In 2013, I pushed my luck and I lived. I stared down my deepest fears and didn’t back down. I shared my vulnerability with strangers and they embraced me. I took so many risks that I exhausted myself to the brink of disaster. But I’m still standing and – because I survived – I thrived. I looked the boogeyman straight in the eye and he blinked first; leaving me victorious and free.
In these past 365 days, I finally found the confidence to write down my life story of trauma and triumph so I could help others and myself heal. Upon hearing of the dramatic escape of the Cleveland Kidnapping victims after 10 years of torture, I felt compelled to reach out to the family of victim, Gina DeJesus because she was a child when abducted just like what happened to me. “There but for the grace of God go I” I thought, when realizing I’d been lucky that my rapist chose to release me. As I risked my safety and sanity by paying a visit to her family to offer my support, I did so to show my gratitude to God for saving my life.
I also survived the PTSD episodes and flashbacks while writing and publishing my harrowing real-life story once and for all. For years, I’d been so afraid to confront the trauma and tragedies on the page, for fear that the memories themselves would kill me. But they didn’t. I dug deep and purged the emotional bile so I could finally take a deep and cleansing breath. What a gift it has been to have received cherished affirmations for my prose and determination.
I even found the courage this year to fly in a helicopter over Ground Zero as my way of finally moving on after my hellish 9/11 experience when I was trapped in Manhattan, separated from my family on that fateful day. As I boarded the chopper with my sons and husband there to hold me, I shed a tear for those we lost and for the new me I’d found.
Peace & Love,