Sometimes, it is very, very difficult to tell my story one more time. My closest friend asked me a question about what happened to me and my children just the other day. She knows most of the story minus the violent details and yet I had one of those moments and I put her off.
This will be the short, short version but even strongly truncated it is still compelling AND you’ll definitely get the idea.
One beginning is to say that I, Aisha-Sky Gates, was born in St. Louis, MO, in 1954. I am 67 this year and very happy.
I was first born after my parents had had a difficult time getting pregnant. They poured a lot of love and education into me. They taught me themselves while modestly denying any “interference” with traditional sources of education. I grew up with my two sisters and later a brother. One baby sister didn’t make it.
Halfway through childhood my family moved out of the city to a white-dominated town. We were not welcomed. My teachers made a daily game of torturing me. They did not bother to hide their discrimination. But I was an A-student anyway. I did Girl Scouts anyway. I went to college anyway.
Predators came after me and other girls, of course. I was totally unprepared to protect myself. I was raped during my sophomore year. Only years later did I understand that I walked myself into danger in accordance with specific self-sabotage, you-don’t-deserve-to-be-here programming that my grade school teachers planted. Next, I both flunked out of school AND got married to an abusive male. More self-sabotage.
I felt humiliated and depressed and ashamed for the next sixteen years. I felt that I had let my family down. Surely, my life was ruined. Misguided loyalty and a deep fear motivated me to stay with someone who practiced multiple ways of deceiving me, emotionally and physically beating me and our children, and almost constantly threatening me. Apparently, I thought that I had little choice. He reinforced the idea that I had no options. I believed that I was being dutiful. My own happiness wasn’t important.
Short version: he moved his student girlfriend in our house, made false claims, and in a violent attack one night he kicked me out. When I was finally able to procure a lawyer I fought for my children in court for seven years. I never lost custody on paper but to this day the children are not in my life. My oldest made false claims to protect her dad.
Seventeen years later my youngest came looking for me. He spent three months in my home, apparently got the nurturing and closure that he desperately needed and then left.
After I was on my own, I finally finished my bachelor’s degree. I got the right kind of help for everything that had become twisted inside me. I had the right therapist who later became my life mentor and then counseling supervisor. I had the right naturopathic doctor until she recently retired. I had self-help audios and books.
I had good jobs and more education. I learned how to be social and I made lasting friendships. I learned what I liked and didn’t like and what was important to me.
I paid for more than ten years of healing treatments for my body, my mind, and my newly discovered spirit. I learned what a healthy relationship was. I learned so very much about my own nature. I learned to dance and loved it. Movement released a lot of pain and grief stored in my body. I, eventually, relearned love for drawing and painting. Gardening and endless DIY projects in my very own home were very healing. Yoga helped a lot. Hypnosis audios were invaluable and I still use them sometimes for sleep.
Transforming my life, reinventing myself, which I’ve done several times over thirty years has been rooted in an on-going process of releasing negativity, releasing limiting beliefs, and releasing fears. I’m still working on it. My replacements have been joy, self-satisfaction, clarity of mind, inner peace, love of self and for others, compassion, forgiveness, and a strong sense of spiritual health.
You know what I am going to say next—I do not want another woman to go through what I went through. Ever. My experiences are packed with lessons and knowledge for all women. You do not have to feel that you must relate to my story exactly. It’s a story about a girl who had very little sense of self and even less realization of rights. How about my right to not be violated in any way? I did not accept that I had a right to my own happiness until I was forty years old! Ever since then I have been designing a life that meets my needs, all of them. Life is very good.
Elevate Women Collaborative is my love. I’ve taught one woman at a time to claim her right to personal happiness over the last fifteen years. Now, it would be my honor to coach you.
Copyright 2021 Aisha-Sky Gates