Seeing this picture now, it represents all the struggle and pain I masked over 6 years without telling anyone. The summer of 2005, I turned 13, but little did I know that all things over the course of the next 3 months would make me turn into an adult. That summer our whole family was shocked over the death of my grandpa. I remembering a few days after his funeral, I came home from school seeing my parents overwhelmed with grief and so much pain. I lived with my grandma (or to me: grandmama) until the summer ended and throughout the school year. I never experienced so much grief in my life until that moment. I asked myself, “What did I do so wrong?” or “How come I have to take care of her”. From that summer of 2005 until 2010 I reached a point in my life where my pain needed to be taken away. Wherever it hurt, I would cut the pain away. I isolated all of my anger, all the tears onto the people I loved. Being 13 and not understanding why your heart aches every time you hear your grandmother cry out loud. After awhile I masked my pain with music and laughter. Just by me telling someone a joke and seeing a person smile made me feel like my life wasn’t a lie. Until I met Jared, I explained my experience and he seemed so sweet, gentle, and loving. I knew right then and there I needed to stop. Although it was hard, I looked into Jared’s warm eyes and knew if he could believe in me I could too. Over the years, I shared my story and every time people would say, “You were so young, I couldn’t ever forgive my parents”, but I did. My parents fought, but they gave me their time and helped me push through it. Especially my mom, she made sure I had the resources I needed, every time a program wouldn’t work she found ways to get me into programs/treatments, she made sure every appointment was paid for, and she held my hand every time I was scared to let go. Finally, one day I just let go. I let go of all the pain, the worry of people not liking me for me, the anxiety attacks seemed to decrease, and the pain in my heart finally went away. Will I ever be completely cured? I’m not sure. I’m not sure if anyone can ever forget the things I’ve seen. I’m not sure if one day, I’ll be depressed or have anxiety attacks again. Although all that pain is gone, my tears have dried up, but I’m sure of this: I’m extremely grateful to my mom for always fighting for me and believing in me, for Jared always holding my hand, for my grandma never giving up.