Name: Regina Black

Age: 42

Occupation: Artist / Creative

Lives in: Jacksonville's Eastside, raised on the Northside

Favorite thing about Jacksonville: "We have a beautiful, growing, blossoming art community here, which is a big deal to me because I'm an artist."

Regina's story: "One person that stands out to me, in particular, is my best friend's mom. She's no longer with us -- Clarine Blue Williams. She taught me to be grateful for all things and be proud of who I am no matter what. She taught me to love myself. That means waking up each day with a hopeful spirit, doing the right thing, walking with a level of integrity. There are so many levels to loving yourself. I'm just connected with myself."

"[Williams] was my mother, and I had a mother my whole life, but she was my mother. She was with me from third grade through my whole life, and the ironic thing is that I was my best friend's bully and that's how we became friends. She came to the school one day and told us we were going to be friends, and we have been friends since third grade. I was her bully, but hurt people hurt people."

"I'm a product of sexual abuse, emotional abuse and different traumas in my life. There are different layers to it. I truly love who I am, and I love who I'm going to become. I look forward to becoming her. You're either going to move forward past those traumas or you're going to dwell in it. Broken things can be beautiful." 

First Coast YOU offers a glimpse into the people who make up our community. If you or someone you know has a story to tell, send an email to Erica Santiago or follow Erica on Twitter @erica_news.

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