The Art of New Beginnings: A reflection on second chances

     In the wake of the New Year, many young adults are looking forward to a new semester of college, but there are many people who are looking forward to becoming a whole new person. I swore to myself at the start of this new year that I would try to love all that I am and stop letting others control me.

     The year of 2016 was the worst year of my life. As a senior in high school, I was completely happy. I was involved in many clubs, and I excelled in academics; I lived with my mom and two brothers; I had just been accepted to Eastern, and I could not wait to be in college.

     But on the morning of March 8, I woke up to the worst day of the worst year of my life. I did not know what was going on. I got up around seven in the morning and found my brothers in the hallway crying. I looked past them to see my mom, lifeless. I ripped away from my siblings’ attempt to block me from the horror and went to my mom’s bedside. She was so cold. I began to shake her. I yelled at her to wake up. I called the ambulance and was instructed to give my own mom CPR. The tragedy was that I could not save her. She never woke up. I went from the aspiring high school senior to a teenager raising herself.

     The rest of my year went downhill from there. I lost my older brother after he expressed that living with me and our other sibling was too hard for him. After going to college, I allowed my eldest brother to control everything I did. I allowed him to bully me because I did not want to lose another piece of my family. My submission to the abuse was a result of my not having my mom to protect me—I was protecting myself.

     After my mom’s passing, I felt as though I died as well. The nine months remaining in 2016 were brutal to get through. I was constantly trying to pull myself out of the hole that I had dug for myself. I was confused as to why I was being treated so poorly by the people I had been raised with. I questioned why I was living. I questioned why God took my mom instead of me. I thought that me being gone would have been easier. These thoughts consumed my year. Even when I was being honored or I received a phenomenal grade on a test, I still felt like I was failing. I still thought that I did not deserve to live.

     However, I saw a small light at the end of my seemingly never-ending tunnel. It was over winter break when I realized that I had a lot in my life. Although I had lost the majority of my family, I began to realize that family can be chosen. I spent all of the holidays with my friend from high school. I participated in her holiday traditions and had a new will to live. I began to see that I was becoming a  different person, but I was a person I could get used to. I was still loved by so many people. These are the people who loved me when I did not love myself.

     In a sense, 2017 served as a wake-up call. I know now that trying to hold on to the Kelsey that was present on March 7, 2016 is not something that I or anyone else can do. The true art of new beginnings is that they can happen whenever you see fit. My new beginning happened when I was eating lasagna (my friend’s family tradition), surrounded by a family who had taken me in. New beginnings have the power to change you or to simply give you the space to accept the you that has changed.

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