Here is my story. This is why I do what I do today and why I am who I am. Keep fighting for your sanity, your freedom, your healing! Someday you’ll be so thankful you did!
Growing up was tough for me. My dad was a violent, angry man. He was an extreme alcoholic and very abusive. The abuse I encountered from him shattered me. I lived a life of hatred toward men. Addiction filled my existence for 28 years.
My Dad was a bartender and my Mom was a waitress. I grew up in the bars, with Hells Angels, an environment not fit for a child. My parents divorced by the time I was 9. My Mom was violently abused by my Dad. We witnessed many beatings and violence in our home.
With long blond hair, blue eyes, my innocence were stolen from me around the age of 4. All I knew was I was suppose to keep it a secret and what happened was very confusing but since my abuse started so young and was continuous, I thought what I encountered was normal. Then when it began with another perpetrator I went along with everything once again. This time it was a trusted neighbor who was a very vile, twisted, perverse man. He was a pedophile. To this day the things that happened are unspeakable. I had experienced rape, incest, molestation and exploitation for a period of over 10 years.
I had lost my trust in humanity and thought to myself I know dogs that are treated better than I was. To use a little girl for your entertainment and pleasure and sickening things are mind boggling to me now. But then, I knew no difference. Until one day I was diagnosed bi-polar and put on meds to help me cope with my suicidal, confusing altering state of mind. I would self harm, over medicate and do anything to escape the pain I lived with daily in my head.
I was given alcohol before my abuse each time, so by the age of 12 I began to drink on my own and hang out in an alley way on a street in SF known as Broadway. In that alley were 2 back doors. One led to a strip club, the other a heavy metal club. My friends and I were offered fake ID’s and to this day I’m amazed I chose to walk in the door of the heavy metal club. I was introduced to drugs and quickly became an addict. My life spiraled as I lived a very promiscuous lifestyle and while hanging out with my favorite band at the time Poison, I met my first love who was the drummer of an 80’s band who was 12 years older than me. He whisked me away to Maryland after one week of knowing him. I left my family and lived on the road with these 80’s heavy metal bands, Guns & Roses, Poison, Tesla, Great White and the like. The Rock & Roll lifestyle consumed me. After 4 years I came back to California to try to get clean and start AA. I knew the drugs would kill me if I didn’t stop but I didn’t have control.
I went to school to become a makeup artist and on my first day of work in downtown SF at Macy’s I was invited to go to an underground club. I was 21 years old and really wanting to turn my life around, but that night led me into the rave, nightclub scene for almost 8 years. The owner of the club sent me a bottle of Dom Perignon and took me in from that night on. A socialite and influential man, I lived the lifestyle of the rich & famous. Celebrities, wealth, more hardcore drugs and promiscuity slowly ate away at my soul.
I remember the first time I had the realization of what happened to me as a 28 year old woman, partying away and disassociating with my horrific childhood. I will never forget sitting on my couch shaking violently as I listened to a woman on TV publicly uttering the words of abuse I encountered as a little girl. I sat in horror and found myself shouting at her, shh, you can’t say those things, your suppose to keep them secret. But one by one she shattered every lie I held in my head, in my soul, in my existence. I heard things like, you were sexually abused, it wasn’t your fault, you need to tell someone what happened to you! I turned the TV off, with no support system, no idea where to start I sat in disbelief of what I heard and somehow found courage and picked up the phone and called my sister. I told her what I heard, what I remembered and what happened. She confirmed it all and it was the first time I found my voice! A voice within me that was screaming to find breath. A felt empowered, outraged and violently sick to my stomach all at the same time. I wish I could say things turned around for me from that day on but truthfully that was the very first step in my journey of healing. Mentally I was unprepared to deal with the flashbacks and trauma. Night terrors kept me sleeping with the lights on every night. I could not be in any darkness what so ever. Anxiety & fear consumed me. I thought my abusers would come for me.
Then one day a simple invite to church changed my destiny. I was working in a salon doing facials when I client invited me to church on Sunday. I remember laughing hysterically and saying me, church? Why would you ask me to go to church with you? And he looked right in my eyes and said I know, you’re one of the biggest sinners I’ve ever met and you might catch on fire when you walk through the door but I know why you’ll come to church this Sunday. I smugly said, oh ya why? And he said, cause there is really hot guys there! I looked at my watch and said, what time, I’ll be there! I’m telling you only God knew how to get this girl to church. And I went that Sunday. And kept going for all the wrong reasons. I dated half the guys in that church. I’ll admit it, I had bad intentions but every Sunday I kept hearing message about a Fathers love. A love I had not known. A love I desired and felt woo’d by. I was hooked.
One day the Pastor had an alter call and I found myself giving my heart to God. I gave it all away for my one true love. Suddenly He was first and I was second. He came into my life and changed me in many ways. I was delivered of my addiction to drugs, to men and to smoking. But there was one thing that lingered. My sanity. As I started to embrace the act of sobriety and healing from my scars it proved to be too much for me. I met my husband at that same church and we were newly married and I began to crumble mentally. I had no idea of what real intimacy was, relationship was and the life of magnomony. It was all so foreign and began to confuse me.
Thankfully we had a Pastor who took me in and mentored me while I found a psychiatrist who specialized in complex trauma and EMDR therapy. This is when I began the process of healing from my past abuse. I call it finding beauty in my scars. I did find true beauty in each scar. They each tell a story. They each help me in my path of helping others heal. And now I look at my scars as a reminder of how strong I was. How the brain can be rewired and renewed to release the trauma of the past and use it as fuel to propel me into my destiny. For 9 years I went to counseling, fighting for my sanity. I was on medication, diagnosed Bi-polar and pretty much thought this was what my life looked like.
It wasn’t until I started serving and getting my mind off myself that I really started to tap into my calling in life. I now reach out to women who work in the sex industry and help them find their voice, their healing and their destiny. I go out to the streets where girls are working, to strip clubs, brothels and anywhere where I am called to find women just like me. Women who don’t know their potential, who haven’t heard their is hope. Women who need someone to help them begin to understand they can do more with their life. It’s the most rewarding and fulfilling thing I’ve done with my life. My dream is to open a home for the girls to come to a complete healing, in a timelier fashion than I did (if possible) and to find who they are meant to be. A place to belong, to be a part of a community of women going through he same thing and a place of employment. To truly find beauty in their scars too. If you told me 20 years ago, that the long hard road of healing would lead to where I am today, I would not have believed you. I was full of terrifying fear that controlled my every decision in life. I sheltered myself and controlled my environment. Now sober, drug free (street & pharmaceutical) and healed, God calls me to share my story with others. Fear, anxiety and a wasted life have all been replaced by living second, serving my Daddy and helping other women find beauty in their scars. Lisa Michelle /I Am Second
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