I've been keeping journals since I was in the 3rd grade and I'm so glad to share some of my most intimate life moments with you here! Here, you'll find inspirational and encouraging stories of me and other broken people like me. We are all jars of clay who have been afflicted in every way, but not crushed...struck down by not destroyed. Here, you do NOT have the right to remain silent, so as you read, grab your favorite snack and drink and leave a comment...share YOUR story. I can't wait to connect with you in this beautiful safe space.
I photograph teaches me something. As women, we love to talk and it is through the conversations we have, while capturing the essence of who they are, I walk away with the very best of them. Staysi is no different. Here are a few snippets of our conversation:
So…tell me about yourself.
“I grew up in the beautiful country of Guyana which is in South America. I am the only girl and middle child in my family sandwiched between two brothers. My family is of mixed race-my mother is Black and my Father is a combination of Chinese, Indian (India Indian) and White. Growing up mixed or “Dougla” as it is called in Guyana was interesting because you were smack in the middle (more or less) of the two major races in Guyana—Black and Indian. I migrated to the US when I was in high school and met my Love, Jeremy, in college. We have been married almost 11 years (woot woot!) and have 3 awesome kids—similar to my parents 2 boys and a girl. I work in Public Health and currently do program evaluation for one of the federal programs being implemented statewide.”
What inspires you? What keeps you going on your hardest days?
“I think people inspire me. I take inspiration from people that show strength and resilience in daily living. It helps me to keep focused on what really matters, to take a reality check of my own circumstances and evaluate whether or not what I am going through is really and truly life altering or whether I need to just take a deep breath, collect myself and move on. I like to take inspiration from people that are by no means perfect but are trying to make the best of where they are and who they are at that moment. While I am inspired by people what keeps me going on my hardest days is my faith and my family. I rely on my faith to get me out of low moments because I know that when all else fails and I am overwhelmed or can’t see a way out, I can pray. And in my darkest moments I know that God is with me. I also use my family as motivation to keep pressing forward no matter how grueling things may be. At the end of the day they are my constant, my anchors.”
If you could give advice to your 25-year old self, what would you tell her?
“I would tell her what the winning lottery numbers were for that year LOL! After that I would tell her to keep moving forward and not let the actions of some people make her someone she’s not. I would encourage her to explore different paths for what she wants to accomplish and not feel trapped in one direction.”
Ok, so by this time a few hours had gone by and I wasn’t ready for our time to end! But I asked her one final question, as Beyonce’ played in the background:
What do you want your legacy to be?
“I want to be remembered for being a loving and supportive person. I want to leave behind a group of people who were touched by me and who feel that I added value to their life. I would love to leave my mark on the greater world somehow but even if that doesn’t happen I want my family and friends to say that I lived my life to the best of my ability, that I was funny, giving, resilient, honest, took no crap, had a good spirit and loved them with all my heart. I want them to be inspired by me.”
When it comes to Staysi, I have long admired her and capturing her beauty…listening to her story just made me love her even more. She reminded me of the importance of being me. That sometimes as young girls and women, we get caught up in how others perceive us. We want so badly to be accepted, that even the mere thought of moving outside of our comfort zone paralyzes us with fear because we’re afraid of what others may thing. And you know what? That’s ok. It’s ok to feel that way. But what’s NOT ok is allowing that fear of being trapped to dictate how you live your life and the women we choose to become.
Thank you Staysi for sharing your resilient spirit with the world. You truly are a gift that I’m so honored to have encountered. I love you!!