It was 10 years ago today, on October 25, 2005 that I survived being beaten by a group of teens. The incident, rumored to be a hate crime, left me only temporarily emotionally and physically defeated. An acoustic neuroma, or vestibular schwannoma, was discovered shortly after and removed in a major surgery a few months later. Unfortunately, the brain tumor is back and I will be undergoing radiation soon.
Throughout life, I’ve only known challenges. Whether it be paternal abandonment, sexual abuse as a child, maternal rejection, homelessness, violence, whatever obstacles have come my way, I have always managed to persevere. Perhaps my work as a writer and activist will be trumped by personal history but, however history remembers me, I have enjoyed a fantastic life and survived more adversity than most.
I don’t write much about nature other than human nature and rarely in metaphors. I get props at colleges and universities in spite of the fact I’ve never received any major awards or barely get any recognition by the literary community. I’ve always owned my past as a sex worker and, much like Maya Angelou, thrived on my own terms as a writer.
Ten years later, I am glad to be alive and am fully aware of how fortunate I am. Many voices have been and continue to be silenced due to hate. For those of us who get to survive and for those who feel defeated, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Speak your truth. Love yourself. Enjoy your life.
“I’ve been surviving since I was a child. I’m not a survivor. I’m a fucking warrior!”