"What's my story? I often wonder that myself. Every day feels like a story of its own. My life has never been boring, that's for damn sure. Sometimes I would kill for a little bit of boring. Well, I was born and raised in Pensacola, Florida but also raised in Southern California (divorced parents). These days I continue to split my time between the two coasts.
My father moved away to Hollywood to chase his dreams of becoming a screenwriter in the early 90's and now operates a private Salvador Dali gallery in Orange County.
My mother is the most wonderful person that I've ever known. Without her unconditional love and guidance, I'm not sure I would have made it this far. When I was in elementary school she was diagnosed with breast cancer after recently becoming a single mother. Not only did she kick cancer's ass, but she did everything in her power to make sure that my life remained normal no matter how sick she was. I was oblivious to this as a child, but as an adult I now know how much strength that truly requires. She has continued to be my "rock" for my entire life. I'm incredibly blessed to have such a strong and loving human being for a mother.
I suppose I will get back to talking about myself. I am a professional makeup artist and on again off again psychology student. I knew since I was seventeen that I wanted to work in the beauty industry, but another part of me also felt a responsibility to walk down a path where I could potentially help other people who had been through the trauma that I endured. Perhaps one day I will continue along that path, but for now I'm enjoying living and growing as an artist.
These days I stray from publicly talking too much about the traumatic events in my life. I'm thankful to be a part of a project where I'm encouraged to speak out about what I've been through, it has been quite a liberating experience. I can't lie, it is horrifying to put some of this out there. Heck, sitting fully nude in the woods with ants crawling up my ass was more comfortable for me than answering these questions. However, I've learned over time that putting yourself in the situations that scare you the most is the first step to no longer fearing those situations like you did before.
There are so many defining traumatized ic events that I could list, honestly. In my life I have experienced mental and physical abuse, rape, death, substance abuse and psychological disorders. However, I can't deny that I know which experience has truly shaped me as a person most of all.
One week and a few days before my sixteenth birthday, my older brother passed away from Metachromatic Leukodystrophy, a terminal illness that he had been living with for nearly half of his life. The doctors had no good news. His illness was in the rare disease category, meaning that too few people suffered from it for there to be any incentive for research. We could only treat his symptoms and make him comfortable during however much time he had left.
I was ten years old when he was diagnosed. I had always feared death as a child, not my own but the death of the ones I loved. That fear began shortly after someone planted the concept of heaven and hell into my five year old mind. Fairly often I would lie awake at night in tears because I was so horrified of my family being taken from me. Suddenly, there it was, in the flesh, right before my eyes. Before then I had only imagined outliving the adults in my life, but not my brother. That's when I realized just how fragile and fleeting life can truly be. Uncovering that truth hurt more than anything I had ever felt before. I held a silent scream inside of me for many years because I couldn't handle the reality of losing him. When I finally did, I tried to silence that scream with drugs for several years. One of the biggest mistakes I ever made was trying to mask my suffering instead of coping with it. They say these things hurt less as years go by, but it has always been a struggle for me. I've never been at peace with the fact that some terminal illnesses are deemed worthy of research while others get shoved onto the back burner. I hate that there are other people out there that can relate to how hopeless and devastating it feels when you are told that all you can do is sit back and watch your loved one die. This experience shook me right out of my fairytale dreams and planted my feet into the soil of a very cruel and real world.
Although this story is a sad one, it can't be told without saying that my brother was the only person I've ever known that found a reason to smile every single day of his life, despite the fact that he had every reason not to. The first thing that comes to mind when I remember him has nothing to do with his illness. I remember his laughterechoing through the halls and his smile that was so big it reached the outer corners of his beautiful eyes. I remember how he found joy in the little things that other people constantly overlooked and how contagious that joy was to anyone around him.
As a child suffering with a terminal illness, he possessed more strength and bravery than any adult I've ever known. MLD confined him to a wheelchair and had taken his ability to speak by the time he was thirteen, but this never seemed to hinder his intuition or ability to help people. He was always the one smiling at me from across the room when I was having a bad day, doing anything he could to make sure I didn't feel alone. Some days when I feel down on myself I try to pretend that he's still there smiling back at me. Even though he was only around for a small portion of my life, he made an impact on me that will last forever."