Independent and confident. Self starter and creative, Ithzel is showing that pursuing your dreams sometimes means taking a different path.
All About Me
My name is Ithzel Mejia. I am 18 years old and have lived in Boyle heights my entire life. I am the middle child, with 2 older brothers and 2 younger siblings. Being raised in a traditional Mexican household was definitely not easy. I came from a “perfect” family, with both my parents together and a good relationship with siblings. I had an amazing relationship with my dad. My relationship with my mom was rocky, she was harder on me and always wanted the best for me but she had a lot of physical and emotional trauma that would get In the way of her understanding me.
Both my older brothers were always academically outstanding. They always did the right thing and achieved every parent’s dream. I have a great relationship with my brothers. They always wanted to help me in any way. Because they were great academically on their own, I never wanted to receive their help. I wanted to prove to them that I could do it by myself just like them. This caused me to have my slight issues growing up. I never felt like I was doing enough.
Growing up, I felt as if I wasn’t as academically advanced as other kids my age. This caused me to compare myself to others and feel like I wasn’t meeting my parent’s standards. I felt different from others because I was feeling this at such a young age, and I didn’t understand why until recently. I started therapy at 7 years old at around the time my baby sister was born. I can say it was a big shift in my life; I was no longer the only girl. I didn’t understand why my parents were giving her a lot of attention, and it would affect my behavior in many ways. I can remember back then staring at my mom struggle looking to find me help. It made me feel different and my thoughts were always negative. At that point, I didn’t think I was capable of anything, like getting student of the month or even graduating high school.
Entering high school, I was much known and had lots of friends. I tried to be great. My mom pushed me to be better, but I didn’t want the help. I wanted to feel independent and grown. Instead of proving this in an academic point of view, I started going out more, disrespecting my parents and being rebellious. I saw that my parents were always disappointed in my actions and dumb decisions. I felt bad so I attempted to do better. I joined sports to give me that motivation to keep my grades high and make my parents proud. However, I still hung out with the wrong group of people, which led me to try different experiences, some involving drugs. Little by little I started to get more in trouble at both school and at home. So many thoughts in my head were telling me that I was just a screw up. I couldn’t be great like my brothers. I had a negative mindset throughout all of high school; I can still remember thinking will I really make it past 18 years. Nevertheless, I pushed myself to finish.
Fast-forward to 2020, the pandemic hit. Schools were shut down and became virtual. The transition to online school affected me in a good way; I was able to concentrate on my school work and improve my grades. I think the social distancing between my friends helped me realize who was truly there for me. I lost all of my friends but I didn’t look back once. My mindset was beginning to change. I graduated high school. I felt super accomplished, and proud of all the hard work I had put into making it to this day. Although I was proud, feelings of not being enough crept back in. My parents did not attend my virtual graduation due to them traveling. This made me feel like my accomplishments did not matter.
After high school, I did not want to attend college. This put me in a position where I had to find a job. In August 2020, I first heard of In the Making (ITM). My friend Melissa who was completing her internship there, mentioned many amazing things about ITM. At first I didn’t have much thought on actually applying, but she encouraged me to. I reached out to get more information and then I applied. As soon as I was introduced to the people and place, I knew it was going to be great. The feeling of comfort automatically set in. The new friends, knowledge, and opportunities that I received were for sure all part of the plan. I even had a vision of me being a Lash Tech and when I had mentioned it to the people at ITM; they helped support me through funding futures that allowed me to fundraise enough money to pay for my courses and supplies. I got certified immediately.
In the making has helped me view my life differently, I’ve grown mentally and spiritually. ITM has allowed me to spiritually connect with myself. They have taught me that I am enough. Since working here I have felt motivated, cared for, and encouraged to express my uniqueness. I had an idea of what I wanted to do but being here at ITM has expanded my interest, I would like to continue being a Lash Artist while also being a mentor to others who felt the way I felt while growing up. Although my internship was over I still continued to volunteer at In the Making, because it’s always been about the good times and the good people that are here not about getting paid.