How does the chain of connections start? Well, Connections.Media picks someone we feel drawn to hold space for. Like anything, it is a feeling in your gut, something you just have to reach out and begin. Then we follow the journey from there, as one person picks the next, based on the conversation that took place on that day, in that moment. After 5 conversations a theme reveals itself, and a chain is complete.
Follow this theme of "UNDERSTANDING"
Town of Birth: Charleston, SC
Occupation/Job/Life Purpose Work: Booth attendant at MUSC Parking Management
“I was a senior in high school when I had my son, so it was scary at first, but at the same time it was a joyous occasion to me. Over the years, I’ve seen all of my children grow. And they’ve seen me grow. I’ve had my ups and downs, but they were always there to help me get through it. And, I was always there to help them get through what they needed to get through, at any point in time.
So, being a mother is… well...it’s my greatest accomplishment. Especially being a single parent of three kids. I love, LOVE being a mom. It had some rough times, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
I feel Kysia pick me because of my life journey. She knows some of my life story and lived through some of it. She wants me to share it.
“I’m a survivor.
A survivor, because I’ve seen my mom killed right in front of me. I lost her when I was eleven years old. My father killed her in our household. My younger brother and sister and I moved in with my aunt and her kids. My childhood was taken away, and at the same time I had to grow up pretty quickly. I also survived domestic violence, I survived a terrible marriage, and I’ve survived having kids.
So, I’m a survivor. I’m also a giver, I’m a friend. I’m an awesome mom. I am blessed beyond measure, because I got to see my kids grow and my mom didn’t.
I see myself as a child of God.”
Fatima Holston’s story is filled with hardship, triumph, family, isolation, love, and tremendous loss. She has survived domestic violence, the death of a parent, and depression; but she has also seen her children blossom and thrive, met her two beautiful granddaughters, and earned two college degrees.
Despite everything she has been through, Fatima perseveres with an unmatched strength of will and spirit. When she realized that her depression and trauma recovery was infringing on her ability to raise her children, she put her pride and personal desires aside and asked a family member to take care of her youngest. She went back to school earned two degrees: one in Medical Billing and Coding, and an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Electronic Health Records. When she was confident in her ability to raise her daughter, she fought, and won, a custody battle to keep her in her life.
Throughout the worst of times, Fatima keeps a strong grip on her faith and positive attitude. She holds her head high but remains soft and warm, speaks with both confidence and modesty, and continues to survive, grow, and inspire.
“Sometimes I feel it, especially when I’m down or going through something that I feel is going to break me. During those moments, I just sit still. Just for a minute. Just meditate and pray, I feel it there.
I see LIVING prayers everyday. Just by waking up, going through my life, seeing my kids, family, everyone just prospering in different things that they do.
I hear it sometimes as well, in a song... or just sitting and meditating something will come to my mind. Sometime a message or something my mom once said.”
Best song to shake a leg?
"Cooking for" or "eating with" people, which is better?
What makes you laugh?
When my three children are together playing around.
Why is family so important?
They are always there when I need them.
Is it hard to keep your faith when life keeps throwing challenges your way? And how do you do it?
Yes, but I have to keep my faith strong not only for me, my sanity, also for my children and family.
Do you feel like your kids will/ do understand the choices that you made in your life that impacted theirs?
I feel as they get much older and experience life, they will understand what I had to do was for them.
“We’ve all grown together through different situations of our lives. One thing that brought me and my daughter Jelisa closer together was her losing her father at 6 years old. He was murdered. We have a connection on that level, because we have that theme. With Kysia and Myron, we have our own connections in different types of ways. And they have a connection with each other because both of their fathers weren’t in their lives. So, we all have experiences that connect us in different ways.”
Ravenel Horres. She has been through so much, like me. She needs to let it out. She has a lot to say but no one to listen, and certainly not someone who will listen and not judge her for the way she sees and deals with her life situation. She needs to know that she isn't alone, and that her thoughts and feelings count.
“I have to be strong, and teach my kids to be strong and have good self-esteem. Especially my youngest daughter. A lot of kids were mean to her because she was darker than her sister. So, I just had to instill in her that she’s beautiful, it doesn’t matter what color skin you have, you’re beautiful inside and out. I’m still working on my self-esteem, but my kids have helped me.”
Editor in Chief: Becca Finley
Article: Caralie Byrnes
Photos: Caitlin Billard
Stay tuned for the ‘Connections’ book coming out January 22, complete with all 55 Connections, and how they fit into the Charleston community. Brand new pics + quotes.