How does the chain of connections start? Well, Connections.Media picks someone we feel drawn to hold space for. Like anything, it is a feeling in your gut, something you just have to reach out and begin. Then we follow the journey from there, as one person picks the next, based on the conversation that took place on that day, in that moment. After 5 conversations a theme reveals itself, and a chain is complete.
Follow this theme of "UNDERSTANDING"
Town of Birth: Charleston, SC
Occupation/Job/Life Purpose Work: I am a full-time student and my life’s purpose is to help as many people as I can.
“What scares me is disappointing my family. I will be the first one EVER in my family to go straight into college without going into the military or something. There’s a lot of pressure, and a high standard for me to live up to. But I also don’t want to disappoint them. It impacts me mostly during school, when I know I’m not doing something right. Everything comes to a stop. I can’t move on and deal with anything else until this ONE thing is perfect. It feels like you’re running towards a point, but you can’t get there. No matter what you do, you’ll NEVER live up to an expectation.”
I think Becca sees a girl who puts on the persona of being confident and acts like she knows what she’s doing. She sees a girl who loves to learn and is teachable. She sees a loving person that can be more open with people. She sees me as a girl that could use guidance.
Somehow Becca sees through all things I try to put up to keep people out. She can read me like a book.
I think Becca chose me for the book because she sees me even when I try to hide.
“Normally, I’m a really distant person. I like my own space. It’s hard for me to be around a lot of people and be active in those situations. To be around a bunch of people I don’t know, standing there awkwardly, like, what am I doing here? What am I supposed to do?
I just LIKE to be by myself, and I can see how that comes off as me being distant, or not wanting to be there. I can sit in a house all day with a book or music and be content. It gives me a chance to go through my thoughts. I know some people think it’s scary being alone with just you and your thoughts, but that’s what helps me unwind and get my FOCUS back together, if I’m ever stressed out or not feeling something.”
Kysia Holston thrives in her own quiet space – but sometimes, her fun loving, passionate, bubbly side rises to the forefront. She takes her job and school seriously – but she also knows how to let loose and be young when the time calls for it. In short, she is a modern young adult balancing hardship, education, and growing up.
The first in her family to go straight to college, Kysia does not take that role lightly. She throws herself into EVERY opportunity she can find and works tirelessly to prove herself and learn from each experience, while dealing with the everyday challenges of growing up at the same time.
As a result of her hard work, she was awarded the most college scholarships out of all the students in her high school graduating class At Burke High. The trend continued when she reached the College of Charleston, where she was recently selected for the Student Mentors for Minorities in Medicine program through MUSC.
Despite the pressure, she bears this responsibility with strength and grace. She is bright and clever, dedicated and resilient. She challenges herself and forgives herself, and throughout it all, she glows.
“My biggest loss was my god-sister who passed away in 2014. We did everything together - you could not pull us apart. I remember when I was little, we would have these dance parties! We’d dress up, she’d do our makeup, we’d have this whole scene - a talent show between us. It was so cool. We did everything. Then, she was walking up the stairs, and fell. She had blood clot, and something happened, and...she just passed.
I was, and still am, sad. But, I honestly, don’t deal with my sadness. I just don’t. I completely distract myself, or keep doing so many things to where I just tire out. I wouldn’t say I’m afraid to feel it, I just don’t like the way it takes you over. I know certain people in my life, once they experience something, that sticks with them and consumes them. It’s all they think about constantly... I don’t want that. I want to be HAPPY in my life, I want to move on. I want to do SO many things. I won’t be overcome with this one feeling that can take over and possibly ruin you.”
What keeps you grounded - how do you stay 'checked in' and not distant?
What keeps me grounded is reality and knowing I can’t romanticize my life and I have to just let things happen and figure it out as it comes. I stay checked in by actively keeping up with people and staying in tuned with what’s going on around me.
How would people communicate in a perfect world?
They would be honest all the time. They would always speak their mind and not hold their tongue for anyone.
What is a goal you've set for yourself for college?
I want to be at the top of my class and I want to earn my degree and start my career. I want to have all a’s and b’s.
What are you most grateful for?
I am most grateful for my family (blood and non-blood related). They have been my biggest motivators and supporters. They are basically everything that keeps me going.
What makes you angry?
When someone comes at me or my family the wrong way.
Name a positive trait that you possess:
I am nonjudgmental. I have opinions, but I don’t like to judge people’s actions. As soon a person judges another, the person that started to open up, becomes closed off again.
“So, my mom experienced her mom being killed in front of her when she was 11, and that has always stuck with her. She will have these moments where she’s like, ‘I don’t want to do anything,’ or ‘I want to be in this shell,’ but that doesn’t help, in any way. All it does is break her down more.
When those moments hit her, she would just detach herself from all of society, even us. Everything would be going fantastic, and then it hits a wall. And it all just...falls. It’s like she’s not HERE, like she’s checked out. Nothing’s functioning. Her body is here, but she’s not living.
I had to just keep moving forward, instead of dwelling. And just not think about it.”
Fatima Holston. I think she is great for this project because she is very closed off to me but I think this may force her to be more open with people.
“I feel like I’m different than most people my age. Their focus seems to be on going out, having parties, not doing much with their life. I see so many of them not working towards their potential. They sit, wait, and are not DOING anything. And I guess that’s fine, but for me... I’m fighting for it.
I have a list of things lined up for me to do, and I never have a day off or time just to not do anything. I have family members who have been to jail and stuff. I DON’T want to be that. So, I have to fight to keep myself in a good position...one where I CAN, and WILL be successful.”
Editor in Chief: Becca Finley
Article: Caralie Byrnes
Photos: Caitlin Billard
Stay tuned for the ‘Connections’ book coming out January 22, complete with all 55 Connections, and how they fit into the Charleston community. Brand new pics + quotes.