Youngest of five. All born spread across the country; Michigan, Oregon, North Carolina, and Arizona. From the get-go I had traveling in my blood and the road in my heart.
My daddy swears he named me Sunny because as soon as the doctors handed me to him I had a big smile on my face. I’m not sure how true that is, maybe it was in the moment, maybe it really did happen. Either way, it warms my heart that he named me Sunny. After all, I smile about 80% of the time and laughing is my favorite thing to do. My next favorite thing to do is make other people laugh. There’s something about making someone shoot a drink out of their nose that never gets old. Or making someone laugh so hard their belly hurts and tears start rolling down their face. It is music to my soul and what makes my heart continue to beat.
From the moment I was born I loved animals more than anything else. Once, my parents took us to Disney and I tried to catch goat poop out of it’s butt while cackling “BUBBLE GUM!” I was 3, okay.
I am persistent. When I was 10, I begged my grandpa for six months to let me ride the pony (I named my pony, “Horse”). He refused until the one day I stopped asking and simply said “I wish I could ride Horse” while I wrapped my arms around her neck. He chuckled and grabbed me by my pants, the next thing I knew I was sitting on Horse and quickly regretted all of the times I bugged him about riding. He raised his hand and slapped Horse on the rump as hard as he could. I lasted for maybe two bucks and went flying as high as the airplanes and landed in a ball of tears. I don’t think I saw him laugh that hard ever again. I sat up and cried, “I’m NEVER riding Horse again!” He said, “Oh yes you are. Hold on better this time.” That’s when Horse walked up and he threw me up again, and that was my first and most powerful life lesson. You always get back up, no matter how much it hurts or how scared you are.
I learned to ride after falling off 7,543,522 times. One time it bit me in the butt. Literally.
I had an awful horse accident where my horse landed on top of me—you can read the full story here. An ambulance ride and a helicopter flight put me in the hospital for nine days with a broken pelvic bone, broken booty bone, dislocated shoulder with all torn ligaments and tendons, a nasty cut on my ear and a pretty sore head.
The doctor told me I wouldn’t begin to walk again for four months.
I told him I would heal faster than that.
I was in a wheel chair for a month and crutches for two weeks. Then back on my horse after a month and a half. I showed that doctor, didn’t I? After being in a wheel chair and through the recovery process I learned the lesson of how precious life really is.
I wanted to hide who I was when I first learned that I was gay. Being a lesbian in a very small town that’s in the middle of the Bible Belt, waving your rainbow flag, isn’t glamorous. I got a cover up boyfriend. I was proud to announce to my mom that I had a new boyfriend, so I told my mom as soon as she picked me up from school.
“Mom, I have a new boyfriend.”
She instantly responded, “Why?!”
“…Because, he likes me.”
My mom had the look of reassurance and simply said, “You know you don’t have to have a boyfriend, right? I just want you to be happy. That’s all that matters.”
She knew. I smiled. I knew that she knew, but I wasn’t ready to tell the world just yet. Shortly after that I met my first love who (obviously) was not a boy. Knowing that my mom would accept me I didn’t care who knew after that.
I came out at the age of 16.
That’s when I learned a few lessons:
1) Be exactly who you are
2) When you lean into your authentic self, you can attract who and what you need in your life.
3) Always choose happiness.
Sometimes it’s a lonely road figuring out who your true friends are. I “lost” friends, but I gained way better ones. It took me a long time to fully understand that and be grateful for the way things played out.
I lost my first love at 16.
I lost my grandpa and biggest childhood mentor, at 17.
I lost my daddy at 26.
I have overcome great loss, I’ve overcome pain but that now only drives me to do my very best with these few days I’m given on this earth. I have made mistakes and some of those mistakes I carried with me long over due. Recently I learned my next, and very powerful lesson, I am Only Human.