Donate Now

Lesson Born in Times of Strife
By: Cozette LeVeque

This week's edition of the Mockingbird Youth Network Digital Stories comes from Everett Chapter member Cozette LeVeque. In her abstract essay she discusses how "we all could do with more reasons to smile."


During times of unrelenting struggles, or when facing overbearing sadness, the hardest thing I had to realize was that my perspective could change it all.

Whenever cold hearted people color my world grey, or when I simply don't wish to be hung up on this pain anymore...

All I have to do is create my own happiness, take control of my wandering path. To me that looks like letting go of the negatives, and instead, focusing on the positives. I try to do more of what makes me happy, and stay thankful for all I do have, not what I don't. I try to remember that there are two sides to every coin, and if I just make the decision to be happy, nothing can change that, even if there is no reason to be happy, other than happiness itself.

Who wants to be sad?

Youth in care share a lot of similar experiences, and I believe that a positive outlook is vital to enduring this life experience. We all could do with more reasons to smile; sometimes we have too many reasons to frown...

Balancing that thin line is essential to pulling through, as many youth, myself included, have harbored unresolved feelings of abandonment and distrust.

The fight to be happy is a mystifying one, you can cry over the same movie hundreds of times, and yet laughing at the same joke is unfamiliar. Since my path carries me left instead of right like my neighbors, I have to strive to take active control over my emotions, and let me tell you, it's no easy thing, but then again, is anything worth it ever simple?

Sometimes I feel like while everybody encourages me to be happy, when I follow my dreams to their destination, I run into a few people who don't like where I am heading.

I tell myself they mean well, with the best of intentions, but it was tough for me to let their opinions go, as I'm sure a lot of youth in care share similar experiences.

The foster system has truly tried my resolve, but at the end of the day I learn that crying over sadness may seem easier, but fighting for happiness is more worthwhile.

It takes active thought to step back and analyze a situation, choose to ignore the upset feelings, and engage in a search for the happier aspects.

It's a life skill I have yet to completely master, but believe it is key to wading through the nonsense in this life.

I hope the act of creating your own happiness shows it's head on your path, and I wish you the best of luck in following it.