Mackenzie Sydow - New Mexico Interview by Olivia Bush Nomination by Brandy Bennet Photography by Milton Lau Photography Issue 37 of Inspiring Teens Magazine
The nomination:Mackenzie is inspiring to me because she was just like any other person you knew at school or had a few classes with. And one day she woke up to her life completely flipped around. She had to take on responsibility that a lot of other teens could not handle. And she proved to everyone that she could do it. With all she has dealt with in her life she is still the humblest person I know. She always helps others even if she does not know then at all. She would give her last bit she had to help out someone in need, she has a huge heart.
Photography by Milton Lau Photography
What inspiring things about you does your nomination not cover? I am my autistic brother’s guardian, as well as go to UNM- University of New Mexico, and work part time.
How does your brother inspire you? My brother inspires me because he has taught me patience, acceptance, strength, and love. He faces many challenges being autistic, yet he continues to smile and live with resilience and happiness.
What have you learned about yourself through the experience of being your brother’s guardian? What I have learned through my experience of being my brother’s guardian is to work hard for the better things in life so we can both endure the good things in the world, together. We both have been through the same amount of pain, loss, and disappointment, so it is only right I am determined to create a better lifestyle, and have our dreams come true for us both. No matter what hardships are thrown at us, there is no better motivation than wanting to be happy and live a life that our past does not define us of.
How are you learning from your past and changing the present for you and your brother? I am learning from my past and wanting to change the present for my brother and I by not making the same mistakes my parents did, and instead push forward by graduating high school, attend UNM, and work to be financially stable. I am choosing to live healthy and happy for us both. I am taking him to all his therapies and helping him with virtual school so he can be educated and improve his abilities. It is also important to have faith because without faith, you have nothing to look forward to. Hard work, resilience, and faith can create a positive lifestyle.
Photograph of Mackenzie and her brother by a friend
How do you balance college, working, and your family life? I balance my college, working, and family lifestyle by remaining focused on what is important, and managing time to do all things. My brother is the most important part of my life though- he comes first, always. His needs, his wants, his success, his happiness, that all comes first. But a tremendous amount of coffee and a focused heart can get me through my days to juggle being a parent/sister and student.
What are some goals you have for your future? Some goals that I have for my future is to live a life my brother and I deserve... after both of us have experienced death from both parents, and tragedy in our childhoods.. I only want the best for us. I want my brother to receive the best education and therapy to improve his speech so one day I will be able to communicate more fluently with my favorite person in the world- my brother. I want us to travel, and adventure the world, and know there is more to life than the small state we live in and have experienced trauma in. I want us to live a legacy for our parents, make them proud, and live their true selves through us, because they were beautiful people. It is not only my responsibility now to maintain a positive lifestyle for us, but it is an honor- to be the person my brother can count on for that, and I only want to make everyone around us proud. I want everyone to truly know that no matter what cards you are dealt, you can always reshuffle your deck for better outcomes. No matter the past you have, you can be the one to break the chains, and same cycles- it does not have to define you. I think the day I see my brother running on a beach with a smile on his face, while I admire his sweet soul just taking in life’s beauty, I will know I did it- for us. That is what I look forward to. A stress free, happy life, for the two of us. I hope I can bring inspiration to those who feel they cannot accomplish or overcome what they are going through.
If you have an idea for a teen who is inspiring enough to be interviewed, please list them here and tell us why you think they would be perfect for the next issue of our magazine. (They wouldn't be contacted until your issue is closed): I think Isiah Harris would be a great candidate for this magazine. He also has been through a lot, and has overcome his challenges with a smile on his face, and being there for others including me.
Mackenzie will be featured in issue 37 of Inspiring Teens Magazine!