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Alex Elle and daughter, Photo credit: Erika Salazar

By Michelle No

To her 240,000+ international social media followers, Alex Elle (as Alexandra Smith is more commonly known) is the face of pure bliss. On any given day her Instagram feed showcases her six-year-old daughter Charleigh’s (pronounced Charlie) toothy smile, while a tweet proclaims a truism from her bestselling book, “Words From a Wanderer.” (“If you are unsure of who you are, you will easily get lost in others.”) Collectively her digital output encourages self-love and resilience and regularly doles out positive affirmations.

“I try my best to only spread words and images that will incite happiness, positivity, love, and peace among people,” Alex Elle explains. “It’s part of my personality.”

Despite the cheer of her online persona, the self-published poet and author endured dark formative years which bear little resemblance to her current circumstances. An early high school graduate who enrolled in community college when she was 17, Alex Elle grew up an old soul. But she soon found herself in the most adult of circumstances—unexpectedly pregnant.

“I was kind of [a] statistic: young, African-American woman pregnant by age 18, you know what I mean?” Alex Elle says now. “I was depressed and lost a lot of weight even during my pregnancy. During what she calls “probably my worst point,” her mother suggested she get a late-term abortion. (“I’m pro-choice, but I said no because that is really, really not a good thing,” she says.)

She describes her second book, Love in My Language, as “longer, more personal, and more transparent” than her first. Equipped with 124 pages of self-discovery, Alex shares with you some of her deepest and darkest moments that are intertwined with faith, hope and finding her light. This body of work explores Alex’s journey of being a young mother with baggage and daddy issues, all the while trying to find her way and purpose in life

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a mother?

My teen years were really difficult for me: being 17 and pregnant, 18 giving birth, and 19 trying to figure out what I was doing. I graduated at age 16 because I hated high school and [I was] in a rush to be grown and be out in the world. I get to college at age 17 and it completely was not the right choice for me to make. I wasn’t focused, I wasn’t really into it, and I’ve always known I’ve wanted to work for myself. But being impressionable, I was like, “You know what, I’m gonna go to school and find my footing there.” Trying to come into the woman I am today, it took a lot. It took a lot of wasted money, wasted energy, wasted time, and a whole bunch of failures, before things really started to look up for me.

For the full interview, go to mater mea.

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