Everyone has a story to be told, whether its how the wooden puppet turned into a boy or how the chicken crossed the road. We all go on a journey at some point in our lives, and reason I bring up having a journey is because somewhere along the road there’s something really important that shapes a human being. Some more than others. I am a 17-year-old Indigenous woman, and I grew up in multiple homes across Saskatchewan. I have been in foster care since I was eight.
I try to be the best person I can be in every way possible, not by focusing on my past. But by realizing what I’ve been through and using that to better myself as a spiritual being, as being alive, and as being well. One thing I always think about when I’m feeling down, is that my past doesn’t define me, my future does. Yes, I’ve been brought up in a place no child should have to bare but its my choice to either grow from it, or hold a grudge against something that is beyond my control. This essay could be based on how depressing and neglectful my childhood was. Or it could be based on the challenges and barriers that I’ve had to overcome on my own. I’ll admit my family is pretty dysfunctional, but if it weren’t for them I wouldn’t be in this position today, which is trying to apply for an opportunity of a life time.
Something that I find is almost hard to talk about is the reason behind my leadership. When I was a little girl, my mom used to leave me and my two younger brothers at home while she was high on life. Often, she would be gone for a week, sometimes even longer. For the first few day’s we would have random babysitters that often were too high themselves to make us something to eat, or even acknowledge that we were there. The remaining days it was up to me to care for my two little brothers, I’d often miss school to make sure they were fed and taken care of properly. The days dragged on, I missed more school but I also bonded with my brothers more than they bonded with our own mother. I was eight years old and I was left with the responsibilities of an adult. Half the time I didn’t know what I was doing. I tried to calm down my 1 year old brother as best as I could, but it was hard. Especially when deep down I knew he missed his mother just as much as I did. My 5-year-old brother was being bullied by his friends, because we were poor and our mom was never home. I remember him coming home from school everyday in tears, and I’ll be honest I went to his friends houses and punched them in the face for making my brother cry. I know that wasn’t the best way to handle things, but at the time it seemed like a good idea.
It hurts to look back and realize that the one person who I thought loved me and my brothers the most wasn’t there when we needed her. One day when my mom left us home alone, I was hurt, really hurt, and I made the call to have us taken to a better place. I didn’t want my brothers to hurt anymore, I wanted them to be happy and to have food in their bellies. I wanted to be happy.
That’s why I do what I do today, which is being the person I needed when I was younger. Being the person you can run to when you need someone to talk to, being the person to remind you that you’re not alone and that someone loves and cares about you. Am I a role model? Well, if being a role model means being strong for the ones I love most, then yes, I am. I want to show my brothers and sisters along with other youth that we all go through some heavy things, but its what you make of it that counts.
I do remember one thing my mom told me when she was around, which was “good things come to those who wait”. I think this opportunity is the next step to reaching my own bliss, and to experiencing the better things in life, along with being an example for my family. My story doesn’t necessarily have a happy ending, or an ending for that matter. But I do know that if I keep writing it and living to the fullest, I’m sure I’ll get somewhere. And when I do, it’ll be great.
– Anonymous submission