I am a survivor.

I am a survivor.

It’s getting close to the beginning of October, a month that will forever hold immense collective trauma, deep sadness, painful reckoning, profound wonder, gratitude, precious joy, and a multitude of other emotions for those of us who live in Las Vegas. It is a traumatic event that will take years to process.

October is also a month that is recognized annually as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I am a survivor of intimate partner violence, as is 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men in the United States. My experiences in an abusive relationship for many years have shaped me, but they do not define me. Abusers target the strong ones, but they fail to understand, time and time again, the resilience and unbounded strength of those they choose to harm.

October is also the month I celebrate my birthday, which I share with my amazing mother, and ours is just 10 days after my spectacular sister’s birthday.  It is a month that contains multitudes, for me, for the beautiful souls I have the honor of being close to, and for my collective broader community.

I have been broken, and I have survived. I have been weary and exhausted of all of my resources, and still I have survived. I have been in mortal danger, and I have survived. I have transformed my adversity into my catharsis. I have found courage, will, strength, and fortitude inside me during the darkest periods of my life. I am a survivor and the strength of survivors is an awesome thing to behold.