The year was 1984. The day in early May promised to be a balmy 70 degrees with no rain in sight. Around 2 am a long, gangly, funny looking baby entered the world. Her mother looked at her new baby’s long fingers and determined that she would play the piano one day. And she did.

She was a strange child, spending the majority of her early years a sickly little thing with her nose stuck in a book. She imagined herself to be a modern day version of Pollyanna, Laura Ingalls, Samantha from American Girl, and last but not least, Anne of Green Gables.
She lived in her own little imaginary world for years.

By year eight she had read every book in her house, including her parent’s books about marriage. Seriously, she could have started giving marriage advice way back then.
She started sneaking home her grandfather’s Readers Digests, filled with scandalous stories of serial killers, murders and kidnappings. It probably wasn’t appropriate reading material for an eight year old, but she was hungry for words and knowledge.

At year 12 she started realizing her life was a little weird. Homeschooled, no TV in the house, and no radio allowed,  she belonged to a strict religious sect that kept her and her siblings very isolated.

Year 15 she resented her existence. It was only to make her mother happy. An impossible task when you are being raised by a deceptively controlling, manic depressive, hypochondriac.
From age 15-18 she doesn’t have very many memories. She lost herself in the pages of books and read the entire Christian Fiction (the only books allowed) section at her library in the course of a year, as well as the romance novels her grandmother snuck home to her.

Year 18 she ran away from home to avoid being stuck in a cult that dictated that girls stay at home until marriage, their only roles to cook, clean and raise babies.
She didn’t know what she wanted, but she knew it wasn’t that.

From years 18-24 she survived a world for which she had not been prepared. She binge watched TV, include Sex in the City to cram years of pop culture into her brain. She watched everyone around her and learned how to adapt to any situation. She was governed by the fear religion had pounded into her. She was a good girl. She might not live at home, but she was still too scared to take risks or do “sinful” things. She essentially became a chameleon, blending into whatever the environment happened to be at the moment.
She didn’t know who she was, what she liked, what made her tick, or what she wanted out of life.

At year 24 she sold all her belongings and moved to Vegas. It doesn’t sound as scandalous as it sounds. She lived with her aunt and uncle and worked at a coffee shop for the winter. But there she let go of all the fears that held her captive and thus started her journey to truly living.

And now it’s year 32. She’s lived, lost, loved, grieved, and been through a shit ton of…well shit. And she’s forever learning and growing. And she won’t ever stop.