As a child, I was fearless. I wore my heart on my sleeve and was very open with those around me whether I had known them my whole life or less than five minutes. I was an open book full of stories, jokes, and questions. My mother always said that I never knew a stranger. I have always seen life as an extraordinary adventure, full of these magical experiences and tough challenges. I was the child that was eager to go to school so I could learn as much as possible not only from my teachers but my friends. I have always asked an endless list of questions. I want to truly understand the world, even today I constantly ask questions and seek out answers. I, also, want to understand the other people in the world around me and I want them to understand me. This is one of the reasons I chose to become an educator and started taking graduate classes so I could obtain my masters in counselor education.
Certain situations in my life have shown me that the world and other people can be cold and abusive; however, I have also learned that there is love in the world and in other people. Throughout my life I have experienced inconsideration, bullying, isolation, manipulation, gas-lighting, sexual harassment, sexual assault, and physical abuse. I still experience some of these in my present life but I have also experienced generosity, loyalty, love, and friendship. Throughout most of my life I was told who I should be and how I needed to improve. My strengths were never the main focus in my life which I internalized as not being good enough. I spent my adolescence letting other people decide who I should be, down to how I presented myself to others, the order in which I achieve my goals, and how I spend my free time.
At the age of 21 I got married to someone that I had been dating since I was 18 years old. That relationship was toxic and grew to be even more toxic after we got married. During those five years, I was manipulated, gas-lighted, isolated from my friends and family, and I was physically abused. During the last year of our relationship was the lowest that I had ever felt and I truly wanted to die. I had to make a choice and I chose myself. I decided to get out of that marriage and start over. It was the hardest thing that I have ever done. I ended up staying in an apartment with no furniture or anything but I had my freedom. Since that time I have established a career that I am passionate about, built strong close friendships, have made progress in my relationship with my family and have obtained a nice apartment, one with actual furniture! The most important things that I have been able to maintain since my divorce are my freedom and independence. Even though I am still working on various issues that linger from my past I am proud of myself for choosing myself and never giving up. I will continue to fight to remain true to my authentic self.
“Pain shapes us into a victim or a warrior, our attitude determines which one.” – Savannah Grey