Up until 2016, I never knew why I couldn’t remember most of my childhood. My sister would always want to reminisce on things we had done, but I could never bond with her because I wouldn’t be able to recall the time she was speaking on. Then, I learned about trauma from my therapist. Trauma: a deeply distressing or disturbing experience. I was informed that I had subconsciously blocked a lot of my childhood because the experiences were traumatic. This was a huge eye opening moment in my life.
Challenges began at an early age for me. By the age of 12, both of my father figures were incarcerated, making me one of four kids to a single mother. Having to assist my mother with taking care of my younger brothers, my reality was unlike any of my peers’. My life changed so fast right before my eyes and how I felt didn’t seem to matter. I had to leave the house I grew up in and the neighborhood I loved. I eventually had to transfer schools and leave my friends. Being emotional wasn’t an option. From then on, I mastered how to suppress my feelings and went on through life acting like nothing ever bothered me. Being a fatherless daughter, I have had my share of self-pity. It was difficult having to grow up and go through life’s most challenging years without my father(s) physically being there. It always felt like I had a missing component. Looking back, I never realized it was a cry for help.
My first recollection on how having an absent father figure affected me was when I began playing sports at the age of nine. All my teammate’s fathers were involved in some way, whether it was being an assistant coach or just sitting in on our practices to critique their daughter. However, the immeasurable support from my mother made all those gloomy moments disappear once game time came around and she was the loudest one in the stands at every game cheering me on. She has given her entire life to be the best she can be to my three siblings and myself and now, to her granddaughter. She has sacrificed so much to make sure we had whatever we needed. Making ends meet to feed and clothe her kids without us knowing the struggles she faced to make it all happen. She spoiled all of us in our own way, which I believe was her attempt to fill the void we all had due to the absence of a parent.
As a kid, I knew that I would grow up to help people. I used to always say I’d be a lawyer, lol. Then while struggling to love myself, I had come to realization that a lot of my joy came from who was in my life or what I had. I allowed other people’s opinion of me to dictate how I felt about myself. I thought, “If the ones I held dearly to my heart loved me, then why wouldn’t I also love me?” My self-esteem was at an all-time low due to a failed relationship. Upon realizing this, I worked tirelessly to fall in-love with myself for the first time ever by spending time with myself, taking time to figure out who I was, and seeking true self-happiness. I decided to be better, but in order to do that, I had to face everything about my life and myself that I kept hidden for so long. Then in 2014, I learned how to use my previous struggles and turn into my greatest passion: Helping women love themselves and recognize their power and potential.
After undergoing this life changing journey, H.Y.P.E. was created. I first introduced it to my closest friends and family. With the continuous support, I am 6 years in with no plans of stopping. Every year I meet new women and every year we share our stories to help other women overcome their rough patches. We arrive as strangers and leave as sisters. Using the platform that I had, I decided to include other services such as mentoring youth with incarcerated parents. Remembering the times when I was a child that I didn’t have anyone to talk to who understood what I was going through, I believe this would provide an outlet to many young people struggling and in need of someone. As an adult who was once in their place, I wanted to share my story, what I’ve been through, and the life I have created for myself. I want to be a living example of how we don’t have to settle and be a product of our environment. “I want to be someone for somebody”.
In March of 2015, I found out I was pregnant with a baby girl. I vowed from that moment on that she would never have to go through the things I had been through, I wanted a different and better life for her. She wouldn’t have to be broken down and rebuilt to know her worth. Motherhood has been the greatest accomplishment and being awarded with my daughter Taylor has been my biggest blessing. She has given me the purest form of love I always yearned for and has inspired me tremendously. My efforts to support women and the youth was heightened at the learning of her existence. Balancing motherhood and entrepreneurship often is a battle. There is nothing more important to me than spending quality time with my daughter, but the brand I am building is something that will mold her into being her best self. She has been walking in her power since she was 10 months old and with my help, she will continue to do so.
“Everything is focused on fatherless sons as opposed to fatherless daughters.”
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