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Choosing the Cycle By Amaya Pettway  

Who am I? 
What am I? 
Am I a continuation of my vibrant heritage? 
Or am I generational curses I hope to break? 
I come from a long line of people who get no help for their mental health. They cope by sweeping their issues under the rug, throwing themselves into work, relationships, and distractions. These unhealthy habits have been passed down for generations. 
People in my family from a young age tend to be very intelligent and gifted, but they don’t use it due to irrational fears, and not believing in themselves. We often settle for what's given, and don’t reach out for what we deserve. 
However, not everything I got from my family was bad. We love traveling and adventure, it's like a 6th sense. We all live spread out around the world, from Seattle to the Philippians, and a lot of us have been outside of the country. In my family we have what we call “adopted family,” close friends that have become basically family. We get close like this through our extreme loyalty, another good I’ve gotten from them. I’m very loyal to my friends, and I care about them very deeply, they’re like my second family. From this loyalty I’ve learned from my family, I’m great at being there for those I love, when they need me. 
But what am I going to do to stop these curses? What am I going to do to break the chain? I’m getting help for my issues, going to therapy, and trying to encourage others to do the same, so we don’t keep living like this. I’ve become passionate about mental health; a little activist lives inside me. Allowing myself the strength to want to start something and make noise. I want to make a difference; I want to make a change. I believe in what I can do, I recognize my potential and I'm not going to let it go to waste unlike the long line of people before me. 
I’m on a life long journey of self-discovery. What I eat for breakfast in the morning and the show I watch at night all heightens the path of my journey; it makes me, well, me. 
People are often defined by their family and upbringing but you have the privilege to take what you want and dismiss the rest. 
So, I ask myself again: Who am I? 
I am Amaya Pettway: a young woman striving for greatness, perfection and to surpass the habits and chains of my family. Living successfully in understanding who I am and not letting others, nor myself prevent that. No more hiding, this is me.

© Amaya Pettway. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team through this website and we can put you in touch with the young person's teacher.