Growing up, Jewel Caston-Mendoza always felt the need to fight to be heard. Her older brother, a star basketball player, was the proverbial apple of her mother’s eye. Her younger sisters were adorable and sweet. Then there was her: the ugly duckling, the black sheep. Uncoordinated, a wannabe writer, and the epitome of the “middle child.”
After winning second place in a 5th grade writing contest, she officially began to chase the dream of becoming a writer. Through a fairytale marriage and its ultimate demise, she chronicled her deepest thoughts and feelings into a no-holds-barred self-examination that eventually became Verses, her first book of poetry. Verses encompasses her musings, hurts, and disappointments — her pain, in stark black and white. It makes way for the freedom to come. Her voice is finally being heard. She is an employee of the Department of Education and a mother of two children who loves tacos, cookies, the color purple, and traveling.