By Qwonjit Nelson, 20
I sat down with my former self and talked with her over a cup of coffee at the local Starbucks while waiting for my bus. Looking in her brown eyes, she began to tell me how she can’t stand school, and how people make fun of her and call her names because of her shabby appearance. I saw that she had a lot of issues.
“What’s wrong?” I asked, as I brought the mug to my lips.
“Well, everything” she said. “My mother doesn’t love me and my boyfriend is cheating on me and I’m just a wreck and …” Then she paused.
A tear fell from her face to the floor.
“What?” I asked her.
“Well,” she said, “I don’t even know if I want to live. Things are so f-ckin’ overwhelming, you know? What would you know? You’re in college and you’re in a good position”
“Well, look Qwonjit, you can’t let life get to you. If you let people see the buttons that tick you off, and the ones that get you aggravated, they’ll only push them even more. You have to look deep within yourself and try to do the best that you can for yourself. You can’t put all of the world’s problems on your shoulders. Being a teen is hard enough. Why add more pressure to it?”
She then wiped her eyes. And as she did, I could see the failed suicide attempts on her wrists.
“What’s this?” I asked as I pointed them out.
“Nothin’,” she said. Her eyes were deeper than any set of eyes I ever saw. She definitely had a lot of issues. “Look, I don’t want to talk, okay?” she said.
“Sure, whatever. Go ahead, hide your feelings, you’re only eating yourself up,” I told her. “Look, being in foster care isn’t the end of the world, you know. Just think of it as a temporary blemish. It’ll go away some day. But, for now, you have to live with it and make the most of yourself. You can’t let words get to you. And besides, who’s going to look after your sisters if you succeed in your attempts?”
“Well, you have a point there,” she admitted.
I smiled. “Yes, and besides, the world would miss a terrific writer.”
She laughed and took a sip of her coffee.
“Now, Qwonjit, what you have to do now is use the foster care system to your advantage. They have many programs available for you, and a lot of people who are willing to listen. That’s only if you talk and express yourself. And look…”
I saw my bus approaching and I walked toward the door. I handed her a card.
“Keep in touch,” I said.
“Okay, thanks,” she said, as she looked down at the card.
It read: “Ms. Qwonjit Nelson, the person you are inside.”