"I am Strong Enough Now" – TJ

I will be an incoming student at Dunbar High school in the Fall.

I haven't had an easy childhood at all. There have been problems that I have been forced to deal with at young age. Let me tell you what I  have been through and how I dealt with it. Ever since I was little, my mother has been in and out of my life. My father hasn't been in my life since I was two years old. For a while, I’ve been living my grandmother. Everything was going good until my mother came back it was like everything started to collapse. I was moving place to place, school to school, then my mother decided to move to D.C.  I was living in North Carolina at the time and I knew I didn’t want to be far from my mom. So, my mom did her best to try to bring me with her.When I finally got to D.C., my mom didn’t have a place to live, so we lived with my aunt. Then, eventually I moved in with my other grandmother and sister. Everything actually started getting better for me, I started to do better in school and everything. However, things weren’t so good for my mom. She got really sick and it was difficult for her to even care for me. My father started to visit me from time to time. I didn’t know my dad that well but I always tried to respect him. I was going through all of these changes and still had to go to school everyday and manage.

Whenever I started to feel overwhelmed, people would tell me “God is just giving you trials to make you stronger.” However, I feel like I am strong enough now and I want to be done with the trials. Sometimes, I cry but I always remind myself that I have to suck it up. Someone told me it’s not healthy to keep everything bottled up inside of me. So, sometimes, I listen to music or sing to alleviate stress. Also, I know that I need to start putting me first. I need to make sure that I look out for my own happiness. I’ve been putting my mother first for a long time, my uncle told me that I need to stop because at the end of the day, she is the mother and I am the child. I need to enjoy my childhood, it goes quick.

The best advice that I can offer the younger scholars is to just stay true to yourself and stop caring about what other people think about you. A quote that speaks to me is, “You can't give anyone water, if your cup is empty.” I choose this quote because I feel like I try to make everyone happy instead of looking out for my own happiness.

– TJ