In Her Own Words, Pageant Winner and Future R.N. Jacqueline Drexler Describes Overcoming Obstacles
Photo Credit: Sandy Porter.
Hello, world! My name is Jacqueline Drexler and I’m excited to meet everyone. I understand that I look like another pretty girl who is searching for something in this world. Please spend a moment with me and learn why I am here. I’m a young woman who’s interested in connecting with other young women and also with children who need someone to look up to and think, “hey, if this girl did it, then so can I.”
My mom was deported to El Salvador when I was 11 years old. My father was hurt and didn’t know how to cope with the idea of raising two little girls on his own. By the time I was in eighth grade, I transitioned from being a schoolgirl to a teenage troublemaker, without realizing that I was hurting on the inside.
I was also living in a disadvantaged neighborhood where gang violence surrounded my home. I made friends who weren’t a good influence and had to watch my back everywhere I went. I suffered from low self-esteem and depression, and had also attempted suicide. Thankfully, I graduated high school and decided to become a medical assistant, and stopped socializing with those who were a bad influence.
I landed my first job as a medical assistant in Burbank, California, a city ranging from middle-class to high-class. I was very different from residents in the area, and I struggled to grasp the importance of why I should change to improve my career performance.
My English sounded like I had never taken an English class before and Spanish wasn’t my first language, so I enrolled in a community college and met new friends. My relationship with my dad forced me to move to Las Vegas, Nevada with my grandfather when I was 21. This was scary, but my journey of learning how to be alone helped me gain confidence and self-esteem. However, I later met a narcissist and lost my independence while living with him.
By now, things have turned around for me. I earned the pageant title of Miss San Fernando Valley at the Miss US Nation pageant. I’m currently enrolled in my RN program and recently obtained a position at a trauma center.
I know what it’s like to feel alone, lost, and afraid. My image isn’t about how good clothes look on me. What I wear is resilience, so that others can see that things are possible even for those who feel they’re impossible.
I have a huge love in my heart for my community. I’ve shared my experience with other young women. I’ve helped companies such as Bra Recyclers, an organization that donates used or unused bras to women in need. I’ve successfully run a 10K to help feed the homeless on Thanksgiving Day. I enjoy being a listener on 7 Cups, a site that allows members to speak to someone when they need to do so. I now have a great relationship with my dad, and my mom returned safely. Now, I’d like to help others by sharing my story.
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