Sometimes all we want (and need) is to know that we’re not alone.
Feelings of loneliness and isolation can be devastating to physical and mental health, and can lead young people down the paths of self-harm, addiction, bullying or violence. Under these conditions, healthy relationships, self-esteem and even academic learning can become virtually impossible.
For these reasons – and more – Girls With Sole introduces a special weekly blog spot called Voice of Soles to give girls a place to share their stories in a nonjudgmental place, to discover the healing power of the written word, and to be reminded that their lives and their stories matter, and that they are not alone.
Voice of Soles gives girls a place to empower themselves and others by giving voice to their stories. It’s written by girls, for girls, providing a safe space to share heart felt thoughts and ideas – and as a result – inspire others to do the same.
If you would like to share your story on Voice of Soles – please email Liz Ferro at email@example.com. Your story can be emailed in a Word doc, and be sure to include your age and how you would to be identified. (For example, your first name, first and last name, initials, or anonymous)
Loving From Within
By Queen Oya
I was brought into this world in love. My parents were in love, my father was in the Marines and we traveled a lot. By the time that I was two their marriage was in trouble and they soon divorced when I was 4 years old. We moved back to Cleveland Ohio to live with my grandfather and step-grandmother. My grandfather was my heart and I was his. I was hated by most of my family because he was mean to them and he adored me. He showed me how to fix stuff and how to fish, and whenever my mom and I couldn’t get along, he had a way of making us all cry with tears of love and then making us smile knowing that everything was going to be ok. That was the safest loving place that I have ever felt in my life and I want to have that feeling back one day.
One Saturday night my mother and aunts decided to go out and left my cousin and me with our uncle.
He ran us bath water and laid us on the bed and began to molest us. I was so young that I really didn’t know what was going on. I wouldn’t tell anyone about that for 9 years.
My mother’s second husband adored me but he was abusive to my mother. He beat my mother so offend and so bad that I could no longer live with her I had to live with my grandparents. I remember one time he through my mom through a glass door, and I remember her laying on the bed until the ambulance came and I remember us trying to take the glass out of her back. I wanted to save her, I wanted her to stay with me so I could protect her because he adored me and if she stayed with me he wouldn’t hurt her again. Then one I went to my mom’s apartment because she was taking me shopping. My step dad came in and I know something was wrong, so I started putting on my charm he told me to give him a minute and he went right after my mom. I was so scared because this time there was none of my family there to break it up. So, I heed behind a chair. I was going crazy because I never seen him that angry and my mom never screamed that loud for help and no one came. My mom yelled for me to run and I ran but, I stopped and heed on the stairs hopping that she would run out and we could leave together. I heard the door open and I heard her run out but I didn’t see her so I really started crying for her and I looked down and saw her blood and I followed her blood and that’s how I fought her. She was so badly beaten that I didn’t recognize her. The best thing that happen to her was when he went to prison.
My mom’s third husband was an alcoholic who loved to hit me. He was the first person that made me aware of the fact that I was dark skin or as he would say black. My grandfather always treated me as if I was perfect and now here is someone telling me that I wasn’t and that he couldn’t even deal with me because I was dark skinned and that my mom would have to deal with me because we were the same completion. He would make me stay on punishment for months in my room with nothing because of my grades. I didn’t find out until much later that I had ADHD and dyslexia.
By the end of their marriage, my grandfather passed and something in me passed away to0. I stopped feeling. I just existed, and wasn’t present. I stopped caring. I started having sex and hanging in the wrong crowds.
My mom’s forth husband introduced her to crack and broke down every piece of hope that I ever had. He hated me, my very presence pissed him off. I remember telling my mom when they first got together about my uncle molesting me and her husband told her that I was lying – so she beat me until I was bloody.
At the age of sixteen I dropped out of school but at age fourteen I had dropped out of life. I starting being promiscuous with guys and I only cared if they had protection. I started getting high and my home life was even worse. My parents stayed high and they didn’t care what my sisters and I did as long as we gave them money for their drugs. But over the summer my best friend came to see me and told me not to give up. So, that August I went back to school.
It wouldn’t last long at the end of my senior year I gave up. I had been in regular school and night school since my junior year and I was kicked out the house because I didn’t want my step-father beating on me anymore and when I told my mother I was leaving she told me that she disowned me and that I was no longer her daughter.
At seventeen, I got pregnant with my oldest child Iesha and her father didn’t want her. So, again I was alone and scared, like I was that day I was when I couldn’t find my mother. I had nobody but my baby and I didn’t know what to do. So, I told my mother and she told me to come back home. Shortly after I moved back in my mom tried to commit suicide. My step-father again jumped on me while I was pregnant, I remember running and being hit by a car but I didn’t feel it because I had to get away and get to my oldest sisters house. Believe it or not I went back only to be kicked out after my daughter turn six months. He kicked me out for moving the curtain on the door. My look at me and said that my step-dad said that if I there he’s not coming back. I looked at her and know it was time for me to go again.
Years later I got married to my second daughters’ father. But, before we were married he took my oldest daughter to the park and she got dirty, so he took her home and went to give her a bath- but he didn’t check the water before putting her into it. When he put her in the water it scalded the skin off her feet.
He was completely freaked out, but he called 911 and then called me at work. When I got there I said a little prayer to the Lord to please let me know if he hurt my baby on purpose or by mistake. When I walked in she was holding on to him for dear life.
He loved her unconditionally and this was a nightmare for all of us. We had to go to court and there was no solid evidence that this was child endangerment.
The lawyers argued that because her father was a doctor, and I was on welfare, it would be in her best interest that she be placed with her father. A big part of me died right there in the court room. After that I had two or three nervous breakdowns.
After the birth of my second daughter her father and I couldn’t stop fighting. He wanted to run the streets in his motorcycle club and I wanted to go to the Mosque. We divorced five years later.
My third daughter’s father was a deacon in the church. I wanted a man of God. By the time she was two the relationship had ended.
This pain is so deep that at times I feel as if it will win, and I will be sad and depressed for the rest of my life. But, then I look at my daughters – and they give me power and their love is so real.
They have taught me how to find me and how beautiful I am and how I deserve to be loved. I have been in different religions settings trying to find that safe love I once had as a child when I talked to my grandfather. But, all I found was judgment and more things about me that I don’t like about myself.
It took me thirteen years to get my GED and seven years to get my Bachelors of Science in Criminal Justice Administration and in 2014 I decided to work on my Master’s in Business Management with a focus on International Studies. Two of my daughters are grown, and one is still at home with me. My oldest is in school and working, my middle daughter is in college, working and doing well and achieving good grades, and my youngest is in school and is very active in school and sports.
In 2009 I started going to counseling and my counselor has helped me really find myself. I have been going every week since I started going to counseling, and to think I didn’t even come for me I came for my daughter. At times I still have to go back to the drawing board but she never loses patience with me and she makes me want to want better. I never wanted anything grand because I made myself believe that it wouldn’t last forever so I didn’t want it. I have learned to love me from the deepest part of my being, and when no else is there I know how to find and feel the presence of God, and I have learned to let my pain be my platform.
I have accepted that I may not ever feel fixed completely but on the days that I do which is most, I’m going to help somebody else heal. I have a started a non-profit and our focus is to help women to their inner work, mentally, spiritually, emotionally and finically. #lovingfromwithin