I love music, I soak up books, I listen to other people’s stories- they inspire me, they many times move me to tears. How can I make a difference? How can I use my story, my life, to inspire or perhaps rescue someone in need? In the darkest place of my life I sought refuge and hope in the stories of others. Many times they would leave me almost breathless as I woke up to what would be the reality that I would be soon facing…breaking away. Learning how to break free: to challenge thoughts, feelings, beliefs, to look at every single area of my life with new perspective… challenging yet liberating. Was what I grew up hearing was right really right and wrong really wrong? In a culture where public shaming is so much a part of life, how do I break free? How do I wake up every day and decidedly live for me? How do I stop the voices in my head from my past that try to shame me? How do I start living, embracing the beautiful messiness of life? How can I open myself up to being vulnerable with people, when for my entire life I have been trained to hold it all in? When do I reach a point where I love and accept myself so much that shame culture can no longer hold me back from taking on life and all the mistakes I am bound to make, because I am human! When do I step inside of the real me, take down all the walls, and find my authentic identity?
I was ashamed of my past. I was ashamed and embarrassed to tell my story, to admit I was missing so many normalcies that most people have experienced, due to a super controlled and sheltered environment that we were forced to be raised in. What I have learned is do not be ashamed of who you are, where you came from. I learned I had to own my story, it was my life and to disown that would be to disown my very existence. I learned so much from the struggles of others that there is hope and light at the end of the tunnel. I learned it is through your story you will reach others in struggle. It is through your words even if to you they seem unimportant or unheard, that you will inspire someone. Embrace your story, be proud of being a fighter, know that this is what life is: imperfect and messy but beautiful and so worth living.
Born and raised in a religious cult left no room for self-searching, for exploring personal passions outside of anything that did not comply to the rules of the organization. Raised in a cult as a woman left you zero freedoms, your purpose in life was to sacrifice yourself, your hopes, your dreams to promote and support the dreams of the men. I have broken free. I am no longer controlled by the organization. I am on the road of recovery. I am learning and re-learning life. I am not ashamed of who I am. I am not a victim. I lived and experienced something I would like to help others escape, but my life was not a mistake.
What I lived shaped me to the woman I am today. I am a fighter. I fall but when I fall I get up. I make mistakes, but I learn from them. I have gone through hell to be me, and I am proud of where I am today.