im 22 years old. for the better part of my life, i knew i wanted to help people. i had no clue where or how, but i knew i was going to impact some people. why? because i had a story, but i thought i was the only one with it.

one woman kind of forced this story out of me. she didnt do it in an aggressive way, but she asked me questions. she picked my brain. she waited for my responses. she listened to me. despite some of the issues i had (the ones that made me feel like i was too far gone), she did something different in regard to those issues. she held them gently and treated them like a glass menagerie. she put them in her pocket, most times the one by her heart, and left them there for me to come back to when i was ready. she invested in me. she impacted my life. growing up, i had plenty of people that were impactful, but not like this. krissy was my 10th grade English teacher. her “job” was to make sure i passed a big test at the end of the year (which btw, i was the ONLY kid that failed that thing out of all the years of her being a teacher LOL), learn to write, etc. however, krissy took it much further. she taught me how to think, and i dont mean think to answer a few TDQ’s correctly. i mean, she taught me how to think critically. she taught me how to think for myself. she is still teaching me how to think for myself. sometimes she yelled at me. threatened to push me down the steps when she was pregnant with her son (really my baby brother), so on and so forth. she moved my seat right to the front of the classroom and gave me dirty looks every time i would part my lips to let a sound out. she got on me every time she saw me. she was pretty mean to me (;)) but why? i needed it. i needed structure. i needed to be pulled in quickly before i lost myself because of myself. 15/16 year old me didnt know what she was doing, but 22 year old me knows now. i needed her kind of love.

when krissy finally took the fragile glass out of her pocket to give back to me, i knew she felt i was somewhat ready to deal with some things on my own and i did. it got easier because she taught me how to be independent in more ways than one. did i listen? not necessarily, but she knew i wouldn’t. she knew me so well. she knows her kid SO well.

she told me, like every kid, i had a story. i didn’t think it was important. i used it to make excuses sometimes, but it was hard not to. life was hard. i had a wall up and didn’t know how to handle my emotions or issues. thankfully her love and patience permeated through all of that. the story might come in a different post, but just know i never thought i would need it. like i said in the very beginning… i knew i wanted to impact people, i just didn’t know how…

so i became a teacher. partially because of her, but mostly because that’s one of the easiest ways to impact lives. there’s one life in particular i can’t seem to let go of.

samantha, the young girl in the picture, is that life. i am krissy and samantha is me. three weeks ago, i had to leave sam’s school and go to a new one with all new kids and a completly different atmosphere, but there wasnt a day that went by where i wasnt thinking about her. when i left, sam had a hard time. she was crying every day (still does), leaving class because i wasnt there, so on and so forth. her lifeline left her, and i didnt realize how impactful that would be but how couldnt i? when i left high school, i lost my mind… or i thought i was going to. i wouldnt see krissy every day. i didnt think i would be able to function, but i did because of what she taught me, and the way she taught me to use my story. sam has a story. a painful story at that, and although she thinks all is lost, i know its not. i gave sam my number and she reaches out to me often. she keeps me updated with school. she cries to me. she vents to me. she laughs with me, and shes a little sassy with me. i see so much of young shawna in her, and thats why im making this post. i went through what i went through for many reasons out of my control, but knowing and seeing why i needed to experience all of that provides clarity in the enigma. sam needs me the same way i needed krissy. sam needs someone to invest in her the way krissy invested in me. she needs love. she needs an outlet. she needs structure. that ten year old is one of the most beautiful people i have ever met, and if i knew what i needed to be preparing for, i would have started long ago.

so kris, my girl, i love you and am so thankful that you decided to invest because now look at me. i hope im making you proud, and i promise, all your years of hard work on this hard head/heart was not in vain.

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