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Checking into Happiness

Jasmine Babers

For just a few moments today, step back and notice the beauty that the world has to offer. If you look close enough you can find it in anything. Take some of nature's little treasures for example, birds defying gravity or flowers turning from tiny seeds into beautiful blossoms. Try observing the beautiful people who you interact with every single day. Not just the beauty that can be seen by the eyes, but also the light that radiates from their heart. If you're lucky, you have multiple people around you that fit the description, and if you're blessed you may know one as special as Hannah.

Hannah DeFauw, 15, a sophomore at Davenport North High School is one of the Quad Cities most precious treasures. Her story begins where her childhood ends; 8th grade middle school.

Hannah had a group of friends that she knew she couldn't keep around much longer. They were toxic in her life. Like all beautiful things, there is always something that can destroy their value. In her case, it was the words of her peers. Her alleged friends would call her names like fat and worthless and would try and belittle her talent. Hannah is multi-talented. She is an actress and a singer. Her last straw was a sweet moment in her life turned sour by the words of her bullies. "I got a solo in class, but the girls didn't think I deserved it. They called me untalented. They said someone else should have my spot." She knew her attackers wanted power over her, and she decided she had to fight back. She showed an abundance of strength and courage by going up to the leader of the cruel click and telling her she was not afraid. "I wanted to take the power away from them. Once they know that they can't hurt you, they leave you alone" she explained.

After Jr. High was over, Hannah dove right into exploring all the new adventures that high school had to offer. She got involved in musicals and acting. She became a member of the show choir and spent countless hours at school dedicating herself to her academics and her art.

Hannah was always mature for her age and her best friend whose name was also Hannah was a senior. She also had three older brothers to look up too. After busy days at school she liked to unwind and find peace with music, movies and the company of friends. As freshmen year moved along though, Hannah found her beautiful light shining a little less and less every day. Depression and anxiety soon took all her light away and in May of her freshmen year she was diagnosed with Bulimia. Like many people who have similar stories Hannah said she never thought this would happen to her. "I felt like I had failed myself" she said. Negativity was blinding her from seeing all the beauty and grace she had to offer. She burned and cut her skin and in May, despite the help of therapy she decided to commit suicide. She then realized the date. The next day was her older brothers' birthday, and in spite of how she was feeling the love of her brother and family pushed through. And a spark of light that she thought she had lost flickered softly inside her. One day in August, shortly before her sophomore year, she cut too deep, blacked out, and was rushed to the hospital. After she woke up from her near death experience she realized she did not want to die. And her light was born again. After her suicide attempt her mom switched her therapist to a psychiatrist. She still suffered from bulimia and self-harming, but things improved.

Today Hannah DeFauw loves to point out the beauty in her life. She is thankful for the support from her friends Jenna and Jacob, her family, and everyone for accepting her and loving her. She says that bullying should not be a part of life. And anyone who is going through it shouldn't be scared to ask for help. Hannah discovered that finding the strength to believe in your self can make a world of difference. She says "I am sassy to my depression because I know I am better than it. I am NOT depression."

Like a long summer day, everything beautiful comes to an end. But when the darkness is over and morning dawns, all things can be made new again. Hannah fuelled her light with love and found happiness in the value of life. Hannah wants all girls to know that they are worth it. "Find your happiness! And whatever you do don't check out of life, because life is beautiful" she said joyfully.