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CHAPTER 6 -In my skin (conquering life circumstances)

I was 10 years old when I decided to look at the New York Times. Every Sunday it was delivered to my home. My great Aunt Mary had her morning routine, her cup of coffee, and the paper after church. I remember sitting in her living room watching her as she read the pages. I asked her for the employment section of the New York Times, and she gave me an odd stare, I had no clue what I was looking for. I knew I needed to look through the job section. My great-aunt continued to stare at me and asked what are you looking for? Right then my brother's and sister walked into the living room. I told her I was looking for a job and did not see a position for an African queen. Her face appeared to be confused but she knew I was serious. My brothers began to laugh, my aunt suddenly asked them to leave the living room. She stood up and walked across the living room to sit with me on the couch.


“Well, the only job in America that would come close to that is modeling.” She said.


I closed the newspaper and thought, “…then one day that's what I will be.” Not aloud but in my heart.


I did not have a clue what that was but thought I wanted to make it happen. I wasn't big on watching television except for watching The Jacksons or The Cosby Show. We also must never forget Martin.

I watched old movies with my great aunt and was a die-hard music lover. Artist Nina Simone was my favorite vocalist, watching black and white movies was my favorite pastime. I enjoyed poetry and art as a little girl and saw my first painting in church. The painting was done by a gentleman who attended my church. He painted a guy on a boat rowing into the sunset. Around that time, I was at least ten or twelve years old and became conscious of my eclectic talent. I remember being in Junior high School when my caseworker put me in an art class. On the first day, there was a young boy who was known to be the best artist in the class but he was very cocky. I didn't like the way he treated the other kids. Learning how to draw facial features was the lesson for the class that day. One of the kids said I have a cartoon version of Jim Carey who can draw this. I raised my hand knowing I'd only drawn maybe a tree or a heart before. Then came the cocky talented boy in class noticeably laughing at me. He said, “Do it now let me see you draw the cartoon now, right now.” Everyone stood around me and I thought about what I should draw. I tried to humble him but it felt more like he was trying to humble me. Then a calming spirit came over me. I took a variation of colorful pencils and started to draw, As I commenced to drawing everything around me became silent. When I finished the teacher walked behind me and said, “Wow we have a new artist in the class.” As the kids walked away, he asked me what else I had drawn. I told him this was the first drawing I'd ever drawn in my life.

He looked at me with a monster smile and I said to myself when I get older maybe I'll be an artist. I recall this moment because it reminded me that we all have a variety of talents. We can live our entire lives and not know what we're capable of doing. I remember thinking I would try my hands at everything, with every instrument. Who knows what I'm talented at? I went home that day with the picture that I drew and brought it to my aunt. I did not tell her that I drew it. I wanted to know what she truly thought about it. She said whoever drew this were pretty artistic and I smiled and said, “I drew it!” She started to laugh and said, “It runs in the family.” I didn't understand what she said, so I asked her what she meant. She pointed to the wall of drawings. Then she said “I drew all of those pictures on the wall” I couldn't believe after all of these years I had admired those pictures; she was the artist behind them. I thought they were created by an artist, but it was my great-aunt who was the actual artist. She was so humble and never said anything about her talent. She inspired me. I decided when I started junior high school that I would take theater courses. I may want to become an actress I thought. I still wasn't completely sure as long as I had a stage, I had a feeling I was meant to do something on it. I considered becoming a writer. At first, I thought I would become a lawyer but after my grades dropped my mentor told me that I would not be the best lawyer. They went on to say that I was a great debater and enthusiastic about many topics. They blatantly said I don't know if you'll be able to move on from case to case. My mentors were correct and pushed me more into the teaching field. Having dyslexia and knowing how difficult it was for me to learn was tough. The Board of Education was discouraging me and I gave up trying at the end of high school, The Board of Education decided not to teach me but to have me work in elementary schools as a teacher's aide. I would receive credits instead of learning biology or math the way many people are taught. Some people might say that's great you don't have to go to school you can take dance classes, theater, and any electives you want. You can even volunteer and get credit to graduate. It sounded like a lot of fun and I knew that I had to grow up. I also needed to absorb more so it angered me that The Board of Education gave up so quickly on me. I was very vocal about it and in all of the schools that I went to it became redundant. I stopped counting after six schools.

The Board of Education tested me every year and still could not teach me but as we know today the system has been broken for many years. It is not geared towards teaching diversely so everyone can learn even if it's at a different pace. I was truly affected by this awful experience of not having the tools so I needed to overcome my circumstances. I started to teach myself how to read and persevered in other talents. Years later I would be chosen for a national television show called America's Next Top Model and then receive the opportunity to become a model. The truth is I forgot about that Sunday, sitting with my great aunt looking through the newspaper for a job. I tell you this story of Truth to open your mind when it comes to looking at the signs in your life. You should become. I didn't know subconsciously I already made a promise to my heart of what I could become and then it became real because I chose to work towards being my best self. As a child, I could not see what I was working towards. In the future, I set myself up for greatness and tried a variety of things. My life circumstances of starting life without a mother or father. With no one to help set directions for my future even as a child, I stole the control. Not allowing the weaknesses in The Board of Education to destroy my dreams but recognizing it was my responsibility to become who I imagined. Life circumstances for me were directed in every avenue of failure for my future. But a moment of seeing the possibilities and even one person showing me a moment of love inspired my heart. I never gave up. We all need a boost on another level. Love and the ability to see the odds that our dreams can be real. That moment in art class helped to change my life and to recognize that I'm capable of more than I know. I'll leave you with one more very short story one week after that art class episode. The Board of Education was holding a race for all New York schools. The race was five miles long and any child from any New York high school could enter the competition. I entered after my gym teacher told me about the race. I never ran more than 10 blocks in my life and at thirteen years old on a Monday in the Bronx, the race started. In the end, I came in second place out of all of the high schools in New York. I remember carrying the trophy home in shock and when I showed my aunt her mouth dropped. She had no clue that I was just as surprised as she was. That day in art class opened the doors to so much more in my life. I was okay even if I didn't win. If I lost while I tried, I knew that God could surprise me with more talents that I knew nothing about.


Ok, beautiful people, I have just started school to become an aerobics instructor at 45 years old and recognize the blessing of my experiences in life have reminded me to try everything that I dream of.


You never know.


I'm about to hit the gym until the next article.


About the Writer


Ebony Emecca Haith is a featured Affirmation Series writer in Now PR Magazine.

Ebony Haith is a supermodel who walked into our living rooms on the first series of America's Next Top Models. Today Ebony is an up-and-coming actress, comedian, writer, singer, artist, and certified health counselor, but her true passion has always been writing. Recently she created short articles as a beginning intro for her upcoming book called America's Next Top Model (SKIN Too Rough). Ebony's unique life journey is like no other. This American beauty is using her life experiences and voice to tell her story with wisdom and Grace. “In My Skin” is a short article on the reality of her living conditions. It highlights how she continues to overcome the false myth that desensitizes so many people about their skin color. It circles around the most beautiful gift she believes is her skin. Her unapologetic, exclusive, and authentic way of telling her story is wonderful and unique. In 2013, Ms. Haith had a write-up and was featured in the New York Post as one of the upcoming and pronounced storytellers of our time. She is definitely one to look out for in the near future. Ebony is bold and speaks out on topics that many were afraid to say aloud. Her life experiences are unusual, but she is finally ready to reveal them to the world. From 24 Foster Care homes to over 13 schools, that is just the beginning. An American woman, Ebony Haith shares her story in a time when we need it. She shares her story with grace. Ebony's truth and wisdom is not only refreshing and unique, but it is healing.



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This woman is truly inspiring. She is not afraid of being true to herself. There is humility and truth jn her series. I love reading.

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