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CHAPTER III

personal history

I was born in Chandler, Arizona and lived on a ranch in the desert town of Maricopa for three years before my mother and I moved to the southwest Chicago suburbs. Before I was seven, I was shuffled several times from town to town before we settled and fought for the home where I lived until I was 21. I spent my childhood picking lilacs for my teachers at recess, living as a child of a single parent with a swinging front of people, suffering recurring molestation throughout my childhood and sexual abuse into my adulthood. I grew into a young woman who fell in abusive relationships, without faith, and without example; who fought her body, who became cautious and skeptical of people, and who has felt, at times, irretrievably lost.

My story is not an easy one. Nor is it simple. There are many twists and turns, with many roundabouts and back alleys to follow through. I don't anticipate any one human being to know it's true fullness however, it is one that for as long as I can remember, I have felt called to share in pieces, and it is something that will intertwine itself throughout everything that I do.

My story is one that, despite everything, I have found peace about because in the most backwards kind of way, it has led me to faith. I have found, for the first time in my life, sound ground to walk on, and am able to experience peace far deeper than anything I could have come up with myself.

In 2016, my entire world changed and it therefore changed everything about the woman that I was. There is a newfound freedom that I feel to love life, to enjoy who I am, to see light in the darkness that has been my life. It was the year that I heard my fullest laugh, the year that my heart started singing, and the year that I began to open my arms more freely to people instead of trembling when anyone shook my hand. This was the year that I found the love of my life, discovered my faith, and began to see the way that my story held not only significance but reason, and how parts of my life would finally come full circle.

IN MARCH, I wrote,

"I have been feeling an immeasurable and indescribable shift in my head and heart – something of solace and strength; of hope and light."

In my day-to-day life, I carry a library of memories and stories that no longer play a true weight on my heart. The freedom I can now feel is something that allows me to tell what has happened in my life without feeling immense shame or sorrow. Instead, to rejoice in what is now and new.

Today, I am more able to be the woman and person that I always wanted to be and felt I was deep down but was both too oppressed to be and too lost to find within myself. I am able to explore the innocence of a childhood that I never had at now twenty four years old, and join a loving family of nine and play unabashedly. I now sponsor a young boy named James who has been through a childhood similar as my own, and as my means become more able, I hope to do more.

I intend on writing a memoir and sharing in ways that I can, and I welcome you, if you'd like, to sign up for my e-letters. Along with my story, I share bits and pieces about my journey in finding my faith, creativity and recent projects, and my journey in reclaiming my physical health.