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When the Invisible is Visualized, Stories that are Untold: Monica

I think it is important to capture the stories of people who very seldom have a voice. Even though I recognize my limited power in giving people a voice, I can still try (dammit). So every now and then when I hear a story that I feel people should hear, I will try to make those invisible moments—visible.

When interviewing Monica, you could immediately detect the discomfort she felt in talking about her past. She was happy to be interviewed and to “have her story told” because she felt as though it brought legitimacy to her experience, regardless of how painful it was to revisit. But she stressed that her real name not be used in this blog. Monica is the name given as a pseudonym.

Monica grew up in poverty in a single parent household. She does not speak very highly of her mother and explains how her children have yet to meet her mom, even though they all live in the same city. Monica went on to explain how she hated being poor. How it was ultimately her “motivation for going to college in a time when all her friends thought it was a waste of time” Jane discusses a multitude of struggles growing up. These struggles can be categorized as both systemic and personal “mountains that she had to climb.”

Monica grew up in the Henry Horner Homes in the 1990’s, which a Chicago Housing Authority Project that was recently torn down. She explains how there were “high rates of murder, low rates of high school graduation, and negativity all around her growing up.” She went onto say how she never wanted her children to be exposed to any of these things. Within all of these potential stressors I was eager to hear what Monica identified as the one event in her life that she still struggles with. Especially because it seemed as though so much of her life could of be categorized as potential stressors. Monica elaborated by explaining that the struggles she has now are mostly due to personal matters that happened inside of her home. Monica elucidated that when she was eleven years old her mother’s boyfriend sexually abused her. Monica identifies this struggle of the primary stressor of her childhood. We must take a step back to understand the environment that Monica grew up in, and how she was impacted by the world she was born into.

Intellectual growth, the learning of fundamental skills that are valued in culture, growth in confidence and realistic images of their potential contribution to the larger community. One theme that resonates with Monica’s story is the idea that “time, resources and security” are all necessary for the full development of children. In this sense full development can’t be a plethora of things ranging from the “social, cognitive, and emotional” developments that children should go through. The theme of privilege and how it impacts development only adds more nuances to Monica’s story. The state that the necessary developmental growth of children is only possible in communities and neighborhoods that is economically and politically stable and ideologically committed to the intellectual growth of their children. The undertones of this argument can be contested however, one thing remains true, and levels of privilege impact multiple developmental outcomes. Luckily, Monica made it through. She identifies herself now, as a conqueror. Monica is my mother, your mother, and all the other female conquerors in the world.