Growing up, I moved around a lot. There were many different people in and out of my life, and no one was ever constant. Early in life, I learned to stuff my feelings and not to talk about the things that mattered most. I had no idea what a healthy relationship even looked like. I had no ability to share with others how I felt. So I learned to hide everything from the people around me, including my parents.
This inner struggle led to outward behaviors. I centered my life around partying and sneaking around with friends. That was my way of escaping from reality. I was usually in trouble either at home or at school, so there was always tension between my dad and me. We rarely talked. Instead, we just found it easier to avoid each other.
Fast forward a few years; I have now been at Cookson Hills for over a year. I’m amazed at all the things I’ve learned here. Probably my biggest lesson has been that it’s okay to get close to people. I’ve made some really solid friendships that are based on the right things. My best friend and I can talk about everything. She doesn’t judge me and I know I can be truly honest with her.
I have also been greatly influenced by the staff here. They have helped me see what good and lasting relationships look like and they have taught me how to build those relationships. I never would’ve been able to make it this far without all these influences.
Probably the most significant change has been my relationship with my biological family. It has improved tremendously. Instead of ignoring each other, we are actually learning to communicate. I’m not scared to talk to them about what’s going on in my life. It has taken a long time to get to this point, but it’s worth it.
I want these changes to help shape my future. My goal is to finish my senior year and graduate, then go to a nearby college for cosmetology. I eventually want to open my own salon. I don’t want my time at Cookson Hills to just be a phase – I want it to be a positive change in my life. My passion is to keep moving forward, keep learning, and keep growing in my relationship with Christ.