Noelle: So earlier in our conversation, you talked about being a ward of the state. LaQuisha, where did this you become? I mean, because as a child, I can imagine you had fear. You had doubt. Probably anger. Tell me what and how you have made this journey to be such a positive person and find this deep soul to share your story.
LaQuisha: I was molested for two years by a pastor. And so while I didn't give up on God, I gave up on people. Two years after it occurred, [I came] forward with what happened to my family, because it was eating me up, and I wasn't believed. The pastor’s side was taken. And so I just felt betrayed in such a major way. I can't even describe to you in words how I felt at that time. What I told myself was I had to get out of my home. And so I left home at 16. I went to live with my dad until I graduated from high school and I became a ward of the state because I needed health care and things like that. [And they] told me, it has to be—if you're going to vouch for yourself, it has to be legally done. But I started taking care of myself. And what I saw is strength on the outside wasn’t a strength on the inside. I was in absolute turmoil. Like I constantly thought about my sisters. I have two younger sisters and I always question[ed] why, you know, certain people in my family didn't have my back. What was wrong with me? And I always was brainstorming how I could regain the love and trust of my family. And so in all my efforts, they all failed. And so my freshman year of college, I tried to commit suicide. I’d swallowed over 100 pills and locked my dorm door. But I had a roommate who came back from class early that day, which is going to lead to how I became the person that I am. Like, how ironic that the day that I decide, I mean, literally, I put on my favorite dress. I had written all my notes and letters the night before, had the medicine set up, took it. My roommate tried to get in, but I had the door chained as well. And so they called for our resident assistant and they broke the chain, got in, and said I was foaming at the mouth, laying on the bed. Real embarrassing. But I was escorted out on a stretcher to an ambulance and spent two days in the hospital trying to recover from, you know, the amount of medicine I had taken. And I'll never forget it. The doctor came to me on my final day in the hospital and he said, in order for you to leave, you have to sign this statement that says that you won't try this again. And he said I’m going to give you some time to think about it, because I think he felt the hesitancy. Because when I woke up in the hospital it like, you know, y’all are really going on my nerves. This is not what I wanted. I don't want anyone's help. Y’all aren’t going through what I'm going through. That was how I was feeling. And so in that moment, my best friend, my roommate was in the room. She was like 'Quisha, please, just sign it so we can go home. I did it out—of obligation and out of wanting to leave, but I still didn't feel 100 percent sure about continuing my life. And so I had another roommate in the dorm who always seemed happy and it annoyed the crap out of me. And so I went to her one day. I said what is it with you? Like. What is it with you? She’s like, what do you mean? You are always happy. I don't have that. She sat me down. Now, I had heard all the Bible stories. I've been to church with my family in the past. All that. I mean, you couldn't tell me I wasn’t going to heaven. I felt I was a good person and I was supposed to go. The way she explained God to me that day made me feel like I did not have a relationship with Him like I was supposed to. She invited me to church and I'll never forget, when I went to her church, the people looked different, they acted different. And I was just like, I need what they have. And so on that day, the pastor, you know, was calling people to the front for salvation. And I'm sitting in my seat, like, I’m already saved. I don’t need to go up there. But he kept talking about maybe a family abandoned you. He was saying things that was directly connected to my issues. And out of nowhere I started sobbing like somebody had stabbed me and I couldn't control it. And I said to myself, I said, God, if you can help me through this, I will help somebody else. And I really just feel like that was the trajectory change of my life, like I just in that moment was like, OK. I felt like He said He'd help me. Now it's my turn to turn around, help someone else. And of course, I had to get myself grounded and all that. And I started getting support from the church. I started to feel more confident in being me and being okay with being alone, because that's what I felt like I was. And that helped me finish college. And, you know, of course, led to my coming to Baltimore.
Noelle: And in that whole path, you had your own affirmations. So most likely why that continues to be something that you're contributing is helping people find their affirmations and to state those.
Noelle: And not to state them, but believe them. You just described, you had to sign something, but you weren't wholeheartedly agreeing. But then once it did, became yours. So thank you for continuing to give forward.