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‘Caleigh complained of back pain. ‘Her spine is collapsing,’ the doctor said. My sweet daughter was curving.’: Mom to daughter with muscular dystropy says ‘not every bad situation has to have a bad ending’

“Out of the blue, her ‘best friend’ no longer wanted to be her best friend. Countless strangers walk up and ask why she is using a ‘grandma scooter’ to get around. Any time she falls, people stare or laugh instead of rush to assist her. Still, she does not believe in ‘I cannot.’ Through all the needle sticks and surgeries, she does her best to comfort ME.”

‘I don’t really like black people, but you’re different.’ I shrank inside myself. I couldn’t change my skin, but I could lose every identifiable piece of who I was to blend in.’: Woman recalls experiences with racism, ‘I’m no longer a scared little girl’

“After months of being teased about my accent, my clothes, my hair, my body, I had no wherewithal to speak up when the N-word came out of the mouth of someone I considered a friend. I froze. I spent the rest of the year working hard to drop my accent. I got quiet. I learned not to raise my hand, because the teacher would make it a point to humiliate me anyway.”

‘She was uninvited because she is ‘not pretty enough, skinny enough.’ At 9 years old, her heart has already been broken by unkindness.’: Mom urges ‘love yourself the way you want her to love herself’

“At 9, they’ve already commented on her body, her face, her clothes, her family. Those words don’t hurt me because I know they’re not true. I know she’s enough. What kills me is how she believes the naysayers of the world instead of her mama, the person who knows her best.”

‘Her mother told me she could no longer be friends with me because I was black. We snuck around town, stealing moments of friendship when we could.’: Woman says ‘you can change the world’ in wake of Ahmaud Arbery death

“I had a white best friend I had known since 5th grade. When we got to high school, her mother figured we were old enough to hear the truth: ‘She’s black. You can no longer be friends.’ We snuck around town stealing moments of friendship when we could. I want something different for my 7-year-old daughter.”

‘You are His masterpiece, beautiful girl. You can’t compete with an edited image of another girl. You’re already valuable.’: Mom says ‘your worth cannot be measured from the outside’

“When I delivered you in the hospital and saw your face for the very the first time, I was instantly in love with all of you. God gave you the exact color of eyes and hair on your head, and gifts and talents for a reason. Your worth and value can’t be measured from the outside.”

‘Who are you hiding from?’ I was forbidden from closing the door while I showered or used the restroom. I wasn’t daddy’s little girl anymore.’: Woman overcomes childhood abuse, ‘You will survive. Your life is worth saving and fighting for’

“My dad was a dangerous man. After I was born, he endeared himself to me. ‘I’ve seen 100 girls like you,’ he said. He found my diary. He read it. Humiliated me. They tracked my periods. They would time how long it took me to walk from the bus stop to the apartment. I hid who I really was. I got smarter. I knew how long it took to go from the bedroom window to the front door, which I’d deadbolt when he left. I hid notes in menstrual pad packaging. I tell myself, ‘You tried to break me. You told me to kill myself. But YOU WON’T WIN.’”

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