August 4th, 1997 it began. I was born into Klintsy, Russia, and immediately faced what later became a common element in my life: trauma.

I was born and a twin had passed. This was revealed to me by my brother who stated he has seen a blue baby in the hospital. I was not a stillborn as I am alive typing this. My brother assumed there was only one child and that I was deceased. My adopted family assumed they were deceased. Neither party other than my blood mother was actually dead. After this event, I was given up to an orphanage. My blood family kept me hidden and argued about my existence. In the orphanage, I experienced my first sexual assault. Once in the states, I became familiar as I continued to be a victim. I was raped several times between the years of 4-6 and molested off and on until adulthood. Life had been hard being isolated and missing the voice of a twin that should’ve been here with me. Their loss has impacted me and often made me feel as though my voice calls out and is disembodied and unheard. No response. Ghosted.

At 9, I developed severe depression and became familiar with death. I had tried to take my life for the first time. I did not succeed. I attempted later at the age of 13 when I tried to drink myself to death. I failed once again. The cause of the major attempt follows the death of my best friend. The biggest haunting of her loss was a major fight we had the night she passed. We both exchanged harmful words and harsh goodbye. It tore me to pieces knowing I can never apologize… It was too late. Continuing forward, a close friend took her life when we were 16. It devastated me. I often felt it should’ve been me and not her, and I wish I could give her one last hug. After her loss, there has been a significant amount of family and friends to follow. Most of the family has been victims of cancer whereas friendships ended with addiction and suicide.

The direct traumas I’ve experienced that have haunted me: the rapes/molestation, seeing a rotting man in the woods after his suicide, witnessing a shooting, arguing with my best friend the night of her untimely death, the loss of several family and friends, almost being abducted, witnessing domestic violence when visiting friends as a child, and seeing my friend’s mom being raped. I was also a victim of being groomed. One pastor has been revealed to have sexually assaulted the other girls he manipulated into his twisted “family”. I was then friends with a toxic narcissist who was outed for his problematic and hateful views. He attempted to groom me and I had to file a police report. I’m currently in an emotionally abusive relationship with a person who is 17 years older than me, and I want to leave and be free once again. It’s been a difficult journey only being 23, but I genuinely believe that there will be good to supersede the bad. I have not given up, and I am still here. I choose life. I want to heal, and learn to love myself, and see the light of which pieces of my childhood emulated. We are strong. We have a voice. We can go from surviving to living. Stay strong and hold on. You’re worth it.

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