I was conceived out of wedlock when my mother was seventeen with the pastor’s son at her church – I was labeled as an ‘abomination’ + my parents were subjected to excessive shaming by the church + their families.
When I was five, after questions regarding sexual abuse of me + my younger sister arose, my father + his extended family disappeared from my life entirely.
Two years later, my mother remarried + I was overjoyed at the thought of having a father in my life. Within two more years, they had two daughters; my half-sisters whom I love dearly.
As a child, I witnessed violence in our home. Multiple times. I grew up in a home that often felt disturbed by anger + emotional instability.
Both of my parents worked while I grew up. They did all the right things in terms of providing for our needs + offering us love. We lived in a nice house, got new clothes every school year, and laughed a lot. My sister’s + I were never physically hurt.
To the outside world, we looked normal. But on the inside, we were broken + forbidden to discuss our secrets with anyone.
As adults, all three of my sisters + I have each tolerated abusive long-term relationships in our lives. Some of my own personal abuse stories have been chronicled in the journal.
At multiple points during my abusive relationship, I thought my ex was going to take my life. Once, he held me down + smothered me with a pillow while I was eight months pregnant + holding my one-year-old son. Later that same night, he threatened to kill us + himself.
Shortly after leaving him, my dear friend + owner of the yoga studio where I worked invited me to move in with her + her family. A few months later, she took her own life. I was devastated + heartbroken by the loss of such a wonderful kindred spirit.
The pain that followed was ultimately the reason that I left the yoga studio she had built so I could “have someplace nice to teach.” But, because I helplessly watched my friend lose her battle with depression, I spent the years of my life that followed studying yoga psychology.