By ReVonda Bowen

Today, I am now a woman able to say I’ve been through “most of it all.” I am a single mother of 2 and able to now realize that life is life… is what it is. There can only be a story to help, hurt, build up, or tear down; your life or the life of others. Knowing that God is the author and we are the co-authors of our lives is what steers each of us in the right direction even when we step in mud and feel completely stuck at times. All that I can really say is that I am so grateful for mercy and grace…Thank God for God!

I am from Wedowee, Alabama. The daughter of a father that is “white” and a mother that is “black” and they both have American Indian as well. Therefore, being from a very small town and having parents of different races was not always easy. I did not have any real problems until my 11th grade year in high school. I was named football sweetheart and most popular. I was also a cheerleader and definitely a few more things in between.

By now, we should know that everything is or somewhat relevant to the days to come. A true and wonderful saying is what does not kill you makes you stronger, if you allow it to! Always focus on; that no matter what, God is love and we are truly loved and adored by our Creator. Before I go any further, please know that we all have a voice and our feet to stand up for what we believe in. We must do these things consistently, speak up, and stand tall in amidst of it all.

My son was so upset with me at five years old because I wouldn’t allow him to go in the men’s restroom alone. Of course I could have stood outside the restroom door; regardless my mind was set to say no. It took a long time but the day finally came that I could say to myself it’s time to allow my son to use the men’s restroom next door and not the girls potty room anymore….…it took a while but eventually it happened. You are probably asking yourself what was the reason for this story.

I must say again that which takes place yesterday can affect us today. When I was eleven years old, I would visit my aunt’s home on the weekends. I would spend the night and have the best time ever. One morning I woke up early and she had left. Her boyfriend was there, long story short, my aunt entered the room and seen him on top of me. Yes, I was molested. Years later at the age of twenty-one, we exchanged words where she bluntly tells me in front of my mom, my aunt, and a friend that it was my fault that this man did not marry her. For all those years, I wondered why I felt unloved by her; on that day I found out why.

To fast forward things a bit, in the eleventh grade the principal called an assembly for the juniors and seniors in the gym. The assembly was not scheduled and the teachers didn’t even know about it. The principal quickly proceeds to ask the question if there would be anyone taking someone outside their race to the prom. With no hesitation, I am asking myself what kind of question is this. He asked us to raise our hands if that was the case. Keep in mind once again that I am from an interracial marriage and to this day my parents have been married over 31 years.

There were two white girls and I being multi-racial that raised our hands. As soon as we did he said “That’s it, the prom is cancelled!” I did not swear at him or throw a book at his forehead but yes, I wanted to… the way please forgive me for not thinking so Christ-like at that point and time, but the truth is I wanted to kick him in his throat. I stood up to ask the question, “Well who am I suppose to take to the prom my boyfriend is white?” Mr. Humphries eluded to say “That is just it Bowen, I do not want students to take someone outside there race because of I am trying to prevent MISTAKES like you. WOW! ….So now I am a “mistake” because I am from two people who truly loves each other???

To make a long story short there were different marches and Wedowee was even on national television, newspapers, and magazines. Then the ultimate took place, our school was burnt down! Things happen to us, around us, and in front of us. No matter what, when it does we must continue to go to that closet and pray, meditate, and really know who you are and who you serve. I know that I am not a mistake, but I have made mistakes or should I say wrong choices.

I received a scholarship to Alabama State University. I had my son out of wedlock my senior year and life, was a whirlwind. For some I was a great leader for the community and an activist; to others I was a “fire-starter!” Although I did not burn the school down, I was blamed because I took a stand to embrace my heritage and fought for what I believe in. While being blamed for a lot of things, suddenly I became hell on wheels.

One weekend after making a very little amount of money in my restaurant job, I just decided to party hard. I was smoking marijuana, drinking, and before I realized it, it was 7:00 am the next morning. My friends and I got lost and we ended up on a one-way street in Midtown Atlanta. There was a big neon sign that caught my attention. The sign read “Hiring Models”….Living Dolls. Well, I have always really enjoyed the lights, camera, and action world. So therefore, I told myself to go back there and see if I could get hired. Needless to say I went back, the owner introduced himself and told me that I would make lots of money there. I thought I needed a lot of money because “baby-daddy” was not contributing to anything our child needed. I was tired of being sick and tired, of being tired!

So go ahead and uncover you eyes and open your ears. I had become that “model” that took her clothes off that was no doubt assumingly named a stripper. Not totally understanding the life was really moving full speed in some kind of direction… Oh yes, my son had great toys and nice clothes, and family and friends assistance with the tip money, but I was in over my head and suddenly lost my true purpose.

Family and friends, wanted the so called stripper money, but they never gave me the cold hard truth about the wrongs or rights about the monies that I made; which A) Paid my bills and others B) I did not care about……C) Kept myself together working a job that I did not want; but a job that paid the mortgage even when the 9 to 5 didn’t. The list went on and on. It went to the people that I cared about and to some that certainly did not care enough about me. I continued to stay focus and confused all in one.

It was totally different than what I expected. I was at that location for 2 years taking my clothes off for that dollar bill. From that point on, I was an exotic dancer or a stripper whatever sounds good to you. One experience after another but that was my life. My co-workers at the strip club thought that I was crazy as heck. I would watch TBN and other Christian stations on television at work. I would call for prayer requests. Geez, I bet that did look kind of strange while wearing high heels and naughty lingerie.

Remember, He said come as you are and I found myself on a nasty bathroom floor dressed to make money in my work attire crying out to God, “Help me, Help me Please!” I will tell everybody that I was saved on a nasty, dirty stripper club bathroom floor.

Again, we make bad choices but we are not mistakes. You know why? It is very simple because God does not make mistakes. If nothing else; always know and realize that you are one heck of a great creation. You are so beautiful and life is to be enjoyed…press on my sisters. Be awesome my brothers and learn to love yourself and the universe will give you that love right back right where you are. What is the best place to begin? Let me tell you, it is right where you are.

We all face challenges and run into walls that will not move with our own physical strength, know that nothing is too big when you are on the right team. Trust and know that we are all where we are for a reason, to learn, to love, to grow, one day at a time and see your self where you want to be, but remember, you must see the promised land first and suddenly consider, the value of a vision, focus on greatness and watch it happen…do you see it?….then it will be! I see myself speaking to millions of people doing awesome things, I am wealthy, successful, healthy, and making my dreams and goals come true….God is good. No more regrets, only actions.

I love you! Let’s build one another up and not down. Like my son tells me, P.U.S.H. “Pray Until Something Happens!” You must realize that we are all winners. Much love under one Son, let’s move to the Nex’ Level UP…I’ll see you there!