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What if you fly?

An interview from Spring of 2022...


Please tell us about what brings you joy and fulfillment (your work, your passions, your dreams, etc.). Public speaking and writing definitely fills my cup! It is rewarding to share my message so other survivors will feel not as alone and will perhaps have a better outcome from their trauma experience through hearing my story. My goal is for my memoir to be used as a survival guide for victims, secondary victims, and families of victims of assault. I also have opportunity to speak to professionals that work with sexual assault survivors (such as law enforcement, social workers, SANEs (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners), and more) and educate them through my experiences. They so often hear case studies from the law enforcement side of things, but rarely from the victim's perspective. It is an honor to be able to show them the other side of cases and trauma - the victim's side. It is incredibly rewarding how much they take out of hearing my story, which in turn allows them to better help the next victim they encounter. Now, this is all second to the joy I get from being a mom to my beautiful son who is now 7 years old. He was only 3 at the time that I was attacked in my home. Like a lioness, I will always protect my cub. Rawr.


We all have inner superpowers (a.k.a. character qualities). What are some of yours? Based on what other people have said to me since 2018, the qualities they often state are that I am brave, courageous, and strong. In my opinion, I’m just being me; or rather, the me I am now. I've recently discovered a quality I continue to try to improve on: advocating for myself. When I say this, I mean… there are traditional ways of healing everyone told me I should do, but not everyone heals the same. I have learned to tune into myself and acknowledge what my body and mind need to heal and to find peace. While people were telling me to stay quiet and try to move on, I wanted to climb a mountain and scream to the world about what happened to me. When people were telling me to take time away from the world to heal, I wanted to face the world. And I did. I continue to listen to my body and mind because healing for me will never be complete.


Can you tell us about an influential woman in your life and how she inspired you? My mom. In stressful situations, my mom is calm, cool, and collected. After I was attacked, she went to the ER with me (and a police officer) to have a rape kit performed. She was so strong and so brave. She was strong so I could be weak and vulnerable. She was my protection, my lioness. I didn’t find out until a few years after I was attacked what my mom was actually going through as a secondary victim. I’m not saying it’s not okay to be a mess and cry and show emotions when a loved one, such as your daughter, is hurt, because it absolutely is okay. But that day she put me first and showed me what it meant to be a lioness. My mom had and has so much going on in her life with nearly zero time for herself because she has to take care of my dad full time on top of working full time, yet she powers through and does what she needs to do. She’s healthy, independent, strong, and I’m blessed she is my mom.


If you could have one super-human power, what would it be? Fly. I wish I could fly, without hesitation. If I could, I’d soar just above the trees, anywhere I wanted to go. It’s been a dream of mine since I was a child, and that dream has become more of a goal since I survived a 9 mm handgun in my face and being zip tied and raped. But since my dream of having the super-human power of being able to fly hasn’t come true yet, (yes, I’ve checked) I’ve made a backup plan - a bucket list. The top two things on that list are riding in a hot air balloon and riding in a small plane. Co-pilot, ideally. I must conquer the bucket list!


What do you do for fun? What are your hobbies? I love to read, write, run, workout, go on motorcycle rides, and golf. I’m not much of a lazy-day kind of person. Sometimes, yes. But I’m too much of a go-getter and end up feeling guilty if I’m not productive. My ideal day would be coffee on the front porch with my boyfriend and German Shepherd and a good book while my son played in the front yard. I’d leisurely get ready for the day, do a little writing, then golf 9 holes. After that, there’d be plenty of time for a long motorcycle ride in the sun, finishing with dinner on the deck with my fur babies and family.


Knowing what you know at this stage of your life, what words of wisdom would you give to your 20-year-old self? Write the book! I was 18 years old when I was crying about the fact that I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life or who I wanted to be. But I specifically remember saying, “I want to write a book!” And I said that out loud but knew (or thought) it wasn’t feasible. I couldn’t just sit down and make up a story and write a book and make a living from it. I had no idea where to start. I had no guidance. So, I just didn’t go that direction. I gave up on that dream. I eventually went to nursing school and got a job as a school nurse before getting a job in my home city working at the Mayo Clinic. Finally, I had stability. And I've recently learned that's all I've wanted too: stability. But then at age 30, I had a life experience I needed to write about. And now I have a self-published memoir, a thriller novella, and two children’s books, all within one year. I wrote the book. I am also working on a sequel memoir and an anthology containing twelve sexual assault survivor stories.


I know “Write the book!” won’t pertain to everyone. So, if it doesn’t, my words of wisdom are… Take back your power! Do what you’ve been dreaming of doing since you were a child!


But what if you fail?

No…

What if you fly?


Seize the day, friends!

 

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