In Vanessa’s Shoes : The Struggle Was Worth it

Name:  Vanessa Ceballos

Hometown: Born in Merida, Venezuela. Raised in Caracas Capital District, Venezuela.

Where do you live? Queens, New York. The best borough.

What does it mean to have a voice?
It means that you have the power and the personality to show yourself to the world just the way you are, with no shame and with no fear about what anyone thinks about you.

How did you find your voice?
With lots of work on my self-esteem and with my mother always cheering me on to make my dreams come true.

What event or series of events led to you finding your voice?

I suffered bullying all of my teenage years, especially during high school. I wasn’t used to feeling appreciated by anyone else but my family. With time, personal effort, and lots of work on my self-esteem, I became less worried about others’ opinions and more focused on doing things my way. I moved by myself to the concrete jungle with all of my dreams in my pockets. I knew no English – and very little about life – but persistence, goals, and determination can take you wherever you want to go.

In November of 2011, I immigrated to the United States with the goal of realizing my childhood dream of expanding my knowledge of other cuisines, creating original dishes, and becoming the owner of an establishment. I specifically chose New York City because of its diversity in cuisine and people.

Tell me about when you finally found your voice.

I’ve always had my voice and all of us has it. The only exception is that some of us find the way to speak up during different times in our lives. It depends on the series of events that we live every day and how we decide to firmly and clearly express feelings, thoughts, and reasons. My way to find it? Listening to myself and saying no to the rest.

Define “voice” and why it is important?

Voice will be what you say to others to inspire, to motivate. Voice will be your slogan and your most special prayer. Voice involves your personality and your wishes to others. Voice is how you present yourself to the world.

What advice do you have for someone trying to find their voice?

The best advice from me will be: Always do what is best for you and for your heart. Do it by thinking clearly and always putting yourself first. You will be able to help others if you first help yourself.

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