You Only Get One Shot So Take It! (By Kelly Horton)

As a young girl growing up on the South-side of Chicago you never know what to expect (enough of that I am suppose to be giving you some inspiration) lol. You wouldn't believe what happened next. This city girl moved to the wild and wonderful hills of West Virginia, now that's a culture shock!  I remember getting out the U haul, I said to myself "Alright now Kelly lets do it". Though I had no idea what I was getting myself into. My dreams didn't stop there they got even bigger. This young girl living in the big country hills wasn't just raised by a mom, but a whole community. We all know the saying, it takes a village to raise a child, well Fairmont, West Virginia was my village. I was raised to know what was right and wrong and that God would see me through and he did.


I made it through elementary, middle, and high school with great success. I knew I had a problem, but I just couldn't put my finger on it. I made it to college and that's when it got tough for me. I would wonder why I couldn't understand. I wondered why I didn't feel normal, what I later found out was that I had a mental disorder. I had allowed it to control me for so long and good thing I had a God that was much bigger than my problems.

I got the help I needed and became a success story over night. I had wonderful mentors that had followed their dreams and wanted me to do the same. I decided to finish college, because a lot of people told me I wouldn't even make it past high school. I showed them, I was the graduation speaker of my college. I was the first Liberal Arts graduation speaker and graduated with a 3.5 GPA.

I knew I needed to do more. I made up my mind I was going to travel the world. I worked hard and it paid off. I went to the Dominican Republic which was amazing let me tell you lol. You would've thought I had it all, that everything was peaches and cream.

But when it's good it goes bad sometimes. My health was not the best at that time. I went through a big depression period, I didn't know my self, things were changing before my eyes. I needed something to uplift me. I found out that President Barack Obama was coming to West Virginia. I really wanted to meet him , he is my hero. I wrote letter to the local press and they sent my information to The White House. I then received an email saying I was invited to meet him. I was in shock. I couldn't believe my dreams were coming true, which lifted my spirits since I was so depressed. I didn't have a ride to get there. I became more depressed which made me feel helpless. I found a ride and got there, my dream was coming true. I was escorted by secret service. It was awesome, I was siting with the higher up in politics from West Virginia. I couldn't believe it, I was one of the youngest African Americans to be there. I had given my U.S Senator Joe Manchin my newspaper. I had written a letter to the President in 2009 and received a response, the West Virginia Times wanted to interview me. Which the next day I was in the Newspaper. President Barack Obama signed my newspaper article from 2009 it was remarkable. The President had wrote on there that he was proud of me. I couldn't believe the President of the U.S. said he was proud of me. The young woman who who made it from nothing and was becoming something.

The moral of my story is your Testimony is bigger than your Test. I want to inspire you to never allow your life to overcome you. You never know what God has in store for you. I am a living example from being suicidal for more than 2 years. I didn't know that I was my worst enemy. I now know if I would have taken my life, I wouldn't have met the President. I wouldn't have been the speaker for my graduation class of 2015. I wouldn't have been asked to be apart of the many support groups and clubs to help people's lives.

I enjoy telling my story because you never know who you can touch. I want each and every person to follow their dreams because you only get one shot so take it. P.s. I now live in Ohio and pursuing my bachelors degree in Communication. I know for a fact I will be on your television screen one day.

Endings are New Beginnings

Okay Everyone, So let me introduce myself. My name is Khiara Washington. Growing up my family called me "Khi-Khi" and as I got older they dropped one of the "Khis" and now I just go by Khi (Kai).  I was raised in an environment that was really inspirational. My parents always spoke great things into my life, so i'm like a walking "Inspirational Quote" at all times lol. 

I've been in the hair care business since a child. My family from siblings, cousins, parents, aunts, and community pretty much groomed my talent. As a child my parents would buy me the barbie doll heads with hair accessories, and my friends and family would come over to let me do their hair. I was born pretty much knowing where my talent would lead me.

So after I graduated high school I was so burnt out with doing hair. I did not want to go to beauty school, I wanted to study something else. I felt like that's all people thought of me was "Hair" I wanted to prove that I was more than just a self made stylist.

When I attended college I took a bunch of classes that didn't really compliment me, my talent, my personality, or my destiny. I still kept attending because that's what your taught to do. You're taught to get out of high school and go to college. 

With such mental programming it's hard to really determine what's right for you as person, and what society says is the best career path you should be going down to be successful. 

Towards my 2nd year of attending college unexpectedly some issues happened with my funding and I wasn't able to attend any longer. Feeling confused, dismayed, and frustrated I had no clue what to do next with my life. It seemed like from that point everything that I did crumbled in my face. Every door closed! I felt like I was at the very bottom of life as I seen it.

My parents were in Savannah, so since everything was shutting on me I decided this would be a great opportunity to move to another location and see what life has to offer somewhere else. So I started my journey to Savannah Ga. I spent a month searching for employment and trying to discover who I am and what I have to offer the world. Living on a blank canvas I decided this is the best time to be who I wanted to be and who I was designed to be. 

I decided to go to beauty school. Everything about my being is bundled up into a creative ball of fashion, beauty, and wanting to give back to the community. As soon as I applied for school it seems like everything started falling into place. I found a job that worked around my school schedule and I was making enough money to cover my classes and materials. Also at the job I met my business partner. Who knew that we would even be friends from such different interest and backgrounds. We developed a product line and have been really great friends and business partners ever since. This is called when destiny meets opportunity.

Although life can have it's difficult times, I believe the toughest times in life are preparing you for the biggest experience that you have ever seen happen. When things are so bad that everything is just blank (meaning your mind, spirit, self worth) is the perfect time to begin a new story. Some people like to call it devastation, destruction, at a stand still, a hiatus, failure, the end. I like to call it a new beginning.

Experiencing that "emptiness feeling" is erasing the old and getting you ready for the new. If you are experiencing that right now. Know that you are an instrument that is being groomed to lead something that's bigger than you. Stay encouraged and embrace your new beginning!