What does being REAL look like for you?
Being real to me looks like being genuine and vulnerable yet still holding on to the respect and values that make you who you are. It looks like stepping past the boundaries that fear has on us, that we face in our everyday world. Whether it be the words of the person you sit next to in school or something you read online. Whether it be social media telling me that I'm not enough and that I am far from capable at achieving the things I achieved in the past 12 months. Each year growing up we faced student council/leadership elections and as any student with a passion for people I applied and each and every year I was rejected and the pain from it grew, I began to doubt my abilities as a leader and whether or not I would ever be capable. The fear had stopped me, till one day a friend had reminded me that one of my extra curriculum activities was doing applications for their leadership board. I decided to apply, there was no speeches or votes, the application was one sheet of paper/form. I was lucky enough to get one of the positions I applied for, to keep the story short this past year was a dream came true to me, I was able to help with various activities in various ways whether it was our school's food drive or schools student leader activity day. I was able to be a world changer in my local community and my friends. I stepped past the fear I had seen my whole life and was able to be who I was and was able to pursue my passions and skills that I loved which made me more real than anything else could ever.
What stops you or what use to stop you and how did you break free?
Fear and judgement had stopped me my whole life, for 16 years of my 17 years of life I was bound by the judgement, the fear and the comments I faced on a daily basis. It was the constant reminder that I wasn't good enough, yet that I wasn't also allowed to have a passion or a life or anything til I turned 18, I wasn't allowed to do anything besides work and education without harsh feedback from the people in my life around me. In 2016 I took a stand against the comments and actions around me, I was real and stood up to it. It was a journey of reminding myself daily what makes me strong, unique and why I'm here each day. Like any journey, there were days when I honestly couldn't believe the truth about myself, but days like that I can be encouraged in knowing that I have people around me who love, care and support me no matter my qwirky features or my spontaneous laughter at probably the most serious of times. To those reading this you are more than enough, chin up buttercup. "Where ever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine" ~Anthoney D'Angelo
What advice would you give your younger self?
The advice I would have given my younger self would be just genuinely believe in yourself and your abilities. That small fire burning inside your little heart as a kid will continue to grow, just ignore what the world throws at you (At times literally, ignore the flying dictionaries and pens). Ignore the harsh comments from your peers and teachers, the areas you were marked down heavily on and the areas you failed will be areas that you flourished in during your last year of high school and as you head into the adult world. I would also encourage my younger self to not give up, to fight on through the sea of society and school, cause you will graduate on top of the world not down in the valleys like you felt you would.
Choosing to be real to me is believing I am capable and that fear from society can not stop what is burning within.
I'm 17 and super friendly and always looking to help others, I have a huge passion for the community and specifically young people. I was a part of the class of 2016, I work and volunteer in various aspects across various platforms. I am creative and most importantly weird and unique. "The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the one's who do".