When I was a teenager, I would sneak out of the house, go to outrageous parties, drink, talk back, skip school, fight, and just plain cause havoc around the city. I was called a bad influence to my step sister, who was two years younger then I. The one thing I did have going for me was my personality. In my senior year of high school, I was chosen to represent the Class Act feature in the county newspaper, the Jackson Citizen Patriot. It talked about how good of a student I was in a couple of brief sentences. I attended an alternative school that a lot of people in the city would look down on because they thought my school was full of rejects. So, the fifteen minutes of fame didn’t make a difference to me, until one day my mom was introducing me to one of her colleagues. She talked about how proud she was about the article and how good of a girl I was. Watching those words come out of her mouth surprised me. It made me open my eyes and realize that I wasn’t a bad kid. I may have made some irresponsible decisions, but I never got into gangs, got into trouble with the police, or did drugs. I found myself liking school more, graduating on time, on the honor roll, and was a speaker at graduation.
Prior to this experience I would have labeled myself as a bad influence. When my mom expressed her perception of me being a good girl, I looked outside of what others said and I agreed with her. I was proud too.