There’s a saying that service to others is the rent you pay for your time here on earth. I pay rent to the young ladies of Freedom Place. It’s currently the one and only safe house in the state of Texas for girls who have been rescued from sex trafficking. I teach a life skills class centered around public speaking and storytelling. We’ve had a story slam and recently a poetry slam.
Each time the girls amaze me. First for their courage and second for their growth.
At our story slam, some young ladies refused to perform because they were petrified of speaking in public. At our poetry slam, they took the stage and delivered and I could not have been prouder.
One young lady delivered a poem that had the room on its feet by the time she was finished. With her permission and the permission of Freedom Place, I’m posting her poem (she owns the copyright) she delivered that night. All the poems were centered around the theme, “At my core.”
At My Core
By Jane Doe, A teenage survivor of sex trafficking
I am not a perfectionist
But I still seek perfection.
No one sees what I see;
Everyone has a cover up but why?
The World and the Government is so debased,
They have money for wars but can’t feed the poor?
Why do people think being wicked is healthy?
Our heads are poisoned by the Government,
But really at their core they are really helpless.
Why do they judge people by the way thy dress
or sexual orientation?
If you let a person talk long enough,
You’ll hear their true intentions.
Behind every sweet smile
There is a bitter sadness that no one can ever see and feel.
I feel as if nobody understands me,
Nobody knows my struggle;
They only see the trouble not knowing
It’s hard to carry on when no one loves you.
I think you should follow your heart,
But take your brain with you.
On the outside, I may present myself as a happy, strong, and confident Black individual.
But look deeper than that.
Look all the way inside of me.
Look at my core, but you can’t see it can you?
At my core, I am scared, shameful, fearful, worried, hurting and confused girl.
A girl that is screaming, “Save me! Save me! Take all the hurt away! Free me from my suffering!”
I am very ashamed of thee things that I did.
But that does not…does not make me an atrocious person.
But also at my core I am a survivor.
I am a strong Black individual.
I am unique.
Nobody is like me.
I want to grow.
I want to be better.
You grow, we all grow, we’re made to grow.
You either evolve or your disappear.
I think out of anger comes controversy,
Out of controversy comes conversation
Out of conversation comes action.
Some say the blacker the berry the sweeter the juice.
But I say the darker the flesh, the deeper the roots.
Lisa N. Alexander is the author and founder of This Woman Knows and What Million-Dollar Brands Know. She is an award-winning filmmaker, director, producer, and writer and is the owner of PrettyWork Creative.