It’s 2008 and there I was, standing on a subway platform, in downtown Manhattan waiting for my train, not to board it… but to jump in front of it. A very young and clueless me, fresh out of family court, feeling tired and very much defeated after going in convinced that my days of physical, mental, financial, and sexual abuse were over.
I had absolutely no idea who I was, born and raised in the Dominican Republic with complete confusion over my “duties” as a woman—under the boot of an extremely patriarchal upbringing. This is how I ended up in a dangerously toxic marriage at a very young age, and by walking away I became homeless as a result.
The very core of who I am has always been connected to science, even before I knew what science actually was. I‘ve always craved a deeper understanding of the world around me, this was a need which was never satisfied growing up and it actually became a huge source of anxiety for me. I never had exposure to STEM or even any knowledge of it, so there was no way for me to know that my passion has a name. I used to be obsessed with knowing the “how” of everything, and as cliché as this will probably sound, I always wanted to go into space. The universe (which to me consisted of the Moon and the Sun at the time) has always been a source of peace for me, many nights the moon became my best friend. I always wanted to study the universe, but I had no idea that such a thing could be done—let alone by someone like me, or that women were allowed to.
When I was 17yrs old I had basically taught myself English, moved on from an underserved high school, and after overcoming seemingly endless biases, my spousal abuse, horrible relationships in search of self worth, homelessness, and lack of support and education, I have become *unapologetically* vocal about my experiences. Navigating many spaces I wish to someday occupy, I realized that people needed to know that not everyone is born into good circumstances, has access, or is able to follow “traditional” paths in life. Some individuals, like me, have to rely on survival to even dare to dream. I found myself determined to challenge whatever stereotypes I face when chasing my goals, and in the process I realized social media is a great tool for visibility and outreach. This rebellious and non-traditional pursuit of my autonomy has made me gain some notoriety, which can be difficult at times, but it’s also an opportunity to help others understand in similar situations.
It’s been an arduous road to say the least, but I continue to persist, using my life as an example of how things like an individual’s background, race, and orientation should not be used to discount ability, or to measure anyone’s worth.
In the end perseverance is my true superpower, and I can’t wait to see where this journey will take me.