Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Full Circle

There are some awesome and exciting things going on in my life right now that I’m not really sure I can share on the interwebs, YET... But I’ve been in contact with some awesome people in the last few weeks, and I’ve been included in some really awesome opportunities! 

  Two years ago this month, my husband, brother, and children were driving home from our annual family vacation in New York (Western, Chautauqua County) and I was flipping through a Cosmopolitan magazine I’d picked up at the one of the truck stops.  We were in Tennessee, I believe, and in the back of this August 2011 edition there was an article titled "I Was Forced Into Sex Slavery".  It was about 3 women, each with different experiences with being sexually exploited. Each had survived.  I just spent some time scouring Google for this article and came up empty handed.  I have the very same copy I read in the magazine torn out and thumb tacked to the cork board above my computer desk.  When I began to realize I was going to come up empty handed in my search, I started desperately searching for the individual women featured. Ahhhh, the power of Google.  I found each of them including their personal web pages and their FB pages.  I actually hadn’t realized, but somehow I started following one of these women via Facebook months ago and kept wondering why she seemed so familiar.  I’m not even entirely sure how I found her in the first place, I’m thinking it was a “suggested article” on my wall.  I literally stopped typing this to go and message this woman and tell her how her article changed my entire life. 

  I spent 7 years after my experiences of being exploited hiding and suppressing those memories.  Very few knew the truth, and they only knew enough to understand why it was a big, deep, dark secret.  When I found this article two years ago, I sat there in the passenger seat of our family car, and cried.  I must’ve cried for a good hour, trying to explain to my husband in so many words why this was so freaking amazing!!  I had NEVER looked back at my past and considered myself a victim, let alone a survivor.  This article was truly amazing.  It kept repeating over and over the words “victim” and “survivor”, and this light bulb just went on and I understood it ALL.  It was the most clarifying moment aside from the day of my daughter’s birth when I became a mother and saw my own mother for who she truly is.  I just couldn’t get over this overwhelming feeling of clarity, relief….joy??  I was so free, so so light, for the first time since I was a very young child.    
  
 We arrived back in Tucson within a day or so of this discovery of mine and I immediately set to work.  I called everyone I could imagine who could show me the light; give me some answers; help me find some way of getting involved in helping other victims become survivors.  I was then, and still am, in regular contact with the team of people who helped me get out of the life. Especially the detective who, at the time, was the Devil, I was sure of it.  Now I can’t help but credit him with saving my life.  His passion in wanting to get me the hell out of there is probably my saving grace. Hopefully he doesn’t read this, Lord knows his ego is already out of control ;).   My detective and few others were able to help me network and, although it seems like it’s been two long years of nothing but roadblocks, I am FINALLY starting to see the result of my efforts and the efforts of those who have help me. 
   
Which brings us to my AWESOME surprise, the secret I can’t tell:
I **may** have been selected to be featured in an article on the realities of sex trafficking and survivor-hood!!! EEEEEK!!!!!  So, what does this mean to me?? This means that in exactly two years’ time my journey has come full circle.  This journey began because of an article in a popular magazine. The new chapter in my life begins with this blog. In addition to my family and the blessings in my life I now have  the amazing volunteer opportunity I’ve been so blessed with (just yesterday morning :D ), and another magazine article.  I don’t want to be famous, I don’t want recognition for my life or for the success I’ve had thus far.  I want some girl/woman/family member of a survivor to find me someday after reading the article or this blog and have their life change as mine did. Paying it forward by giving someone the freedom that little article in Cosmo gave me?   THAT will be rewarding.   THAT will justify all of the scars, and tears, and fear.  It will have given every moment of horror meaning. 

5 comments:

  1. I am so proud of you! I remember the day you called me when you came home and you told me that you had something to tell me. You gave me the article and I read it and we talked about it for hours.

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    1. I remember too <3 You've been so supportive and encouraging babe!

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  2. Reading your articles are so eye opening. I'm so glad you got out of that life and that you are where you are today. I know I'm your neighbor and I don't think I ever really met you, but it's just shocking to see someone that has been affected by this literally so close to home.

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    1. It's easy for me to live my life the way I've molded it, and not allow the past to affect me in my day to day interactions. Everyone has, at some point in their lives, been effected by something, we just have to keep perspective and offer everyone a shoulder, and a hug. <3

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  3. Hi Liz, this is Minh, one of the women featured in that article! I hope you are well. Will you email me at minhspeakstruth@gmail.com?

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