Friday, June 2, 2017

I No Longer Want To Be A Survivor

I'm a survivor.

Always have been.

From the moment I learned that I needed to be a survivor, I've been just that -- a survivor.

In fact, I've survived many, many traumatic things in my life. Up until I was about four- or five-years old, I lived with my crack-addict mother and drug-dealing father. When things were good, they were good. But we spent many days and night not having food to eat. I remember my sister cooking ramen noodles for us to share. She was seven at the time. I remember burning candles because the electricity was turned off. I remember watching my mother being dragged out of the apartment by 8 or 9 police officers for a fight she had with another lady earlier that day. I remember when they also made me stand facing the wall, legs spread, hands up.

I survived it. All of it.

Up until I was eight- or nine-years old, I lived with my abusive maternal grandmother. To this day, I'm convinced that she hated the fact that she had to raise me, even if it was for only 2 or 3 years. When she wasn't being verbally abusive, she was busy beating me. I learned to get really good at my homework and school work because if I wasn't good at it, I'd get a beating. I learned to keep the room clean and not make a lot of noise because if I didn't, I'd get a beating. I learned to flush the toilet really good and double check that I didn't leave anything behind because if I did, she'd stuff my head into the bowl of shit. Literally, the toilet bowl of shit. I learned to keep my head down and mouth shut. I learned... to be invisible.

I survived it. All of it.

Up until I graduated from high school, I lived in foster care with an emotionally and psychologically abusive foster mother. She used to lock the refrigerator so that I didn't have access to the "good" food. She used to give me her son's clothing as hand-me-downs, and no... they didn't fit me properly. She used to tell me how dark-skinned and ugly I was. She didn't show up to my middle school, high school, or college graduation even though I gave her a ticket and asked her to show up. Her response? "You shoulda told me your graduation was on ______. I gotta go to work!" Umm... I did tell you! And I've been a senior all year long. This ain't new news!

I don't like to speak ill of the dead, but let's call a thing a thing, as Iyanla would say. Needless to say, it wasn't good living under her roof.

But I survived it. All of it.

Then there was this thing with Aiden's other parent. And I learned the painful way that, on average, it takes a domestic violence victim seven times to leave her abuser. And I learned the scary way that menacing, harassing, and stalking can happen years after a victim decides to leave. And I learned that PTSD is real. And debilitating.

But I survived it. All of it.

Here I am, years later, a mother of two beautiful boys, three Ivy League degrees, an Assistant Principal, an Adjunct Professor, and somewhat of a Writer. By all standards, I'm "successful". By all standards, I'm a survivor.

But I no longer want to be a survivor. I no longer want to just survive. I've mastered that already, this surviving thing.

Now? Well, now I want to live fully. I want to be whole. I want to love fully and be loved fully.

I want to thrive. And be free. Hence therapy, lots of therapy.

Let's get free.


  1. I love reading your posts. You are so inspirational.

  2. You are successful and a living testimony for others still struggling to survive.

  3. I started reading here because you got me at the pictures. They all showed me a beautiful, attractive, fashionable (!!), lively woman. I was zo depressive as a young and single mother at the time, and then I saw you, ALSO a single mother.

    It makes me so sad you had to go through such a lot of things. Sad that your sons won't have normal grandparents, normal family parties. I'm really glad you're doing therapy (as I do myself, also). And telling stories.


I love reading what you have to say!


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