As a young girl, my childhood was marred by the theft of my dreams, my smile, my education, and my freedom. School used to be my sanctuary, where I basked in the joy of excellent grades. However, my parents abruptly halted my education, and this marked the onset of a tempestuous journey. With each passing day, life grew increasingly challenging, and I found myself forced to leave my home in order to work and provide for my younger siblings.
My early work experiences were grueling, with no respite and unrelenting shifts. At just 8 years old, my dreams were replaced with the toil and various forms of abuse I endured. I felt isolated, trapped with no way out. I often pondered why there was no one to shield me, where my parents were, and why they allowed my suffering. It felt as if my wings had been cruelly clipped.
Years rolled by, and at 19, I crossed paths with the father of my children. The ensuing months brought the birth of my first child, with hopes of a blissful family life. Little did I know, I was stepping into yet another storm, one marked by mistreatment and violence, which I naively mistook for love. To me, such treatment seemed normal. It wasn't until I faced a near-death experience that I was jolted into the realization of my dire circumstances. I made the courageous decision to escape and start anew, on my own with my children.
Securing employment was an arduous task, given my lack of formal education and the responsibility of caring for my kids. In my moments of unemployment, we faced hunger and homelessness. Yet, even in the face of adversity and the darkness that surrounded me, I clung to a glimmer of hope. It was during this time that I encountered remarkable individuals who would transform my life. They provided me with a job and the chance to dream once more. Now, I'm back in school, working towards my dream of earning a Bachelor's Degree to provide a stable home for my children.
Today, I draw strength from my children and my unwavering faith in the guiding hand of God, who sent these remarkable people into my life to help me realize my dreams and live a life worth cherishing. Each piece I create is a tapestry woven with my strength, dreams, the light of my soul, my life, my freedom, and my self-love. I am a mother who is slowly mending the wounds of the little girl whose dreams were stolen – a continuous journey of growth, effort, and dedication.
I find solace in the symbolism of a butterfly. Just as the caterpillar undergoes a challenging transformation to emerge as a butterfly, free to take flight, my story mirrors this unique journey. This was once a part of my life, and now I am the woman who continues to fight for the dreams that were stolen from that little girl. They are on the cusp of becoming a reality.