Storytelling involves the interaction between the storyteller and a listener. Stories can be told or expressed in many ways. It can be spoken, written, comedy, art, music, and dance. Stories are an expression of knowledge; they teach us about life, people, or ourselves. But whether you’re the creator of the story or the listener, it’s about the experience. It’s the meaningful way we humans connect and communicate with one another. For Alexandria LaFaye, Greenville University’s professor and well-known author, storytelling has been her tool to triumph, overcome, and empower the lives of those around her. LaFaye said, “It’s not just about me and my career; it’s about whom I’m going to help.”
LaFaye’s childhood was a big factor in wanting to help others. LaFaye said, “There are things I learned as a child that made what I was going through possible. And I want to ofter that same type of discovery to other children because if they can realize it young enough, it will change their experience, and will give them the ability to cope with what they are going through.”
Often she was labeled “different,” “the odd kid,” and “the geek” as a child. She even mentioned how there was no rule book for a kid like her, who dressed themselves in clothes other people didn’t normally dress in. “People didn’t know what to do with that.” LaFaye spoke on how she didn’t fit in and the rejection and cruelty she experienced as a child. Her classmates weren’t always nice to her. LaFaye said, “Kids would say, ‘you’re so weird’ or ‘you’re a freak.’” With a smile on her face, she says, “I would respond by saying, ‘It’s okay because I still love you, that’s what Jesus would do,’ and ‘That’s right, I’m a Jesus freak.’” This response left her classmates speechless. She openly and kindly shared how she struggled for a long time, wondering why her uniqueness was not okay. She remembers God telling her that uniqueness is totally fine, and it is their inability to accept her that was the problem. Not playing by society’s rules at the age of eight, LaFaye took her uniqueness and decided to be a famous author to capture her classmates’ hearts. Thinking to herself, “What could I do to change the way they react to me? If they only knew who I was, maybe they might be a little nicer.”
Unsurprisingly, twenty years later, her first book, Phantom on the Terrace, was released. This is a handwritten novel about a group of girls investigating a haunted house “Scooby-style” as she would say. LaFaye has written sixteen books since the day she decided to be an author. These include Follow me Down to Nicodemus Town, Walking Home to Rosie Lee, Strawberry Hill, And The Keening. Today, LaFaye is a happily married wife to her husband, Dean, and a proud and loving mother to five children she adores. LaFaye is still writing books and sharing her stories. Her unique way of loving the world has not only influenced inspiring future authors, but every life she comes in contact with including young children experiencing the lingering effects of rejection.
“When Alexandria LaFaye speaks, people listen. With wit and charm, she teaches young and old.”
—Carol Jago, UCLA.
Being unique takes courage, takes confidence, and sometimes takes the dream and hopes of an eight-year-old little girl who just wanted to love and be loved. LaFaye’s stands for making a change, embracing who God created and designed her to be, and loving those who rejected her. Her story gives those who struggle with being “different,” “odd,” “a geek,” or even a “freak” the power to stand up for their uniqueness, knowing they are loved by the creator of the universe, who empowers them with the designed-for-them tools to conquer any dream victoriously.
Article dedicated to Bella Sophia.