12 May I have a dream of Making a Difference
I am Kenidra Woods, 15 years old. I am an advocate for self-harm and suicide prevention. I am also the founder of CHEETAH Movement. CHEETAH stands for Confidence, Harmony, Enlightnment, Encouragement, Tranquility, Awareness, and Hope. My mission for this movement is to inspire, save, and change lives in a major way. Also, to shed light on an issue that happens in our country way more than we could ever know or even imagine, as well as make efforts to end the many different stigmas surrounding mental health.
My deep passion for starting this movement and wanting to help others dealing with the same issues comes from suffering from depression, bipolar, and impulsive behavior. I know how it is dealing with it, some days are good others are not so good. I was sexually abused at the age of 7 by a family friend and my stepdad, that went on for about 2 years. I thought that it was right, that it happened every young girl. I then realized that it wasn’t normal and that it was wrong when the same thing happened to my sister, and she told my mom.
As I began to understand and fully process what had happened I started to resent towards my stepdad because he was supposed to protect me, not violate or hurt me. For many years I remained silent and as I got into my teenage years that’s when things got much worse. I started to abuse myself such as punch myself and bust my lip, cut myself with anything sharp that I could find, whip myself with belts, and bang my head on whatever I could get to at the time. In November of 2015, it felt like the world had crumbled down on me. I was hospitalized several times within the whole month of November, as well as some in December, January, and February 4, 2016 was my last time being admitted. I knew that day that I would change for the better because a couple days before, I cut my legs up so badly, I planned to kill myself on that very day, I sat on the floor helpless, my twin came into the room to a big surprise, me all covered in blood, my mom and the rest of my siblings ran into my room immediately.
Everyone looked so shocked, hurt, and worried. That day I could’ve really token myself out only if I had cut one cut in particular just a little deeper, the doctors told me that I’ve could’ve bled to death. Being in the hospital, of course, wasn’t fun but I had lots of encouragement along the way and although some days I didn’t care to hear it, it slowly gave me strength to keep going. I moved on and I forgave the family friend and my stepdad. Some days I do have flashbacks from time to time but every time I have them I know how to handle it better than the last time.
Truth is I forgave for MYSELF, if I wasn’t forgiving for no one else, I did it for ME. That situation is what made me who I am today. And it allows me to stand as a testimony to a lot of individuals battling with sexual abuse or addiction with self-mutilation in any way. Anyone that’s going through self harm or contemplating suicide, please know that YOU’RE NOT ALONE! I promise things will get better and pieces will slowly come back together, please don’t hold yourself accountable with things you had absolutely no control over.
Sexual abuse or Mental illness is NEVER your fault. Yes, these scars on my body will be here for sometime but I’m living for right now and right now I’m learning to embrace them and everyday they continue healing I think of that crucial time in my life as battle. I MADE IT THROUGH and I still have some way to go. If I can do it YOU CAN DO IT, too! Things happen and we have to overcome all of those obstacles, they weren’t meant to break us, only to make us stronger ❤. This is the tough milestone in life inspired me to create #CheetahMovement. I want to help individuals that are afraid to speak out or don’t have the strength or courage to. It will eventually help them to become more confident to speak out.
Mental illness is real, selfharm is real, suicide is real, sexual abuse is real no matter how much we try not to believe it. This is an issue that so many individuals suffer from or have dealt with. I’m starting to really find my worth now more than ever because so many people can tell you great things about yourself, but YOU have to realize that for yourself that you are worth it and that the beautiful things in the world wouldn’t be what it is without you here in it. I love myself even more everyday because of all the hardships I’ve overcome and I’m able to face almost everyday with a smile. This is not the end, it’s actually the beginning of your GREATEST journey. Embrace what you go through that is what make you strong, powerful, and unique. Suicide does not solve anything.
There are no possibilities of things getting better, suicide is final. That’s not the way out, “the way out” is making up in your mind that you want to get better and it’s a matter of actually reaching out for the help, now that’s the way out. I want to be that young girl that makes BIG changes to the world. The best thing I’ve ever done in my 15 years of living is finding my own strength. I’ve already accomplished so much with this movement from saving a life, to getting the support of actress Meagan Good, and most of all having the opportunity to travel to Tucson, AZ to further CHEETAH Movement. I did an interview with kvoa news 4 (http://www.kvoa.com/clip/12396105/from-self-harm-to-self-awareness), kgun9 morning blend (http://www.kgun9.com/morning-blend/kenidra-woods-cheetah-movement), knst 790 AM talk radio – Money Matters show with Dean Greenberg & friends, and a huge honor of getting to talk to the Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona, it all was an overwhelmingly great experience.
My biggest overall dream for this movement is to eventually reach millions and touch individuals of different races all over the world. Also, to get more people on my blog which *cheetahmovement.blogspot.com/* it’s an outlet and a platform for different individuals to express themselves by showcasing poetry, music, fiction/short stories, art, video, photography, etc.
Lastly, to hopefully get to meet Ellen Degeneres and inspire her with this movement. I love her passion about what she does for people. She uses what she has to help where it’s needed and that’s what’s it’s all about, helping one another and uplifting one another. I strive to have those same qualities she has daily. That would be one person in the world that I would love to cross paths with, she inspires me. I believe that everyone is put on this Earth to help someone and make a difference in someway, shape, or form and that’s what I’m gonna do with everything in me. – CHEETAH Movement founder, Kenidra Woods