It all started with just a little girl who loved sports, loved her large family of 12, and had a deep love for music.
Sadly, at the age of 7 years to 9 years old, I was abused by someone who should’ve been my protector. Life after that was changed forever, and I still had no idea what was to come. I immersed myself in sports and music. When I was home, the trusty old school “Walkman” was always in my hand. Without knowing it, my early trials began to harden my once light and bright spirit. At the young age of 10, I would find myself internally being angry at the world. I always felt alone, I felt unworthy of love, and always felt like I was hiding my true self behind my shiny exterior. Time passed by, and all of a sudden I was in high school. By this time I had come to terms with things. I had grown into a bright, positive, helpful, and overall all loving human being. Don’t get me wrong, there were struggles in between. But overall, I was finally learning to love life again. I adored my closest siblings, I had a outgoing personality, I did great in sports, and my outlook on life had finally changed.
Then in 2005, I was nearing the end of my sophomore year. Tragedy struck, and the night of April 4th, 2005 my family and I’s life changed forever. My brother, who was just 2 years older than me, had committed suicide. He had graduated from the same high school just the year before, and he was always that incredible senior brother to me when I was just a little freshman. To say our lives changed, does not even touch the situation. He was such an incredible, positive, kind, all loving human being. We both walked through the same experience when we were younger, and life just got too hard for him to internally fight anymore. A true angel was lost too soon, and I do not go a day without missing him with my entire heart. I could talk about him all day, but for the sake of the overall story we must keep moving forward.
After this experience our entire family dynamic changed overnight. My mom tried to commit suicide the next week. My step dad was trying to hold it all together for all of us. Each and every one of us were just numb, and surviving however we could. A few weeks later, I ended up moving out of the house at the age of 15. I moved about an hour away to my step sisters house. I enrolled in an expedited high school program to finish my last two years, and I started working at jobs that revolved around customer service. Thankfully, I ended up finishing High School within the next year, and graduated at the top of my class.
After I graduated, I found myself working multiple jobs, disconnected from my family, sleeping from couch to couch, and storing my belongings in a storage unit. When times got really hard, I would find myself looking for a safe place to park my beat up classic car, so that I could catch a few hours of sleep. During this period of time I came into to contact with a lot of people, some amazing, and some going through battles of their own. I was struggling to find meaning, struggling to want to push forward, struggling to keep hiding behind my positive and helpful exterior, when inside I was in so much pain. I turned to drugs, and for 3 years my life spiraled out of control. At the age of 18 I hit my own personal rock bottom. I was always a pretty average sized girl. About 125lbs, athletic, healthy. By the time I hit rock bottom, at the age of 18, I got down to 97 lbs. At the time I thought I looked fantastic! Sure I was slowly dying, but in my twisted brain, it was the first time people thought I was skinny. I would consciously continue my habit, because at that time, I didn’t want to gain weight. Well let’s just say, enough was enough.
A few things happened that truly brought me to my own rock bottom. Thankfully at this same time, some incredibly selfless strangers, and truly inspiring humans, shared their journey and showed me that it was possible to not only WANT to live, but WANT to thrive and always help others. My mindset was, “If I can make it through this, The sky is the limit.” I also dedicated myself to always being that breath of fresh air, always spreading as much joy and love that I possibly could, and always doing my very best to make a difference. I figured if I could help someone else, somehow, someway, because of the experiences I walked through, then it would all be worth it. I never wanted anyone to ever feel alone, or ever feel like giving up was their only option. So I dedicate myself to spreading my message, raw and real, and hoping that in some way I may help someone else.
So, here I am 12 years later, and 30 years old. I met the woman of my dreams at 25, got engaged at 27, and got married at 29. I bought my first house at 28, and moved to a whole new state to be closer to my family. All these years later, each and every one of us have had our own trails and triumphs. There’s not a day that goes by, that we don’t miss my incredible brother, but we all try to be the best humans that we can possibly be. As I sit here and write this, it blows me away to think about how far life has come. I have a home, a beautiful wife, I am a mommy to two dogs, I work within the medical field, and we are working on the process of bringing a new tiny human to the family too! What a miracle! All because I never gave up even when I wanted to, even when there didn’t seem to be any other option in sight. Also, because right when I needed it the very most, there were amazing humans to help hold me up until I could hold myself up. I owe my life to helping others, loving everyone with all my might, and waking up each and every day just trying to be the very best person that I can be. This is my story. I hope in some way it may help someone out there. I’ll end with this.. You are never alone, there is a reason you are here, and no matter what Never Give Up Hope!