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My Story

A story of finding empowerment after living through evil.

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and though they are reviewed for adherence to our guidelines, they are submitted in their final form to our open platform. Learn more or join us as a community member!

The road she walks is unpredictable. It is smooth and it is rocky. It is a straight shot and it makes unexpected twists and turns. It is short and it is long. Yet she walks it. She walks her journey. A journey that will be lifelong. She walks this journey to write a story that is continually being written.

This is the story that is being written in this moment and no other. This is the story of how she struggles in her present because of what she endured in her past. The story of how everything is in some way a reminder of dark times. How she feels beaten down, bruised and broken from the battles she fights every day. The battles that started the moment she arrived and have not stopped. She’s drained. She’s exhausted. She feels broken beyond repair, and yet every day she gets up and fights for the life she deserves, the life she was meant to live. She’s empowered, and strong, and she’s not giving up. This is the story of her power…the story of taking back her body…of taking back her life.

For twenty years she knew nothing but trauma. She was born in a physically traumatic state, the effects of which still haunt her. She was too young to remember the first time she was sexually abused, but the effects still haunt her. She grew up feeling unprotected, lost, and afraid. Afraid of people she should’ve been able to admire. People whose mere presence should have been a comfort. She grew up feeling ignored, isolated, and confused. She learned to internalize her emotions before the age of three. She started to develop a negative self image when she was four, questioning why her tummy was so big. Addictive self-harming behaviors became her best friend at too young of an age. On the outside, she was kind, quiet, and obedient. But she was merely going through the motions because on the inside, she had no sense of self. She struggled to cope with things she did not understand. Things she forced herself to forget. Escaping reality was her only option. She dreamed. She created alternate realities within her mind where she could be whatever she wanted and no one could intrude. For over a decade, she lived in her mind because it was safe. Safer than her reality.

When she was sixteen, she ran away to what she thought would be paradise, but turned out to be the deepest depths of hell. There she flipped, tumbled, contorted, and flew. There she would climb thirty feet in the air, wrap herself in a fabric and drop, catching herself inches above the floor. There she trained with top level circus artists and coaches. There she produced a circus show when she was just seventeen years old, that was viewed by thousands of people. There she had real friends for what felt like the first time in her life. But there she was taken advantage of. There she was manipulated, violated, and degraded. There she was looked at the way a wolf looks upon it’s prey. There she was made to believe her feelings were wrong. There she was made to believe the things he did to her were her fault. There, already broken, she shattered.

It’s taken incredible strength to reach the empowered place she is in now. A place where she is proud of herself and can recognize her own strength. A place where she is finding peace with the evil in her past. A place where she trusts herself and her instincts, and doesn’t let others tear her down or stop her from achieving her goals. She is a college graduate, holding a B.A in Psychology with a double minor in Political Science and Philosophy, from a school that showed her love, compassion, and acceptance when she needed it the most. A school where she was allowed and encouraged to explore, learn, and grow not only academically, but also personally, creatively, and intellectually. A school where she met and forged relationships with people who believed in her when she couldn’t believe in herself; people without whom she would not be here. She has accomplished many feats, but the one thing she is most proud of is reaching a level of confidence in who she is that allows her to be undeniably herself, which can translate to anything she does.

Life is a journey, and with every journey comes laughter and joy, roadblocks, setbacks, and challenges big and small, but most significant are the experiences that mold us into who we are, and who we will become. While her past cannot be erased, it cannot be changed, she is now able to work with it in a transformative way that empowers her to be the warrior she always was.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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