I'm Not What People Say I Am, It's What I Say I Am

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Written By: Felecia Causey
Model: Chelsey Smith
(Chelsey Smith is only a model for this post. She is not the character or affiliated with anyone in the story)

I am sure everyone that read this, had that one teacher that was completely horrible. I had several!

We lived in a small town in Mississippi, where everyone knew each other. Most of my family members, never finished high school and stayed in and out of jail for petty crimes. When going to school, I had to wear hand me down clothes from people who gave them to us or I had to wear old shoes my sisters had worn. I remember this lady dropping some clothes off for me that her daughter couldn't wear any more. I was excited to wear this one particular jumper, because I thought it was so cute. It was during lunch that the lady's daughter decided to share with the whole cafeteria that I was wearing some of her old clothes. I cried because I was angry at her, I was angry for our family for being poor and not being able to buy new stuff.

 I made straight A's and studied very hard. I had to because if I asked any of the teachers for help, they would have a nonchalant attitude or some would just tell me, look back at my notes.   I stayed up many nights studying, until I got it. I wasn't able to ask my parents or my siblings because they had less than a 10th grade education.

 I will never forget when I visited my school councilor's office for information on some colleges. He bluntly told be "there was no need of wasting paper or wasting people time". 

 I walked out shocked, heartbroken, and hopeless. At that moment, I set in my mind that I would finish high school, and just work at the grocery store, like my sisters.

 As I looked at my goal list, I couldn't give up. I worked every chance I got, babysitting to save money, and send off college applications. There were many who went to the football games and dances, but I decided to stay at home and babysit. With every dime I got, I applied for scholarships and mailed off every application to every school I was interested in attending.

 My senior year was almost coming to an end, and I would hear all my classmates bragging on receiving numerous acceptance letters and here I was, waiting on just one.

 Two weeks before graduation we had to turn in if we received scholarships offers.  One day before the deadline, I came home to 15 unopened letters on my bed. As sat an opened each letter one by one, they added up to be over $350,000 in scholarship offers. I sat and admired all the offers on my bed.

 As I walked into the office to give all my scholarships offers information, the coordinator looked at me like she saw a ghost. I smiled and walked out after she returned all my letters.

 My family wasn't aware of the letters nor did I mention it. I continued working, until graduation. 

 Graduation came around, and my whole family was there and very excited. When it was finally time for my name to be called and for me to walk across the stage, I stood up with butterflies in my stomach. I can hear the roar of my family screams and their loud claps.  As I shook the principal hand, I quickly posed for a photo. As I came up to shake the hand of the councilor who basically told me, I wasn't worth the time or paper, I firmly grabbed his hand, shook it, and whispered, "I am more than worth it." He only smiled.

 After the ceremony my family ran up and hugged me, asking me why I didn't tell them about my scholarships. I told them, I  wanted it to be surprised.  My mother grabbed both my hands, looked me in my eyes, and smiled with a tear rolling down her face. She didn't say a word, but I knew she was proud of me. She had always been a person who didn't show much affection, but I could read her body language.

When I went off to college, and had many days where I wanted to give up. I had to go to bed many nights hungry.  I made it, because every time when I felt like giving up, I thought about what that councilor told me that day. I would shake off the depression and set my mind on my goals. The councilor hurt my feelings, but it also made me push myself harder. I have learn through this that, it's not what people say I am, it's what I say I am.

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