Who Better Then Me
By Breeasja Crayton
Who Better Then Me
Everyday I remind myself not to ever forget where I came from because accomplishments consist of acceptance. Acceptance of people. Who they are? Where they are going? With that being said, it made me think. Does everybody really think this way? Reminiscing about the early stages of my childhood, back when running around playing hopscotch was my main cause for life, I thought about Ashandia. She was an 11 year old girl that I’ve met who had a distinctive burn of desire in her eyes. This was a girl that I feel has exceeded the expectation of what any person would consider an inspiration. Her life story is misfortunate, but through her consistency and dedication she overcame her tough life situation, which seemed to be a catastrophe from start to finish. This is one story that needs to be heard so on her behalf, I am going to metaphorically scream it out on the paper.
Starting from day one, her family was the gossip topic of the neighborhood. Before even meeting her, I knew of her family history, which I learned through discretely listening to the neighbors talk. The conversations brought up about the family were harsh and invasive, but that never stopped me from listening. A typical conversation about the family consist of comments such as “ From watching her, you would never think that she was being abused,” and “ whoever did her make-up I need them to do mine, cause you know she covering up a black eye.” Hearing those comments as a child made me realize that, you should use precaution when choosing who you call your friend. Of course, I never believed everything that I heard. I would imagine that these were stories that were made up for entertainment purposes only. But for me, everything snapped back to reality when I would hear her mother cries throughout the night, which to me, always seemed to be falling on deaf ears.
Miraculously, this didn’t seem to phase Ashandia. On many occasions, I watched her take care of her younger brothers like they were her own. She brought them back and fourth to school everyday, made sure they where outside waiting for the school bus in the morning on time, while maintaining good grades. Well, at least I think she was. She had to! If you were to look through her window, you would see walls full of certificates for: honor roll, super honor role, perfection attendance, penmanship and student of the month. I considered that to be a major accomplishment, considering all of the family problems she had.
Now that she is 17years of age it is hard to look back and imagine her as the same 11 year old girl that I heard about 6 years ago. In so many different ways I began to see myself in her. Then I came to the realization that over all these years Ashandia was just a mere image of myself. And I realized that I was indeed, living a dual existence. Through all of that I learned that an influential person is there to inspire you to do things that you never imagined possible. I am my own inspiration because I taught myself how to show empathy for others.
© Breeasja Crayton