Kayla’s StorySelf, Poverty , Stories
Contributed by: Inner Hope Youth Ministries
Kayla grew up without the guidance and love of her parents. Her mom passed away when she was a child, and her dad was not present. Although a few relatives tried to fill some of the void, Kayla grew up with her needs neglected and often felt alone. Kayla shares her story…
“I am in a different place now than when I was growing up. I have a lot more courage to speak my truth. Even though I know it will make some people uncomfortable, it is what is needed for me to be able to break cycles and continue my healing journey. Being older and having gone through almost 6 years of therapy puts me in a better position to be able to explain my past. I no longer hold hate in my heart for the people who were supposed to love, care and protect me. I understand now that they were doing the best they could with raising us with all the trauma and pain they were subjected to as children. I understand now that pain travels through families. This is something I am ready to face head on…so I can do my part in ending intergenerational trauma…so I can be a better mother to my children…so I can be the mother I desperately needed growing up.
“My childhood was full of abuse, neglect, drug addicts and alcoholics. This type of lifestyle was all I knew. It surrounded me everywhere. It was ugly. I was always made to feel like the black sheep, made to feel I didn’t belong. Matter of fact, not only was I made to feel that way, I was actually told I would be nothing and end up on Main and Hastings addicted to drugs like my mom. Can you imagine being 5-9 years old and being told that? Being told you will amount to nothing and end up being a prostitute like your mom? Who says that to a child?
“I remember wishing that my mom would show up and save me, but she never did. I remember thinking that, “today is the day that she is going to come pick me up and take me home”. To our home. But she never did. On the rare occasion she did show up, she would always smell of alcohol, and I never remember her staying long. I remember alcohol was a big thing every weekend. I remember drugs being smoked in the house when my aunt was at work. I remember being told to dance on tables with my cousin. I remember being molested in the park by a stranger and the cops being called. I ended up getting slapped across the face and yelled at because I ruined a “smoke session”. I remember a lot of things that would probably bring a grown man to tears if I were to sit and spill it all.
“My childhood was full of sadness and depression. I was suicidal from a very young age. I remember thinking about all the different ways to kill myself. I remember my aunty taking me for a walk trying her best to talk to me about suicide. It was uncomfortable, for her, for me. I could see she was trying her best to save me, not knowing the tools herself. I saw someone barely floating above water, trying her best to hold me up too. That’s the thing now. I don’t hold my childhood against anyone. I used to. I used to hate my mom, my dad, my aunt and her boyfriend. I used to hate all these adults who were responsible for protecting me and guiding me. Now I come with love and understanding. I understand that they too had a lot to heal from. That they drank and used drugs to run from their childhood. That wasn’t going to be a norm I pass down to my children. I don’t want them to grow up needing therapy to heal from their childhood. I know here is where it ends.
“Inner Hope has been patient with me on my journey with how I connect being an Indigenous mother and Christianity. All my life I was told to hate the white man and not to trust Christians, but I was being sent to church every Sunday. As a kid, that was creating a lot of confusion. Being part white and being taught to hate the white man was creating confusion with my identity as well. Am I supposed to hate part of myself? I was told terrible stories about how Christians are oppressing Indigenous people, but still had to go to church on Sundays. Inner Hope has been patient with me while I figure it all out. They continue to walk alongside me in this time of confusion. I have had talks with Jenny about this and she chooses to sit and listen and to respond with love. And that is what I need. I need someone to love me in times that are not so loveable. I need patience as I go through these emotions, which aren’t always pleasant. Every day is a struggle of how I can be an Indigenous woman but still connect to a Christian organization. Inner Hope still chooses to stay. They don’t abandon me in a time of need.
“If I can say one thing about how Inner Hope has made a difference in my life, it would be stability. Mental stability. Creating a support system for when I need to reach out when life isn’t going so well. They are always a phone call away. They are always there ready to give me another perspective on a situation, allowing me to talk things out while they sit and patiently listen. They have given a sense of stability and belonging to my kids as well. My kids are always excited to go to the “church house” and connect with the other kids and staff. My kids know that they are safe and at home when they are there. They help with creating yearly traditions – something I never had growing up. My kids are excited when they know we are going to The House.
“I feel so connected with Jenny; she gives so much of the unconditional mother’s love. No matter what stage in life I am at, I feel like I have her support. She gives me that guidance when I need it. That is something I always longed for and I feel like a part of that has been found in her. I believe she came back into my life when I needed it most. When I was at the turning point of my life and really wanting to make change, she was put in my path again.”
Kayla is now a receptionist for the Ministry of Children and Families – the same office where her old social worker still works. Seeing so many parents struggling to break cycles of trauma and addiction in their families, Kayla approached us and asked if she could start a parenting support group at Inner Hope. Kayla shares, “Inner Hope allowing me to create a space for mothers, shows me that they are open to really putting in the work of change. This shows me just how committed they are to the families they serve. It shows me that reconciliation can happen and we are working together to make it happen.”