I used to be afraid. I used to be afraid of what people would think, of what I would see when I looked in the mirror, of what I had to go home to and what I might find when I got there. In fact, I used to be so afraid to go home, that when I finally psyched myself up to put the key in the door, I’d turn around and run before my conscience told me to go back.
You may be thinking, “Mandi, running from your fears is cowardly and unrealistic.”
That’s what my counselor told me. She also told me that refusing to face reality is called “being delusional.”
I called it having a Superpower. I fail to see the difference. When life sucks real bad, I could just leave whenever I wanted, like a magic trick, “wanna see me disappear?” Don’t ask, I’ll do it anyways to save you the trouble. Poof! I’m gone.
So, I bet you’re wondering where I went when I ran from my fears. Well, I can tell you what places I didn’t go: the library, school, my grandmother’s, Joe’s Crabshack, the grocery store, on a pilgrimage. Long story short, I didn’t go anywhere innocent or family oriented.
My family was too high to care where I went or what I did. Then, I discovered drugs and had a new way to escape reality. I didn’t even have to leave my house! Then on one fateful evening, I was arrested. My family relinquished custody of me and I was getting released to a foster family. My life spun out of control when I got out. I had a crazy, weird new family. New school, and eventually new drugs. My addiction finally came to the light and things got bad again. My foster family decided to move to Minnesota and I was truly alone. I went to a group home and two weeks later I came to RTC. Later in the day when I got here, they told me to put on my own clothes for working out and I thought, “great, we’re gonna be doing military drills or something, I just know it!”
We went down to the gym and I was instantly greeted by Ms. Liz, my first thought was,”who is this crazy hyper pixie lady?” but it turns out that Ms. Liz isn’t just some pixie lady who shows up to work us out.
It reality, she’s my Fairy God Mother. She took my shoe size and bra size and I was instantly amazed by the amount of generosity a single woman can possess.
Over the past 6 months, Ms. Liz has done so much for me and every other girl here at RTC. She helped me shed my skin and learn to fly. Even after all of the adversity I’ve been through, she has helped me turn into a beautiful butterfly. Ms. Liz has inspired me to turn my life into something better. I’ve seen the future, but through someone else’s eyes. I’ve stepped through the looking glass and seen an alternate path. I’m so grateful and lucky to have the opportunity to meet Ms. Liz and participate in Girls With Sole. I know what I could be. I’ve seen, what others have seen, and I am no longer ashamed of what the future holds.
I AM NO LONGER AFRAID.
-Mandi, GWS Participant, Age 16
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