The Keeper of the Stars

Alexus Chappa

Introduce yourself! Who are you?
I am a college student attending Stephen F. Austin State University majoring in forestry wildlife management with a minor in creative writing.

I have always loved reading and writing as a young girl. I would sit in bed for hours and lose myself in my own little world. It was quite exhilarating to see all the words I was reading on paper come to life inside my mind. I would always come home with armfuls of books and I could never get enough. Pretty soon, writing became my addiction and once I immersed myself in my writing, there was no telling when I would put down the pen.

I remember the first time I fell in love with poetry. I was in the 5th grade and I fell in love with the rhyming and scheming of words and the way they felt in my mouth as they slowly escaped my lips. Words became my best friend and I truly believe that words are mightier than the sword.

But I also grew up riding four-wheelers and go-karts. I was quite the adventurer. My younger brother and I loved playing outside and we would lose ourselves with our own imaginations as the possibilities were endless under the open skies.

But it wasn’t until I left for college and landed in the heart of the oldest town in Texas: Nacogdoches, where I truly fell in love with nature the way I fell in love with poetry. East Texas brings out this other side of me I didn’t know existed. I swear these pine trees have stolen my heart. I soon realized that nature was my inspiration and it was the sunrise that I looked forward to rising every morning because it brought me closer to Him, to God, the creator of the stars.

I am a firm believer In Christ and it is Him who I thank every day. I truly believe everything happens for a reason and only He knows why. John 1:4.

What is one thing no one really knows about you?
I’m really sensitive and emotional, but I try to hide it. Not out of fear from judgment, but because not everyone deserves my heart.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
“Write like everyone you know is dead.”

I was sitting at the Bosslight Bookstore with my friend and mentor, Tim Bryant, and I was talking to him about my writing and how I felt stuck and he told me the best writing advice he ever got was “write like everyone you know is dead,” and by the grace of God, Joe R. Landsdale, the man himself, walked into the bookstore and he reiterated what Bryant had said to me. After that, my writing has been more true and authentic. I no longer hold back in fear of judgment because my writing is my writing alone and my story is mine alone and no one can ever take my experiences away from me. I began to write nothing but the truth and the truth became easier to write because this time I wasn’t writing for anyone else, but me. My writing will always be a part of me.

What would you say to 16 year old you?
Never compare yourself to other girls, baby girl, you are beautiful and so are they.

You are not in competition with anyone, but yourself.

Hang on, life will not always be like this.

Never lose hope and never forget why you started in the first place.

Never lose sight of God for He will make your paths straight.

Do not seek the validation of others.

What message do you think every woman should hear?
Be loud, bold, and fierce. Take up space, yell, and roar. Never let anyone tell you how to think, what to wear, or how to speak. You are your own person with or without a man. Never allow a man to steal your freedom or independence. Be strong, courageous, and daring. Be the strong independent woman you needed when you were younger, but most importantly, love yourself and never allow the voices of others to drown out the sound of your own heart beating. Never allow anyone to extinguish the flame that lives inside of you. Once we realize how truly powerful we are, we will never again surround ourselves with people who wish to steal our light.

Have you always had confidence in yourself?
No, growing up I had terrible social anxiety and depression. I hated everything about myself from my face, to my body, to my hair, and teeth. There wasn’t anything I liked about myself and I had a horrible habit of comparing myself to every other girl which only worsened my self-esteem.

What do you love most about yourself?
I have grown to love the sound of my voice, the color of my eyes, my smile, and most of all: my free spirit. I have long ago made peace with the fact that I am a rather clumsy individual because it is who I am. I love my wild side, the side of me who was bold and daring enough to go skydiving and jump out of a plane at 14,000 feet. But I also love the side of me who stays in on a rainy day and listens to Frank Sinatra while coloring with my best friend Sammi. I am a kid at heart and that will never change. I am both nerdy and adventurous. I have slowly grown to love myself and this journey is not easy, but it is one I encourage every woman to embark on. The process of falling in love with oneself is a beautiful story that only ends in happiness.

Do you remember a specific time you overcame adversity?
I was involved in a hit and run when I was 4 or 5 years old. Both of my legs were in casts which at the time, I didn’t’ mind because they made me a little taller, but once the casts came off, reality hit. I had to learn how to walk all over again. It was really difficult at first because I had lost strength in my legs, so anytime I tried to stand, I would immediately fall and start crying. But despite the pain, I preserved. Although I do walk with a little bounce in my step, it makes me who I am and I would never change that.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned along the way?
Learning to let go. I am the type of girl who sees the best in everyone, so it is really difficult for me to walk away from people or to simply let go, even if I know they’re toxic for me. But I have also learned to let go and trust God for He knows me better than I know myself.

What motivates you most?
My younger siblings. I want to be the best role model that I can be for them.

What do you do on a daily basis to grow and move forward?
I read the Bible every day and talk to God. I also go on walks and write daily to keep my thoughts in order.

Where do you find inspiration?
My inspiration comes from nature and from the tales of other people’s lives that they entrusted me with.

What are your biggest passions?
Writing, nature, and photography. My writing comes from experience while my photography revolves around nature. Although, I do write about nature too. I just love being outside. I am a sunshine girl, but I am also in love with the stars. I am a really passionate woman in everything that I do.


Alexus Chappa

Alexus is a college student majoring in forestry wildlife management with a minor in creative writing. She is President of The Enviromental Awareness Movement club and is passionate about nature. She loves living life as an adventure.

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