Kayla's Timeline

Timeline created by Kayla Tavarez

    When I was 2, my mother and father separated and I lived with my mom ever since. I was too young to understand what that meant but as I grew up, I never really questioned it until recent years. It makes me question what happened and why my dad has such strong feelings towards my mom. As I look at them now, I'm glad they are not together because my life would not be the same.
  • Meet my new family

    When I was 3, my mom had my younger sister with another man (who I look at as my dad) and her family took me in as well. I have a great-grandmother, great-grandpa, granny, Titi Wanda, Titi Elyse, and so many more people. I was too young to understand but probably my mind was going through changes. Looking at it now, Im glad I have them with me. There was definitely some difficult times I shares with them and I questioned my belonging quite often, but I'm so grateful I can call them my family.
  • Evil step mother

    My dad met someone new and she became my step mother when I was 5. I didn't really get along with her as I grew up. I don't know if it's because my dad found someone else or it's just having an additional new person in my life. We would argue about the littlest things and I just never felt like myself around her. I have grown to be mature and chose to be who I am regardless of what she thinks. My opinions matter and thats all that matters.
  • I'm a big sister again

    I'm a big sister again
    My dad and step mom asked me when I was 9 if I wanted a baby sister or baby brother. At that time I didn't think anything of it but now, I think it's a big age difference. When I was 10, my youngest sister came and I was happy. I love her to death but I think she needs someone her own age to do things with as well. She looks up to me and wants to do my every move. Thats when I learned how to take care of a younger sibling and teach them things. I am happy I have someone who gives me a purpose.
  • A student with 2 kids?

    A student with 2 kids?
    When my mom had children, she put her passions and goals to the side and took care of her children. She put us first and sacrificed being a young and free woman. But once she got herself together, she went back to college and got back on track to full her goals and aspirations. There were many nights where she would come home late and I had to step up to the plate to take care of my sister and I. I missed my mom, but I know she was out doing what she felt was going to benefit her and her family.
  • Our Last Christmas

    I remember being so excited to go to grandmas house to open gifts. My mom, sister, and I had our famous matching pj's because we did that every Christmas. But someone said that grandma wasn't feeling well. I got nervous and she was laying down in her room. Then the next minute I hear that she is going into the ambulance. I felt so confused, scared, worried, helpless, and eager to know what was happening to my grandma. Christmas makes me break down a little because its not the same anymore.

    My grandma never came back and my grandpa also followed her into rehab. Everyone went their separate ways. My two aunts moved. My granny moved. I stayed in my house but it felt like my family was broken even though this was a time of being there for each other. I will never understand why they moved so quickly. I still was trying to process that I'm never going to taste my grandma's rice and beans again. And that she won't tell me to watch novelas with her or even have a conversation with her.
  • My mom saved my life

    My mom saved my life
    There was so much going on my head. I was depressed. I was anxious. My mental health was terrible. Even with all those feelings, I still had the strength to open up to my mom about how I was feeling. She was so understanding and took me seriously, which I am so grateful for. It's been over a year of me going to therapy and I can absolutely say, I am better. Without her taking my mental health seriously, I don't know if I would be here today. My mom is the reason for my existence today.

    I attended my first ever PRIDE and I felt great. I felt such positive energy and this was and is my community. This is my community because even though I didn't personally know every single person, I didn't need to. The people made me feel good about who I am by saying yes beautiful and shouting Love Yourself. I stand for embracing who you are and loving every part of you. And that's what I felt. I had the support of my lil boo thang at the time which made me feel accepted. All I felt was love.
  • Let's Go CAMELS

    Let's Go CAMELS
    This was the moment I was waiting for. I applied to Connecticut College ED, attended their open house, TWICE, attended their fly-in program, had an interview, emailed the admissions office several times, meet their requirements for admission, and just hoped for the best. A little after 11, I remember was my mom screaming for joy, my mentors saying yess kayla, and Im crying of happiness. I was so happy and proud of myself.
  • No more dad's house

    I have been going to my dad's house every other weekend for the past 16 years. Earlier this year, I made one of the hardest decision I have made which was to no longer visit my father. I felt like a guest in his home. Consistently felt anxious and uncomfortable. I felt like everything was falling apart. I tried to distract myself with music, food, crying, etc, but nothing worked. I decided to make the decision to take care of my mental health and to not surround myself with negativity.
  • Political Climate

    As a young, black, hispanic, women, my political views impacts my life more now because I can now have a say in what I want my world to look like when I vote in this year's election, for the first time. Government laws and actions impact the way I view society. For example, issues like climate change, the edu. system, pay gap, etc. These issues really shape how I view our government and motivates me to fight for my beliefs.
  • Political Climate

    I have been more interested in learning about politic as I have been getting older because I can say what I want my country, my world to look like. It also motivates me to believe in my beliefs and challenge others opinions on certain issues.
  • Historical Climate

    When I think of what historically impacted my family's experience, I think of colorism. My family and I are black and our ethnicity is hispanic. I would remember having conversations with my mom that we both experienced being called "white", "not black enough", because we had lighter skin. This happens today still, not as much, but I know who I am, what I stand for. The color of my skin doesn't define who I am.
  • Economic Climate

    My family doesn't make a lot of money. I have health insurance because my mom makes little money. She doesn't have health insurance. We can't just buy things we want whenever we want. Living with my single mom and younger sister, being black and hispanic, we don't get many opportunities even though we were born in this country. Not getting the jobs that we qualify for because of our race, ethnicity, gender, etc. But we still live everyday knowing there are better days.
  • Social Climate

    Being a young, black, hispanic, cisgender, educated women, there are a lot of social norms that challenged the way I thought about myself. "Skinny the better", lighter skin is better", "long hair is beautiful". These norms made me feel bad about myself because they are nonrealistic ideals of women. But, I educated myself on them and I am still learning how to love myself and my mind and my soul rather than how my body is shaped in comparison to the next women.
  • Spiritual Influences

    I think for me, music, but I honestly don't know any spiritual influences that impact me. Im not religious and I don't know of any spiritual influences.
  • Why COVID-19?

    Why COVID-19?
    Not much to say about this. COVID-19 took my grandpa away from me. I was devastated. Still in shock. I'm still trying to process. R.I.P Grandpa.
  • M.S.E.D

    When my mom went back to school years 6 ago, I didn't know how much she sacrificed and how much work it was for her. But I can now say, I am so grateful to have her as my mom. I'm so happy for her. #FutureMentalHealthCounsler
  • Out Of SLJ

    Out Of SLJ
    I am so proud of myself. I graduated with HONORS. I got 3 scholarships, The Thurgood Marshall Cup, 6 awards, and most importantly, I could not have done it with my supportive and caring family. #WEDIDIT
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    I'm not part of my new family

    I began to question my belonging with "my new family" when my cousin asked her mom, "is Kayla is part of our family?" She said, "is Kayla our blood family?" All my aunt said was, stop asking me this and left me with that question ever since. I felt embarrassed and disconnected. I didn't feel loved. I didn't feel like I belonged there because I wasn't blood and because my aunt couldn't say I was part of the family. I didn't want to be there anymore but I didn't have a choice.
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    Grandma's health

    I feel like I really started noticing Grandma's health when I was around 13 years old. I knew that grandma always had health issues but I thought it was because of her old age. But she was suffering from type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure and other things my family kept from me because I was young. I remember one summer it got really bad, I was her "nurse" in a sense. Reminded her to take her pills and to draw blood. Also made sure that she ate but not sugary foods or drinks. I miss her.
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    Finding love in the wrong places

    My story is like other women like myself because we want to feel loved, accepted, and heard. We may not realize it, but we surround ourselves with people who we believe will makes us feel good. From the first boy I actually liked in my freshman year of high school to now, I can say that I was looking for love in the wrong people. I didn't take the time to respect myself, love myself, or even feel good because of myself. I can proudly say I am in a healthy relationship because I put myself first.
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    S.O.U.L Sisters

    This summer program will elevate my mind, body, and soul. It will elevate the way I interact with myself and others. I hope to learn how to value every moment and how to interact with people better.