It all started when I was 9. Everyone dreams of having their dad in their life on a consistent basis. In other words, everyone wants both of their parents in the same household and happily married. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case for me. My parents were never married. They got together in college, one day I was born, and then my mom eventually dropped out in order to take care of me. My dad was there consistently for at least 3 years and then they separated. I would go to Chicago every Summer to visit him and his side of the family.
As time went on, I began to feel this emptiness. I realized that I wasn’t like everyone else for multiple different reasons. A very big reason however was that most kids I encountered had both of their parents who were happily married - and I didn't. I would look around and see kids running up to their dads and excitedly tell them everything that happened at school. I would see moms kiss their husbands and the kids embrace them both in a hug with their little arms.
All I wanted was to be a daddy’s girl. Was there something wrong with me?
Fast forward to high school – when all the hormones are going crazier than when a black woman realizes she’s being played.
That emptiness that I felt escalated. I had friends, but I definitely wasn’t popular. I tried to fit in with the cool kids and that didn’t work. I tried to fit in with the black kids and I didn’t feel black enough. I tried to fit in with the white kids and I was too black for them. The only places that I seemed to “fit” were band and running track. Even then I felt out of place. Yet, I still managed to always get compliments on my outfits.
Then I took sewing classes and designed my first prom dress.
Just when I thought I found one thing that I was good at, I still felt like I wasn’t good enough because the teacher would find ways to prevent me from going to State for sewing competitions. She broke her back for her favorite student (who was lighter than me) to make sure that she would succeed and go to State but gave me the side eye. I even tried to move past it, so I made another prom dress the next year. Just as I was almost finished, she claimed that someone broke into the supply closet (where I kept the dress) and destroyed the dress. So, I gave up and let that dream die. But I still got compliments on my outfits.
And then I started college.
I started my freshman year in a relationship with a guy I had known since middle school. Things went well for a while. I enjoyed the attention that I got from him. I spent an ungodly amount of money on him to make him happy. I poured everything I had into that relationship. He bought me a promise ring and told me that we’d get married (dumb that I believed that I know). He filled the void of not having my dad around. A bit over a year into our relationship, I found out that he was cheating on me with another girl and got her pregnant. So apparently, I didn’t fit in with his lifestyle, but I still had great style.
Then, I lost my mind and cut off my hair.
Everything went downhill from there. I became depressed and suicidal. I once had a panic attack and ended up in the hospital because I passed out not breathing. I had people telling me that I was dumb for letting a guy get to me to the point where I wanted to die. Little did they know – or even care to find out – that I had suppressed all that hurt and emptiness I felt since I was 9. Even his girl told me to kill myself. That same year, I went to Chicago for Christmas to see my siblings. The morning before Christmas Eve when everyone left the house, a family member made his way into my bedroom and tried to rape me.
No one ever knew.
Despite the war that was going on within me, I STILL had killer outfits and somehow managed to make my way through college and graduate with a 3.7 GPA. I joined an NGO and moved to Berlin the Summer of 2019.
A year and a half later, Diamond Ariel was born.
With everything that happened to me, there was one thing that stayed constant: my style. No matter HOW depressed or mentally unstable I was, I still got dressed. I loved fashion. I would read fashion magazines, listen to Rihanna, and watch Project Runway. I began drawing designs and sewing again.
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I’m here to show you that even when everything hits the fan, your style will always be a part of you. You are worthy, despite what anyone has to say about it. You can still look good while you’re struggling - I was doing it for years. That reason alone is why no one noticed that I was actually suffering.
Even when I believed that my life served no purpose, I still had style. It’s a part of me and it should be a part of you too. I encourage you to begin learning how to dress your body type and develop that confidence you need to run after everything you want. Life is too short for it to be full of regrets.
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