This I Believe

Assiyah - Denver, Colorado
Entered on October 21, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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Stereotype Assassin

Stereotypes are the ignorant man’s assumptions about others based on his own insecurities. Who’s to say what someone is SUPPOSED to be like?! For some people, it would be a disaster to be taken away from their family and put into a foreign home. Regardless of the individual, they’d automatically get labeled as defiant. Most would end up rebelling against the world or ignoring it, giving up on hope and life altogether.

Then there’s me. Unlike most foster children, I have exceeded expectations tremendously and have been able to live a “normal” life. But what is a “normal” life in all actuality? For me, simply stated, it is the life one lives. For ten of the eighteen years I’ve been alive, I’ve lived with a family who has no biological tie to me, other than the bond of love. I consider them a blessing in my life so I live every day to be a blessing to them. It is my intention not to burden them with the common stereotypical behaviors of foster children.

I come from parents who are substance abusers. From about age three to seven, I was homeless. Many of my clothes were just my parent’s clothes that were modified to fit my little body. I didn’t go to school regularly and I didn’t have many friends to play with because I never had a guaranteed place to sleep. My mother became pregnant with my little sister, Aliyyah, but immediately after her birth, she was put into foster care. And eventually, I went into foster care also. During our placement, my baby sister mysteriously died and furthermore, shortly after her death, I found out that my older brother had been shot and killed by the police. On top of that, I recently found out that my father was killed in a hit-and-run accident. I have lived through situations that should have emotionally altered my perception of life, however, it did the opposite; I became incredibly motivated to live a better life than both of my parents and achieve every one of my aspirations.

Furthering my education is one of my most passionate ideals. I’ve been to over twenty college campuses and even taken college courses for two summers during high school, receiving A’s in all of them. Besides education, I’m avidly involved in my church and have incredible friends and other people to support me. As a tennis player, I’ve developed the ability to work through frustration and embrace teamwork. Overall, I’d like to think I’ve been able to live a “normal” life, with all the positives and negatives that were present because, after all, that’s what living is all about.

My name is Assiyah and I am a stereotype assassin. As a child, I endured circumstances that I had no control over but I did not allow them to control me. I have defeated my odds and conquered a childhood that should have destroyed my life. I’ve given ignorant people something positive to assume.