Week Five: Amanda Kasper

Write about the five moments that changed your life.

When I think about this prompt, I am overwhelmed with the possibilities, with the moments that have changed my life. The moments that have changed me. Pick just five?

To thee Kappa Alpha Theta… Just three weeks after starting college, after moving to Des Moines, IA and knowing nobody, I went through sorority recruitment. I knew night one, that I had found home. I just needed them to find me back. Eight years ago, I signed a bid card, pledging my loyalty to this organization, this house, these women.

For all these years, they’ve been my friends, they’ve been my sisters, they’ve offered support and love through the darkest of nights. Without them, I wouldn’t be who I am.

I am for the Child. My sorority led me to more than just lifelong friendships. Theta’s national philanthropy is CASA – Court Appointed Special Advocates. You can read an overview of my story here. I trained to become an Advocate nearly 3.5 years ago, and I have been blessed beyond measure to be able to provide a voice to the voiceless.

The most important thing I have learned by this experience is trust is hard, but don’t give up on it. I have learned so very much about life through understanding the world of abused children. Particularly, I have watched two beautiful kids grow up. They have become intelligent, creative, curious, and unattached little beings. They’ve seen a hundred reasons not to believe in trust or grown ups or support; but I’ve learned to keep reminding them that there’s so much out there. There are people that love you. People that will never give up on you.

Nothing a day can actually keep the doctor away… In September of 2009, I experienced a few weeks of devastating stomachaches, the inability to digest food, and more discomfort than I could describe. For three years I’ve chased doctors and undergone tests, searching desperately for some sort of answer, some sort of relief from the symptoms I’ve been experiencing.

Getting sick has changed my life, directing every moment of the last few years. It has changed my direction, my career goals, the landscape of my surroundings, my friends, my everything. It has changed me, in ways I still don’t fully understand.

I just hope to make it to the other side with the ability to look back, and feel graceful about the ways in which I’ve handled myself during this time.

Your life changed mine, changed everything. In April 2008, my friend and sorority sister took her own life in the house we lived in, while we were asleep. It’s bigger than I miss her, or I don’t understand why she gave up. Four years ago, her death stopped my world from spinning. Today, I look back with love and memories, but really, I mostly am filled with unspoken gratitude. It’s different than the last few years. Instead of recounting those hours and days filled with pain and fear, stress and exhaustion and loss, I sit here and understand a different way in which life can feel like it’s standing still.

Four years ago, I learned to think twice about saying I love you, about going to bed upset, about cherishing what I’ve got. This year, I think of her and know that I have no choice but to find bravery in the places I have not yet looked. I recognize that I must say thank you – in a way that possibly nobody but her will understand. Another year has passed, but she is not another year forgotten. She changed us all.

“We write because we believe the human spirit cannot be tamed and shot not be trained.” [To Write Love on Her Arms] I have always believed in the power of words. Its what made me start writing, journaling, blogging years ago. On May 24th, 2012, I sat down at my computer, and in just 32 days, I wrote the first draft of my manuscript.

In the upcoming weeks and months, my every goal is to get my story published. I believe my story can make others feel less alone. I believe my story has meaning. And I believe that putting it out into the world may be the only thing to free me.

________

Amanda Kasper is a writer, reader, quote lover, CASA advocate, and non-profit believer, seeking space as a lifelong learner, passionate lover, and irreplaceable friend. Amanda tweets at @AKasper513 and blogs over at “& this I believe”

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2 thoughts on “Week Five: Amanda Kasper

  1. Your CASA story is very inspiring. I was finally contacted by our local coordinator and will attend orientation in a couple of weeks. I am looking forward to becoming a CASA volunteer.

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