Help me break a record!
I can't tell you about how I got to this point with out starting here: I grew up in the west suburbs of Chicago. I grew up in poverty in constant fear of violence at the hands of my father. The Department of Family and Children's Services became involved with my family after my school filed a report. At this point I had stopped attending school and I was failing all my classes. My life became a life of bouncing from foster home to foster home, with ongoing hospitalizations for suicide attempts, PTSD and major depression. Needless to say, I was unable to function in any capacity. Trying anything new was not in my comfort zone. In all of this mess, I was lucky enough to meet 3 wonderful women who took on the job of mothering me and loving me. They refused to give up on me when I had given up on myself. And though one of them is gone, I carry her lessons with me still as I have begun to live my life with nothing short of bravery. I feel like the Phoenix rising from the ashes. I don't say this from a place of grand self-importance, but simply that I have literally slept in the dirt when I became homeless after my discharge from DSFS. I spent my first semester in college in a homeless shelter. When the school found out, the registrar made every attempt to get me to quit. When I graduated on time 4 years later she apoligized. My 4 hour round trip commute would start at 4 a.m. and I was home in bed at midnight so I can start again in the morning. Basically, I don't give up, ever! Since graduating from college with a degree in fine arts I've been blessed with opportunities I never could have imagined as a little brown girl from the hood: riding a horse across Eastern Mongolia for a month, traveling the globe, and a solo bike ride from Tucson to Chicago among other things. I also climb big rocks! These are the things that make me feel alive. I'm also deaf, and this has created some obstacles. Since I'm currently dependent on disability, I don't always have a way to fully fund some of these crazy endeavors. In June I plan to race the Trans American Bike Race, a 100 percent self-supported race (no aid stations, you are on your own) from Astoria, Oregon to Yorktown, Virginia...traversing through 10 states! My hope is to break the women's record and finish in under 18 days!!! When people ask me about this race, about the difficulty, about the pain of pedaling a bike through 4,300 miles, my response is that I've been preparing for this my whole life. This is going to be a piece of cake in comparison!!! Thank you for taking the time to read my story, any support will be greatly appreciated!!!