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model iv mercedes

Life is full of the unexpected. It is how we handle the rainy days that shows the world what we are really made of. Model and Domestic Violence Advocate Iv Mercedes shares her courageous story of how she found self-love and confidence despite the experiences she endured as a child.

I would call my life thus far a diamond in the rough.  Through all the events in my life, I always wanted to be better to myself, to inspire and be inspired by others.

I don't remember my mother before the age of 9.  At that time, I had not met my father and didn't even know I was supposed to have one.  I came to the USA in 5th grade and had to adapt to a new language, culture, weather and food; I moved here from Madrid, Spain.  At age 11, I was sexually assaulted for a year by a family friend. In school I was too tall for my age - always the last child on the line. While I was big for my age, I was quiet and was bullied for not being a bully. The fights that I got into were in self-defense - just wanted to be left alone.  I thought something was wrong with me.

So I tried to run from myself; become someone else through different lifestyles, different relationships and even 6 religions starting as a Catholic and now a Buddhist.  In all my searches, especially through my Buddhist practice, I have become a woman of compassion, courage and forgiveness.  I realized giving that to myself even if the people in my life had not or could not is the key to my happiness.

I've been able to develop that self-confidence into a habit. I was at a low point in my life where the fork in the road was clear: self-destruct or self-love. I wanted a better life. I yearned to do better for myself and to stop the pain inside and around me.

I've developed a relationship with my mom; she makes me want to be a better woman and daughter.  I met my father for the first time on my wedding day weekend in 2011. I got counseling and became an Advocate for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. I am a Plus Model and I will open a Summer Camp for Girls in 2020 called "Inner Peace."

That's the diamond in the rough.

My biggest fear is having any regrets on my death bed -- so I won't.