At the age of eighteen, with one hundred dollars and nothing left other than my creativity , I started designing women’s clothes and became successful in the fashion industry, eventually having showrooms around the country and being featured in magazines and films.
I had created my own world in order to survive; however, I suffered decades from depression, severe anxiety, panic attacks, self-mutilation, an eating disorder and the fear that my abusers may had given me AIDS. Thankfully they had not.
I never went to therapy or counseling, but when I got to the point that I could no longer eat and was dangerously thin and malnourished, I went to see a Hypnotherapist. After two sessions, my eating disorder was under control.
It had a life changing effect. In fact, in 2001, I became a Clinical Hypnotherapist. Fashion Designer by day, Hypnotherapist by night.
I became aware of the connection between our emotional wellbeing and its effect on our physical body. Soon I designed workshops on how to change behaviors and live the life you deserve.
Through years of self discovery and self-care, I was able to confront my trauma head-on. I read countless books on self-help, self-care, and the power of believing. I used magical thinking ( and still do!) , learned various healing techniques and practices, and focused on healing my inner wounds.
Despite pursuing my dreams, with my angel Diane by my side, I knew that something was missing in my life. I wanted justice for what had been done to me.
In 2008, thirty-two years after my abuse, I confronted the Catholic Church and the two predators responsible. The church quickly settled the case but the no legal action was taken against the priests.
The process of healing our wounds from childhood sexual abuse is a unique process different for all of us. Each soul is on a different journey. It is not a linear process and the path is rocky, obstructed, and confusing at best. My healing journey was based upon the following phases of healing:
- Awareness and disclosure
- Understanding and confronting how and why the abuse occurred
- Acceptance and developing new attitudes, skills, and ways of relating to others
- Transformation and creating new aspects of yourself
Creating my documentary was enormously therapeutic. I have also written a play “The Keeping Room” that I hope to produce, and I am working on other creative projects as well.
Last year I was asked to appear in another documentary “Groomed” that is currently in post production.
I still work in the fashion industry and recently designed a collection of shirts with messages of Empowerment.
I am also honored to be creatively involved with bristleconeproject.org and 1in6.org and have filmed a series of videos focused on male survivors sharing their stories. Having survived and thrived, I believe it is my responsibility to raise awareness and consciousness that healing can be contagious.