Alexa

My mother would say, “You look prettier with your hair down,” and, “keep it because it makes you beautiful.” So, I cut it because it didn’t make me feel beautiful. All my life, I heard, “You have to do this to be pretty.” I would think, “but this is me though.” So I made changes. I started doing things that made me feel beautiful and people that didn’t like it were dropped out of my life.

I used to cut myself. I was in the 6th grade and my mom just started to bring me to the doctor, or a psychiatrist, but I was really stubborn when she did. I didn’t want to be there, I hated myself. I hated everything about me; my face, my body, my persona. Family members would attempt to say things discreetly like, “You shouldn’t wear stuff like that,” or, “ That’s not for you, I like this better on you.” It became about everyone telling me who I was and what it was that I was supposed to wear and be. They would say, “This is you,” but it was not me at all. Their words, and these things that were forced on me became like rocks sitting on me.

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I experienced a lot of instances were I was being bullied by adults and younger kids alike. One girl that used to bully me all the time targeted me for my weight, my hair, and my eyes. She would target every single feature. She would say, “your lips are too big, your eyes are too small, your hair is fake.” Like, what? I’m six! My hair was always curly or braided. My mom would never let me wear weave.My bully would tell me, “You’re trying to pretend to be white, you’re not white.” I’d ask my mom everyday, “Mom what am I ?” and we spoke about what my nationality is. She said your grandmother has blue eyes and freckles, but I looked nothing like her. My family was very diverse and multiculdturaled. While everyone was trying to fit me into something I wasn’t, my mother wanted me to live freely.

My family is very wild hearted, and if you want it, go get it. My mother always told me to go do crazy things. If it’s raining, “Lets go out and race, and if I get back before you do, you have to cook.” She would raise the stakes so we would have more fun. My father wouldn’t always be around, so I would be with my mom most of the time. My sister and her would make up little games to make us feel like we were the center of attention. She would fill a vase with m&ms and you had to pick out colors and say reasons you loved yourself, have spa days at home, go out and buy funky masks to do all these different scrubs. We would make marmalade put it on our faces, stay home, and be cozy together. We would dress up and go to random stores, try clothes on that was too big for us and put on fashion shows. Her rule was to live in the moment and do things that made you happy. I enjoyed our time together.

If you were to ask me if I think that outside influences are still defining the parameters of my idea of beauty and comfort, a couple months ago I would have said yes, but I’ve grown tougher skin.

I feel beautiful when I’m comfortable. Sometimes I like to be alone, no actually – majority of the time I like to be alone. I like good company. I like good vibes, but I’m not that open. I used to hate myself. It was during my sophomore year in high school, I started to love myself more. I got this tattoo and it helped me a lot. I was in such a depressed state before then that I couldn’t care about anything. I barely spoke to my parents, barely hung out with people. I was mean to everyone not happy with myself, not good at all and because of this I would write in a journal all the time.

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My tattoo means that I refuse to sink. When I decided to get my tattoo my mother said, “If you can’t give me a five paragraph essay as to why you want this tattoo, you’re not getting it.” In the end, she told me, “I think this is good for you. I understand the meaning.” I cried after I got it done. I was starting to be myself. I wasn’t trying to be or live for anyone else. It was strange though, I saw my mom bleed from every tattoo she ever got, but I never bled. It showed me that for some things, I had tougher skin.

It wasn’t until certain events transpired that I came to truly see that, sometimes I had to be strong for her.

For a long time, it was my sister, my mother and I. Then, she got into a relationship with a man that for some reason, I did not trust. One day, I came home from school, and it seemed like a normal day. I heard my mother leave with him for her afternoon class and a little while later, my aunt called me frantic. She told me the cops are on their way and urged me to tell her if we were okay.
He hit my her. When the man I did not trust put hands on my mother, it validated every thought I had about him. But those are things you do not say to your mother after she’s been slapped into a closet. When she came back home I saw the bruise she had on her winter pale skin. I asked over and over what happened. She didn’t tell me anything. How could I give the cops answers, if I knew nothing. I lost respect for her. Imagine someone empowering you, saying, “Be all that you are. Don’t let anyone hurt you. Don’t be silent about things.” And then, for her to be silent to you about everything that happened. After that I was brutal to my mom. It disturbed me that she would later walk out of our house with the man that hurt her and to then get back with him and gave birth to his son, my brother.

I hate the dentist, now. The first time she let me go to the dentist by myself, my cousin calls me yelling, “Hurry, he hit your mom you have to go get them. He stabbed your mom.” I remember perfectly. I was 55 blocks away with no transportation. I called the two people that said to call them and they’ll be there, but they couldn’t be there. When I finally arrived, my little brother said, “My dad stabbed mommy.” You’re four why are you telling me this. My sisters and I were crying as my youngest siblings described the way he stabbed my mother in her arm. When I hugged my mother, all I smelled was Victoria’s Secret Love Spell, and to this day, I hate it. My little sister described the situation, he threw her on the bed and spilled all the perfume out on to it and on top of her. After that, we were put under witness protection in shelters until he could be apprehended. We met children with even worse circumstances in the shelter. I couldn’t sleep and I would hear my mom weeping in the middle of the night. I cried too but I tried not to let her hear me. It hurt so badly. They eventually caught him, convicted him, and we were able to go home. There was a point in my life, that I felt I couldn’t trust anything anyone said. My mother became, in my eyes a hypocrite for a lot of things, but when she accepted me for who I was, I realized she meant everything she said. She made me make my happiness a priority.

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You are not defined by your situation, but what you have the potential to be.

I can’t stand people who try to belittle children and women in general. We need to stand together. We allow others to walk over us so much that they try to belittle feminism. I think there is more pressure on women for so many things in this life. Society has this idea for what a woman should look, dress, and behave like. It’s literally bull shit. We’re all individuals. There’s no two women that are the same, even if you’re identical twins. There’s always going to be that thing that you stand up for, that another won’t.
They say, “Well you should have feminists,” and all this other stuff but honestly, who is going to protect us, if we’re not protecting ourselves.The more you wanna fight for something, the more you have a purpose toward it, but I feel like men try to overpower a lot of the things women begin. Not to say that all of men aren’t trying to help women. But there aren’t many women willing to stand up and defend their situation. You have to start somewhere. Even if you speak to the smallest person. Little people do have big words, big voices. You are not defined by your situation, but what you have the potential to be.

35 Comments

  1. Devaneice Ward

    You truly are an impeccable human being. I adore you.

    Like

  2. Tracy Louisse Soriano

    Lexa!! I am so, so, so proud of you! I admire your courage and strength for sharing this with the world. Enduring all those tough challenges at such a young age and to continue standing tall with your head held high is very inspirational. Your tattoo is definitely more than just a symbol of your strength and your refusal to sink — it embodies you. I’m sure this goes without saying, but ALWAYS BE YOUR OWN KIND OF BEAUTIFUL!

    Thank you for sharing this with me!

    Like

  3. Aaliyah Suarez

    I love you Babygirl. You’re the bravest soul I know, I’m so glad to have you in my life as not only a roommate but ultimately a best friend. Thank you for being you.

    Like

  4. Jayleah S.

    I’m so proud of you Lex, words couldn’t even begin to describe it. And I love the person you’ve become. Don’t let anyone ever bring you down or tell you who or what to be. Stay true to you and who cares what anyone else thinks, at the end of the day the only person who’s opinion matters is yours as long as you’re happy with who you are don’t worry about anyone else.

    Like

  5. Shanae Henderson

    Awesome you are, Beautiful you have always been, I love you and admire your strength!!!!

    Like

  6. Daria Peace

    I have always admired you for your wisdom and strength. I am so greatful for the opportunity to watching you grow into yourself. Your soul is so pure and inspiring. Thank you for allowing me into your life.

    Like

  7. Tereza

    Alexa, a inspiration to so many you are beautiful in every aspect of the word. Thank you for sharing such a huge part of you with so many you are loved and are headed for greatness!!!

    Like

  8. Justyna Kowalski

    This article wow’ed me just because of the simple fact of you looking at someone and NOT being able to tell what they’ve been through, what scars they bear, that still might be bleeding invisibly right through their clothes. It’s insane. I appreciate Alexa’s honesty and rawness, her story can uplift a lot of people who think they’re alone. Thankful for this blog all in all.

    Like

  9. Sabrea

    Lexa I swear I didn’t think it was possible for me to love anymore than I do. I just shed real tears reading through this. If no one understands I understand completely, I go through those same feelings everyday. But I’m proud of you, extremely proud. Keep pushing to be a greater you.

    Like

  10. Zakkiyya Hallenbeck

    I love you Alexa. You dare to be different and that’s what makes you who you are. Intelligent and very unique. You don’t care what others have to say and you shouldn’t. Keep doing what makes you great and that’s being yourself. ❤️

    Like

  11. Shadai Mayo

    Omg I love this!

    Like

  12. Adia

    Wow, thank you for sharing your story. It is so amazing how much strength you have and the ability to love yourself. So amazing!

    Like

  13. Kay Pflegs

    You are really such a beautiful person inside and out Lex. I wish I can be as brave and strong as you. I admire you. So thankful to have someone like you in my life. Love ya 💙

    Like

  14. Synthia Williams

    OMG lex! This was beautifully said! I admire for your strength and determination. Thank you for sharing your story! You are beautifully and wonderful made! Keep walking the unpaved path!

    Like

  15. Ayla De Leon

    Wow Alexa… very powerful i find this empowering! You go girl! Good for you! ❤

    Like

  16. Lisa Williams-Peace

    I am so proud of you for becoming you on your own terms. I told you along time ago you were tougher than you thought and stop listening to the nay sayers so glad your inner strength has begun to shine. That light is oh so bright. Amazing story waiting for the book. Love ya

    Like

  17. Tamy

    This is beautiful and inspiring!!!

    Like

  18. Nicholas D'Amato

    This was amazing Amy and Alexa. Opening up like this takes a lot of courage and this article shows all the bullies n bad people in the world that you are who you are and if they don’t like it f**k them. Truly an article filled with inner and outer beauty. And I’m honored to be able to read it.

    Like

  19. Damion Porch

    Alexa this put tears in my eyes. I Never knew any of this. Thank you for sharing. Don’t let anyone tell you your not beautiful or that you can’t do something. You can do anything you put your heart and mind too. Never forget that while your on this planet. We all go through our trials and tribulations everyday. Everyone is fighting a inner war everyday that we know nothing about. I’m fighting 6 wars at one time everyday. I ever get the time to sit down and tell all of my little cousins that I love them. I love you guys more than words. I look at everyone’s pictures I on Facebook everyday and smile. You hold your head up to this world and smile even when things arent going your way because life will throw some crazy shit at all of us and all your going to have left in your body is to smile and pray. Also next time a male puts his hands on any of you women in our family just remember how many male cousins you guys have. We ain’t for that bs. Beautiful body of art.

    Like

  20. Jess Rod

    Wow! Love that you are LEADER vice a FOLLOWER! An inspiration to all! Never change Ms. Alexa! God bless you always!

    Like

  21. Teresa Hagans

    Alexa that was Beautifully said. No one can determine your FOOTSTEPS in life but you. You are the voice for so many who don’t have one. Continue on your path to GREATNESS.

    Like

  22. Mrs. Cody

    I loved reading your story, Alexa. Keep being the amazing person you are!

    Like

  23. Diane

    I met you when you were still in Mom’s belly. Your inner strength has now shown through. I’m so sorry to hear now of those struggles. I can tell you Mom loves you with a fierceness and has passed that passion to you. Never change who you are Alexa, beautiful.🌹 inside and out

    Like

  24. Train With STYLEZ

    This touches my heart in too many ways. I can relate all too well. I’m so proud of your outcome because many don’t make in their OWN way. I began to realize ppl were so judgmental because they were afraid of wat was outside of the box. I’m proud of you Alexa. Keep living for you you will never satisfy man. Love you cuz

    Like

  25. Sheronda Garner

    Alexa,
    Beautifully written by a beautiful young lady ❤

    Like

  26. BJ

    Lexa This was beautiful !!! I hope your story gets shared across the globe they are so many young girls that are going through the same thing but don’t have the support system or the strength to get through . I admire you for even telling your story you are beautiful inside & out

    Like

  27. Wow Cuz’n that was deep even tho were not all that close I love you I love all of you were family at the end of the day I’m at work in tears this was a beautiful story and so are you love you!!!

    Like

  28. Kerri

    Lexa,
    I don’t even know where to begin! You hit on so many issues and at the end of it all YOU came out on top! Please continue to stand strong and live this life with no regrets! Be the best YOU that you can be everyday and Never allow anyone’s thoughts / judgments have power over your life. Know that everything you have dealt with was for a reason and its up to you to continue to share your story of strength. Your sharing this story is already touching so many! Don’t stop continue on!

    You are beyond blessed to have the Mother God blessed you with! She is a true soldier! Her love for her children goes unmeasured and seeing you all healthy, happy and living a fun filled life is what matters most!

    Continue to shine like the beautiful soul you are!! Hugs kisses prayers from afar to you all!!😘❤️🙏🏽

    Try and go back and talk to some of the other girls/ children in the shelters… Show them there is life still and what they are dealing with is a road block but hold onto their Faith because Gods not finished! I’m sure God will use you for those children who probly feel scared confused and lost… No better person to encourage another than one that has walked or been close to walking in their shoes! Stay blessed girl🙌🏽🙏🏽

    Like

  29. Shannon Porch

    Lex you are the epitome of a strong black woman….sky’s the limit…so proud of you❤️️❤️️❤️️❤️️ 😘

    Like

  30. Erika Brandt-Porch

    Alexa, That was beautifully written. Don’t let anyone tell you any different you are beautiful inside and out. I feel like I have gotten to know you from your talent in Writing. Always fight for what you believe!!!❤️️

    Like

  31. Christy Smith

    Very powerful, you are a beautiful person in and out. Thanks for sharing not many will share a story like this, and that’s how you know that you will over come anything that comes your way. You are a strong, brave and beautiful person. May god continue to guide you and bless you.

    Like

  32. LATOYA WALI

    ALL I CAN SAY IS WOW. IT MADE ME JUST WANT TO HUG MY DAUGHTERS AND LET THEM KNOW THERE’S NO JUDGEMENT HERE AS THEY KNOW… READING YOUR IS POWERFUL. I HAD TO LET MY DAUGHTER READ IT…. THANK YOU IS ALL I CAN SAY

    Like

  33. To say that I am in tears would be the understatement of the year. This piece was so raw and heartfelt, I have known you your whole life and didn’t know that you witnessed these things. To share your story in this manner shows just how strong you are. You have broken out of your shell baby girl and I am SO proud of you. You have always been a unique and genuine soul (You get that from your Momma lol), no one can ever steal that from you. Be happy, Be you, Don’t settle for anything and keep on reaching for them stars my love! And please remember…you are never alone!!

    Like

  34. Ivory

    Wow this was a strong and courageous thing you did telling your story. It was beautiful not alot of people don’t have that courage. I love the meaning of your tattoo “Don’t Sink.” Alexa your beauty shines bright. Don’t every stop being you and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Finding who you are and loving yourself is the best feeling in the world.

    Like

  35. Tersha Phillips

    Lex, your mom and I have been friends for a very long time and it’s crazy because I never seen that side of her I never knew that you guys were in that type of situation I’m mad with myself for not being a great friend I love you and it’s hurting me to realize that you and Mom and your siblings went through this pain thank you for being so brutally honest. You’re strong you’re beautiful and don’t let no one tell you any different love you 😢❤ Auntie Tish

    Like

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