Behavior: Social Skills, Self Esteem

Keya's Wisdom

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Joined: Aug 01, 2003
Posts: 1
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Posted Aug 01, 2003 at 2:10:30 PM
Subject: Keya's Wisdom

Attached is a English Comp Paper written by my niece during her freshman > year at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. It gives profound insight into her life as being SPECIAL as she terms it.

Keya died unexpectedly and almost instantaneously of a brain aneurysm on September 25, 2002. Our family has decided to start a scholarship in her name to honor her. The Governor of Arkansas is tentatively scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the first annual scholarship fundraiser/ celebration in Malvern Arkansas, where Keya was raised which gives testament of Keya's character.

But more than this I would like to share her thoughts and feelings with you, and if you feel so led, please share it with others on your email list. My hope is that her words will surface on the net world wide, over and over and in doing so a part of Keya will live on forever.


My mother cried when the nurse told her that I was going to be special. She was shocked to learn that her cute, innocent baby girl has a short arm. What did she do to deserve this? Was the question she always asked herself. Growing up I was a happy child. It never occurred to me that I had a short arm. My family raised me as a normal child. They did not show favoritism between my brother and me, and I am glad for that. My father imbued in me to be strong and, to always keep my head up because I would encounter major obstacles in my way. He told me that others would discourage me in anything that I do because of my arm. He told me once when I was a little girl in daycare the teacher did not want me to play on the monkey bars. He told the teacher to let me do whatever I wanted to do and to treat me like a regular and not a special kid.

During my adolescent years my self-esteem diminished because everyone was concerned about their appearance and who would want to hang with someone different. So I did not have too many friends. I mainly kept to myself because I felt that I should not have to kiss up to anyone to be their friend or to fit in their clique. Going through that, I endured the ignorance and stupidity of others. Even those that I thought were my friends betrayed me by going to others, and telling them that my arm was ugly or funny looking. Because of that I do not trust my friends or others at all. I feel that they are talking about me figuring how well can she do this or does she need assistance. I can do anything. It might be different in how I do it, but I can do it. I cannot let my guard down. If I do, then I am dealing with ignorant folks that ask stupid questions. The friends that I do chose have to be real, not just towards me, but to themselves, "real" meaning not concerned about what others think of them but happy with themselves. If they are concerned about appearance, the name of the clothes, hairstyle, shoes that you wear—they are not my definition of a real friend. They are too caught up into material things, and that will only disappoint them.

My parents asked me one day do I regret that I have a short arm. No, I do not. I do not regret it, but I do regret that others are not comfortable with someone different. I guess they feel intimidated by it, but I do not understand. I get tired of the stares, the same questions, the laughs. It is old to me. But I know that others have never seen a person with a short arm. I would probably do the same thing also. I have asked God many times "why me" out of six billion folks in this world. Then I begin to think why not me? There is a reason why God chose me, and I don't allow myself to question why any longer. If I focus on that I will only continue to hurt my self-esteem. Now I have to come to the realization that there is nothing I can do about me being special. Nothing. I cannot hide my arm. I cannot forget it. It will always be a part of me. I need to be comfortable with myself and who cares what others think or see me as. As long as I can look in the mirror and say, "Keya, you are beautiful being different, and it is not something that you should be shameful about. It is glorious because it was touched, molded, and made in the image of God." I am grateful that it is not anything worse. I could have not been born with an arm at all. I am proud to say that I am different. While others are trying to change their appearance constantly to be different from others, I am different naturally.
It is very heartbreaking to do this to open up about a situation to someone that I really do not know, but I trust you and I know that you are going to keep this between us. Thanks for allowing me to express myself. It was healthy to the soul.
Keya Hill
October 3, 1999
Paper 1 Comp 2

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Beth from FL
Joined Jun 15, 2003
Posts: 621

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Posted:Aug 02, 2003 2:04:18 PM

I was impressed by how well your niece accepted her disability. Perhaps someday my son will be like that. You must miss her a lot.


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