The smirk: things are about to change for the better

By De’von Fulton Jr. ’19

Special to the Denisonian

The ceiling lights flickered and the room temperature seemed to rise as the lady walked into the room. Slowly the woman sat down in the chair and opened the dark mysterious folder containing the key to my life. By then, sweat was dripping down my face as though I just ran a marathon. The lady gave me a smirk. It was then that I knew the chains were unlocked and I could run free to my dream, while still remembering the struggles from my past.

When I was born my mother was a cocaine addict. I was labeled as a “Crack Baby,” and lived with my mom at crack houses for the first five months of my life. Instead of realizing the satisfaction a child could bring to her life, she focused her attention on drugs. She abandoned me at a hospital, and they threw me with both hands into a non-loving house.

When I was three years old I was freed from the torture of my foster home, but sentenced to fourteen more years of misery. I was adopted by my aunt because she wanted the money from the government. She had already adopted my two older sisters, and I grew up with them and my four cousins.

My cousins never treated me well, and looked at me as though I was a deadly disease that could kill a person in a blink of an eye. They hated me because I was actually doing something with my life while they slowly wasted their lives on gangs and drugs. I experienced physical abuse at the hands of my cousins and aunt, and lived every day afraid of them.

One day, I told my fifth grade teacher how my life was going. “I can’t believe that, you come to school every day with that big beautiful smile,” she stated. She then gave me a hug that brought me to tears and she said to me, “De’Von, you’re a smart kid with a bright future; it’s time for you to start taking control of your life and follow your dreams.”

Those are the words that I kept with me when I was told that I was never going to be anything in life, when I was called a “crack baby,” when I was getting beat until every inch of my body was numb.

Years went by and I started standing up for myself. I would defend myself with words of wisdom that I learned from wise teachers from the schools I went to in Round Lake.

I decided that it was time to follow my dreams and the only way I could do that was if I could live independently, so I called the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and explained to them my life of agony.

At the meeting, the DCFS caseworker gave me a smirk and opened up the folder that contained the key to my freedom. She explained that I was legally emancipated, and would no longer have to live with my aunt. After that, I moved back to Round Lake from Chicago, and moved in with my old neighbors, who were the dream family I had always wished for.

In life, people experience trauma, but I have learned that people have to build the wisdom, strength and courage to overcome these obstacles. This experience has shown me a part of life that many others don’t get to see, and has made me more wise than many others my age.

School was the part of my life that I always looked forward to, and the teachers who saw my potential reaffirmed my own beliefs in myself. I want to be a child rights attorney because I can use what I have learned from my past to help and inspire others who are going through their own struggles to fight for their freedom and stay strong.

That’s why I’m here at Denison. I believe Denison is a school that takes value and pride in its students; to make sure each and every student is well educated and ready to take on the world by following their dreams. I am proud to call myself a Denisonian and look forward to my next three years here at Denison.

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