Out of My Shadow – Matthew Burns

“These things made it hard for me to come out of my shadow.”

My first year at Heritage I was in a class that was too crowded. But there were good and bad things about it. It was great working in the class sometimes. Teachers and students could also be respectful and kind. Things that were always on my mind were kids that were not listening, always talking back, people using bad hand signs. There was really bad times, I saw people fighting. One kid really bothered the whole class that talked about how the world was against him, he did that a lot, that frustrated me. These things made it hard for me to come out of my shadow.

I used to care a lot more about things being clean. If I saw anything that was out of place or dirty or leftover I had to clean it up. I didn’t want anything on my table. It bothered me that people put things there and did not clean them, even one piece of leftover trash or food was a mess to me. I also did not want anything shiny like glitter on me, my clothes, or my table. It was on my mind. But I could still do my work.

“One kid really bothered the class talked about how the world was against him.”

I wanted to be like normal people when they worked for a business and had a job. Vocational Pathways helped a lot. I used to work at Wy’East Middle School. I worked at Union High School. Just doing the jobs really helped me. I got stronger, I got out in the community. My skill and growth got me there. I have been able to control my thoughts and emotions. Eventually I stopped caring as much about the little things that people left behind, I didn’t obsess over it anymore.

“I got stronger, I got out in the community”

People: myself and others, helped me get out of my shadow. Working in groups more and more helped me. Talking with people that I trusted helped me. In particular I trusted Ms. Barrett, she told me “it was good to get out in the community”. I used to always have a hood or towels over my head. My mom taught me “try not to always put things over my head”. After I took off my hood I stopped worrying about it.

“When I took my hood off I could see the world better.”

When I took my hood off I could see the world better. I noticed other people more. I noticed girls looking at me and smiling at me. It was easier to make eye contact. I started caring more and knowing more about other people. It made me feel better. I became happier. It was like coming out of the dark and into the light. I had come out of my shadow.

“I had come out of my shadow.”