“I fell in love the first day,” Xexal said with a smile. “I was meant to be here.”
After being kicked out of her parent’s house for being transgender, Xexal had nowhere to go, and at 19, found herself at Urban Peak, Denver’s homeless youth shelter. A few of Xexal’s fellow Peak-mates had been coming to AfA’s weekly drop-in workshops. Curious, Xexal decided to check it out for herself.
“It was really cool to see there are free youth programs like this that let people vent their emotions.” She said she loves the structure of the curriculum and how the writing prompts offer topics and channels that access a writer’s creativity and allow for a safe space to express feelings.
No stranger to using writing as a tool, Xexal has been creating poetry since the age of 10, when she was being bullied by her peers in school. “I realized that my words had power,” she said, and through writing she was able to connect to her life instead of lashing out and “doing stupid things because I wasn’t feeling good.”
While things still aren’t perfect or always easy, she takes pride in the fact that she does not pressure herself with a specific path as to what life should look like. Rather, she focuses on being happy and cherishes the strong network of support through AfA.
Although Xexal has suffered from depression and even thoughts of suicide in some of her lowest times, she says that has changed. She now finds connection and hope through the workshops and the relationships she has formed at AfA. “I honestly consider myself a bit of a warrior, because I’ve been through a lot but I’m still here and kicking it.”