What makes me a beautiful disaster is that despite all that I have been through as a survivor of domestic violence I retain a pure and genuine love in my heart for others. I continue to try to allow my former abuser who is a malignant narcissist have the opportunity to get to know the two children that we share. I have many flaws but strive daily to grow and show my children what it means to be a kind, loving, strong, independent woman and mother. I identify with beautiful disaster clothing because I view myself like the phoenix: I rise from the ashes of every fire in my life stronger, wiser, and more determined that I am going to use my knowledge through those experiences to go forward and help others rise above their trials just as I have. There is also a lot of negative stigma associated with being a survivor of domestic violence but your clothing line is the epitomy of my personal motto of "I wear the label on my own terms, with pride because I survived!" 

Life has been one challenge after another the last 15 years or so. I have had a series of unhealthy relationships with my last one having been the worst. I experienced every possible kind of abuse at his hands as someone can think of. Including threats of being killed, strangled twice, beat up and yelled at for 5 hours, thrown across rooms and through doors, as well as sexually assaulted a few times. I was isolated and deprived of money. After sabotaging every opportunity for a better life and stability in a state where we had no family or friends we were forced to go back home. Once we got back to Oregon I separated from him and have not looked back. That was in February of 2012. Through the abuse, poverty, and adversity I experienced I found the ability to become a better version of myself than I have ever been. 
After leaving I experienced homelessness, critical and judgmental attitudes from service providers of social services. It was also really difficult to find services that would assist in finding stable housing. So I decided to go back to school in order to have a degree that would make me a suitable candidate to work as an advocate for domestic violence survivors. Most of the organizations in Oregon do not value personal experience in any volunteer or applicant to work with survivors of trauma or abuse. I obtained my Bachelors in Applied Behavioral Science in August of 2016, while being a single mom of 3 children, one of which has type 1 diabetes. I graduated with honors while caring for my children and being homeless. I finally got into housing in April of 2017. In August of 2017 I had to go through the court to gain guardianship over my 97 year old grandfather because he developed dementia. 
I haven't completely turned things around but everyday I climb out of the hole that I was in when I left my former abuser. I am now back in school getting my Master's Degree in Psychology. I share my story whenever is appropriate with the wish to inspire others who are in an abusive relationship, survivors who are struggling, or anyone else who might benefit from hearing my story. Life has gotten a lot better since I learned to embrace the root causes of my triggers, as I have PTSD from that relationship. I am happy with who I am and who I am becoming. I have a solid inner base which I stand on while reaching for my dreams and goals without the fear or need for validation from others – because I know that I am on the right path. Thank you for letting me share my story!
Best Regards,
Patricia Byrum

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August 20, 2020