Everyone faces trials and tribulations during their lives, and this high school graduate shows the world that despite the difficulties, she can still defeat the odds and excel academically.
Rozalyn Alyse Wingate, a graduate of Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, posted on Twitter a list of her accomplishments, along with the struggles she faced and still faces today. At 15, Wingate, after going through a bad breakup and suffering from depression, was pressured into hanging out with a man she met on Facebook and was raped by him.
“My depression was and is the biggest thing I deal with. It’s like having a cloud over your head all the time and even when you want to get rid of the cloud, you can’t because it’s just there.”
Wanting to repress her rape, she began to suffer from bipolar disorder and had three suicide attempts but after going through a journey with different medications and therapy, Wingate started to get her life back on track. By the end of her senior year, she achieved a 4.3 GPA, earned 51 college credits and will be attending Howard University in the fall.
“I didn’t have anyone to listen to me about the things that I was going through so school became my way of expressing myself. It was through writing and going to classes that I got to release myself. It was like having a friend without having any friends.”
Though she is still dealing with her mental illnesses, Wingate used a great deal of counseling and mediation to get to where she is now
“A lot of my coping came through therapy and taking medication, which a lot of people don’t like to do,” she said. “I had to go through 7 different medications before I found the right one for me but at least it keeps you grounded until you can find a different way to cope.”
After meeting with different therapists and counselors, she finally found poetry, which became her outlet to let out her anger. She wrote a poem and was brave enough to perform her poem publicly, thus allowing herself to heal and using that chance to be a voice for others.
“I think a major way that I healed is through poetry and that’s what saved my life,” Wingate said. “Being able to write out my feelings was the only way I could express myself.”
Wingate derives a lot of her strength and motivation from her mother and her nephew, both shown in the pictures of the tweet.
“[My nephew] was a lot of the reason why I kept getting up and kept going,” she said. “There were a lot of times where I wanted to give up and quit but what would he experience if I died? I lost my aunt to suicide and it hurt me a lot so I can't even imagine how he would feel if he lost me.”
However, Wingate wasn’t always greeted with kind words. Like many other girls who have been raped, Wingate experienced victim blaming when she tried to open up to certain people about what happened to her.
“For a long time I thought it was my fault and that’s where a lot of my depression and anxiety came from,” she said “That really messes with your mental health because you go from ‘okay someone took advantage of me’ to ‘I let someone take advantage of myself.’”
After posting her tweet, it went viral, amassing over 47,000 likes and 13,000 retweets. Though some of the messages Wingate received were negative, the positivity she felt made it worthwhile.
“So many girls inboxed me saying that ‘the fact that you did that gives me hope’ or ‘the fact that you achieved that makes me know that my life is going to get better,” she said, “so the positivity outweighed the negative stuff.”
As Wingate continues to strive to do well academically and continues to heal herself, she hopes that her achievements will encourage and motivate others to carry on and not give up no matter how hard it gets.
“Successful people still hurt. They still cry and they still try to hurt themselves and they still try to battle everyday life but you can still do it,” Wingate said. “I just want people to know that no matter what you are going through or how hard it is, if you really want to achieve something, you just have to fight the battle day by day.”
Lead Image Credit: Rozalynalyse_ via Twitter