I miss the old me.
I miss the girl who was a stranger to no one.
The girl who would do anything to please others and be able to create such great bonds.
You took that girl from me.
Three years ago, I had to sit in a courtroom where you’d tell a sob story and make everyone in the room hurt for you.
I sat in a courtroom where you told everyone how much you loved your family, knowing you just admitted to sexually abusing one of your children.
I remember the fear that overtook my body anytime I saw you.
Three years ago, I lost everything because I held you accountable for the things you did.
I had family members disown me, blame me, and defend you.
Yet still, the worst pain I face, even three years later, is that I still blame myself.
I don’t blame myself for the actions you had, and I refuse to blame myself for my family disowning me.
Yet I still blame myself for the other possible victims there were or will be when you get released. Something that no human should ever feel guilty about.
I don’t sit and sulk about the things you put me through because I was able to use it to motivate myself to use my voice and help others find theres.
I can never forget it. I will forever be poisoned with the memory of things no human should experience.
This year’s anniversary was harder than most.
Feeling so alone, even with a million people in the room.
Feeling as if the bottle in my hands was the only friend I had.
Overworking myself to try distracting my mind from the flashbacks that flood it.
Even feeling as if I wasn’t wanted anymore.
Coming to the realization that you’re almost done with your sentence, and only God knows what will happen when you get out.
I think about how I was 16 years old, having to deal with lawyers that needed me to relive my trauma to help build a case, on my own father, to hold him accountable for sexually assaulting his child.
Looking back at the choices I had in front of me, I wish I hadn’t taken the plea deal.
You deserved every single charge against you.
You deserved the years that were lined up.
You deserve it because you’re not sorry about the things you did.
You’re just sorry you got caught.
Although you took the parts of me that I loved, I was able to pick myself back up and take my power back.
I took the very little money I had, and I moved from New York to Georgia.
I had no plans.
I hadn’t thought anything out, I just did it.
I knew that I had to live out my childhood dream, well… besides the becoming a princess part.
The world was calling my name and I knew that it was time to start over, like 11-year-old Nolana had wished for.
I was able to find myself here.
I realized my strength, and I began to realize what my true potential was.
To be the voice for the voiceless.
I’ve written a book, I’ve grown a following by speaking out and using my voice. Yet, that’s not even the best part.
I’ve been the reason that people have found their voice.
Talking about what I went through, has never been easy for me. I crack jokes because it’s how I learned to cope, but the serious talk is always so hard for me.
Yet, that hard talk has helped many people, without even knowing it. Your voice can have an impact on those who live amongst the shadows because they feel alone.
I know what it’s like to be completely alone in this world.
I never wish that kind of pain on anyone.
So, I advocate. I let myself be vulnerable in order to show that it’s okay.
There’s light after the dark.
Stripping your label of ‘father’ and replacing it with your inmate number was the best decision of my life.
I got to save myself, and quite honestly, I probably saved a lot more women from becoming your next victim.
I have come back with more power in my soul than I’ve ever known.
1,096 days ago, my voice was louder than yours.
Where I was able to live without fear.
I got to experience life for the first time.
Something I never thought I would have again.
It’s no thanks to you, but to me.
I was able to find my strength and I motivated myself to hold myself together, even in moments of weakness.
Even in my darkest of days, I know I’ll be able to get through them.
I created a support system of people who are patient, loving, and care about me more than Ill ever know
It’s those people that make the bad days manageable.
It’s those people that’ll keep my voice louder than yours.
Here’s to the last 1,096 days that I’ve survived.
Here’s to a million more.