In the summer of 1999, my life radically changed when my father passed away. I was his primary caretaker from age 9 to 15. He suffered from complications from diabetes, post polio syndrome, & congestive heart failure. When this sudden shift in priorities occurred, it caused me to shift focus from his needs to my own. I was a teenager trapped in an abusive situation & now it was my time to shine.
Shortly after my dad’s death, I began to explore my gender identity. I came out to friends as queer & began attending a LGBTQiA+ group called ALSO Youth based in Sarasota, FL. They were my first real experience with non profit organizations which focused on “fringe” culture. ALSO Youth was a safe port in the storm of my chaotic teenager years. It was around this time which I decided to identify as Pagan & self dedicated into the Craft.
I moved out of my home, dropped out of high school, & worked several jobs to keep myself afloat. I never really had time to stop & think about the impact my childhood had upon my mental health. I was taught to bottle up my emotions & work hard. My spirituality became a central focus of my life outside of my occupation in sales. When all else failed, it seemed my connection with the Hindu Goddess Kali carried me through the hardest times.
After a few years of traumatic relationships, terrible lifestyle decisions, & increasing mental health concerns – I had hit rock bottom. I came across Deeply Rooted Church during the winter of 2011-12. If it were not for this crucial support system, I know I would have succumb to bulimia, alcoholism, & continued exposure to abusive codependent relationships. Deeply Rooted became my world – the place I discover my spirituality on a whole new level.
This past sounds kind of rough – and it is. When I had learned more about my purpose, place, & value in the universe I decided I wanted to be the kind of clergy who could relate with people with similar backgrounds. I’ve learned healthy habits in regards to my self-care, awareness, & an unparalleled connection with the land of Deeply Rooted Church. I want to pass this information to those whose ears are listening as well as learn new perspectives from others.
I was diagnosed as bipolar in the summer of 2018, however, I don’t look at the diagnosis as a definition of what my limits might be. I think I can continue growing in every respect through my words & actions as clergy. I believe others can do this too, no matter what their past circumstances may have been, as long as they are willing to do the hard work to begin their recovery. A mental illness does not limit who you are or what you may become if you reach deep inside! – Blessed Be, Shining Quill the Unicorn.