Welcome to our Dare You Create an article, from #ProjectLifeQuality. Your creative corner, where we discuss our topic of the week and you are also provided with a suggestion to take away with you. This will be something designed to encourage and motivate you, to explore your thoughts through the use of the arts. I can promise some exciting articles. Look out for this each Tuesday.
This week at PLQ, we’re discussing surviving abuse and I’ll be sharing a very moving account by one survivor.
To recap, last Tuesday I shared a little about how complex abusive relationships can be. How victims often find themselves in this situation repeatedly. It’s something I recall only too well, from my years as a community domestic abuse support worker.
Provided with safe relocation and the means to become the person they wanted to be, the change in these women was beautiful. It reminds me of the ancient Japanese art of fixing broken objects with gold, because they’re not considered truly broken – that given attention, they can become even more beautiful. It’s called Kintsugi. There’s even poetry form named after it. (If you look below this Kintsugi poem, you’ll also see that it relates to this week’s Dare to Create challenge.)
Beautiful isn’t it?
Dare to Create Challenge
Okay, time for the creative bit. Having read the poem and thoughts on the subject of surviving abuse, how does this make you feel? Are you ready to take a step forward? How about making this challenge your next positive step? Do as described in the photo below and feel free to use the tags provided if you want to share your piece.
The PLQ team would love to see your participation. Why not share it and tag us?
Victim Turned Survivor – A Story of Great Courage and Inspiration
This week I’d like to introduce Sierra. We met by chance when I stumbled upon her Instagram account @misscarter90. I was very moved by her remarkable perseverance and she bravely allowed me to ask about her story.
Sierra lived with physical, emotional and sexual abuse from her early years. Now finally free from abuse, she’s helping others.
“My goal is to help others find their voice and know they aren’t alone in the struggle”
(Beware – Trigger warning!)
“My parents separated when I was a year old. I lived with my mother from birth until six years old. During that time I watched her be physically abused and use drugs more than she cared for her children. At six my father got custody of me and my older sister (adopted at birth). We were physically beat constantly, he was highly addicted to drugs and alcohol. I was always made fun of by my father. He would tell me I was too fat etc. He even went as far as telling me I was mentally handicapped.”
“He told me I would never amount to anything.”
“The sexual abuse was ongoing. I don’t remember when it began for sure. Memories are repressed from my earlier years with him but by 10 I was waking up feeling like something had happened and would have no clothing on. I was sexually assaulted up until my 13th birthday by my dad. I told school. Of course, no one in my family believed anything.”
“My sister and I were sent to live with my drug addict mother and didn’t know where we would sleep, what we’d eat, when we would even bathe.”
“In foster care, life began to seem normal yet I was still dealing with a lot of issues from the past. I was told even in foster care that it was my fault my father sexually assaulted me. II ran away to NYC and fell into the hands of a pimp. I was forced to sell myself for money. I finally escaped and turned myself in as a runaway. Extradited back to Michigan only to discover my pimp had got me pregnant. Fifteen, in foster care and pregnant.”
PLQ – “WOW, that’s too much to deal with at such a vulnerable age.”
Sierra – “I lost my daughter to the state, ran away again and ended up pregnant again. My second daughter’s father beat the crap out of me choking me with extension cords. Trying to throw a heavy desk onto me. Slicing my knee with a knife. When I turned myself in at 6 months pregnant I didn’t know what was going to happen.”
“They took my second daughter when she was a month telling me I needed time to heal from my past. How can you heal when the two people who you thought you would have a family with, i.e. my kids, are taken from you?”
PLQ – “I’m lost for words. You are a survivor!”
Sierra – “After high school I went to NY, alone and homeless. I struggled initially, but started college. Then I thought I’d found love but he too was a worthless pimp. Your guess is right, I became pregnant and he beat me. Since then, every day has been a struggle. My sons are almost 6 and 7 and I can’t even contact them any more because of their father’s power and control. So yes I am a survivor and yes I strive to help others. Eventually I want to open up a shelter for those in need of help.”
“Yes my past is terrible and I’ve dwelled on it for so long, that as I learn to love myself again, I feel control for the first time in my own life.”
PLQ – “And what is that like for you?”
Sierra – “It feels absolutely amazing. Liberating.”
“I can write about the abuse, talk to support groups online. Crochet and find positive ways to express myself. I take better care of myself, during the abuses I never cared how I looked or what I felt like.”
PLQ – “Such a positive message for those experiencing what you once did.”
“What else would you tell someone reading this?”
Sierra – “Find positive people to be around. Talk about issues. If you feel something’s not right, get help immediately. Don’t settle for less than you deserve. We’re worth more than abuse. Learn to express yourself and find who you truly are, not who someone else wants you to be.”
Thank you for sharing with us, Sierra.
Thank you for sharing with us Sierra
Be the person you want to be.
PLQ Creative Coach and Journalist