I was born stargazing. Instead of coming out of my mother’s birth canal facing downward, I assumed the less likely position of facing upward causing my mother a longer and more painful birth. My mother was in labor for 24 long hours with no epidural. God bless her.
When I announced that I would be sharing my personal survival story with 100 people on July 31, I was not thinking about how I was born. I was thinking about a particular memory in my childhood that I had been researching for a book I have begun. I was thinking about the constellation Orion and a telescope I was given by my father.
I was reflecting about my ability to still live in wonder of the stars despite the sexual abuse my father chose to make a part of my life story. My father chose a legacy with grave potential side effects – depression, substance abuse, suicide, incarceration, anxiety, PTSD. Statistically speaking, his choices set me up for failure before I left 1st grade.
The truth hurts and I suppose I could consider myself entitled. It would be easy to convince myself that in exchange for all of the things stolen from me in my youth, I deserve to go around smashing joy like the hulk. Instead, I stargaze.
Every winter, Orion graces our sky and I love him. I still count the three stars of his belt and look for his bow pulled taut.
I love lavishly. I grow flowered vines on my porch and make fresh lemonade to share with my friends. I spend time teaching my children about volunteering and how to use online instructional videos to conquer our mathematical deficiencies. I dance to the salsa music of another car with my husband at the gas station. I share my stories with other survivors so we can all feel less alone. I live the legacy I chose, not the one given to me.
I have decided to start The Firecracker Foundation to honor the bravery of children who have survived sexual trauma with a community invested in the healing of their whole being.
We have the power to decide that the children surviving in our community deserve a different legacy than what was chosen for them. For more information about this new nonprofit organization, visit www.thefirecrackerfoundation.org.