Photographer: Vickie Black
Location: Greencastle, IN
Hair and Makeup: Courtney Hampton
Jeremy and Vickie are Central Indiana teen photographers infusing their goofiness into every session. Vickie is also the founder of Senior Style Guide and Modern Teen Style.
Strong.Focused.Determined.Meet Kirsi. She is Beauty Revived.
Kirsi’s story is a story of loss, strength and determination. She is an amazingly focused and beautiful teen determined to not let her circumstances derail her from happiness. Here is Kirsi’s story in her own words:
I am a seventeen year old girl named Maranda, who has been through a lot for my age. So far in my life I have been through three deaths, dealt with my dad’s mental illness and mentored many different children. I was born in Terre Haute in a cute, white, house with my dad, mom, and my older sister. My mom and dad got a divorce when I was four years old and after that I moved to a couple of different homes with my mom and sister. We found the perfect place for us in a smaller town and that’s were most of my memories begin.
Living in my new home was a lot of fun for me. My mom worked during the days and my sister, I call her sissy, would walk me home from school every day. My big sister would play with me and help me with my homework when I needed her. A lot of times she would take me to the library that was down the street so that I could play in the kids section. I loved it! My big sissy has always has a huge influence on me and I believe we have a special kind of bond that I could never get anywhere else.
Living without my dad was sometimes hard on me. I didn’t know, but he had schizophrenia and he was not medicated. I often missed him and would ask my mom about him. She would tell me that daddy was sick and that I couldn’t see him. As I got older my dad became part of my life again. He hadn’t been around because he was lost and confused with his mental illness. He was unsure of things but now he was much better. I was so excited to have my dad back in my life! I was eight and I could now stay the night with my dad in Terre Haute. Sometimes he would work on Saturdays and I could go with him in order to be his little helper. I learned how to install doors and how to measure out the metal to frame windows. I thought that was the coolest thing ever. Being with my dad brought back memories of him from when I was little and I enjoyed that he was around again.
Shortly after I had my dad in my life again I went through a very sad period in my life. When I was eleven I had to deal with the death of my dad’s best friend Jimmy. I had gotten to know him very well and he often acted like an uncle to me. It was the first death that I had experienced. I had to watch his daughters and wife grieve as I grieved, previously not knowing death very well. It was tragic for me and after Jimmy’s death the family moved away. I found myself thinking of Jimmy sometimes at school and wishing that I could see him. After time went by I learned to move on.
Four years later I can remember staying home from school with the flu. While I was sick my grandfather became very ill and was rushed to the hospital. A lot of my family went to go see him, but I was stuck at home. We were told that he only had a few days left so I told my mom to go see him and say goodbye for me. He was eighty-four when he passed away. I remember going to the funeral and crying while my dad hugged me. He told me everything was going to be okay. I told him that I was afraid to go to the casket to see my grandpa, and he comforted me by telling me I didn’t have to go.
I was still recovering from my grandpa’s death four months later when my older cousin got into a car accident and died. She was eighteen and on her way to see me. Our plan was to eat brownies and then we were going to meet at our grandma’s house the next day to hang out with each other. I remember the time getting later and later until my grandma called me crying and asking me for my mom. I took the phone to my mom and before I walked away I heard my grandma say she’s dead. I went to wake up my sister and tell her that something happened to our cousin Alainee. My mom got off the phone and told us to get ready. On the car ride to Alainee’s dad’s house my mom told us that there had been a car accident. Alainee was gone. I was there when we told Alainee’s dad. He didn’t believe us. The funeral was the worst day of my life. I don’t remember most of it but I do remember all the sorrow. I knew that I would never see my cousin again.
While grieving for Alainee I went through a deep depression. I didn’t care what happened to me but I knew I wanted to see my cousin again. Because I was such an angry person at this time I was lead to where I am now. My mother found me a counselor who changed my life. My counselor helped me deal with the grief and taught me to pretend Alainee was there when I needed to talk to her. She also introduced me to volunteering and mentoring. I am now a strong supporter of volunteering and giving back to the community.
I have now mentored many kids of all ages and with diverse problems. With one of the kids I mentored I sat through many different parts of a trial she had to go through and when she wasn’t allowed in the court room I was right by her side with lots of distractions. I became close friends with this particular person and I treat her like my little sister. I try to protect her when I feel like she needs it and she is always there for me when I miss my cousin. We developed a very strong bond by helping each other and she has now become a mentor with me.
I thought that my struggles in life were almost gone. I was learning to live with the fact my cousin was gone and I was mentoring others when I recently found out that my dad was sick again. He stopped calling me every night to tell me goodnight like he has done since he has come back into my life, and then he turned his phone off. I was then told that he is going through a relapse. I am again not allowed to see him, but this time I know what I am missing out on. My family believes that he will miss out on another chunk of my life. He won’t be able to see my sister’s wedding or me go to college. This is very hard for me right now, but I know when he is finally medicated again, I will welcome him back with the biggest hug he has ever had. I know I will get through this like I have with everything else I have gone through in my life so far.
I have had many challenges in my life, but I know that I would never be the person I am if I had never faced such obstacles. Now I am a senior in high school with straight A’s. I drive an old beat up truck that I absolutely love, and I am going to be my sister’s maid of honor this June. I now plan to go to college and become a teacher so that I can teach children to follow their dreams and never let anyone put you down. I hope to be a strong influence with the kids I teach. I also have hopes of getting married and having my own children one day. I believe that I am a strong, selfless person, and that is the story of how I got to where I am today.