Devin - Brentwood, Tennessee
Entered on February 16, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in individuality. As a kid, it was hard trying to talk with other people. I learned “Actions speak louder than words” but others thought I was strange because of the way I acted. Words were useless. I had A.D.D., which made me distractible and energetic. I made up my own fantasy world to protect myself, which I would play in everyday at recess. I loved fantasy stories, so I was constantly expanding mine.

My teachers noticed that I daydreamed during class. Their solution was medication, but the pills made me depressed. I lost my appetite and stopped talking completely, yet the worst part was that I didn’t notice. Sure I was able to sit still during class, but I wasn’t me anymore. When my parents saw how miserable I was, they let me stop taking the medicine and it dawned on me what had happened. My whole school thought I was a freak just because there was something different with my brain.

Around this time I discovered I love to read. I read books that gave me ideas for more stories, and my favorite books had pictures in them. That’s when I started to draw. I earned the nickname “Doodler” from my parents. Then I started reading newspaper comics. I loved how drawings were used to create stories, so I made a comic series based on my cat called “Queen Fatso”. When I tried to show one to my class, they either didn’t get it or thought it was boring. After that I was too shy to show anyone my drawings.

A few years later we moved to another state and I left the school I had been in for six years. I stayed very quiet in the other schools I went to. I had no idea how to act around the students I had never seen before. It was like learning how to count all over again. When I reached high school I went to (and still go to) Currey Ingram Academy. This school was different from any other I had seen.

Currey Ingram is a school for students who have symptoms such as ADD, so they had all walked in my shoes and knew how it felt to have everyone think you were strange. They showed me that I have my own merit. They encouraged me to do things I never had been brave enough to try before. I started drawing again. When I wrote, my teachers give me high marks and encouraged me to write more. So I continued writing until I was writing my own fantasy book.

As a kid, I thought my A.D.D was going to torment me for the rest of my life. I was afraid everyone would think the real me was strange. But CIA showed me that my true self wasn’t something I should be afraid of expressing. They showed me that who I am is fine, and that’s because I can choose for myself what I want in life.