The Story of Triumph out of Tragedy
Recently, I was doing some research on a magazine article we have been planning to print, when I came across a post by a woman by the name of Lynne Jasames. As I read Lynne’s riveting story of overcoming major setbacks in life, it occurred to me, this was a compelling narrative many people could benefit from.
I reached out to Lynne, who lives remarkably in all places, my hometown of Las Vegas. She was so gracious and agreed to share her story. We have left much of our email conversation just as she delivered it to Black Success Magazine. Some edits were made for clarity.
Many people have suffered heartache, loss, tragedy of all kinds but Lynne’s story was different. As you read our email interview, see if you don’t agree Lynne’s story is not a tragedy at all. It is a story akin to any epic tale of the dynamic spirit and will of a woman who would not be denied..
BSM- Hi Lynne. Thank you for taking the time to share your story with our readers. Let’s begin by getting to know you. Where were you born?
Lynne– I was born In Los Angeles CA, in 1970.
My family moved to Las Vegas before I started elementary school shortly after my mom was incarcerated.
BSM- Briefly describe your childhood, was it a normal upbringing?
Lynne- “I am Lynne LaRene Jasames.” My mother had been selling and using drugs long before I was thought of consequently, I was born drug exposed. My father died when I was an infant. And as a little girl I was separated from my mother when she went to prison. After my sisters and I moved to Vegas (when my mom went to prison) my sisters and I were supposed to be living with my Grandfather, but he had us living with a lady that abused and neglected us.
When my mom got out of prison we moved to the projects, where I was exposed to sex, drugs and violence. My mother started heavily using drugs and my life got harder and harder over the years. One of those tragedies was that my sister’s and I witnessed my aunts’ murder.
In my pre-teen years, I was sexually abused by two different men at different times. My mother would be gone for days at a time and my sisters and I had to figure things out for ourselves, like eating. My sisters and I lived with different people all the time, because we were always getting evicted. Lights were getting cut off, we had no food and lacked clothing and necessities all the time.
CPS (Child Protective Services) shows up one day, by then I was 14 years old , I already had a devastating abortion, now I was again pregnant. I ran away from them, putting me into care (foster care) until I went into labor with my son. Nobody in my family could get my sister, my son or me to prevent us from entering care. My cousins ended up in foster care as well. I had two more children while I was in foster care. I aged out of care with my three oldest sons.
BSM- You mentioned a video you’re working on. What else will it reveal?
Lynne- There was a lot of grief, loss, drama and trauma over and over again. I’m working on a video to be released. In it I explain. How I witnessed my aunt’s murder, How as a pre-teen I was sexually abused by two men and over the years how I watched my mother become more addicted to drugs.
When I went to foster care with my son at 14, I had no High school credits, by the time I was 17 I already had 3 sons. To make matters worse I beat cancer and a stroke. The odds were stacked against me
BSM- You said that you entered 9th grade with no credits and already a mother, how did that affect your schooling?
Lynne– I had to find childcare. My son’s father’s side of the family helped with childcare when possible. I had to take classes in the mail, early bird classes and after school classes. I had to work very hard because my high school counselor saw I was doing what I was supposed to do. She went beyond to get the information I needed, to make sure I graduated with my senior class and on time.
BSM- To what do you attribute your determination, not to become another statistic? Most people in your position would have given up long ago.
Lynne- Honestly, I wanted to prove the naysayers and statistics wrong is where most of the determination came from. The negative talk from my peers seemed to always get back to me. I wanted to make the people that helped me proud.
My foster mother was a single parent, when she took me and my son in. Other foster parents refused to take us. I also wanted to make sure my children had a better life than I had.
Those statistics made me mad and I cried about them all the time. People were mean and said bad things. I proved them wrong. My caseworker also gave me a chance, when she allowed me to take my children with me when I aged out of care. Statistics indicated we wouldn’t make it. All the odds were against us. She made sure I had shelter because I had no support. Back when I aged out of care, they just “kicked” you out with no help. I had to make it, I had to. I would have failed my children.
BSM- Was there someone or something in your life which you can point to?
Lynne– Honestly, God, he heard my cries almost every night. I didn’t feel judged or like a failure to him. He listened and didn’t talk back. Seriously. I remember playing all the negative comments over and over in my head almost every night. There was no negative talk from God. He knew my shame, worries, fears, doubts, and regrets.
I did not have any personal role models. I wanted to help people like my high school counselor helped me. I also told myself my name was different like Oprah’s, so that meant I am different somehow. I felt from inside I could be better than predicted about me. I saw her cry on TV and that’s when I felt like, “It’s ok” to cry and crying became my number one coping skill. I refused to turn to drugs or alcohol, so I cried. I also used sex as well to cope.
BSM- You earned your Master’s degree. Describe what made you decide to continue your education, with small children?
Lynne– My children were younger when I got my BA (1997) degree in Sociology. I wanted my degree because I truly felt if I got a degree, I would get a good job, to make sure my children had a better life than I had. I also wanted to increase my chances of getting a good job. I knew I didn’t want to raise my children on welfare.
They were older when I got my MBA (2007) degree. When I got my MBA I felt I needed to further increase my chances of securing a better life due my family and me. I truly believe finishing high school on time set the belief that I can finish school at any level. If I didn’t owe so much in student loans I would go back and become Dr. Jasames.
BSM- When you look at society today, what are your thoughts on how people handle adversity?
Lynne– I feel people expect help instead of doing the work. They are resorting to being mediocre and blaming their life on other people and situations and making excuses. Nobody wants to take responsibility for their lack of progress. It’s easier to be sick and have a mental illness than say I need to get it together; I can do better.
Comedians can’t even be funny anymore because everybody is so sensitive these days and makes everything about themselves. You can google what to do now and you do not have to figure anything out. I feel they are looking for the answers in books, on social media, hoping to pray success up, on YouTube hoping to “luck up” on something happening. They don’t care about the peace of earning your way.
I’m guilty of wanting some help at times, and I realize why I’m not as far as I want to be right now. I reminded myself how far I came with nothing and no help. No one to lean on. No one to call in a favor to. I had no one to say I needed this or that, can you help me. I had to figure it out. I never had a cosigner. Nobody house to go to if I failed.
I realized the opportunities that people have now, did not exist when I was growing up. I realized when opportunity did come it was because I had put the work in. I positioned myself for doors to open and opportunities to come. I spent a lot of time crying because I had to figure it out.
Fear drove me as well. Fear of losing everything and my children suffering as a result, so I worked multiple jobs and went to school. I looked inside of “myself” to figure it out. Because I had faith, I acted on that faith, and God did his part. I’m an example of faith without work is dead. I did the work and this is the result.
Almost EVERYTHING a person can suffer from, or be subjected to, from where I come from… I experienced it. All the affects of being a teen mother, a foster child, coming from a family of addicts, having an abortion, being sexually abused, being a domestic violence survival, overcoming a stroke and cancer, growing up with an addict, losing my parents, and every failed relationship, I suffer from.
I keep going, hold my head up and blame myself for where I am in life and how I got here.