I was 4 years old the night they found me in the kitchen sink. I had wet the bed again, and had taken it upon myself to bathe alone in the middle of the night.
Everyone said it was so cute. I wasn’t trying to be cute, I was just afraid, that if I let someone else clean me up the bad thing might happen again.
Just a few months later another friend of the family did it again. He made me promise not to tell, giving me Pixie Stix candy to buy my silence.
My mother came for me soon after, and I left my grandparents and the dairy behind while my mother and I lived a transient life. I bounced back and forth between my grandmother and my mother.
I didn’t know my father, but my mother had remarried by then. Her husband was drove truck and dealt drugs on the side. We moved every few months while they were together chasing jobs.
I was often sent to live with my grandmother in between transitions. During one of these times living with grandma, my baby cousin got sick and ended up in the hospital.
They sent me to stay with a family friend, and their teenaged son encouraged me to try on some new dresses his sister had given me. He told me how pretty I looked, and laid me down on the bed. The bad thing happened again.
He made me promise never to tell, and of course I did. Entwine was so worried about the sick baby, nobody noticed anything amiss.
The winter we lived across from Casa Bonita’s in Denver my mom hired a teenage boy from down the street to babysit me. He used to strip naked and make the neighbor girls play a game with him. The other girls liked his game.
The next summer I was back with grandma. A nice young couple was living next door. Grandma had them babysit me.
The husband had a huge collection of comic books, he’d invite me over to read comic books when his wife was gone. I thought he was my friend.
The reading sessions went farther and farther. Until every time we were alone his hands were down my pants. He would make me read Archie comics to him to keep me calm.
Pretty soon his wife’s brother started catching me alone too. He like to play hide and seek with me, and would make me tie him up. When I trusted him, he tied me up too and did things to me I was supposed to like. I didn’t.
I was glad when that summer was finally over and I didn’t have to go to their house anymore.
The last babysitter was a teenage female. She taught me how to huff gas, and kept me high the whole time she babysat me. She asked the other two little girls she babysat to show me their special game. They cried, and begged her not to. She got mad and took just me in the bedroom.
I didn’t know that girls could do the bad thing too, but she did. For months she kept me zoned out and used me like her toy, until one day the other girls said something to their parents.
The other family called a meeting with the babysitter, my mom and I. The babysitter told them that I had taught her to huff gas, and smoke pot. She blamed it all on me.
The next summer a man came to stay with grandma while I was visiting. I had one room upstairs, and he was given the other. He would sneak into my room at night and I’d lay awake waiting for grandmas alarm to go off every morning so he would leave.
I was twelve years old that summer, yet what innocence could I have left?
As an adult, I struggled with abusive patterns for some time. Sexual objectification, physical abuse, neglect. These demons kept rearing their ugly heads.
Just after my divorce, at the age of 29 I was raped. The cycle of abuse had to end with me.
Abuse did not destroy me, it created me. It taught me how very fragile life is, and how strong we must be to survive. It taught me kindness, and compassion, and strength.
For all of the things abuse has taken from me, it has given me so much more.
In 2009 I was chosen by the San Miguel Resource Center as their domestic violence and sexual assault victims advocate of the year.
In 2014 I released the book “Sister, Survivor: Finding Your Survivor Spirit, ” the Survivors manual for post traumatic growth.
I was even in a documentary about my hometown and uranium called “Uranium Drive-in.”
All of my life people have asked, why can’t you be more normal?
Because I wasn’t created to be.
And I wasn’t created just to be someone’s sex toy either.
I’ve got a mind, and a heart, and a soul. I’m a mother, a daughter, a lover, a friend.
I am a writer, an artist, a public speaker, and entrepreneur. Hard times come and go, but I’m still here.
Your Survivor Story isn’t the end, it’s just the beginning…