I am using today, my 21st birthday, to reflect. For the past twenty one years, I have been told I could not do certain things. People’s expectations of me were not high. Looking back I have overcome so many obstacles and have surprised myself at the life I have already lived.
I graduated high school, taking honors courses, graduating with honors and 11th in my class; while missing roughly 30 days of school a year. I was a part of the lawmaking process and got a bill passed designating February, Craniofacial Awareness Month. I have been blessed with the opportunity to speak at charity functions. I was the second youngest person to win the Patient of Courage Award, for my advocacy work. I have raised thousands of dollars for the American Cancer Society as well as raising funds for Mott Children’s Hospital. I have volunteered with several organizations throughout the state of Michigan, and have had the opportunity to do missions work in Haiti. I have traveled to Spain and Gibraltar, and have traveled to several states in the US.
I have dealt with pain, frustrations, anger, and sadness; but have felt accomplished, joyous, and thankful. Without the struggles I would not have experienced the triumphs. I have changed for the better in the past 21 years, the journey took a toll on me, making me shy and insecure but I can proudly say that I am continuing to grow and build confidence in myself. My support system has grown and I have gained new friendships even the past year that I am beyond grateful for.
Today I am working toward receiving my BSW, already being accepted into the social work program at the University of Michigan- Flint. I am maintaining a spot on the Dean’s List, and continue to volunteer wherever I can. I will be once again travelling to Haiti for more missions work in a short week and am beyond excited to see what the trip has in store for me.
I have so many big dreams and goals for myself. While there are things that I have not yet experienced, I am very excited to see where God leads me in the next 21 years. Maybe I will travel, adopt, marry, and find new ways to serve. The sky is the limit and I cannot wait to be blown away by God’s plan for my life; knowing him, it isn’t at all what my plan for myself is.
I would not be who I am today without my support system and the people who have continued to strengthen me without me even realizing it; my family, and friends (old and new), and even the people who did not have my best interest at heart. I would like to thank the bullies and naysayers too. You gave me a story. You may have broken me, but I am healing, and becoming more myself than what I was before. So thank you. Without you, the triumphs may not have come, and I would not have been able to grow.
Thank you to everyone for reading this blog and I hope you will continue on reading and joining me in Defying Society’s Definition of Beauty.