As a survivor of child abuse, sexual abuse, and various mental health issues, including a long battle with eating disorders, for most of my life I never thought I would be in a leadership position. That’s exactly what mental illness and abuse leaves you with — scars and the feeling that you are nothing. Absolute filth and scum of the Earth. When I entered recovery three years ago, I gave my entire life to my Higher Power, God, and my entire world changed. So many people opened their hearts and I allowed myself to be molded and changed, and I worked …harder than I ever thought I would. I had to do the internal work to let myself get to the point to where I could become who God wanted me to be in order to get to where He wanted me to go.
That process has involved a tremendous amount of pain. Feeling it and letting it go. That part is a constant work in progess. One of the tools that has helped me deal with the pain is writing and sharing my story. My book will be released next year and that is yet another thing I never thought I would do. I went from killing myself to releasing all of that misery inside. Truly, anything is possible.
I never felt like a leader growing up. In fact, I felt like a downright loser. I remember most days, all I saw when I looked in the mirror was a distorted, grotesque monster. A reflection of the child who had been abused. Thanks to God, recovery, and all of the people who have helped me along the way, I am grateful to be able to serve and continue to grow in the community. Recovery continues to take me to new heights, and I hope to instill that hope in others along the way.
Recently I was asked to serve on the Executive Board for Project Heal SoCal Chapter. I was also asked to be the Volunteer Director for all of Southern California. It is a position I am proud to fulfill, and one that I hope to do for a long time. At Project Heal, we are committed to educating, raising awareness and funds for those suffering from eating disorders. In 2016 we will be holding workshops, speaking events, various fundraisers and our annual gala — all to inform the community about a devastating issue that affects more than 30,000,000 individuals.
I am also thrilled to announce that I am joining the Board of Directors of the Peaceful Hearts Foundation. They are doing tireless work in the realm of child sexual abuse, and as someone who was personally affected, I hope to further the mission of supporting, empowering and educating not only fellow sufferers, but the nation at large. More than 42,000,000 people have been damaged by child sexual abuse in America, but I want them to know that recovery is possible.
I couldn’t think of a better way to end 2015. I certainly couldn’t imagine a more fitting way to celebrate the holidays. Giving is what it’s all about.