Alyssa Marie is a 21 year old FIDM graduate, and an aspiring fashion designer. She is also a survivor. We interviewed her to allow her to share her story that will hopefully inspire others, and to help women who may be experiencing similar things realize they aren't as alone as they may feel.
You’ve dealt with a lot of emotional trauma this past year. Do you mind sharing for readers what you’ve experienced?
"This past year has super rocky and hands down been one of the hardest years of my life. In June, I celebrated 6 years cancer free. In July, I went out on a date commemorating a budding relationship and celebrating the 4th of July. At the end of the night upon returning to his house, a car pulled up and open fired on us, as well as chased us for several blocks while shooting, until our car eventually flipped. That night I was shot 3 times and my boyfriend was killed trying to protect us. That type of trauma and loss is unlike any I’ve ever felt thus far."
What are you doing to get better each day when it comes to losing someone?
"The main thing I’ve done to help myself get better was allow myself to feel. Typically I have a horrible habit of shoving my feelings to the side as I get caught up in life. But For the past 8 months, I have been going to therapy to learn to deal with all the grief and trauma in a healthy way. I have also designated a journal that I write my feelings in as well as small letters to Ty just so he knows I am thinking of him, and miss him."
What can you say to anyone out there who feels like a disease has taken over their life?
"Personally, throughout my cancer treatment, I never wanted to be defined by my diagnosis and it’s prognosis. And every day I tried not to get lost in that. Outside of routinely taking care of my disease, I was the same Alyssa I had always been and wanted to be treated as such, and I even acted as such. Therefore what I could say to others is don’t lose sight of who you know you are behind a diagnosis. Nothing not even a disease can take away who you are at your core."
What things have you accomplished this past year while dealing with your loss?
"Honestly for the first 4 months I found accomplishments in the simple things like getting up and showering. Pain and grief con consume you sometimes and any accomplishments even as small as that made all the difference. And for the past few months I have been working in a field that has allowed me to move forward in finding my purpose and joy in still being here today."
How have these events help to shape who you are today?
"It’s safe to say I’m not the same person I was prior to these events. I’ve had to reinvent myself and gain an understanding of what my new “normal” would be following a tragic event like this one. Each day I am getting stronger and coming back with a vengeance to reclaim my life. As well as living in honor of the one I lost. I’ve learned to listen to my body, my triggers and welcome all types of feelings with open arms; something I wasn’t accustomed to prior."
Our blog series was created for the purpose of normalizing hardships women experience, and creating a community where they can learn about various topics they may relate to. In the past, women weren’t welcome to share hard details of their life, but we’ve come to a place in society where it is getting better, and these discussions can hopefully further normalize them.