I don’t know about you but when someone asks me to tell them about myself, I have a hard time finding that answer. In the past, I believed that the things that have happened to a person, trauma, happiness, love, and others experiences in life, defined them. A perceived reputation given to a person, does not define them nor do the experiences. I believe that experiences can shape and mold a person but it isn’t who they are. Our soul is very distinct and who we are as a person continues on throughout many lives, not just this one. For instance, myself, I am an artist, an herbalist, a dreamer, a wild woman, a wife, a daughter, and a mother. Before I found a great therapist and had some time to do a little soul-searching, I believed that I was a broken human that wasn’t worth saving. My body was failing me, my mind was failing me, my life was failing me, and the worst, I was failing not only me but my family. I was constantly ashamed, scared of everything, and felt completely powerless. Once I realized that I could take my power back from the sexual assault that happened when I was 19 and the domestic violence at 25, I got busy working on myself and trying to find my way back to the light.
Growing up as an only child in a tiny, Northern Michigan town was pretty amazing. I was always exploring the forest and nearby lakes, riding my bike all over the county, and taking part in many snow sports. My fathers family, my grandparents and four uncles, all lived within twenty miles of each other and we all were very close. My grandfather was a caretaker of a tree farm that was close to two thousand acres and my grandmother was a stay at home mom and took care of the cabins that sat on the property, down by start of the north branch of the Au Sable river. I would spent my summer days and weekends with my grandparents and I loved every part of it. My grandfather or “papa” as I called him, would take me around the property with him, either in the truck or he would let me ride in the tractor bucket with my pillow, blanket, and the current book I was reading. When I stayed home with grandma, I would help her around the house, folding laundry, helping with baking and cooking, or at the cabins. During the day, we would watch my grandma’s “soaps” while we played the card game ‘War’. I would explore outside in the woods and build forts, write poetry, and read my books. They lived in the middle of no where so all I could ever here was the sweet sounds of nature.
My parents house was by a lake in a private neighborhood but it wasn’t a rich neighborhood in anyway. More like a grouping of cabins, houses, and trailers that circled around a lake. The neighborhood was surrounded by trees, for miles. My next door neighbors were a little younger than my grandparents and their property was amazing. The husband was a woodworker, a builder, and an all around wonderful man. His wife was an artist and a gardener and I loved our afternoons with tea and snacks. They let me run all over their property and if I wasn’t behind my house in the woods, my parents knew I was next door playing in the fort that he made for his grandsons or playing in the woods with my imagination and my dog. A swamp separated our two houses, there was a lake across the street, and forest filling in the rest.
The school I attended was extremely small. It contained kindergarten all the way through twelfth grade. From kindergarten until eighth grade, there were between twenty five and thirty five students in each grade. Once high school set in, our class sized doubled due to the fact that a town over didn’t have a high school and were shipped to our school. School was hard for me because I was an only child and kind of awkward. My dad and his brothers went to that school too and not only were they superstars in sports but my father was even prom king at one point. The trophy cases were filled with my father and uncles names. The thing about small schools is that the cliques that get formed stand out a lot more than in bigger schools. The preps and the jocks were one clique, the art nerds and goths were another, then came the geeks and weirdos, and the popular kids were vicious and brutal. In a small school, you can’t blend in and since everyone knows everyone, including the families, the reputations were metaphorically branded into peoples foreheads. I was an outcast on and off for the whole time I attended that school. Most days, I would come home in tears and I was completely miserable there for over almost a decade.
After a very rocky freshman year, I pleaded with my parents to transfer me to the bigger school about ten miles away. The amount of people in my class went from fifty to around three hundred and thirty. There was so much more opportunity in the bigger school, different types of classes, more foreign language options, medical classes, and so many others. There were more options for sports and clubs. The best part of all of it was that there were so many kids attending that school, I could blend in when needed. If I would have tried harder, I could have graduated with honors and I could have went to a great university. Instead, I partied, stop listening to my parents, and thought I knew everything when really, this period of time was only the beginning of my real issues.
I have told you the way I grew up in the most positive way possible. Looking back on my life, there has been much heartache, sorrow, depression, and darkness. Most of it created by others in my life but some of it was definitely my doing. In order to tell this story, my story, I am going to tell the good with the bad, the ugly with the beautiful, and finally be able to tell the truth about what has happened to me. To face it, head on, because without being honest with myself, I will never crawl out of the grave that has been dug for me.
Without further ado, here we go. Sit down, strap in, and hold on because this isn’t a story for the faint of heart. This story and writing isn’t for anyone who has a cold, dead, rapey, victimizing heart. This is to simple tell my story of survival. My story of struggle after traumas and loss.
This is my story.