I am going to be graduating high school later today and since Zendaya Coleman is at the same school district as me, we are going to be at the same graduation ceremony. Zendaya is super cool and sweet in person and it was a pleasure to meet her!
Four years ago I moved to New York with a dream. I knew no one and I knew nothing about the industry I wanted to enter. All I had was a college acceptance letter and a ridiculous amount of ambition to do anything to not fail. I chased my connections for internship after internship, I served coffee to pay for groceries for the better half of the beginning of living here in New York. All of the all nighters, all of the tears, all of worry and stress… It was all worth it. I am here, I am a college graduate and I am employed into a position that I have created for myself for one of the world’s leading womenswear designers. I have worked so hard for today and I am so incredibly thankful to be here sharing this moment, my dream, with all of you. Thank you to all of you for reading and listening and engaging for the past four years and a huge thank you to my friends at Tumblr because without this platform, none of this would have been possible. And a huge thank you to my family, especially my mom and dad - my champions.
i’ve been slacking on houses a lot lately and your submissions have been sustaining me but as of today at 4 pm i am *officially* a college graduate so i’ll be spending lots more time on this place to fill the void that homework and crying once took up :)
Congratulations to my super cute husband, Ryan Antos, who is graduating college today. I am so proud of all of his hard work in school, while also working full time and being the most wonderful husband I could have ever dreamed of. He is the most intelligent, most diligent, most godly, and all around most fun person I know. This last year with him has been such an adventure. Jesus has such a calling on his life and I am so ridiculously blessed to be his wife. :)
I don’t do this very often. What I mean is write something deep, dark, and willing to share it with the world. I was thinking to start out with something clique like “does my outfit provoke you?” In fact this outfit that is shown in the picture was what I wore to school that day. I felt confident in my own skin, which that itself is a phenomenon of its self.
I wasn’t drinking, I knew my actions, and these actions will still haunt me to this day. I feel as if I could tell you detail by detail what happened January 20 2015.
But as of the purpose of this post, that would be much too long. In a simple statement I will just say I was raped, and sexually assaulted by 3 strangers. This wasn’t planned, it wasn’t consensual, but I did what I needed to stay alive.
And alive here I am today. I graduated high school and finished my first semester of college with a 3.6GPA.
Even through ups and downs I am still here. I will continue to be here because of some magic, I was given another chance. I am thankful for everyday that I wake up, because I know through this traumatic experience I can help people who have been through this situation and better understand what they are feeling.
Finally, I am here. I am stronger. I am brave. I am a victim of sexual assault and rape. But more importantly I am a survivor of sexual assault and rape.
It never occurred to me until today that high school is not the best time of your life. In fact, it might be one of the worst. But the reason it is so memorable is because that’s where you find your first real friends, you establish who you are, and it is the time that you change the most as a person. it’s why freshmen look so small when you’re making your final speech at the podium. four years feel like a lifetime, so maybe graduating isn’t so much looking forward to what’s ahead, but looking back on all the good things that have been. senior you is different from freshman you, and if it’s any consolation, that’s probably a compliment. so push back your shoulders, confidently move your tassel over, and shed some tears for the innocence you lost. but cry from happiness too and realize that you never have to lose your fascination and wonder with the world, because no matter how old you are and how many degrees you receive, the universe is an infinite opportunity. you have power, coiled up inside your mind, and all you need to do is follow your gut to reach the stars. you don’t even need someone else to build your spaceship. be proud, the best is yet to come.
Now y'all know I was gonna have to represent DC at graduation. I wouldn’t be the person who I am today if I didn’t grow up here. Being at The New School put me in an environment that I’ve never had to be in: white spaces. I’ve always seen Black and that’s all I knew. Granted, I’ve been uncomfortable for years being Black at a PWI, but that’s exactly what I needed. I needed to be here to change my way of thinking and see different perspectives. And also, I needed to be here to be as unapologetically Black as I could ever be.
I want to dedicate my graduation to Mike Brown and all of the other young Black kids taken down in their prime. I graduated for all of you and you’re not forgotten. BLACK LIVES MATTER ALWAYS.
This blog turned 2 years old today. 2 years. 2 years, 471 posts, 16,954 followers … these are the formal numbers. But this blog has meant so, so much more to me than numbers can represent.
These 2 years, most importantly, have taught me that the world is filled with kind-hearted, illuminating, dedicated people. People who care. Although I have offered support to many over this time, my heart fills, overflows, when I think about the support I myself have received through each and every like, ask, comment, reblog.
Votes of confidence, each and every one. And these moments of kindness have given me the strength to get to the place I am today. Not only to graduate, healthy, but to finally have the self-confidence required to go out into the big wide world of adult life and new experiences. I can’t quite put into words how much this community has meant to me.
This week has been difficult. I have had fairly severe homesickness. There have been so many moments this week where I have felt weak, wondered why I was trying so hard to live somewhere that seemed to be so difficult to live in. I’m not used to this kind of loneliness, the loneliness that comes with true independence and self-sufficiency. It’s strange.
But it’s a process. I love my job, I love the people I am working with. This weekend ended up being incredible. On Saturday I pulled myself together by going to the gym (I did something called ‘Booty Camp’ and it was equal parts hilarious and painful … I will be returning), browsing Broadway Market, before reading the entirety of Bonjour Tristesse in London Fiekds Park until the sun began to set. On Sunday I went to Columbia Road Flower Market, immersing myself in the chaotic yet beautiful setting, then met with my best friend for a fun afternoon at Tate Modern - we had spontaneous drinks afterwards with a much needed talk, and I came home slightly drunk yet completely content.
I needed this weekend to remind myself why living in London was something I had dreamed about, worked so hard to make happen. There are, and still will be, times where quitting will feel safe, where safety seems like the answer. But sometimes carrying on, being brave, feeling scared is, in the end, the only true option, because happiness, freedom and a sense of self is at the end.
I’m writing this on the day this blog turns 2 years old. It has been an exhilarating 2 years, but they’ve also been so goddamn scary. I began this blog in 2014 hopeful yet suffering - with my self, with my mentality. I’m here 2 years on having helped people, having been helped by people. I graduated feeling incredible. But these feelings of uncertainty I have right now are familiar, it’s just a different situation.
Looking back on 2 years, life passes quickly - so quick it’s easy to forget how much progression and adaption is possible. Even though I know the next 2 years will in themselves bring new, terrifying problems, I just hope they bring the same sense of progression, resulting in a renewed sense of confidence and strength.