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“Growing from My Past” by Kailey Matson, FDA Student

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Enjoy this personal story written by one of our very own FDA students, Kailey Matson. Thank you for sharing your story, Kailey.

Tuesday, December 6, 2018; at 9 a.m.

I arrived at an unfamiliar, two-story building, unprepared for my new reality. I was very nervous to start over at a new school, especially with new people I didn’t know. When I arrived, I was full of thoughts; Would I get lost? Who would I sit next to? What if I have to introduce myself in front of everyone? What if I trip going up and down the stairs? What if I make a bad first impression? I mean all of this was very possible. I walked through the double doors, lady at the desk asked me to put my name and the time I had arrived. 

     “Could you please tell me where room 200 is located?” I politely asked. 

     “Up the stairs, to the right all the way down on the right side,” she respectfully replied.

     “Thank you,” I responded and headed on my way.

Still, I was so nervous, she had just given me directions how could I possibly get lost? I repeated the directions in my head a million times before I had reached the top of the stairs. Finally, making it down the hall, I had reached the door, I took a deep breath and walked in. I could feel my palms starting to sweat and my breathing starting to get heavier. I walked down a row that had students seated on either side, with so much anxiety, I could feel my heart sink straight to my feet. 

In addition to going to a new school, I had gone to a public school that had a good number of students, nothing like the new school. Being I was always pretty much the outcast in school you could imagine just how much anxiety this brought. 

I wasn’t like the other girls, I had long curly hair, I had greenish-blue eyes and rosy red cheeks. I just wasn’t skinny, I carried a few extra pounds, but every morning and every night, my mom and grandma reassured me I was beautiful regardless of what anyone had said to me. It was this way all the way to high school. Sometimes the way people had made me feel, and the words they said got the better half of me. I was too afraid to stand up for myself, telling people only made the situation worse. I was so smart and intelligent; how could people judge me on things they observed on the outside of my body? 

Transferring to high school I felt very advanced and ready to take the challenge going into ninth grade. My first semester wasn’t horrible, I had a few people who targeted me but nothing I couldn’t power through. The second semester came and I’m unsure of what happened, much of it is still a blur to me. A small group had terrorized and taunted me for weeks before I started showing them, I knew what they were doing. One afternoon, the group at the next table had started laughing hysterically, I didn’t pay any mind, until they tapped me. I turned around:

   “Yes?” I spoke.

They didn’t say anything they just looked at me as if they didn’t just tap me. I turned back around. They once again started laughing. An individual that was sitting at the table tapped me and told me I had some clothing issues, so I had politely left the cafeteria, went to the restroom, and checked myself over to make sure I wasn’t going around school an entire mess.

When finished that same group stood before me, then proceeded to stare me down. As I got closer to the door one of the individuals knocks all of my belongings to the ground. I knelt to gather my things, doing so was rather difficult. I was finally to a breaking point; my mom had seen a post I made and got very concerned about my mental health. So, we made our trip to the emergency room. Admitted into the hospital, I had a stay of three days, under a 24-hour watch. It had felt like the longest 3 days I had ever lived. On the third day, I was expecting to go to another facility. Living so far from the facility would make things very complicated. I had felt so much better, asking if I could go home, didn’t go as planned.

 “If you sign your daughter out, while we have transportation and an available bed somewhere, also a place we feel she will be safe; we will…”

My options had felt as they got pretty short from there. After what seemed like hours of talking and explaining, we convinced them to let me go home. Unfortunately, I still had to go to school.  When I returned, I had spoken about why I hadn’t been to school.

“You are making these situations very dramatic, if you can’t show us actual evidence how’re we to know this really happened?” 

So, what was I supposed to do except let them assume I had wasted my time in making this up? They didn’t live it nor were they there to witness, really who was I to think they’d believe me? I didn’t attend there much longer after my hospital visit. Enrolling in a new school, I wasn’t ready to see if they were different, but anything was better than having to feel like it was all my fault. Nothing could compare to this moment in time.

I found my seat in the back of the classroom. I didn’t know how to maneuver anything. How did I not know how to turn on a computer? My knowledge disappeared, the moment I stepped foot into the school. For the remainder of my freshman year, I spent two days of the week with a small class no bigger than 15 students. Surprisingly the ending of my freshman year of high school was interesting, I could tolerate coming back.

For the remainder of high school, I have been given a new coach. I had really doubted this coach, I had a fear she wouldn’t be much help to me, and I felt she wouldn’t benefit my goals or success. I always felt she wanted me to be in trouble for things I was still very new to and/or couldn’t control. I truly didn’t want to give anyone else a chance. I spent almost the whole year neglecting everything she tried doing for me. I had a tough year with losing myself and sight of who I set out to be. As I finished the school year, I knew I had a place and people to rely on when I returned. In August, I was headed back to the same place I had doubted.

One way or another I was eventually going to have to accept her at least a little, I needed to give her a chance, just as she gave me. After convincing myself, I set our differences aside and heard her out. Since then, I have had better luck with succeeding than before when I had judged a book by its cover. She has been such a significant part of my life and keeps things completely honest with me. She welcomes me with open arms whenever I need her. She never makes me feel less of a person for things I can’t control and for things I may struggle with. She’s not only my coach, she’s a friend when I need one, and more family to me than some of my own. I have a lot more growing to do, but if I know one thing it’s that I’ll never be alone on my journey. I cherish the things I have been allowed to do because of my past. She’s truly one of a kind, and I can’t thank her enough for being there for me, even when I pushed her out.  

Nothing will ever be a better blessing than growing, accepting, facing challenges, and giving your best effort into trying. Don’t be afraid to ask for help live beyond expectations, and never judge a book by its cover. I did once what was done to me, and I almost missed a chance at a greater future.

When one door is closed, another shall open.

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