About the Author

Kenzy:

My story begins at age 3 when my parents divorced. From there things started to go downhill. By age 6 both parents had remarried and my mom married a drunk who abused her all the time. (Thankfully, he is a recovered alcoholic now and is turning his life around.) Around age 10, the sexual abuse began. A 40-year-old man who happened to be a serial killer/rapist and knew exactly what to do to make me hurt the most, often babysat me. I became pregnant twice while he was around. The first time I was given an abortion pill, which caused me to miscarry the little girl I named Avery Blossom. The second time, he skipped town soon after he found I was pregnant in the hopes he would give me “something to remember him by”. When I miscarried them at age 13 I found out that I had triplets. One of them was alive…a little girl… and she died in my arms that day in February. I named her Icelyn Frost and the other two Clark Bennett and Maci Rian. Within the year, I was molested by two more men. I also have fuzzy memories of being forced into prostitution, being raped on the street by some guys I went to high school with, and having another child named Zara Rose. I also made the mistake of giving myself away to a number of guys because I felt like it would make the pain stop. Sex was like a type of medicine to me for a while. At one point I sent a nude to my best guy friend and it got passed around the entire school. After that, I lost it. I tried and failed 3 suicide attempts in one week. That Mother’s Day…was the day I began cutting. In 3 days I cut 38 times on my left thigh. Luckily I had some pretty great people in my life to help me stop, and I haven’t cut since. 💜

Liv:

My name is Liv. I am 21 years old. I like to play guitar, sing, run, practice yoga and all fun things. I am outgoing, open-minded and I love to meet new people and experience new things. I wasn’t always like this though. Growing up I was physically and emotionally abused by my mother. This caused low self esteem issues, anxiety and depression. Being a tall girl, I was bullied at school over my height and weight. I’ve always been thin but because of the pressure to be thinner, I developed eating disorders. I was anorexic for a few months until my sisters realized I wasn’t eating at all. So to side questions, I turned to bulimia. I lost insane amounts of weight which added to my anxiety. It became bad enough I could hardly function in public without suffering an attack and panicking to the point I would have to leave. For close to a year, I would do anything to not leave my house. No one noticed though as I didn’t have any friends at school. I was self-harming, cutting anywhere people wouldn’t be able to see. I saw this as being the only source of pain relief. Who could I tell about what was going on? No one ever listened or believed me. Plus I was terrified. Terrified of my mom following through with her death threats, terrified of letting my sisters down, terrified of basically everything. My life was a black hole of nothing. I couldn’t see a future where I liked the outcome. Then I met the guy of my dreams. Or so I thought. The first few months were a dream. He was kind, a gentleman. He brought me flowers, understood my need to take things slow and did things right in my mind. Because of him, I was thrown into the “popular” crowd. I had friends. People wanted to be around me. I was no longer too fat or too tall. He noticed my eating habits and made me feel pretty enough that I started eating healthier. No longer was I trying to starve myself to be beautiful because to him I was. He was my best friend. Someone I could talk to about everything. He was the outlet I needed. But about a year of dating, things changed. He became controlling, wanting to pinpoint my location at all times and who I was with. Soon after I had made all these friends, I wasn’t allowed to go anywhere or be with anyone unless he was there. He told me what to eat, what to wear. He pressured me into situations that I knew I wasn’t comfortable with. As time passed, I knew this relationship wasn’t right but he was “perfect.” In my mind, there was no one better I would be able to call mine. He had helped me overcome so many of my issues. Maybe this was just the love I deserved. It took 3 years for me to end that relationship. I wish I could say that one day I just woke up and decided that was it, but that didn’t happen. It was little things that slowly turned my life around. My sisters (I have 3 of them) stepped in and had an intervention of sorts with me. They knew I needed help and by that time, I knew it too. It’s been three tough years but I am growing into the person I never knew I could be. 💜

Jason:

HI my name is Jason I’m 23 and live in Europe.

When I was 11 I got raped by my older brother multiple times over a year. Nobody ever saw that it happened and I was left to feel like I deserved it. I felt dirty for a very long time and still do if I think about what happened. I felt like I was his dirty used sex toy and nobody would ever love me after what happened. Besides that I have 3 brother who always got my parents time and love. I was always left to do everything by myself. For years I felt so alone. Nobody would turn around to look at me or even ask how I was doing. For a very long time I felt so down and unwanted that I have had the thoughts of killing myself over and over again. Days on end of thinking I had nobody or nothing to live for. I hated myself so much because I had the thought that I asked to be raped and ignored by everybody. That I didn’t belong here no matter how hard I try. The hate for myself had become so much I started to cut myself. I felt like it was my punishment for being who I was and for letting the things happen to me that happened. I wasn’t more than something everybody threw away when they were done.

But when I look back at my life now I’m engaged to my amazing girlfriend who loves me in ways nobody ever did. I do work I love every single day and I’m working on moving to my beautiful girlfriend in the US. The only thing that bothers me sometimes is that even though my family knows what happened to me my brother comes over a lot for dinners or family events.

Honestly when I look back to all the bad things it hurts but I love the girl I’m with now and I can’t wait to leave the bad things behind and move on. I’ve been through a lot over the last 12 years and I’ve felt so lonely but today I wouldn’t wish to be anywhere else but with my girlfriend. I haven’t been suicidal for a long time now and couldn’t imagine wanting to leave the love of my life.

This was my story if you have any questions for me ask away I’m here for you guys. 💜

Hunter:

I grew up a little different than most kids. I grew up without a dad in my life and I had a really sick mom. So from the start, I had to learn how to be responsible and take care of other people. It just wasn’t an option for me to ever be emotionally unstable or have the typical “teenager” issues. My mom was unable to work due to her chronic illness (asthma/COPD) and we lived with my grandparents, who were kind enough to help my mom out when she discovered she was pregnant with me. My parents were never married and my dad, who I now classify as probably a sociopath, really couldn’t have cared less about what was happening.

Mental illness runs prominently in my family, which is party why I grew up with what I’d now consider to be trauma. I watched my mom almost die several times due to her breathing issues, and all the stress of taking care of her finally came down on my grandma. When I was in the third grade, my grandma suffered a mental breakdown and had severe depression/schizophrenia/anxiety. She was in the mental ward three times. In my psychology class this year, my teacher talked about how most people just can’t comprehend schizophrenia until they see it in person. I fully agree with him. It’s unlike anything else I’ve yet to witness.

So because of her fragile mental state, we had a lot of drama practically every day. I’d suffered some physical abuse from her, but I don’t hold that against her nor do I think it affected me, because I was mature enough to understand it only happened because she was unwell. But she’d do things like lock my mom out of the house (when she didn’t have her inhaler with her) and then would hold me back from opening the door. All kinds of crazy stuff went on. She got more violent and one day we came home to find out she’d shot herself in the chest. Miraculously, she lived.

If you’ve got mentally ill family members and you’re scared to even invite people over, I get what that feels like.

This isn’t put in to sound whiny but I literally had no friends up until I was, I wanna say 12? I hardly got any social interaction with kids my age because of everything going on at home. My family thought it was best to homeschool me and you might think that’s ridiculous given the situation. But the curriculum consisted of me watching videos of a teacher talking so I basically could do it all on my own. Anyhow, the point of this thrown in was for me to say I’ve been there, when you feel like you have no one to talk to. I went a long time without any friends I could open up to. I kept a lot inside, which I now know is an incredibly unhealthy way of coping, but I naturally took care of everyone else instead of myself. No one ever told me anything different.

Fast forward some, my mom and grandma both got better. Never to 100% but y’know, better. Most of the heavy stuff happened when I was a kid, and my high school days kind of passed by in a blur. Those were some great times honestly. I did meet my dad for the first time when I was 18. I don’t regret doing that, but as he is clearly a narcissistic liar, I made the decision to keep him out of my life. We haven’t spoken in two years.

Now when I was 19 (last year actually) out of the blue, my liver tried to kill me. It was completely out of nowhere; I’d never experienced any medical problems before. In fact, the worst thing I’ve ever had was the flu. I make it a point to eat a semi-healthy diet. We get organic groceries, I don’t drink soda, and I’ve never had more than a couple sips of alcohol. So why, you ask, did my organ decide it was a good idea to stop functioning? I sure would like to know that as well.

I was really, really sick for about 5 months. The official diagnosis was acute hepatitis but nobody in the hospital (I’d gone to 3 different medical facilities for opinions) could tell me why I had it or what had caused it. If I explained all of it in great detail this would be 10 pages long, but to give you a glimpse of how bad it was, normal liver enzymes are like 20-40. Mine were over 2,000. That’s how much inflammation there was. Those months were terrible, I don’t even have words to accurately describe the sheer loss and confusion I felt. I was close to having to get a transplant. I didn’t know what was going to happen to me, but I pushed through it and I got better.

And honestly, I’m almost sort of glad it did. Because now I love myself even more. I take care of myself and every single day I’m so grateful to be alive. I’m proud of myself; I have a purpose and confidence that wasn’t as strong before that happened.

Currently, I’m planning on going to school for art/animation in the fall. This wasn’t an easy decision for me, as I know the job market is extremely competitive and I’ll have to work harder than I ever have. but I know it’s what I’m supposed to do, because this—creating, helping, inspiring, making people happy—these are the things I strive to achieve, and I hope to do that through the films I create.

I’m choosing to pursue my passions. And I’d really like to encourage everyone else to do the same. Go for what you want instead of settling. Your dreams were given to you for a reason.

Don’t just climb mountains, move them too.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. 💜

Ariana:

Hey guys, my name is Ariana. Here’s a little about me so you can get a feel of who you’re talking to. I’m 20 years old, about to be 21. Oh boy. I literally just got engaged less than a week ago to the love of my life. And to top it all off, I have a five year old son who has got the world at his fingertips. So I can say I’m pretty blessed and always grateful. Lord knows my heart hasn’t always been so full. I grew up with a half brother and half sister who moved out of the house when I was still fairly young, so technically I guess you can say I was an only child. I was lonely, and had too much time to think. Yes, I do believe there is such thing as too much time for thinking. Because you know what you do with too much time for thinking? You think too much. I remember coming home one day when I was about eight years old and my mother sat me on the bed and told me that she was divorcing my daddy. It’s weird because I don’t even remember some things that happened this past week, but something will always let me remember this exact moment. I remember the way the sun was shining in the room, and I remember the positions we were sitting in, and most of all, I remember thinking that it was a joke at first so I laughed and laughed until my laughs turned into frantic crying. That’s when things started to go sideways. Things were different. My mom got married not long after to a man I wasn’t too fond of AT THE TIME. There’s that. During the divorce, my mom didn’t dare try to take my dad and I away from each other. My mom worked nights and so she slept a lot during the day, which mean’t my dad and I were together most often. I respect her so much for not making me choose between them. But this also means I was a girl, and a girl going through girly problems having only a dad who could never understand. We started fighting and having issues, and I would literally tell him and everybody else that I hated him. Which just breaks my heart into pieces now that I am a parent, myself. I still don’t know if I had actual reasons to dislike him or I was just a hateful person at the time considering where my heart and mind were at. I could never sleep at night so I would stay up super late and my nights always ended with me crying in the bathroom trying to hurt myself. And nobody knew. I hated myself. By this time I was in middle school and you can only imagine how cruel middle schoolers are. Rumors all day every day about everybody and everyone. Yeah, rumors are just rumors, but in middle school, everybody believes anything they hear so it’s as if it might as well be true. It was a very dark time in my life. I turned to getting into sex chat websites on the computer after dark just to feel some type of affection. Some type of interest in me.. somebody to pay attention to my feelings even if it was wrong. Let me tell you, those chat rooms were not somewhere for a child to be. Finally, in 8th grade, I met a guy and it’s like we were two grown adults in love… or at least we sure thought we were. We were together a few months, and I got pregnant. Let me tell you, two kids that young with so many emotions and hormones, not to mention, the responsibility they had coming their way… not pretty. I was just a girl ,who, while everybody else around me still had cute little cheerleader bodies, was going through drastic body changes trying to maintain a self esteem, and a young boy who never thought about the consequences of his actions, just wanting freedom again, but is now dealing with coming home to the girl with the hormones every single day. He was very aggressive towards me, and very abrasive. He never held back. He would be messaging other girls as i carried our child. He would say he loved me, but would tear me down any chance he would get. I know what you’re thinking…. why didn’t you leave? If only it were that easy. All I wanted to do was love him. And I didn’t understand what had changed between us and why he hated me so much? When the only person there for you, hates you, what do you do? Let me just tell you that there was so much in between that went on that I don’t even know where to begin. All I know is one day I started loving myself, and I’m pretty sure that’s where life began. I give all the glory to Jesus, and the son that He gave me, because the fact that somebody wakes up every day and needs you, and depends on you, and thinks you hung the dang moon all by yourself, well, how could you not feel important and special? AND, that person I mentioned that I’m engaged too? Yup. Same hateful freshman in high school, the father of my only son. Not trying to brag, but our relationship is one of the strongest I’ve ever witnessed. We’ve seen each other at our lowest, stuck through it, grew up, and we respect each other so much for never giving up on the other. We now have our own house, very good jobs for our age, wonderful relationships with our parents (ALL OF THEM) , and so much love in our household I can hardly take it all in. Everything happens for a reason~ I don’t think that people change, I simply believe that people grow. There is hope. Things do get better. The only way things won’t get better, is if you give up. 💜

Dory:

Hey  there… So I am the one who has walked and talked with Kenzy for a while now and you may have heard her refer to me as her counselor. I have mainly been her dedicated listener…processing with her, loving her and upholding her. I’ve been there to help her walk forward from the past.  I carry her in my prayers relentlessly and I am delighted to become part of this team.  Throughout my own life there have been lots of scattered storms and heart hurling hurricanes which I have weathered strong… so be it known, my personal experiences are fairly broad. (Everything from being a first time runaway bride to losing a dad who was very young and more) As I post I’m sure I will find the opportunity to tell you more of my own story one way or another… but right this minute I am just wanting to tell you that I am ready to listen with utmost attention and that along with the others here, I’ll offer you any encouragement that I can.

Yes, I was the girl who at 5 years old, could not stand seeing anything (bird or cat) or anyone (mother or bullied friend) hurting, crying or in pain. I really felt deep down in my own heart what seemed to be going on inside hurting things and hurting people. As I got older I realized what a terrible thing it is to be alone in one’s pain and I still had this longing within me for helping or comforting others. I seemed to notice all the hurt in the world and through the eyes of a 5 year old girl it made me think hard about someday joining the Salvation Army or taking up with the Red Cross or some organization full of female rescuers of sorts!! That idea came and went but after many other twists and turns I found myself walking one on one through some of the very hardest themes of life with those who have needed to be heard, helped, loved…for as long as it takes to see change.

The thing I find is that love and mercy, compassion and understanding, if given with trustworthiness and hope…don’t generally seem to fail. They have a language that is not all spoken…which is why I still work hardest at being a truly good listener.  I learned the incredible value of words and their power at a very young age. I began to listen hard…paying attention to what people said, how they said it and particularly whether or not the words of adults were full of hypocrisy.  Hypocrisy and double standards were the things that nearly destroyed my family and I somehow made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t end up going down that road with them or like them.  A goal like that took work on my part as I searched for truth and self worth and a better way. I determined to use words carefully, lovingly and respectfully. There were lots of things I personally had to overcome but even through what seemed like a long passage I found hope, I found strength, and I never gave up.  So as we meet here, those are the things I hope to find words for… and to pass them on to you. 💜

Eliza:

I can’t remember a day when I was younger that I didn’t at least think about suicide. It got really bad when I was in middle school and my family decided to up and move right before my last year before high school. I had a really hard time. I slept a lot, I was made fun of a lot in my new school. Not out right bullying, but to a girl with low self esteem… little comments were everything. And…no one saw me. I constantly tried new things and I was never picked. I didn’t realize at the time what they were but I was starting to develop panic attacks.

I attempted suicide three times that year, my parents still don’t think that’s true. They saw me struggle… a lot of people saw me struggle. All they had to say was…what do you have to be sad for? You are too young to be depressed. You don’t know what depression is. Boy… were they wrong. I feel like I stepped out of the womb in a state of melancholy. I struggle every single day to see the glass half full. It wasn’t until I was in my mid twenties that I started to have days that were  bright and cheery. Days where I felt “normal”. Days where suicide didn’t catch my mind. Good days.

I am the biggest advocate for people to acknowledge the way they feel and accept it. I still get depressed often, and panic attacks happen when I least expect it. I am human. You are human. No one can tell you that you are too privileged, too naive, to young, to inexperienced, too anything to feel a particular kind of way. I wanted to join this team to be another voice that makes you feel heard. There have been months where I was doing well to just get out of bed in the morning. To have someone in my life to make me feel heard, loved and understood would have made all the difference then.

You do not have to feel broken. You are not broken. You have these weighty circumstances, whatever they may be, that you have to deal with and that is okay. It’s okay to deal with them every single day. I hope you find a way to deal with them properly and with love and adoration for yourself and all that your life has to give the world.

For a long time it was really difficult for me to even talk about what I had been through, I didn’t think that I deserved to talk about it. I thought I was alone. The pit was so deep I didn’t see any light. That feeling changed me. I worked harder than anyone. I saw things in others that people didn’t see. I gained empathy and encouragement. I want you to know that you are not alone. We are hear to be your advocates. Let us listen. 💜

Snoopy:

Twelve-ish years ago, My parents got a call asking if they wanted to adopt a baby boy. They said yes, since adoption was-and is a big part of our family. This was our first encounter with the adoption system, and we expected things to go smoothly. My parents knew that there was a chance that things could go south, but it was a small chance. They met the birth parents, a white dude and his african/pacific islander girlfriend, who seemed to believe that they were doing what was best for their baby. “Take care of my son.” The birth father said to my dad. There was no reason to believe that this would go anything but smoothly.

But we were wrong.

The same man who said “Take care of my son” turned around and called my parents ‘baby-stealers’. This man and his girlfriend took my parents to court to fight for the child that they tried to abort… TWICE. The child that the birth father didn’t want because the kid would “taint his pure German bloodline.”

Seven years we fought for my brother. During those seven years, my parents endured hours of court, in which they were viciously attacked by lawyers, in which one false statement could spell disaster. They fought a seven year war of attrition against a man whose pockets were deep, all while providing for three children [while the birth father REFUSED to pay child support. and lived with his grandmother… just gonna leave that there]. We eventually had to get a restraining order on the birth mother because she was stalking us. It put immense strain on everybody, on my parents’ relationship with each other [they considered a divorce, and they don’t know that I know that], on my mother’s relationship with me [I was going through the ‘nobody understands me’ phase of puberty, and this did not help anything], and probably others that I still don’t know about.

And the birth father apparently was cyber-stalking us, trying to dig up dirt on my parents to use against them in court. My mom’s first Facebook account did not use her real name, picture, or location, and this creep STILL managed to find out that it was her. He had a cousin of his join a private FB group for difficult adoptions that my mom was apart of and use what she said there against her in court. So unlike other thirteen year-olds, my dad had a legitimate reason for not allowing me to not have any social media.

So that’s why I hesitate to put my name up on this blog. As for the end of my story, it is tragic. After seven years of court battles, the birth father won custody of my brother. I haven’t seen him since. We had some contact for a while, but only for a few weeks afterwards. we tried to call him for his birthday, and the birth father had a RELATIVE call my dad to cuss him out. [the coward didn’t even do it himself.]

I don’t know if my brother is well fed, or safe, or happy. I don’t know if he has been given tools to process his grief the way I have. All I know is that God kept him safe before he was born, and God will continue to keep him safe.

On top of all of that, I have ADHD [like my dad], and have been diagnosed and medicated from the tender age of 7. My symptoms were extreme enough to overshadow my sister’s symptoms. [she didn’t get diagnosed until she was 13]. I have anxiety [like my mom], but that’s a more recent discovery. My family still fosters kids, and that’s a pile of chaos, but it’s life.

Anyway, that’s my tragic backstory. Perhaps a bit more grief-centered than abuse-centered, but it’s my story. I honestly have gotten so used to it… it doesn’t seem like much because I haven’t been abused or seriously considered suicide or anything like that… But I’m here, and I’m here for you guys, and I hope that I can help. 💜

Cindy:

I was raised in good home, but everyone has their demons. My Dad was a functioning alcoholic with an anger problem and my Mom was hugely co-dependent. They fought all the time growing up and when they weren’t my brothers and I braced ourselves just waiting for them to start again. When I was 12 they separated and it was like my whole life was a snowglobe that was turned upside down. My brothers were already out of high school and could move on with their lives, but I was tossed between my parents, oftentimes living out of a drawstring bag I carried with me at all times with a change of clothes and my toothbrush. My parents really do love each other, though. So they cleaned up their acts, both going through 12-step programs and counseling so that they could finally be together again and after 5 years, they remarried. They are proof that real love doesn’t come easily- it is fought for.  In the midst of all my trouble at home my mind started to wage wars on me. I struggled with depression since I was a child and not feeling good enough or like I fit in anywhere. I was lost, and around when I was 13 I started to question every miniscule move I did, whether it was the “right” thing to do. This may sound a bit confusing to you and I promise I will tell more of the details of my illness in later posts, but these questions and uncertainty started to bleed into my everyday life and stop me from functioning. I started to have problems in school, I could barely eat or drink, and I would sometimes stay awake for hours rechecking doors and locks. My Mother finally took me to counseling. I was nervous and scared the first time I went and I felt like an outcast. I wasn’t sure if things would ever get better, but they did. I was diagnosed with OCD and my family and I decided the best course of action would be for me to go on medication so that I could get back to living my normal teenage life. The change was so remarkable that I promised that I would never let myself get back to that point- the point where I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning, where my mind was locked in a continuous prison that nobody knew about, and the place where I hid my struggles from the rest of the world. I would do what it took to keep myself mentally healthy. Looking back, I see that my faith is what got me through the dark storms. I knew from a young age that God was with my family and that He was working in my life all along. When my OCD raged the hardest inside me, I was given promises that helped me fight another day. My faith is what wakes me up in the morning and inspires me to be a better person for the people around me. I love the quote “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Everyone is writing their own story, and each one looks unique. I want to live in a way that accepts people’s stories and struggles, and reaches a hand out to them on their journey to find their way, even if it looks different than mine. Fast forward years later and a lot of life has happened- I found an incredible man to spend the rest of my life with and I chose an industry and a career to pursue that makes me come alive. More than anything, though, and through whatever medium I can do it through, I want to help others and inspire them. I want to give them the hope that called out to me in the dark, the hope that said, “Today is not where it ends and someday there will be a light at the end of this tunnel, even if it’s not today. You are not alone in this place.” I’m thankful and hopeful to have found that place here with guys. Can’t wait to chat more! 💜

Eryn:

Dear Friend, I think one of the hardest things to do in this world is trying to explain who you are, especially when every year, every month, every day, and every second I feel as though I am ever changing. I’m just a woman.

It’s as simple yet complicated as that. 
I love to love others mostly because I was once in a situation with another where I was everything but loved by them. 
I was pushed to a point where I didn’t even know how to love myself.
 Emotionally trapped inside of a boy’s grasp.
 Maybe you’ll hear more about that later.
 I have since come a long way from that dark place, I’d love to get a chance to tell you what I have learned about not only myself but others and this scarily beautiful world we exist on.
 My purpose is to love.
 So, through my writing I hope to make you feel loved and safe. 💜