If You Really Knew Me…
If you really knew me…you’d know I sat staring at a tweet on my laptop last night for about an hour, TERRIFIED to click the “tweet” button. O and did I mention that the hour before that, I sat on the edge of my bed crying on the (telephoned) shoulder of several of my friends? What was it that had me so worked up. Ironically enough it was the fact that I had accomplished one of my life goals.
Anybody who knows me knows that I grew up in foster care. I have no problem sharing that with people. It is what it is at this point. Now, about 8 or 9 years ago, you couldn’t have paid me in Louboutin store credit to tell you that. But as I’ve gotten older I’ve come to accept my life and past experiences just for what they are–the past. In no way an indication of the trajectory of the rest of my life.
But more important than my acceptance is my extreme desire to advocate for “kids like me”. I recently had the opportunity to write a brief Opinion’s Column for the Atlanta Journal Constitution about my experiences and the change I feel the foster care system needs to see. I’ve been working with the editor over the past week perfecting my article and when I received the email that it would be posted in today’s AJC, I was estatic. THEN IT HIT ME!
What would people think? What would they say? Would they judge me? Would they think my family legacy was MY legacy? Would they pity me? Dear god, I hope not! Pity was the last thing not on the list of things I was trying to accomplish by writing this article. I spent the greater part of my work day literally sick to my stomach with nervousness and fear. I tried to calm myself by saying, “It’s done. It’s already gone to press. There’s nothing you can do. RELAX!” THAT DID NOT HELP! I was freaking the hell out! Jesus, take the wheel.
Fast forward to last night. While crying to my friends and trying to figure what the HECK I was gonna do if all of a sudden I didn’t have a single supporter in the world, I decided to check the site just so I’d know where to look tomorrow morning. ARE YOU EFFIN’ KIDDING ME?! It’s already posted??? The tears stopped immediately. I was in complete shock. My hands started to tremble as I told the person on the other end of the phone, “I’ll call you back. I have to process this.” I knew exactly what the article would say, so the content was not a shock. I mean, I wrote it. But I felt completely vulnerable and beyooond exposed. I had just shared with all of Atlanta information about me that some of my closest friends don’t even know.
O crap! My closest friends?? They’ve been waiting since last week for this article and are all asking me for the link. Shoot! Now what do I do? Now we arrive at my “sit and stare at the tweet” situation. Sure, “all of Atlanta” knows, but once I click this button there’s really no going back. People who actually know me would know. Was I prepared for that? I wasn’t so sure.
Long story short, after about an hour I finally got up the nerve to send the tweet and the support was overwhelmingly positive! *Whew* Bullet dodged. I know there will be people who do indeed judge me or think less of me, but you know what, that’s on them. Feel free. I had to remind myself that I’m not doing this for them. I’m not even doing it for me. I’m doing it for the “kids like me” who don’t have a voice, who haven’t quite figured out how to make people see past their pain and see THEM. So…to all the foster kids (former & present) in the world…THIS STORY IS FOR YOU!
Click here to read my article. (Section A21 of today’s paper)
UPDATE: Check out the short article written about my article. Neato!