On October 19th, 2014, my mother passed away suddenly, thus starting the first of many hardships throughout my high school experience. The week she died, I didn’t know silence could be so loud. I remember feeling like an imitation of the person I once was. Sprawled out, looking for her among the stars, I had to go back to school, but I feared being known as “The girl’s mother who took her life.” Word spread like wildfire, quick, uncontrollable, and sickening to the stomach.
In those hallways, it felt as though I was an insect studied underneath a microscope. Students either looked at me as though I was unbalanced, giving me sympathy that was almost childlike, or decided to be ignorant to the situation at hand, avoiding eye contact and simple conversation, or talked amongst one another making up stories about what had happened.
Walking into Mrs. Carnell’s English classroom was nerve-wracking for me. I didn’t know what to expect from my classmates. When entering the room, Mrs. Carnell greeted me with the most genuine smile, acknowledging how wonderful it was to see me. She gave me her condolences, in a way that stood out among the rest. It was motherly, similar to my mother’s beautiful personality.
She treated me like like any other teenager. Not looking down on me, but rather expressing that I had potential. She truly cared about what I had to say. No one at that time had ever acknowledged what I said matters. That was a very big milestone in my life, especially since I didn’t see much worth in myself.
Mrs. Carnell’s personality stood out in small gestures. Every morning when I entered her classroom, I was greeted with a smile and a compliment that made my day everyday. The small things mattered so much to me, as they continue to today. You always hear the saying that small gestures can turn someone’s day around for the better, and it’s completely and utterly true. I craved her encouragements and her reminders that life had beauty, even with downward spirals. Mrs. Carnell showed love and compassion to me, and that’s why admiration for her is unconditional.
Since being in her class, I’ve prospered and grown immensely. My outlook on myself and my worth have emerged into appreciation and kindness. I’m finding self love through poetry and the words I speak to others. And I can thank Mrs. Carnell for that. She inspired me to continue to write and that my feelings are valid. Because of her, I believe I have potential to do good in this world.