By Takara Lawrence
In this day and age it seems as if everyone is walking around with their heads down. You see more people willing to succumb to their own demons and let the darkness overcome their spirits; instead of fighting and letting the light shine through. In the media right now all you hear about are the overdoses, the suicides, and the people being easily influenced by their environments. Tell me what’s appealing about that? Why is it easier to give in instead of standing your own ground and being your own person? I’ll tell you why; as someone who had to learn about themselves and become comfortable in a whole new environment. I would say that I lived a tough life.
There was a point in my life when I lived in a two bed hotel room with five people. I was in high school and I was too embarrassed to tell anyone about this. I remember walking the streets late at night not caring about what could happen to me. To this day I can still remember some of the thoughts that use to run through my mind. I use to skip school all the time. I came so close to not graduating high school. I thought that if my friends graduated and I did not, I would lose it. When my graduation coach sat me down and told me she heard everything about what I was going through, I became numb. I never had to explain myself to anyone. She told me that she went looking for me and she wanted to help me come back to school and finish what I started. Once she told me that I broke down crying. My home life was full of lies and deception but I could not bring myself to tell her about my family because I knew it would hurt them in the end. She told me that every child deserves to live the life they envision for themselves, and to this day I truly believe this. I will forever be grateful for her.
I did finally graduate; I had to do a lot of make-up work but I did get to walk across the stage. I took some time off before I went to college and to me that was a big mistake. I had become so comfortable not being in school that I hesitated until the last minute to sign up. I went for two semesters, got my refund check and never looked back. I thought because I had this money I was unstoppable, and I blew it all. I tried going back but my grades were so bad that I would have to sit down with an advisor. I knew I would have to explain myself; so instead of having a conversation with an advisor I went out with my friends instead. I drove myself crazy.
I was going out almost every night and blacking out most of those nights. I was a young teen who did not have to answer to anyone because I was living on my own. I had no positive direction so the direction I was going down was not a healthy one. I convinced myself that my friends hated me and they never really liked me. I would lash out at them when we would go out and it began to become too much for them. One of my closest friends said to me after one of my episodes that; “You’re older now and you need to get your life together and stop taking your frustrations out on everyone.” He was right, I was very frustrated. I thought my life with my family was too much for me. With my family life and the fact that I was pushing everyone away that loved me I almost lost it. I almost removed myself from everyone and everything I knew, but instead I took myself out of that environment and started over.
I took some much needed time and I stopped feeling bad for myself. I stopped over-analyzing every action a person did and started realizing that I was doing it to myself. I had made myself believe that I was not capable of being loved and that I would never amount to anything. It was the worst thing that I could have made myself believe. I had to start with myself first. I started to make small changes and those small changes made a big impact on my life. I began to develop this confidence that I never knew I could have. My head began to rise as I walked and not fall down where people couldn’t see my smile. I’m back in school now and I’m killing it. I attend Nassau Community College and I enjoy this college very much. I have a very high GPA, I’m apart of Phi Theta Kappa: an Honors Society within the college, and I’m on the Dean’s list. I attend all my classes and I haven’t missed one yet. All this will look good for me when I transfer to another college to receive my Bachelor’s.
Never in a million years did I think that I would be where I am today. I have a good job, a better relationship with my family, and I’m doing amazing in school. This love that I have for myself is real. I refuse to feel bad for myself. Everything I’ve been through, the hardship and self-doubt, now to me is a learning experience. Everything in life should be a learning experience. You should learn from your mistakes, not let them hold you back. Take that frustration and anger and channel it into something you enjoy. If you want to lose weight, put in those headphones and start walking. If you want to go back to school, do your research and find a school that will work around your schedule. If it’s money that scares you, there are options: scholarships, grants, and even loans.
Stop being afraid to make changes in your life. Once you get past the hardship, you will be happier. Just remember, in the end, if you can’t count on yourself who’s going to count on you?
Takara Lawrence is a Marketing Major at Nassau Community College, She hopes to one day act, write, and produce her own television show.