The Beautiful Struggle: Tatesha Jones


“I don’t sit and dwell on the fact that I have Lupus, sometimes my classmates can tell that I am not feeling well but I still push through. I’ll come to school.” Tatesha Jones HCC Cosmetology student

Jimmieka Mills, Editor in Chief

Tatesha Jones has lived the epitome of the Beautiful Struggle. The cosmetology major whose dream is to be the first black woman to own a salon bar in the state of Texas says,

grew up in a family of women who shared her passion for beauty, “The beauty industry is something that I come from. My mother was a stylist. My aunt has been a stylist for over 30 years. I have a cousin who does hair, I come from that industry. I was raised around all girls so we played in make-up we played in hair and that interest just kind of followed me.”

The single mother can recall a time when that dream was put on hold in order to provide basic necessities for her child, “. I was in Orange, Texas, it was winter and my baby was 18 or 19 months. It was cold, she was hungry and fussy and I’ll never forget digging in the garbage can and pulling out some chicken nuggets and a half eaten stale bag of chips and fed it to her, wrapped her up in my coat and slept outside of a homeless shelter that wouldn’t accept us after 5pm. I was homeless with a child.”

With the help of her mother who allowed them in Tatesha and her daughter found a bit of stability until Tatesha found herself against all odds to provide for her and her child.

“Everything I did, was because I was a single mother not because I wanted to be a single mother but because the person I chose to have a child with was not ready to be that type of parent so there were some things I had to do as a parent to take care of my child. Her father chose drugs over my child.”

Tatesha’s troubles with the law not only began to affect her freedom on the outside but also her livelihood, I was a five-time felon and although I had skills, when you’re a five-time felon they don’t care what your experience is.”

This road block presented Tatesha with an option she hadn’t visited since 2007, “I went to prison and when I got out the judge told me not to come back to him anymore he said ’If you come back in front of me, you’re going away for 20 years or more.’” Tatesha credits her girlfriend for encouraging her to make the choice that would ultimately put her on the path toward her true goals. In 2015 Tatesha enrolled in HCC as a cosmetology major.

Since enrolling at HCC Tatesha has found more than just the education she signed up for but also a support system that would help her through one of her toughest times, “I have lupus. I’m sick sometimes and my body won’t let me get out of bed. I lost all of my hair, my freshman year and my friend in cosmetology class helped me create a wig. For a moment, I felt gorgeous and beautiful, like I didn’t have any troubles of the world. I have great classmates who will go out of their way to lighten my load.”

Her biggest supporter though has always been her now 19 year-old daughter Vanessa who has been accepted to Texas Southern University while taking her basics education courses at Austin Community College. “My daughter works at payless and saves her money she’s been working all her young life she’s independent and she tells me all the time, ‘Mom, God made it necessary for everything you went through that I wouldn’t have to go through it. He made it necessary for you to do that.’  I don’t need any other validation than that, I know I should have no regrets.

“At the end of the day, I am no statistic and neither is my daughter. She is a high school graduate on her way to a degree in business administration.” Vanessa has plans to own her own home and business by the age of 25— Tatesha plans to do whatever she can to make those dreams a reality and that’s why she keeps going.

“I don’t sit and dwell on the fact that I have Lupus, sometimes my classmates can tell that I am not feeling well but I still push through. I’ll come to school. I was taking a chemo theraphy pill for my lupus and I would still show up to school chemo didn’t even stop me I’d still show up to school bright and early ready to learn. I may be little tired or a little beat but I’d smile before I let them know it.”

Although she has no idea where life may take her once she graduates she knows that ultimately  “I want to make America beautiful.”