Hello Tribe Sisters... 
To start off, I need to say thank you to Beautiful Disaster...as well as each & every one of you that makes this tribe what it is. I've never felt more connected to people I haven't met yet...I refuse to say the word strangers as the literal definition is a person that can't identify or relate to someone In their experience thoughts or emotions...so clearly we're just sisters that haven't met yet!! 
Here is my story...My name is Caitlyn... I'll be 37 on June 16th.  I grew up in a very abusive household. Watching my mother get beat regularly. Taking my younger sister under the table with my cat to protect them both from my father. Just covering her eyes & ears trying to shield her from what was happening. As well as my cat Ginger as he'd kick him out of anger. He was my lil buddy. I also lived with my Papa who was/IS TO THIS DAY the only man I ever fully trusted that has loved me unconditionally. As well as my Grandma who had dementia.  They were married from a very young age they were in their early 60s at this point. It was hard because i was 9 years old at this point & remembered when she didnt have it. She would take me to yard sales or cook with me. I remember a fight my Papa had with "Matt" my father & they were physically pushing each other. My poor Grandmother came out of her room & was pushed into the mantel as a result of them fighting. She got a bad cut on her head. Fast forward a few months & my Grandmother passed away in her sleep so she wasn't suffering anymore but it broke my heart. A few months later my Papa passed while he was watching my sister & I. I ran out as a heard a loud noise. I did what i could & called 911, but it was too late. I ended up speaking at his funeral but that broke my heart. I remember being outside with my cousin hearing that he passed & just looking out into the yard confused & angry. Not understanding things. So, I grew closer to my cousin as he living next door in homes our family had built for us to keep and all of us to pass on (that didn't happen). For awhile, I really looked up to him. Then, one day, I remember being in my room on the bed watching tv...my cousin & sister were there as well...when he decided to SA me then told me its ok because it was just practice that he needed to learn he was 13. My sister looked over as I started to cry & be in excruciating pain I said no no its ok trying to protect her again. I was not even 10 yet. Fast forward my mother & father got a divorce. We sold our family home & my mother was forced to split it with him. While we were waiting for everything to go through i remember literally sleeping in an empty home on the floor eating green beans or anything else out of cans to not starve. My mother was "too proud" to go to get help considering she lived in a town her whole life based on superficial blue collar things like money & stature. So all of this was devastating. She was raised to keep whatever happened in the family within the family. Showing emotions or trauma was weak/un heard of. We moved to a new town where I got bullied, jumped, made fun of, & dropped out of school. Which I ended up getting my ged while pregnant at 18 yrs old with my first son & almost completed my associates in medical assisting shortly after he was born. My fathers side of my family completely turned their back on me due to having a mixed race child. From that point on I never spoke to my grandmother again, unfortunately she never tried nor - did I but my sister did & brought my son to meet them but that was it. Now I'm starting over again separated from my husband momma of 3...  My oldest son Darian is handsome sooooo strong smart amazing 17 yrs old & doing huge things towards his education living with my brother & I couldn't be more proud, my 3 yr old daughter Salem-Stori who is beautiful smart inquisitive an explorer & having developmental delays(possibly on the spectrum), then my youngest son Solstice-Avor who will be 2 in May... is my sweet coy soft spoken loving adorable Mommas boy. 
I'll have 10 yrs in active recovery on 7/18. Yassss double digits baby!! Im so proud of myself for fighting through some of the hardest moments in my life completely sober!! 
Unfortunately due to my addiction I gave my mother custody of my oldest when he was almost 4. So the state wouldnt take him. I was 21 at the start of my opiate addiction. Being abused to the point i had back to back miscarriages by his father. The way of "fixing that" was by doctors prescribing me pills constantly. Then not realizing after they stopped cold turkey i was sick because I was detoxing. So i was introduced to harder drugs & got completely addicted. I had just dropped out of college, lost my section 8 apartment due to the landlord asking me to leave so I didn't lose my voucher(which I ended up losing anyways due to not finding an apartment in time)after a specific incident that tore my apartment apart(one of many but this was the worst one yet), been charged with neglect through cps due to staying in an abusive relationship, & couldn't stay clean...didn't even know that my life was a mess. I was numb. Didn't care...or didn't know what I didn't know. Around this time opiates exploded in my area. I then used the excuse that my son was being taken care of as a way to use whenever i wanted. 
I went to detox in a larger city coming from a small town there were stars in my eyes & many more opportunities to get & stay in that lifestyle...I left detox and soon would learn that my life would snowball out of control over the next few years. That i would experience everything i said i would never do or wouldn't ever happen to me. I had been exposed to things in life most people wouldn't even experience 1 of let alone everything in my story then be here to tell it.
 I've been homeless literally living in abandoned broken down buildings,slept in Lil make shift beds under train platforms or in the woods under tarps or tents handed out by churches. Sometimes I'd sleep in ATMS on snowy or extremely cold nights. As anyonr knows Massachusetts winters used to be extremely brutal.  But id STILL be out there in 2-3ft of snow because my disease told me to. I stayed up for days at a time as I turned into a poly-substance abuser, been SA, beat up, witnessed more death than i should've, self harmed in more ways than one...lied, manipulated, stole, sold my soul...been in situations where I literally shouldn't be alive.  
July 18, 2013, I was exhausted of living the lifestyle of an active addict I decided to never use again. Tired of being sick & tired. Tired of the rotating doors. Jails, prison, & institutions...luckily death was avoided when I overdosed & was rushed to the hospital. However very few are "lucky" enough to make it out. I put lucky in quotations because for me it had NOTHING to do with luck. It WAS and IS hard work. You have to identify triggers, mental heath issues. Reasons for using. Unfortunately mine were PTSD w/flashbacks, acute anxiety disorder & depression (as diagnosed at my 1st program in 2009). I've experienced S/A as a child to where people STILL dont believe me til this day. In 2011 5 days before my sons birthday I was SA by a man that killed a girl a week after he RD me. He's still in prison now & hopefully will be for the rest of his life. I will make sure to go to every parole hearing to make sure he doesn't get out. 
 I explained  how I witnessed domestic violence through my mother & "father"... but also as well as her other relationship which was far worse...I told you about 1 of my own abusive relationships. My other  relationship 3 years prior to my husband was with a man I grew up with so I thought I knew. However In recovery i still had to tell my mother if anything ever happened to me "He" did it. One incident  specifically i remember him climbing on top of me on the floor and sitting on my stomach pinning my shoulders down with his knees & him taking a hammer with full force smashing it back & forth over my head side to side which felt like forever.  Finally after he was done laughing i ran to the window for help. I screamed & he slammed it on my hands then grabbed my hair to pull me back but my hands were stuck. So he broke my finger.  After I left him I moved into my own apartment with help from family to where my next traumatic event happened.
I was in my apartment a year before i got neighbors. Which were a younger couple pregnant with their 1st baby. The 1st night, I heard a loud bang it was in the middle of the Summer & we were on the 3rd floor. I was told she passed out due to not having an air conditioner.  So i ended up running an AC drive where we were able to not only help them but over 10 other families with new or partially used acs. Then from that point we would help each other out. Became friendly. So the girl obviously told me things. So one night I stuck up for her as she was being abused because nobody ever answered my cries for help. The pictures on the wall in my apartment were falling thats how bad it was. I knocked on the door her boyfriend answered while their 6 month old was screaming her head off. He swung the door open as he knew it was me. A week prior I had gone over expressed my concerns due to what i just left & what my son had experienced. I didn't want him triggered when i had him on the weekends as i worked so hard to get to where I was NOTHING was going to mess that up...so needless to say after he swung the door he spit in my face & punched me in the face. He's a boxer & I had my jaw broken in 3 places & wired for 14 weeks I lost my top front teeth got victim/witness compensation which in Massachusetts is when you have been injured due to a violent crime they pay to fix any damage to an extent. As a result now of my bridge being done poorly my other teeth are a mess now too. So I'm still dealing with it & he served his time but got out & obviously continued with that behavior. I had to move out of my apartment due to them being my neighbors & my landlord ignored my & my neighbors warnings/concerns ended up getting fined (for him just to ask me to move back months later because that situation got worse & he evicted them...of course i said no). I explained how I witnessed domestic violence through my life & I was all set. My mother asked me to move home so she could help me. 
Fast forward, I'm actually 2 years separated from who I thought was the love of my life. My husband & father of my 2 youngest children...unfortunately he made me choose between being a wife that would probably relapse at some point if I continued down that destructive path or a mother to my babies who are now 3 years old & 21 months. Due to giving up custody of my first born I knew I would never lose these babies. Even though I was in active recovery & had thought I would never be "in that situation again" it happened. I again was the victim of domestic violence and a partner to someone who refused to get clean, work on themselves, stop cheating (as every man has cheated i thought since he knew my past & he had a similar story...or he didnt know love i could just love him enough I was safe...boy was I wrong). So I made one of the hardest yet easiest decisions of my life... my son was 5 weeks old I was still breastfeeding. My daughter was 20 mths old. 
During our marriage I kicked him out even though he was our main financial provider. I didn't know what would happen next but I knew anything was better than staying in that situation. As he embarrassed me by cheating while I was pregnant with someone I helped get into recovery everyone knew before I did within our recovery circle. I section 35ed him which is forced detox that they cant leave from due to being a risk to himself & others. I had 2 restraining orders on him at this point. I was tired & needed to completely let go . He did so much damage it was a relief at that point.
 During that time I learned my worth all over again. I did a cathartic mess the dress boudoir shoot. Which was healing on so many levels. I really branched back out into face/body painting makeup nails tattoos hair(my Instagram/Facebook/tik tok are GorgeouslygruesomeSFX BTW LOL) photography modeling & anything else that helped Me express the woman I am. Unfortunately I stupidly put my husband's name tattooed on my face so i have to see it dail but hopefully soon will have that covered. Point is I was feeling comfortable in the skin I'm in. I realized even though I'm living with family & am starting over waiting for a place of our own to call home I WOULDN'T HAVE IT ANY OTHER WAY. As long as I have my kids love & have them in my life. I love myself & ONLY keep those around us that deserve our love light & energy...we'll be ok!! We'll be in a shelter or apartment soon...no matter where we are home is with my kids. 
However I'm not JUST a mother or a victim. I'm a strong surviving creative unique loving friend person & woman...that refuses to let anyone take power over me again. Where i went wrong before was not taking the time to REALLY learn to love & embrace myself again. I'll NEVER be the woman I was before...I know that but without going through every single thing ive been through EXACTLY the way it happened I wouldn't be AN EVEN BETTER VERSION OF MYSELF that I am today!! I know that I'm FARRRRR from perfect...but really who is!? We're perfectly imperfect...we're cracked NOT broken!! THATS OK...HERE I AM!! The Grace line resonates so much with me for those reasons. As well as the my story line...Here I am...Screw writing a new chapter...I'm starting a new book!!
This is why....
I'm. A. Beautiful. Disaster. 


Allie VanDyke said:

WOW!! that you for sharing your story!! Our sober dates are close!! Mine is June 29, 2013, 💜💜💜I commend you for your strength and courage to overcome your circumstances.

Tammy said:

Very inspiring testimony. Thank you for walking us through you pain and into healing. You would be a great mentor to some young gals!

Lisa C said:

Thank you for sharing! I feel my story is “peanuts” to yours!

You go girl! 🔥

Julie said:

My birthday is also June 16th, but it’s 1985 for me. Your story is so inspiring! You go girl!!!

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June 23, 2023