Meet The Writer: Nevaeh (Turning Struggle into Success)

My name is Nevaeh Keitt, an independent nineteen-year-old. I pretty much prepared myself for every prom and homecoming dance and I'm not used to the usual big family traditions anymore since my 10th-grade year of high school. I moved to Japan with my dad who was offered a department of defense job, who was also pretty much a hands-off dad except for when it came to my education, anything else I did on my own. I decided to give my life to Christ at the age of 10, taught myself how to do my hair, and how to become a confident young woman. I believe my sense of maturity and independence was born from a lack of relationship with my mom as a little girl. Ever since I could remember my parents were already separated and as I grew into a teenager I was mostly raised by my dad along with my sister while my mom moved to Atlanta. With my mom not there to style my hair, plan my birthday parties, or guide me from a woman’s perspective, as other moms did, I sometimes felt alone and different from other kids at my school. In middle school I found myself becoming my mom at times when I would be responsible for cooking meals, cleaning the house, and unfortunately overcoming obstacles through middle and high school. I say that it was unfortunate because my dad was not easy to talk to, he was not empathetic enough for me to open up to, which led me to try and deal with problems on my own. However, as I began to grow spiritually I surrounded myself with people who were strong in their faith and relationship with God such as my grandmothers. I truly believe that the exposure to my grandmothers prepared me for the unexpected journey I would take during the Summer of 2016 because I would constantly spend time with them and receive spiritual guidance before I knew that I was moving to Japan. While in Japan it was only my dad and me, my sister graduated from high school and I felt even lonelier. It was now time to become Mom 2.0 and I had no idea how I would survive in a different country with little to no family, no mother figure, and a new school to adjust to. Sadness would come over me so many times as I didn’t have any friends and felt responsible to fix my life. Although it was hard for me to realize, it was evident that God was working the hardest during that time in my life. During my junior year, I began to realize that even during this trial it was extremely important to not only place my hope in God but to take advantage of living in a different culture. I got involved with sports which allowed me to travel not only within Japan but to Korea, I did student council, national honor society, and became the Squadron Commander of the JROTC unit at my school. I built strong relationships with friends and teachers and found a tight-knit community. By the time I graduated from high school and started college my mom and I became closer, and I now take relish in knowing that God can fill any missing gaps from my life and strengthen me through those situations. Now, as a rising sophomore in college, I depend on God to control the path in my life however I believe that faith is nothing without work which is why I’ve decided to improve areas in my life that I can control and one of those areas happen to be public speaking which brought me to Toastmasters. I am so grateful for the way my life was mapped out because I wouldn't have the strength and courage to take these steps in living my best life. Although my mom was not active in my life most of the time and my dad was hands-off, don't feel sorry for me because I take joy in telling the story of my life and I take joy in being independent, and I take joy in the decisions that I’ve made, I take joy.