Growing up, I was constantly reminded to not to air our family’s dirty laundry. Part of why domestic violence is allowed to continue is because there is often an unwritten rule in many families of abuse: Don’t ask. Don’t tell. Keeping quiet does no good. I found that sharing my story liberated me from my past. There is power in storytelling and, in that, healing. Owning my truth also empowered me. I will no longer be manipulated or controlled by guilt or shame.
It can’t be pretty without being ugly first.
An avid reader, I never missed a book by Judy Blume or Agatha Christie. They both remain two of my favorite authors. If I could have combined these ladies into one person, that’s who I would have wanted to be when I grew up.
Throughout my childhood, I had served as an interpreter for my family. When I left home, I also left the Deaf community. I’d had enough of being a de facto intermediary and wanted to find my own identity. But, over time, I learned to embrace both cultures and find balance between them. I love my Deaf and CODA family and hope they would be proud to call me one of their own.
Mostly, I stand in awe of the every day women I knew from childhood that I interact with on Facebook. They struggle with juggling careers and raising children, endure hardships and occasional setbacks and yet do so with humility, grace and a sense of humor. Now that is inspiring!
Being a figurehead for those with family members in prison is somewhat new for me. Something I’ve discovered since my father’s incarceration is that the prison system is broken. My first-hand experiences have taught me that reform needs to happen sooner than later. I’m most interested in mentoring children with parents in prison. When a parent is sentenced to a jail term, the child is sentenced to the same time to be spent without a mother or father. No child should suffer a stigma or lack support and guidance because of the sins of a parent.