There I was lying in my bed crying, “Why me?” “What is wrong with me?” “I wish I had a different family, I hate my life!”
My mom and father, Walley, were only fifteen when I was born. I was living with my grandmother before I was even a year old but was often passed back between her and my later divorced parents.
Being the only child at my grandmother’s, I got anything I wanted and this made my age mates envy me though they never knew how lonely I felt. My grandmother owned a liquor store in front of our double wide trailer and spent most of her time there attending to paperwork. The most ironical part of living with her was that at most times I felt I was the one protecting her and not the reverse.
Later I moved in with Walley and his new wife Debbie. She had 3 children around my age though I was the youngest. Walley was hardly home and Debbie took this advantage to vent her anger on me. Child Protection Services came one time, I wanted to tell them everything but Debbie said if I did they would break our family. By now my grades were falling.
Walley eventually left Debbie, and moved into a travel trailer by his father’s house. I shared a room with Walley it was where I began to be abused again. Walley’s abuse was not like Debbie’s. I often wished I had had another family.
When I was 10, I began seeing more of my mother, and my sister Kayla, who mom and Walley had after I began living with my grandmother. In that year, my mother got married to a man named Andre. Debbie, my step mom, made me promise to never call him dad. But when I got to spend part of the following summer with them, I told them how bad it was living with Debbie; I wanted to live with them. During the custody battle that ensued, I chose to live with mom when questioned in court. Andre was very strict and set many rules. My sister and I were to keep up our grades and complete chores. Andre’s punishment if we got in trouble in school or received a bad grade was to write several sentences, stating what we did wrong and how we would fix it. With the tough love, and full attention of a father that I never had; I quickly realized he was not just Andre’, he was my dad.
In 2000, my grandmother, who raised me and that I protected all those years, was brutally murdered in her home. I left her with no one to protect her. It was my fault that I chose to go live with my mother. How could I have been so selfish? In a lot of ways this was a turning point for me. I felt like it was necessary in respect of her to prove that I would be someone great.
After many groundings and sentences later, I was walking a straight path. I was in high school finally doing something great. I joined this volunteer group with the Katy ISD police called the Explorers; we were taught the basic functions of the police. Because of my passion and motherly instinct to help everyone, I was moved up to the highest rank as a leader. I also pushed myself to take dual credit college courses and had an internship at the criminal courthouse downtown. In my senior year, Walley signed his rights away for my sister and me. He said it was only a paper, and that he was doing it because he couldn’t afford to pay child support. That was the last time I saw or spoke to Walley.
I never went out in high school, so I found myself hanging out with different crowds. I wanted the carefree life. This made me to lose focus as I became everyone else. By my third year, I no longer had friends. Work and school were the only activities that were on my daily routine. I worked two jobs as a full time student and having positive influences surrounding me. I had the opportunity to work with teens at the YMCA where I used my past and what I overcame as a way to help them. My second job was at a maximum security prison; there is where I regained my focus. That year I found success in my academics with time, once I discovered courses that interested me. I began to focus on me and what was important, and that was graduating.
In those last two years of college, my whole aspect on life and my future changed. The relationship between my parents and I grew stronger than it had ever been. That year, my dad legally adopted my sister and I, we were now Reynolds.
Today, I love my life, my family and who I have become. My life’s experiences have undoubtedly shaped me into a strong woman and have in no way limited me from achieving my personal and professional ambitions. To my peers I am an independent, strong, outspoken woman who is very well grounded. Keeping up with an image like that is a challenge, and yet I wake up ready for it every morning. I have set high goals for myself that I must work hard to reach. I believe that with my new aspect of life and determination, I will be able to successfully complete law school, and with my strong sense of compassion, I will set forth an example to those, like me, who began life with no sign of hope for a better future. I realize that attending law school will provide many more obstacles; but as in the past those barriers will help mould me into the lawyer I will be tomorrow.