“After Emily died my whole world changed.
It was like a switch flipped.
I met a guy who was in a bad scene and started hanging out with a bad crew.
The last three years of high school involved trauma after trauma after trauma.
I started drinking day and night.
Smoking packs of cigs a day.
I dated lots of older guys who would give to me what my parents took away to try and reel me in like cell phones and even cars.
Got in a number of nasty fist fights.
Was kicked out of my house.
Almost died a handful of times in high speed car chases and on the back of 4 wheelers.
Jumped out of a speeding car.
Was in numerous physically, mentally and emotionally abusive relationships with chaotic highs and lows.
Had a gun held to my head.
Was constantly in trouble with the police.
Lit a car on fire.
Hung with heroin addicts.
Was drugged and raped.
And faced more close deaths.
The list goes on... I gave up all sports, even my beloved soccer.
All my childhood friendships.
All my good grades.
I gave it all away and dropped into some thick and murky darkness.
I eventually fell so far behind in school I would never catch up again and a few months before graduation got expelled once and for all.
My mom got my GED for me (I was pretty far gone and she new it would matter eventually) and that was that.
It was a year or so after the saga of high school ended that I started to come out of the trance.
Within two years I was enrolled in college.
Which was a really big deal for me.
I felt like I had a lot to prove on the other side of high school and college was all about showing everyone and I guess myself that I was good enough and those previous years didn’t define me.”