My life is a story of ultimate transformation. I started using drugs (meth) when I was 13. Drinking and smoking marijuana at age 11. My house was insane growing up. My parents were also fighting demons with drugs and alcohol. There was a lot of fighting and yelling. My mother liked to throw things, thankfully though, she has horrible aim. When you grow up exposed to violence and instability, you learn how to fight at a young age. I am not talking about physically fighting, I mean how to fight to survive. Survival in these circumstances is like going into the wild and having to fend for yourself. There weren’t any adults that had my back, I had to have my own back.

I was majorly picked on in school and only had one friend. Saying that makes me feel weak, but it shaped me. The loneliest days of my life, from middle school till I dropped out of high school were the days when my ONE friend was absent. All the drama in school was centered around the fact I cut my hair really short right around the time rumors started spreading that I was gay. I wasn’t sure if I was gay or not at that age, but I had experimented with a couple girls and so I carried some shame for that too. Every day that I was in school, someone would ask me if I was gay. They also asked me if I was a boy or a girl…considering my chest hadn’t really developed yet, and I had a very short haircut. It was traumatizing. I was popular until this happened. I was one of the pretty girls. It broke me.

I used drugs and alcohol for a long time. It started because I was desperate to have friends and fit in. Once I got drugs and alcohol in my system, I didn’t care what people said about me anymore. Finally, I felt ok in my own skin. I could breathe again. Until I couldn’t…

Drugs and alcohol systematically took everything that mattered away from me. Including my dignity and self-respect. I ended up in a crazy abusive relationship. He never hit me. His words broke me. I am so grateful for the awareness we have now for women who are in abusive relationships. I didn’t know what was happening until I read the term “gaslighting”. That is a very good example of how our relationship was. I remember there were times when I started the fight because of something he did, and by the end of it, I was apologizing for it being my fault somehow. I would say I was leaving, and he would grab my 6-month-old son and hold him hostage so I would have to stay. I had nothing left in me eventually and got out. I ended up in LA in a domestic violence safe house/rehab. That was on March 26th, 2003, and I have not had a drink or a drug since.

I have had to find myself. When you use at such a young age, I believe we stunt our emotional and spiritual growth. I had to discover who I am, what I like, what I want and so on. This all came about in the process of learning about domestic violence and addiction. My husband and I have been together for over 14 years now. I have five children. I have grown up and grown into someone I am proud of.

My life quote: Fate whispered to the warrior “you cannot withstand the storm.” The warrior whispered back “I am the storm.” I would love for you to create something along these lines. I know there are a lot of badass warrior women out there who might identify.

I am the storm. I have broken cycle after cycle in my home. My children have never seen me loaded. My husband and I do not fight. There is no violence in my home. My dream is for them to do better than I did. They amaze me daily. It ran in the family…until it ran into me! I am the storm! I am a Beautiful Disaster.

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April 22, 2022