Christopher Keopaseuth was falling into bad habits and the future looked bleak. But in this Perspective produced as part of KQED’s Youth takeover week, he describes how a friend he could talk to turned him around.
For a long time I didn’t have a lot of motivation. Instead, I was playing games and doing drugs with my cousin. Every weekend we would stay out until 3 am smoking weed and popping pills. Every school night I would get home and lie to my mom about having homework but in reality I would just play games all night with my friends. By the time the year was over, I failed some classes and needed to go to summer school. My life wasn’t going as planned and I needed to get back on track.
My life changed when I met Terry, a family friend that I didn’t know that well but eventually became like a brother I never had. Terry is a year younger than me, but he’s been through similar obstacles, which made it easy to relate to him. Terry seemed to care about school and it rubbed off on me. It dawned on me that I might not graduate. I saw my older cousin without a job and just staying home. I knew I didn’t want to be like him. I decided it was time to get my stuff together in school.
Starting my junior year I knew I had to pass all my classes both semesters. I sobered up and I put more effort into my school work. My classes became my main focus. It was hard because I felt like a slow learner but in the end, I did pass all my classes.
Now that I’m a senior, all I’m focused on is graduating on time and making my parents proud. At the time I didn’t realize it, but looking back, I now understand I was using drugs to mask my feelings. I was feeling stuck and I didn’t know what I was doing. Drugs became my outlet. Now, I’ve learned that talking with somebody actually helps me cope with these feelings. It wasn’t until I had Terry that I became a better person.