When I was 14 my uncle was murdered and my aunt was accused of the crime. She went to my mom for help and moved into our house with her kids. I was kind of confused. I didn't get why they were charging her for this and that and why my mom had to go to court every other month and why she was always so stressed. I didn't get why I'd come home one day and see subpoenas on the table. It was a struggle getting time from my mom, and then money was a problem because she helped pay court fees and everyday living expenses.

I was used to relying on my mom for this and that, and now I’m like, ‘I got this, I’ll do it myself.’

With so much on her plate, I felt like I shouldn't bother my mom that much so I started distancing myself from her. I had to do a lot of stuff on my own and I was stressed, but I didn't feel the need to talk to anyone. Since I know how to separate my personal life from my professional life very well, at school it'd be like a completely different story. No one really saw through it. I started joining a lot of clubs - it just took my mind off a lot. I do color guard, play soccer, play an instrument, run cross country, just to name a few. I started getting into a lot of hobbies, too. I crochet. I blog. And then I read a lot. I read like 12 books a year. But all this distraction hasn't fixed everything.

What just phased me was the fact that I couldn’t have my mom for what she needed to be for me. But I understood where she was coming from and why she was so separated from everybody.

The case is still going on and the relationship with my mother is even more distant. I feel like my mom is my best friend instead of my mother. I can't really talk to anybody about it because everybody's going through the same thing. And then, we moved into the house my uncle was dragged out of. It still scares me, like, his presence is still there. I don't leave my room at night. I lock all the doors and make sure the alarm's on. I don't use the restroom at night cause there's a window in the restroom. And then it's the East and a lot of violence has been going on around there. A 16 year-old girl was murdered, her body chopped up, a block away from my house. Another girl from the area I grew up in was kidnapped. She was waiting for her school bus and then she's gone. But like I said, I can separate my personal life and work. I can sort through it all. I made it into the National Honor Society and I'm President of my student council. I'm aiming for Harvard next year and I want to become a lawyer, maybe even a district attorney. I've already learned a lot about how the court structure works!