I am Sarah Clark and I am a domestic child sex trafficking survivor, a wife, a blogger, and a graduate student. I have several accomplishments that I could acknowledge from teaching myself to read to getting into graduate school, to escaping my traffickers and never looking back, to marrying my best friend.
None of these things sum me up as a person individually, but collectively they are who I am as a person. I am a lot of things. I taught myself how to read in the 5th grade with a psychology book I found in the trash can at the park. I am a first generation high school and college graduate going to graduate school! I got where I am by learning to trust myself; I have been self sufficient for many years. I have overcome several things and have many things I deem as accomplishments aside from my education. I am married to literally the most amazing woman on this planet. Seriously y’all. If I didn’t believe in love at first sight already, she showed me what it was. The moment I saw her my whole life changed in ways I didn’t even know at the time. Bonus: she’s an unbelievable cook! I’ve learned to celebrate myself on my birthday which is a win for me. My birthdays were always ‘picture days’ growing up and that is very triggering for me. I haven’t used self-harm since 2013, that is the longest I have gone since I started when I was 10 years old. I lived through 13 strokes in 2017; I am learning to thrive again after that near death experience. You can read and follow me here: CaptivatingPhoenix.wordpress.com
I was trafficked by my mother and The Hells Angels from before I can remember. My earliest memory is of being sold beside the grocery store in my small town. The buyer, my grandparents neighbor, slipped my mother money. When she showed me the $50 I knew I was to suck this mans dick and make him happy. I was 4 years old. I spent the next 14 years of my life plotting to leave on my 18th birthday. I knew I couldn’t get away before then and stay away. I also around the same time remember my brother being murdered. He was 3 days old when it happened and I was forced to watch and then burn the body. It wasn’t long before my mother got in trouble for something and sold me to officer Rubbish in lue of her going to jail.
I was 5 or 6 the first time something ritualistic happened. It was the saddest thing. I know now it’s a normal Masonic ritual. Murders became a new normal once I was this age. We moved away from my father, which was keeping my mother’s involvement with the Masons at bay. My father was simultaneously my protector when he could but also my abuser. He strived to protect me from my mother but also raped me starting my first night of public school (Kindergarten).
My Healing Journey
I actually get this question a whole lot. My healing journey has consisted of a lot of different things, some healthy, some not so much. I have used alcohol and drugs, relationships, and self-harm as coping tools and self-care. I have also used writing, hiking, creating, and learning as coping tools and self-care.
As part of my healing journey I have done 3 years of intensive therapy, a good deal of self-reliance (to my detriment at times), and trial-by-error to get where I am today. I did 3 years of intensive therapy and then walked into a situation where therapy wasn’t allowed, it’s not been until recently that I’ve gotten back into therapy. And I have learned that I thrive in therapy. I have read an incredible amount of self-help websites, books, and blogs.
“You are beautiful. You are strong. You have hope.“
To My Younger Self
Dear younger me,
I don’t know how old you are but I know you need to hear this. I know life is still so hard and so unfair right now. I know you want to give up and you will try several times. But the beauty is, you won’t succeed. And you will know that. You will be saved in the way you want to be saved, but by the wrong people. You will fall in love. And your heart will be broken. But you will learn. You will learn so many lessons. So many gut wrenching hard pieces of knowledge. It will make you wise in many ways. You will think in complex and creative ways that people may not understand sometimes and that is okay. You will fall in love again, this time will change your life in every way. You are beautiful. You are strong. You have hope. You will achieve your dreams. Don’t be so stubborn. Laugh a little.
You get where you are by trusting some of the wrong people and allowing yourself opportunities to get very hurt. And you do get hurt. Several times. But the friendships you have along the way are what you need to get through where you are. You spend a lot of time in survival mode. And that is okay. Again you learn lessons that are invaluable to the work get to do.
This is the most exciting part of this letter. You make it. All the time you spend working on yourself pays off. All the time you spend analyzing every criticism, every abuse, everything that happens to you. It was worth it. You learn to love yourself. Don’t worry, you will still struggle with insecurities. We all do. But deep down, after almost dying, you will develop a love for yourself that no one can take from you.
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