As part of a collaboration with our longtime partner organization Christie's Place, The Well Project will be sharing stories from their book "Healing Hope: A woven tapestry of strength and solace" as blog entries on our A Girl Like Me platform. The views and opinions expressed in this project are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of The Well Project.
Anonymous written submission
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When I first saw the light, I quickly learned that parents are not given a manual on "parenting skills", but were walking around with their own past generation's values and behaviors. As a child being born and raised in San Diego, I learned the hard and confused way that I was not given the right to live without pre-judgment because of my race and skin color. As an American citizen, born in the 60's, I endured a lot of racial injustice. I never understood why I was always referred to as a "wet back, beaner" and told to "go back to Mexico".
Also and during my childhood and teenage years, I endured a lot of physical and emotional abuse from my mother and older brother, unfortunately. Venturing out into the world with all the scars and pain I was carrying, and not given the tools I needed to make wise choices, I ended up marrying a very abusive man, both physically and emotionally.
After 6 years of so much pain and abuse, I decided to leave him. I vividly recall the night and one of the many times of abuse. At 2 am, I found my 5-year-old daughter out in the middle of the street, screaming for someone for help. It was at that moment that I had had enough and finally decided to get into my car and, along with my children, drive off, promising myself to never look back. I am by no means expecting sympathy from anyone, but letting you know, and without walking the same path together, you and I have a lot in common.
With the father of my children refusing to give me child support, I was always worried how I was going to pay my bills and place food on my table. It was then that I decided to study cosmetology, I was able to graduate as a certified Cosmetologist. I was not happy with this schooling that I chose to go to college and had the honor of graduating with an Associates in "Administration of Justice". Even after graduating I felt that this was not enough to live a financially stable future, that I decided to continue with my studies. I started my schooling at San Diego State University, and after 4 years, I had the honor once again, graduating with a Bachelor's degree as a major in "Criminal Justice" and a minor in "Sociology". I worked in the field of Corrections and the Court system.
I am presently celebrating 30 years with HIV. It was through the help of Christie's Place that I received the counseling, therapy and support system that has allowed me to become the woman that I was deserving to be. There are and will still be challenges that I have to work on, and on a daily basis. I have come to the conclusion that we are all warriors and survivors, and it is through the mutual support we can give each other and one day at a time, that I am learning to love myself. Thank you for allowing me to share my story.