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By La-vainna Seaton | With thanks to NewBlackMan (in Exile)

 

Monday, 25 February 2013.

 

Growing up I went through many hardships; some obstacles harder than others. I battled with my beauty much of Jr. High School, I just never understood why all my friends were getting looked at by boys and I was getting looked at as an equal. Beauty is defined from within, but the perception of beauty is depicted through media and  society. People view beauty as being gorgeous and making a lot of head turns when walking. People view beauty as one image, a look, but people have  got it all wrong. Insecurities fuel the term beauty.  Insecurities of self is what helps the realization of beauty.  No one is perfect but the term beauty is…. how ironic. 

 

I was a tomboy, I liked sports but I still wanted to be looked at as beautiful too. During my 8th grade my cousin came to live with us, she would be the basis of my life changing forever. She was beautiful. All the guys in the neighborhood wanted her. They would come to me and tell me to give her messages. She brushed them off and stood strong. Until one day I started seeing her hanging around a group of boys; she was giggling then she disappeared with them. I thought nothing of it, and each day I would see her with a new boy. I grew angry that she was getting recognition for her beauty and I wasn’t. I decided a different approach, I decided to start dressing like a female. If tight clothes meant you were beautiful well by all means some-one was going to notice me. Went bike riding the next day and I was approached by a boy I would see constantly with my cousin. He asked me where I was going and asked if he could join. I replied yes and we rode into the sunset.

 

We spoke about almost everything and I felt secure. At the end of the ride he gave me his number and told me to come see him later on that night. He whispered in my ear I was beautiful and then continued on. That was all I needed to hear, I was ecstatic. I went home all bubbly.  No boy ever told me I was beautiful, I went and told my sister about the conversation. She advised me to take the compliments, but don’t go and see him. I thought she was just hating, so I ignored her advice and went to meet with him.

 

It was nothing that I imagined. We were in a dark alleyway. He told me there was nothing to be afraid of, he gave me liquor and made me smoke. I started feeling nauseous. He then led me in to an old rusty car as he called his boys who were hiding. I screamed numerous times. I was raped by several boys. They each took their turn. When it was done, they vanished into the night sky. I was 13. That was my first time.

 

That day changed my life forever. It hurt me to know that one word meant so much to me because of what I saw around me. I was envious; I wanted what my cousin had. I was shown reality that day. I lost a piece of me, as well as gained strength within me.

 

Beauty is undefined; don’t let anyone define it for you.

 

#DiaryOfFlyTakeAway: Who knows themselves better than you.

 

#Triumph: Battles lost are the ones often misunderstood.

 

***

 

‘Scar Story’ is part of EJconversations, a multimedia, multi-generational, multiracial conversation series founded by award winning international journalist, Esther Armah. This is Season 4; we have them on radio, on stage via theater, live via panel discussions. We launched in NYC, expanded to Chicago and Texas.  ‘Emotional Justice’ is a term created by Armah as a path to have conversations about the untreated trauma that shapes our identity, relationships, institutions and transforming that into triumph.

 

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