Writer. Actor. Singer. Martial Artist. Survivor.
Roots & Growth
There’s not an ounce of my being that doesn’t thrive on creativity. Even before I could read and write, my extraordinarily active imagination made itself known. Throughout my childhood into early adolescence, this – especially paired with a high IQ – earned me attention on both the positive and negative ends of the spectrum.
Throughout elementary and grade school, I was bullied quite heavily. Attending a humble school out in the middle of nowhere, I had the same classmates every year from first through eighth grade. This meant always being around those who bullied me, which was a good majority of my classmates, and I was left feeling like there was no escape. As I approached puberty and the pressures of societal standards became more “serious,” the effect the bullying had (and continued to have) on me instituted more serious repercussions. I plummeted into a darkened state closing myself off to the world, attempting suicide and becoming diagnosed with clinical depression at the mere age of 12. The cruelty I endured deeply scarred my self-esteem and left me fighting to rebuild my confidence for years afterward, all the way into adulthood. It wasn’t until I entered my thirties that I was finally able to go about life truly not caring what other people think.
On the other end of the spectrum, my creativity gave me the ability to escape from the pain of reality by giving me an outlet through which I could express myself. It began with poetry, which led to songwriting and learning to play the guitar. Over the years I built myself a sizable repertoire, and recorded several demo songs – a few of which were used in films that I also starred in. Concurrently, I was also able to delve into the world of acting, starting with the stage and eventually graduating to film. For the last 20 years of my life, the creative and performing arts and the entertainment industry have been where I’ve found myself most at home. (You can find out about my music, films, and more by visiting my links.)
Shaken & Stirred
A few years ago, I was hit over the head unmercifully hard by life. It was the type of blow that causes your entire life to flash before your eyes, making you question your very existence. One evening on a walk home from the 7-Eleven down the street, I was sexually assaulted by a stranger. I was placed into a choke hold and pulled into a nearby alley, with the ice cold barrel of a gun jabbed into my throat. He was attempting to rape me; I can only remember bits and flashes, but somehow in the struggle I was able to break loose of his grasp and turn to face him. This prompted him to press the gun against my forehead; “go ahead,” I said – with that, he ran, and was never caught. This left me in a brutal struggle with PTSD to this day.
Having my life flash before my eyes in my moments of near death sparked a fire in me; like a phoenix from the ashes, my whole life was forever changed – both involuntarily and voluntarily. In the months following the assault, I went through a very dark period, assessing my life and everything I had (or hadn’t) accomplished up to that point. I made the decision to enroll in college, and in the spring of 2016 I graduated with honors, obtaining associates degrees in anthropology, global and cultural studies, and geography. Subsequently, I began training in the martial arts – and then shortly thereafter, began teaching martial arts.
The bottom line is this: even though I had experienced such an acutely traumatic event, I wouldn’t be the person I am today had it not happened. It has ended up changing my life – ultimately for the better.
Surviving & Thriving
I am now a first degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and a senior instructor at a well-loved and highly respected martial arts academy. I love teaching children, and am always honored to hear when a student looks up to me. It is one of the most amazing feelings in the world to know you’ve had a positive and memorable impact on someone’s life – and to have the opportunity to do so again and again, day after day with so many people? It makes me feel alive. Quite the stark opposite from my days of being bullied, to say the least.
It has taken me years to learn how to get back up gracefully after life rips the ground out from under me. It wasn’t until very recently that I was able to transition from pessimism to optimism, to see opportunity instead of opposition. I used to suffocate in all the negativity, to drown in all the adversities, to think the universe was out to get me. Now I know better. I’ve grabbed my demons by the horns, looked them in the eye, and rescinded their power over me. My life is my own – and no matter what happens, I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul (William Ernest Henley, “Invictus”).
It is my hope that my blog will inspire others who have had similar experiences and struggles, and give them a sense of solace, however small. You are not alone – you’re a survivor, and survivors stick together. For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack (Rudyard Kipling).