Achievement Against All Odds While “Being Trapped within the Matrix”

by “Unknown Author”

Instructor’s note: “Unknown Author” has chosen to anonymously publish this story of being trapped in “The Matrix” of foster care.

Today in our society many young people and adults face many tribulations. Some face many hardships and difficulties throughout their lives. Some individuals may not have the chance to show empathy and see the world through the other person’s viewpoint. Hardships and difficulties may be shocking and appalling for others to see or hear.

I believe that some people have lives that are inspirational. The legend of one’s story can become so deep and display a powerful motivational push for some who have no hope. Some individuals may face things that only few can understand.

I state that “young people and adults face many tribulations” but, I believe it’s even harder as an African American in America to have equal chances and opportunities to get far in life. Blacks have faced and overcome many obstacles in American history. Many accomplishments as like the great Jackie Robison breaking down the color barriers in major league baseball, or even the civil rights movement led by great leaders like Dr. King, Malcolm X, and John Lewis inspire others. I believe that if one works hard enough and wants to succeed at life, then they can do it.

My title is Achievement against all odds while “Being trapped within the matrix”. I will get to the achievement part a little later; I used the phrase “being trapped within the matrix as my way to explain what it is and how I have dealt with the glitches and reboots of life while feeling trapped in a matrix.

In the 1999 film The Matrix, starring actors Lawrence Fishbourne and Keanu Reeves, Morpheus, who is played by Lawrence Fishbourne, says one phrase several times throughout the movie. “The matrix is not real!” is said a few times throughout the movie. Or the matrix is just like a computer system. I am pretty sure that many are familiar with the movie The Matrix. But I have my own personal story of being trapped in a matrix.

Like every great story there is a beginning to it. There were and still are many troubles that I have had since birth. The journey began when my biological mother had a lot of troubles and issues in her life; therefore, I was left in the hospital. I was raised by a family friend and I considered her my mother for eighteen years. I grew up just with another boy that my mother also raised.

We grew up on welfare and our family had many problems living on the north side of Washington DC. Washington D.C in the late 80’s was in rough stages as the stories I have heard and through my own eyes growing up in the 90’s. The crack epidemic hurts our people and the society. HIV/AIDS cases are on the rise. DC was not the easiest place to live.

As a young child, I guess it’s safe to say that I let my society that I was raised in influence me. My actions of being a bad student and problem child led my mother to stress and have several emotional and mental problems. It has also led me to become institutionalized in a hospital for children with behavioral problems. After spending nearly five months in there, I was placed in “the system,” meaning the foster care system.

I was placed in foster care on August 8th, 2000. I have been there since. The foster care system is “My Matrix.” When you are the system, life chances are tremendously stacked against you. The system is pretty much your parents. They have the say-so of what would be done on your behalf. They are the government and are in total control. They decide what they want to do with you; they try to benefit themselves by spending less money.

It was already tough as a young African-American boy, growing up in a urban city, on welfare, with little opportunity. Sometimes I can’t really explain this because it’s a very complicated situation. One example of complication is my funding for school. Although my education is free and I do not have to pay any expenses, other students may not understand why I don’t have to put down a room deposit, or have the luxury of filling out a room-deferment. In the system you are constantly drowned with court dates, meetings, and social workers, outside the system stress. That’s why I compare the system with the matrix, because the people within the matrix don’t know what going on outside of it.

I believe I have achieved a lot over the years. Achievement is overcoming the family situations, being hospitalized, spending stressful years in the foster care system, finishing school and going on to college. My list is endless. I continue every day to push and strive for a better tomorrow. I believe anyone can do it but you have to have the will and drive to succeed.

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