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 

An Exciting Day, and how you can be a part of it!

Hi! It’s a busy, exciting day for Girl Noticed! Tonight at the brand new Pembroke Pines City Center is the Grand opening of THE FRANK Art Gallery and Exhibit Hall. Girl Noticed was asked over two years ago to be a part of this exhibit and opening, and is thrilled to have been given the opportunity to paint a mural as well as exhibit work in this great space. Thank you Jill Slaughter for all your hard work and the opportunity.

The mural at the Frank is part of the Nationwide Girl Noticed project and carries the message “Just Being Me”. The two subjects painted on the wall are Myra Wexler and 6 year old Valerie. They are an example of how at any age a girl/woman should feel free and proud to be herself. The photos I referenced for the mural were chosen at random after I had chosen the two of them as my subjects. How amazing when I found photos of them both making the same hand gesture. I thought, wow what a great example of how at any age a female must embrace who she is.
There are also two paintings on canvas that accompany the mural and are now a part of the new traveling exhibit titled “Girl Noticed, “Just Being Me”. Lily and Kiana’s parents were asked to take photos of them being themselves, and they also submitted videos of them talking about why it’s important to be noticed and be yourself.  Those videos will also be part of a future show that is in the works.
A third portrait is being worked on, although I wasn’t able to finish in time for tonights show, is of Valerie’s awesome sister Karina. There’s only so much time in the day to paint! If you would like to be included in this ongoing series, take a photo of yourself “just being you”, and email it to girlnoticed@gmail.com to be considered. Videos are also being accepted. Check out our Facebook page Girl Noticed to view the videos Karina, Valerie, Lily and Kiana made and submit your own by email. You could be part of a future exhibition.
All of the subjects in the Frank Exhibit tonight are from Florida except for Valerie, who I met in Colorado while doing a Girl Noticed mural there. I chose her because I wanted to work with her mom, Misty Elizabeth, a photographer who is raising two young children on her own, working and going to school. She values her time with her kids and sets an example for them to follow that I admire.  Myra is know in the art scene as The “Queen or Miami” her eccentric sense of style and flair for creative uniqueness made her perfect to show your valuable at any age.
The dripping paint in the mural signifies that life is unpredictable, and our fluidity as women is not only necessary but essential.
Meanwhile, In Cincinatti … 
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I am in Cincinnati working on my 10th state Girl Noticed Mural.
I will not be able to attend tonight’s opening, so please take lots of photos and tag #girlnoticed when you post! My daughter Grace will be there taking photos as well, so make sure to say hello!