My story may be much different than others you may hear. It’s the kind that seems painful, raw, jaded, but disastrously radically beautiful and that is exactly what it is, beautiful. I think at times what makes me extraordinary is that I consider myself a lioness.
I carry warrior qualities, I’m a fighter for what I’m passionate about, I chase after my dreams to succeed and better my family’s lives but I also am a work of art, a rare find, and a source of beauty through a jaded journey. This isn’t to boast it’s to state that even those with hard times, difficult pasts, who have failed numerous times and had to repeatedly be humbled and get back up…that those people are beautiful also and capable of dreaming, doing, and succeeding.
The one thing I would love to tell, especially women, is that “You are worthy”.
The one thing I would love to tell, especially women, is that “You are worthy”. In times society wants to make us seem mediocre, small, microscopic and that our views, stories, our voices don’t matter. Well, I’m telling you that you can achieve your dreams, you can accomplish your goals, you most certainly have a voice and I encourage you to “roar” as a lioness and be the women that you are intended to be whether the world sees it as capable or not.
- Fight for your life, your dreams, and your soul, the love for yourself, your families safety and your voice.
- Love yourself
- Take each day at a time
- Don’t judge your journey amongst others
- Don’t rush your healing
- Offer yourself abundant amounts of grace when you do fall
- Find those who will support you back up
- Keep going!
When I was young I began to explore the world and found myself on my different paths. At a young age I began to explore the world of sex, drugs and alcohol. I was not aware how this could deeply affect my life, my safety as well as my success as a woman in this world.
In high school I became very enraged and angered by my inability to be able to explore the world as I chose. I was uninterested in school and began falling behind, at one point having a .66 in high school and didn’t even think graduating with my high school degree would be possible nor did I desire it.
I was uneducated, wasn’t aware of what I was getting myself into and didn’t have the resources that were crucially important for me to succeed or protect myself.
I, like many, did not have any experience in relationships, drug or alcohol abuse or sexual encounters. Ultimately the lack of educational resources prohibited me from making knowledgeable and educated decisions or be fully aware of what decisions I was making and how it was ultimately killing me.
The year of my enlightening journey was not easy; I found myself in a residential care facility for troubled teens for 7 and half months of my life with the intent to form respect, self-direction, counseling and ultimately support.
This time I was pulled from my current high school suddenly and found myself living in a home of 13 teen girls and went from being able to speak to anyone the way I chose, to having to ask for permission to even speak, eat, go up or down the stairs, in or out of rooms and in and out of the house.
I found support among women who were older than me. They heard my cry and desire to explore this world and ultimately understood who I was. I found support among the women who I lived with and shared difficult moments with, who were living in the same world of chaos, frustration and pain as I was. I began to see that I was not the only one struggling tremendously through my teen years.
Upon completing the program, I moved home and chose to shake these restrictions and feel free again. This turned into drug and alcohol abuse,consistent unhealthy relationships and ultimately choosing sleeping on friend’s beds and couches due to running away from home. I found myself waking up numb, and in random homes, several pregnancy scares and continual drug use.
Still, within my soul I knew there was more. I knew I was worth more. I knew my life meant more and that one day I would be able to find it.
I began to research how to enroll myself into school and had a friend drop me off at a University for yet another chapter of my life. Unfortunately, at this school my drug and alcohol use continued because it was much easier to obtain. I began to lose sight of the course of life I truly knew I needed to be on.
After one semester I was already back on academic probation, struggling to find financial assistance to stay in school and was once again losing hope. I was living a life of numbness. I worked hard but was so caught up on seeking social acceptance that I did not realize where my life was heading.
I stayed numb.
At this university, I sought out the party scene and began to experiment sexually and dive into pill usage on a whole new level.
In a sense I was walking around with my eyes closed just trying to get by and manage life, thinking at times I had everything I had ever wanted, but so incredibly lost at the same time.
One evening, I found myself on my bathroom floor with a positive pregnancy test in my hand.
I remember leaving the University hospital, alone, on a very rainy day and getting in my car, after being told once again that I was pregnant and close to 6 weeks along.
Thinking….“Wait, I am only 20, not even close to being done with school, I’m not only lost but I also am not happy, at all..”
For one second within the confines of my car I felt instant peace.
This was my day of awakening.
A child was growing in my belly and I had to radically change my life….
On this day I chose to better my life, not for me but for this soul that was begging me to succeed, to be healthy, to be a powerful woman, an example, a mother, and for this,
I owe my son…my life.
At this point my mind, heart, and soul were focused on bettering our lives. My life became about becoming self-sufficient, growing together, and pressing forward to achieve my goals and dreams so that my son could have an example and a beautiful life
It is never too late to be what you might have been. – George Elliot
I can tell you right now, it is NEVER too late to become more, to become better, to be who you were intended to be.
We made our way into Louisville, to be closer to family. We had been and were in a very toxic environment but I was able to find support and guidance and began to dive into studies. After a strenuous and difficult journey, I came to a realization; I had been silenced.
I found my voice and knew that I wanted to be a survivor, not another statistic and that I wanted to help others overcome & find their voice as well
We found our home at the family scholar house, where I was able to take a full course load and dive into my studies at the Kent School of Social Work. When I walked into the orientation (on the waiting list) for this program, I felt my voice begin to come alive within me. This program saw me, as not just a single mother, but a woman capable of success. They believed in us & supported us in our journey.
“I am a capable woman who can succeed, not just a young, single mother. I can do this!”
I found great solace and relief on the University of Louisville’s campus, it was a place where I felt my love for social work ignite and the possibilities of finally finishing my education absolutely achievable.
I dove in and started to research domestic violence. The agency assisted me in finding counseling, I had a family advocate and my family had become close once again. Life was coming together, beautifully.
I loved being in the classroom.
One evening, I was on my knees weeping by my bedside begging for the lord to give me a sign and give me the power and voice to step away, for good, because I honestly couldn’t do it on my own.
That night I had a very raw and real dream about my own life, but it was not happy, nor did it end well.
The next morning, I awoke from my own nightmare. I walked away from abuse and never went back. I had tremendous support in my mother, who had seen me weep in pain for years. We both began weeping, in relief.
My real friends came to my side and I was close to completing my bachelor’s degree.
On Mother’s Day, with my son in the stands, I graduated with honors, Magna Cum Laude.
I graduated from the Family Scholar House program as the valedictorian and walked straight into my graduate degree, a one-year advanced program at the Kent School of Social Work.
I have walked with my classmates again, after a long year in the Master’s program and will have my MSSW the summer of 2016.
I never imagined the life I have today…with not one, but two diplomas.
Life has radically changed and I have been incredibly blessed.
We have been so blessed with such love and support in our journey while at UofL and we have nothing but love for the people we have met through this, the time of our lives.
I would have not made it this far without the support of my incredible mother, who is our biggest fan, the Family Scholar House staff, my peers and those in my cohort, teachers who supported and empowered me, case workers, advocates on our behalf, my sisters and even bystanders, who without knowing, empowered my weak spirit.
I have been empowered by women within the community who have challenged me to speak out and share my story. They have helped me see my real beauty and my inner-warrior and to use my voice. They have also blessed me with the opportunity to speak my truth to others as an outlet and support to those who may be going through or who are healing from the same things.
Most important, I would not be here without my son, who has given me my passion, my drive and has instilled in me the real meaning of love within my heart. He is my heart outside my body and the reason I found the drive to strive to be the woman I am today.
My passion is to empower women by sharing my journey with the local or global community. You are not alone and your journey is worthy and full of such beauty. Feel free to contact email@example.com to schedule speaking engagements or visit my Facebook page or Blog (TheSoulGrind.com)!
I would love to be a part of women’s and teens journeys to healing, self love, and resiliency and in finding their voice.