"WHO BELIEVED IN YOU
BEFORE YOU EVER DID?"
In honor of our first blog post to kick start "With Her Words" why not hear from the voices of our L.A. InHerShoes team: Melanie Weaver, Rebecca Rios, and Christy Vasconez.
"Your existence makes theirs worth living and their living is the earthly reason for your existence." - Melanie (Team Leader)
Mama who bore me, Papa who made me. Who could fit the criteria of believing in me more than they? They were the first validators of my existence and most likely the first brains that gave my life any type of thought or worth. They are the platform of how I build myself up and the clean up crew when I crumble. When the both of them look at me I feel like they are gazing into a peak of heaven when in reality I'm simply a 5'0 woman who probably has fingers smothered and stained in red from the hot cheetos consumed prior. I really lucked out by receiving two creators who cultivated my kindness and gave me an environment where my joy could flourish. Who else is going to be elated at my first part in the school play where I executed a monologue as a British talking tree? In what realm would trey learn each chapter of my math course so that they could teach me to better comprehend my homework? It's the most fascinating gift of reciprocity. Your existence makes theirs worth living and their living is the earthly reason for your existence. This cycle will dare not end with me. It will travel and spread until my mouth runs dry and even for eons to come thereafter. They are the stitches and fabric of my life quilt.
My mother's first pregnancy was drenched in dismal despair as my sister was still born. Met with this devastating experience my parents had plethora of options on how they could have moved forward from this circumstance. Both my mother and father prevailed and persisted for another child until 5 years later Melanie Anne Weaver gave out her first shriek January 1, 1992. From that day forward they were endlessly making sure that my quality of life was always the best that it could be, whenever there was an imbalance, an issue, any type of problem, they would rectify the situation for me, my constant protectors. They have been a permanent and fixed structure in my life and showered me in positive words of affirmation when I deserved it yet at the same time was not afraid to preach the plain and simple unadulterated truth when I needed to hear it. Without them my world would spin out of orbit, I can 100% guarantee that I would not be anywhere near as happy as I am in this moment without their support and without their instruction. I remember being young and spiteful that my parents were so strict with my upbringing. I was hardly able to go to sleepovers and they would always be super apprehensive for allowing me to go to social events when I was young. I was somewhat bitter towards my parents for putting me in an all girls high school when I was young and my adolescent mind could not comprehend why they could not have just put me in the school where I wanted to go, the school where all my friends were attending. In hindsight I am insanely grateful they gave me what I needed which was the best education they could provide for me, rather than what I wanted at the time. When I will be at the height of my success or the bottom of my failure their faith in me will never cease to exist. -M.W
"Sonya helped me understand that everything I went through as a child shaped the person I am today. "
- Christy (Projects Intern)
My high school mentor, Sonya, was the first person that believed in me before I believed in myself. I met Sonya in my junior year of high school at my afterschool program, Heart of Los Angeles, when we were preparing for our college applications. For a year and a half she helped me through college applications, especially with my personal statements. At the time I struggled with my personal statements because I felt I had nothing to offer to the colleges. I felt like I was not interesting or good enough to be accepted into college. Sonya was like a best friend to me, I was able to connect with her on another level than any of my high school friends. Because of this I was able to comfortably talk to her about myself and share many personal stories.
I come from a deaf household; both my parents are hard of hearing, so that meant growing up I learned to communicate using American Sign Language. I had a very difficult childhood in that there was a communication barrier between my parents and I. Since I grew up in a deaf household I grew to become a very shy and reserved person. I also had identity issues because I was half Asian and Hispanic. I was very insecure with myself and felt like I did not fit in. I went to middle and high school where majority of the students were Hispanic, and because I look mostly Asian I was made fun of quite often. Sonya helped me understand that everything I went through as a child shaped the person I am today. She always reminded me that I was unique and carried very special qualities. I lacked self-confidence and she was the only person that helped me realize that I am beautiful no matter what race I am. She was also very motivational in that she taught me to work hard and strive for the best. She would always say to remember why you want to be successful and whom you want to help in this world. I remember on the last day before personal statements were due for the UC application I was working on my paper at school and the computer automatically shut down without saving my essay. All my work was gone and I started to panic. Sonya came over at 11pm to help me re-write my paper. She stayed up all night to finish and edit my personal statement until it was done and ready to submit. Sonya was a positive person who always brought joy to my day. She was always so happy and joyful about everything and never complained. She brought up my self-confidence and taught me to be grateful for what I have.
She believed in me when nobody did and I am so very thankful for her relationship. Sonya is a very inspiring strong, independent women and I appreciate her everyday. She was a great mentor and friend and I owe many thanks to her. - C.V.
"I knew I could reach the stars, I wanted the world. I wanted it yesterday. But this strength that I hold so dearly in myself today isn't a work of my own self confidence rather, it is the work of her." - Rebecca (Jr. Partnerships Intern)
18 years, we have known each other. 18 years of laughs, hair pulling and arguments. 18 years, but it only took me a second to realize you were my first love.
My first love, my first best friend and the first person to believe in me. The gift of a sister is that tenderness that comes with loving someone you don't know how to love. I found that love around three years ago when my sister was taken away from me. No, not tragedy or death. The only tragedies to occur between us is getting hair pulled out or bruises from fighting. But the kind of loss that comes with laving your sister 2,478 miles away. In having my number one supporter so far away form me made me realize, she wasn't the only person who believed in me, who knew I could reach the stars. I knew I could reach the stars. I wanted the world and I wanted it by yesterday. But this strength that I hold so dearly in myself today isn't a work of my own self confidence rather, it is the work of her.
To my sister, we are so alike, and so different, and here we are together celebrating and enduring it all. Through days of playing dress up in our closest, and answering phones in our office. To pretending to be Rachael Ray in our kitchen or racing down the street in our pink toy jeep. Me and my sister had no boundaries, one day we were astronauts and the next day we were princesses. My sister was the first person to not tell me my future but let me decide it. She stood through it all. She knew that through anything I did, I would be successful at it. Seeing her struggle to figure out who she wants to be, to moving across the sea, these things weren't weaknesses to me. This was the strength I admire so dearly. She knew who she could be and she decided to take matters into her own hands. Much like herself, she sees who I can be. She supports me through my failures and my mistakes and she's there to cheer me on fro my success and happiness.
When I decided to join the InHerShoes team, my family was confused as to how a non-profit organization connects with medicine. My enthusiasm soon faded and I stepped back to realize, why did I join this "Girl Gang?" I thought of declining my internship, but her words made me believe that I can make a difference, I had a voice and it needed to be heard. Without her I wouldn't have accepted this great opportunity, I wouldn't have the courage to be writing this. Without her I don't know where I would be. She has the biggest mind with the grandest dreams and the widest boundaries. She lives a wild life, going places and climbing mountains I've never reached. I hope to be the woman my sister is one day. she lives her life courageously, she speaks for herself and decides for herself. I would be lucky to be anything like her. But for now I am living my life 1% more courageously each day because of her. - R.R
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