From a very young age, I struggled to survive. I was born into chaos.… My mother was physically abusive and very emotionally unstable to my siblings and me, and my siblings also abused me physically. We didn’t get spankings or time out; we were beaten and constantly told that we weren’t worth a dime and that we’d never amount to anything. In grade school, I started being bullied to the point where I would have to transfer schools every year. Not only was I being physically abused everywhere I went, but I was also the victim of sexual assault, rape, and harassment. I was sexually assaulted, raped, and harassed off and on from the age of ten to twenty-two.
I have suffered with depression and bipolar since I was a small child. I learned early on that my voice didn’t matter and that I should take my frustration out on myself, because if I tried to show how angry, sad, and traumatized I was to anyone else, I would be punished. I hated me just like everyone else, and from a very young age, I often contemplated and fantasized about suicide. I lost my virginity by being raped at the age of twelve and fell through the cracks at that age. I began cutting my wrists and other parts of my body to “feel better.” I started drinking and getting into hard drugs around that time too. My innocence was stolen from me.
I developed an eating disorder that lasted about a year in middle school. When I discovered that being thinner made the boys want me more, I started eating a ton. I was going to get big so everyone would leave me alone. I wanted to be invisible, and I saw how fat people in school were treated. They were ignored. They were treated as though they had a contagious disease, and none of the boys seemed to want those girls. By the time I graduated high school, I had accomplished being big. I started wearing really baggy clothes and stopped showing my hair or wearing makeup. Most of the boys went away.
At the time, all I could think about was, Why God? Why me? But now I can clearly see His divine interventions and guidance in my life. Though I couldn’t physically see Him, I prayed to Him daily, maybe even hourly to help me. My prayers were not answered when or how I thought they should have been. God’s time is the best time, and His way is indeed the best way. At a time in my life when I felt like a used- up, no-good, piece of junk of a human being and an object or a punching bag for everyone else’s hatred, I had nowhere else to look but up.
It was hard to count it all as a blessing back then, but now I see. During those times, there were a handful of very special people that took me under their wing. If God hadn’t given them to me to get me through those times, I would not have survived. They stuck with me, and I called them my angels. No matter how hard I tried to push these people away, they were committed to me and they had invested in me. There were a few times when I tried to commit suicide, and I believe that under normal circumstances I would have died, but God didn’t allow me to cut my life short. I believe he had much bigger plans for me.
There are certain ways that God performs miracles in people’s lives that we just can’t form the words to explain.… The closest I can come to explaining the many miracles He has shown me is Agape Love. He is unconditional and loving. He never left me, hurt me, or turned His back on me. I believe wholeheartedly that he mourned for me, carried me, and held my hand through every tribulation. I have suffered greatly, and to this day, left to my own will, I suffer still. But there is no freedom like the freedom of knowing you are a child of God and that if He brings you to it, He will bring you through it. I try to keep my eyes on Him. Even if the only thing I can ask of Him is to help me. I fall so short of His glory, but I know I have a voice—a powerful one through Him.
He has shown Himself to me time after time in many different ways, but mostly through the blessings and kindness of others and their desire to give me God-like love. Today I have faith in humanity, and I believe that everything I have endured was to His glory. I can help girls and boys like me who have suffered or perhaps are still suffering. There are no greater feelings to me than those of love, joy, and knowing my purpose in this world.
I know now that every voice counts and that we (the suffering ones, the victors, the survivors) are the voices of hope in this world. My life is always moving toward progress and moving closer to the One who saved me and has shown me a freedom like no other. Through His divine intervention, I am able to both heal and help someone else.