Happy Birthday, baby girl!
You are finally 19 years old. Can you believe it? 19 years old.
One more year and you will be 20. If you don’t think that’s amazing, I don’t know what else is amazing. You always thought that you will never live to see your 20s, but guess what? In one year you can. In 365 days, you will prove yourself wrong. To me, that’s amazing.
I know the day before your birthday has always been rough. In 2011, you tried to take your own life. You came home after being hit by the car in the traffic that you had thrown yourself into. You were limping, body covered with cuts and bruises, and face etched with tears. Your mom saw you, and you finally told her you didn’t want to live because everyone at your school bullied you.
It has been hard ever since. You grew distant from people, and you started to question whether or not people are just cruel. But you met her. You met your best friend. You met your other best friends, and you have been meeting so many amazing people along the way that is always wishing for your success.
Yes, it has been tough. I know. Especially last year when you wanted to take your own life the day before your birthday after having a huge fight with a boy you thought you love- after he screamed at you and dragged you out of his car. That day was horrible, and we both know that even though he treated you badly, you still found comfort in his arms when he came to see you after you told him you were about to end your life.
And I know it has been even tougher when you got your first boyfriend. You never been in a relationship before, and you are so scared that you might mess things up or that he might leave you for someone better. You had so many fears, and instead of dissipating them, he harmed you even more. You became another statistic. You were raped by the very person you trusted.
But you are so strong.
You are so strong for standing here today. You are strong for seeking the help you need when you arrived at college. You are “stronger than anybody even you can ever imagine.” Remember that line? In the poem you wrote?
You put yourself out there, and you have done things that you never thought you could. You became an advocate for sexual assault victims. You’re out there sharing your stories and helping others that are going through the same thing that you’ve have been through or are still going through. You performed your own poems in front of a group of stranger despite of your anxiety. You have allowed yourself to be open with people and trust in life despite all of the hardships you’ve been through.
You are so amazing for all the things that you’ve done and for all the things that you are still doing. You literally did everything those people didn’t want you to do.
You took control.
You took control back. And you’re doing all these things because it’s something you feel passionate about, which is so great. You took control back by deciding that you want to major in something that you love and not something that your parents want. You took control of your own happiness, and that’s all I can ever want you to do.
You’re succeeding and standing here right now when all those people want to see you fail and want to see you be held back by their hurt. You’ve been overcoming so much adversities in your life, and it’s about time that you realize just how strong you are and just how resilient you are.
So my birthday wish to you is that I hope you remember all of your strength, all of your beauty, and all of your love that you give to yourself and to others. You are an inspiration to me.
And one day in your 70s or 80s, I know you will look back on this time of your life and realize that you couldn’t have done things any better than you are doing right now. You will realize that you were wrong about not living to see your 20s.
So Happy Birthday, Jenice.
I know you’ll make a huge difference in the world.