learned very quickly the tools I needed to survive on my own. How to feed myself via thievery, how to run if spotted, and which lie to use if caught. Later as a teen in the system I developed the art of not being let down, the abillity not to form any type of relationships, how to spot a fake friend (just don't trust anyone) and above all how not to care (or give the appearance of a care free person.) I learned how to be what I thought was something called independent.

Each time I got a new tool/skill, regardless of its usefulness or origin I'd put it into long and behold ….a imaginary toolbox! This toolbox represented not only every thing I'd ever learned, felt, or done, but it resembled who I was and what I stood for. It became more than a place to put thing or traits.

It became my heart, my mind, and my soul whenever I needed something I'd resort to the tool box. It was simple It was foolproof. It worked every time without a hitch. until an encounter with someone I'd never known gave me a tool I didn't know what to do with or how to fit it in the box. The tool was compassion towards others.

Something I knew nothing about. After all, my life revolved around what I had done wrong and the negatives creating more of the same bad experiences. I had never thought that I had a voice or that people would ever love me...another tool I was shown now lets skip to present day I still use the toolbox but instead of putting survival skills into the box I have been focusing on tools that make me a better person in the long run.

Things like empathy, understanding and of course, love and compassion, another tool I'm adding as of recently is the ability to advocate, for myself as well as others. At first making the switch was indeed difficult mainly due to the fact that I only had put improper tools in the box that when I reached for a skill like empathy it was not there in the box of tools.

Imagine baking a batch of cookies and sliding them into a empty jar then a day later reaching in and trying to pull out a chocolate chip cookie when in fact you only made oatmeal raisin ones. I now have a diverse set of tools and skills unique to my walk of life, with a stable environment to help reinforce it I hope one day to acquire so many positive skills that they can't fit in a box anymore then I will build a shed to hold them in my heart mind and soul so I issue you a challenge whats in your tool box? Whether positive or not I challenge you to realize what you have to offer the world.

I assure you its worth while.

You are a very unique set of people and you all have and deserve a voice. What are you going to do with yours?

Jul 28, 2014 By cdavidson