Beauty From Ashes Videos


Monday, October 15, 2012

Journey to Hope

Since I began interning with Beauty From Ashes™, I have gotten to know some amazing women with incredible stories filled with pain, abuse and now hope.  I realized that most people who care about what we are doing and who want to help have a difficult time understanding how a woman could end up in the sex industry.  Many think they want to be there, or did at one time anyway.  From what I have learned, this is usually not the case.  Below is my fictionalized story of a fictionalized character.  It’s written to express the turmoil going on inside the women I have met as they grow up and find themselves stuck in the sex industry.  I do not know of a client with this story, but different pieces fit different women in some ways.  My hope is that through reading this, people will begin to understand the struggles women face as they try to overcome the pain they have endured, the choices they have made and the feelings of hopelessness they have experienced.

I didn’t have it tattooed on my body, but it was seeped into my heart and mind as if it was in permanent ink.  I couldn’t wake up in the morning or go to bed at night without it being a part of my every moment.  Sure, I was able to forget it was there sometimes, mainly when I was using drugs and alcohol to mask the pain, but it was always whispering that nothing was going to get better, nothing was going to change, nothing was all I would ever have and all I would ever be.  Hopelessness became the only constant in my life.

It started early but I didn’t recognize the characteristics of hopelessness until I was around 13-years-old.  My uncle had sexually abused me for years, and after finally telling the truth to my parents, I was met with disbelief and denial instead of the love and healing I absolutely needed and craved.  I began to then question myself and as my family fell apart after I revealed the abuse, all I could believe was that I was to blame for the destruction of my “perfect life,” even as it was all a façade to begin with.   Shame and Guilt joined Hopelessness, creating a trifecta of brokenness that led me on a downward spiral and thrust me into a life longing for acceptance, even if it meant doing things I was ashamed to admit to for fear of judgment and condemnation.  I just wanted to be loved.

Not receiving any healing from the abuse I suffered as a child, I began to believe the only value I carried was that of my body and the attraction boys and men seemed to have with it.  Needing money once I left home at age 18, I met a “boyfriend” who convinced me to work at a local strip club.  He told me I would make a lot more money as an exotic dancer than I ever would a waitress or sales clerk, and he was right; I did make a lot of money.  Funny thing is, I made a lot of money but never had the freedom to use it.  Yes, he bought me drugs and nice things at times, usually when he feared I was building up the confidence to leave.  Even then, the pleasure was little because I knew he was buying me things with money I had earned and I wasn’t allowed to choose how to spend it.  The price I paid to earn that money was much higher than the material things I was given.  I had lost all sense of self-worth as I was exploited night after night, and I truly felt as if I was unlovable and unwanted; the nametag I wore said Worthless.

By the time I turned 23 I was a single mother of two.  The first guy left the minute I was pregnant and he realized he couldn’t keep my earnings anymore.  The second father was never around long enough to know I was pregnant.  With both fathers nowhere in sight, the money I made dancing wasn’t enough and I was left with a stack of bills a mile high.  I wanted so badly to give my kids a good life; a life that would look nothing like mine, but had absolutely no idea how I could possibly make that happen.  It didn’t help that I became addicted to meth just so I could numb the pain of what I had to do every night just to survive.     

When I was a child, my parents had taken me to church, so I had heard of God, but I figured I was the last person He would want anything to do with.  I’d experienced and lived in my own personal hell, and I didn’t feel as if I deserved an ounce of love.  I also had ideas that even if He noticed me, He must be angry, because I had made so many wrong choices.  I stayed as far away from church as possible because I didn’t want the river of guilt I lived in to turn into an all-consuming ocean.

It’s funny how one interaction can change your life.  I was getting ready for work in the club locker room when I heard another dancer talk about an organization she had contacted a few months ago.  She said they offer a lot of different services, such as counseling, all for free and that she actually felt loved by the people in the organization.  She also said they talk about God, and though she was still trying to figure out what all that means, she said it really made sense to her and she was going to continue working with her counselor because she felt safe and valued.  I definitely was curious but also reluctant.  I’d been promised a lot of things from a lot of people throughout my life, with not one of those promises being fulfilled.  But I also felt I had nothing to lose, and I needed to make a change for the sake of my children, so I contacted the organization myself.

It’s only been two months since I started visiting my counselor, but there is definitely something different about her.  She seems to truly care about my kids and I, and wants to see me succeed in life.  She talks about how much God loves me and how He has a purpose for me, and it seems almost too good to be true.  He really isn’t angry with me?  He loves me so much He sacrificed His own Son so that I could have a relationship with Him?  I don’t even know how to start walking a life with Him; a life where I can experience unconditional, radical love and be accepted for who I am, no strings attached.  But something in me tells me it’s true.  And for the first time in my life, I have hope.  

Natasha Hurt was born and raised in Greeley, Colorado.  She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Northern Colorado.  An employee of High Plains Library District in Greeley for almost 10 years, she acquired a passion for anti-human trafficking in 2008.  In 2011, she went with Adventures in Missions on a 4-month, 4-countries trip, exposing her to organizations involved in anti-human trafficking work in Cambodia, Thailand, India and America.  Then, in 2012 she attended the G42 Leadership Academy in Mijas, Spain, a 6-month program designed to “ignite passion, unleash freedom, go to the nations.”  She currently is an intern with Beauty From Ashes™ Ministries in Fort Myers, Florida.  She hopes to start an organization in Colorado similar to Beauty From Ashes™, with the mission to reach those in the sex industry with the truth that they are loved and valued.