How Cheyenne found strength in confessing “me, too.”
For Cheyenne, writing was her first love. It’s how she found her voice.
She recalls penning literary works from short stories and poems to personal essays. At the age of 14, she published her first poetry book, The Mind of the Teenage Drama. In her pieces and through her words, Cheyenne found the essential things she longed for: comfort, security and an unshakable self-confidence.
“I would write a lot of times to seem like I’m a perfect person,” she told TNJ, “But, I’ve learned that you can’t lie with your writing.”
Acknowledging the power of her words and the truth within them, Cheyenne began to get real with her writing. She started penning about her imperfections and struggles – even opening up about traumatic experiences including sexual assault and domestic abuse.
“The first time I really shared, it almost felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders,” she recalled.
A weight Cheyenne says she had been carrying for years.
“It’s hard when you’re sitting there and see your attacker. Nobody knows it and nobody understands your anxiety.”
Cheyenne came forward about her experiences less than two years ago, before the spark of the prevalent “Me, too” movement. While relieved by the awareness the movement has brought, Cheyenne says she can only hope true reform is on the horizon.
“The next step is making sure we have intersectionality with it. Making sure we’re sharing the stories of the black girl who’ll never report, she said. “Let’s stop glorifying the attacker about how their life is ruined. Let’s focus on the victim who’s now in therapy.”
Focusing on the victim is what has been Cheyenne’s objective since coming forward. Supporting a victim of any traumatic experience creates an inviting environment where victims aren’t hesitant nor ashamed to share what happened.
That same environment is what birthed Cheyenne’s passion for advocacy.
“I just want to be a trailblazer, a powerhouse,” she said. “When they mention my name, I want someone to be able to say, ‘She fought and she was real with it’.”
Today, Cheyenne is a motivational speaker, model, actress and mentor. She’s in the final stages of publishing a new book – one she says is more real than anything she’s ever released. Most importantly, Cheyenne remains adamant about fighting for all women’s rights and equality. That’s her primary focus.
“I realized that I could either sit in my pain or I can pave a new path,” she said. “Make the light [at the end of the tunnel] a little brighter not only for myself but for the young women that follow.”
For Cheyenne, that’s what it’s all about.