So I spent my time in care during my late elementary and middle school years. As you might agree, this time of life is crucial for youth to really begin figuring out who they are and what they want to be about. You can't necessarily build or improve your identity without having a solid base to start with. But it's pretty hard to do that while you have all these people (caseworkers, foster parents, outsiders looking in) making sure you know that you won't be capable of "normal" opportunities due to your situation. I can't even count the number of times this was said to me while I was in care and beyond! My entire motto within myself is to basically prove everyone wrong, and that's exactly what I did.
I can think of one experience in particular that really had me at my lowest. It's kind of an off-the-wall example but the principle applies. My Junior year of High School I competed in a competition called Distinguished Young Women of Colfax, which is a pageant that they hold every year. The winner goes on to the state level and represents the town of Colfax as a whole. It's definitely a big responsibility to hold that kind of title. Well, my friends basically had to convince me to do it just because I already had a bad reputation due to some of the things my parents had done in the past. I ultimately didn't believe that I could proudly represent the town I lived in, especially because I didn't think the people in the town would want me to.
I battled with the decision but ended up deciding to compete. Three and a half months of preparation and practice led me to actually win the number one spot in the pageant. I won the fitness, interview, and talent sections which led to the gold metal. As you can imagine, I was more than excited. This is where it turns sideways a little bit. Literally, ten minutes after I had won the medal, one of the head representatives of the pageant pulled me aside to tell me there were rumors floating around that I had cheated to win. If you know anything about these pageants, it's basically impossible to cheat. Weeks went by and these rumors went through the entire town. I didn't get to enjoy my accomplishment in the slightest and just felt attacked by the whole town. The last thing I needed was for one of the teachers I felt most connected with to tell me that I should resign my title; that it would just be better for me to stop fighting it. What a joke! I told her she could believe what she wanted but I was going to go to state that summer and do my best to win another title. So I went on to state that summer to compete for the state title in Distinguished Young Women. Unfortunately, I did not win another title but the fact that I went, worked my absolute hardest, and gave them a fight was enough for me to prove to everyone wrong in the end. No one had anything to say after that except that they were proud of me:)
Too many people in my life have told me that I would not be able to accomplish something or would just refuse to believe in me, and because of this I began to think that true of myself. But why would I be so discouraged to think that? It's their word against mine and I've found the confidence to believe in my word over any other. And look at me now:) Thank you.