In our program, our participants reflect on the importance of sharing and listening to each other’s stories. Some have chosen to share their stories with all of you!
Participant Work – Central City Values High School – Fall 2015
You once told me, God gave me this because he knew I was strong. But you weren’t there when kids, some who I even knew, came to me teasing and asking about the blotches. You weren’t there because I didn’t let you be there. But I know you noticed changes; I wasn’t as cheerful, loud, or outgoing. I didn’t tell you because I didn’t want to worry you or bother you even more. I know you were stressed out with trying to find treatments. I wouldn’t -no couldn’t come to you. Don’t don’t worry I wasn’t alone; Valerie and Leslie were there. They make sure I’m smiling or laughing. So don’t worry it’s okay now. I’m okay now. (9th Grade Participant)
Parents are very protective of their children, if a person looks at them in a weird way they jump to a thousand conclusions, none of which might actually be true. In my experience hispanic parents are very blunt about their thoughts, if my mom saw a person look at me in a weird way she would very loudly tell the person something offensive but take in mind, these were days where my mom would make me wear the brightest clothing she could find, so that everyone could see me.
Parents are naturally protective of their children with strangers and even relatives and that will never go away, but sometimes there are things a parent cannot prevent. See my mother would never let me go to sleepovers because she was always worried about the possibilities of something dangerous happening to me, and since I was the only girl… I really couldn’t argue. One night a relative came to ask my mom if I could stay the night, she was hesitant at first but naturally she gave in and said yes. My mom never really told me why she was so protective and I never really asked because I didn’t want to have the “talk” yet. That night, I went through something I don’t wish on anyone, and I blamed myself for weeks. I isolated myself from friends and family, and I was in a state of depression. See, I thought that if I kept everything inside then I wouldn’t be a burden. I thought that if I pushed this experience far enough I would forget about it.
Eventually my parents started noticing these little changes and my mom pulled me aside, she asked me if I was okay or if I was feeling sick. I broke down in tears and I told her what I needed to get out of my chest… this is what I told her, “ Mom, when I was at the sleepover something happened to me.. I didn’t want to tell you because it made me feel dirtier than I already feel. I know how you always told me that no one has the right to touch me in that way, but I was frozen and I COULD NOT even breathe. For weeks I blamed myself and I thought of a million ways I could have prevented it, but I have come to terms with the fact that I am a child and he is a man… he knew exactly what he was doing yet he did it anyway. Maybe he let himself believe that I couldn’t possibly ever overcome this tragedy and speak up. Mom, I am here to tell you that I am not weak, I did NOT need anyones help to realize that. I rebuilt every piece of myself. Yes, this happened to me, but I will NOT let this be the story of a hopeless girl who went through a tragedy and couldn’t overcome it. This is a story about a girl who found happiness in herself. Yes, I went through this, but I AM STRONG ! (11th Grade Participant)