In her words…

Quetcy was 17 when I featured her as the Troy, NY Girl Noticed. Her bravery and resilience does not go unnoticed. She owns her story and continues to push through. She has allowed herself to be vulnerable in telling her story.

With her permission I share this with you in her words.

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“The Story of Me” by Quetcy Jacobs
Everyone has a story, some stories are good and some are bad but through all the stories there are meaningful messages to them all. I hope to share my story with you all and I hope to inspire all of you who read this.

It all began a little before birth, I was born premature to a mother who was addicted to all sorts of illegal substances and she did things that weren’t healthy for her or the babies that she was carrying; or even those around her. She was an unstable individual. Let’s just say my journey into this world wasn’t easy. If any of you were to look at me, physically I would appear average, if any of you were to look at me, mentally I would appear average. You wouldn’t be able to tell just by looking at someone what there life story was. This is why I am sharing mine with all of you. I don’t really remember much from birth so I am going to skip a few years…

My birth mother was unable to care for me in the proper way, and because of this I was given to my paternal aunt. From the moment that decision was made, I remained in the custody of my aunt for a few years. Those years weren’t the best years of my life.

There were some days that were good but there were some days that were bad. As a child, I was physically and mentally abused. As far as education went, my aunt and uncle, whom I called “mom and dad” rarely took me to school. I didn’t really have friends, I didn’t even know how to make friends. I lacked so many skills that are important to a child’s development. On the days that I didn’t go to school I remember being very sad. School was like an escape for me. An escape from the chaos and havoc in my life. I felt like I was living a different life while I was at school.
I was always kept inside, isolated from the outside world. Due to the instability of my environment, living with my paternal aunt and uncle, I was removed and put into foster care.
My years in foster care were from ages 7 till about the age of 10. I bounced around from foster home to foster home. I wasn’t an angel. I was at times a misbehaved little child. I was very rambunctious. I was afraid to let anyone in. Afraid, that someone would hurt me. My life didn’t really get better until I was about 10 years old. On my tenth birthday my then fabulous social worker, took me to the park where I was going to meet my foster parents that were soon going to be my adoptive parents. That visit to the park was one of the best visits. I remember playing scrabble with my soon to be foster parents and laughing. It was then that I knew my life would completely change…. for the better!

I am very happy with the life that I have now. Two moms and a family that I can call my own is the greatest thing that I could ever ask for. My parents are the light of my life, they are my whole world. They inspire me to reach for the stars and strive to be the best that I can be. Both of my parents believe that education is very important so I made it a point to make education a huge part of my life. I managed to graduate at the top of my class and I even received the only scholarship that there was from my principal as well as getting a music recipient award from my music teacher.

“Flash Forward”
Fast forward to the year 2016-17
I am 18 years old about to be 19. I am an active member in the LGBT community. I am happy to be in a community that accepts individuals for who they are, flaws and all. Back then being gay, wasn’t the easiest thing for anyone; but things have changed quite a bit, especially when the Supreme Court legalizing gay marriage. This was a huge positive turning point for many.

Knowing that you no longer have to hide is one of the greatest things in the whole wide world! I love life, even though life is hard I manage to find the good in every situation no matter how big or how small. When my skies are grey, I use the one gift that God gave me. My voice. I sing whenever I can. I sing in the car, in my room, and in public. I just recently sang at my parents wedding. I am still so happy that my parents were able to get married.

Over all, life is rough but with love and God on your side everything will be okay. I leave you with this: “ We may not have it all together, but together we have it all”

I just want to thank Lori Pratico for giving me the opportunity to write in her blog and share my life experiences with those around me. I hope that you all find my story inspiring and leave knowing that you are not alone!

If you would like to share your story, email girlnoticed@gmail.com 

Weak or Wise?

Notice you’re worth it.

I came across a quote this weekend that read:

“There’s no trophy at the end for doing everything alone, and you’re not weak for asking for help. Every single time that you open up about your struggles and find ways to support other women, you are being devastatingly brave”.

Wow, is there so much truth in that. I find myself often telling the story of my life as “I raised my kids alone”, “I became who I am as an artist with no support from family”, “I built my business and learned what I know with no formal education, again on my own”. I tell my story that way because I’m proud of where I’ve ended up considering where I’ve come from.

But is it such a bad idea to ask for help? Help with “life” stuff. Stuff like I’m struggling, I’m lost, I’m depressed and don’t exactly know why.  Also stuff like, I just really don’t know what I’m doing. Did you know that not knowing something doesn’t make you stupid? Why is it we think we need to know everything? Why is it so hard to wrap my head around the idea that you might actually know better than me? Why can’t I admit that in most parts of my life, I am not an expert?

Oh and then there’s when I’m having what in my mind is a ridiculous crazy, devastating moment? You know the ones that usually pass in a day or so, but at the time they’re happening are life altering. Come on, you know exactly what I’m talking about. What if there were people in your life who didn’t judge you for those? Who gently helped you off the ledge all the time reminding you “you got this”.

img_8837Photo: Women teaming up together to support each other in Montclair, NJ

I’ve decided being strong, being fulfilled, being successful doesn’t mean you go it alone, it means you teamed up with good people who want you at your best. It means your relationships are give and take. And that give and take isn’t the kind that is measured and held in comparison. It’s the kind of give and take that says, I’ll be there, you can count on me, I won’t let you down.

Reality is, there have been people helping me all along. I may have not recognized it or even appreciated it as much as I should have, but they were there. I didn’t get where I am today, with my family, my work, or my art by myself. And I honestly apologize to those who I dismissed and didn’t acknowledge when they were helping because I was too busy being independent.

Today I am proud of the the support I have, not the lack of it. I recognize the people who stand with me. I also know how when I put myself in a place of asking I’m making myself vulnerable, and that can be really scary. Can I tell you how worth it it is? That when you find the people who truly support you and let them in what a brave and incredibly beautiful thing it is?

To my friends who supported me and the Girl Noticed initiative on this last fundraising drive, I can’t thank you enough. In two weeks we sold 30 shirts and raised $350. Not too shabby.

I’ve got my arms around all of you, and together we lift each other up. We’re all worth it.

Thank you to the following awesome ladies, and one awesome guy, who ordered “Just Being Me” shirts. Make sure to send me photos. Can’t wait to see everyone wearing them!

Lori Cataldo
Wendy Sosa
Rebecca Chandler
Colleen Sullivan
Lauren Feher
Shelley Mitchell
Sheila Danzig
Noah Parang
Mary Pohlmann
Betsy Janigian
Jan Spear
Melanie Gilson
Dana McElroy
Teri Forero
Jennifer Haley
Heather Neiman
Angeline Martinez
Sean Mullaney
Diane Fennekohl
Myra Wexler
Sheryl Rajbhandari
Calcagno Cullen
Annay Kotiaho
Lori Doody-Lanza