Many people have been telling me to share my story. So, I will share it now. It's not easy to share the most painful period of my life. From once being a person with a university degree with great potential to having nothing.
For many years I felt lost. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I was getting older, clueless on what to do with myself. I'm grateful I went through these events. I had to hit rock bottom to find my purpose. In March of 2015, I had to stay at a women's safe house in Berlin, Germany. I arrived late at night and was surprised how the women there accepted a complete stranger with such warmth. These were women from different countries, different languages, different religions, different backgrounds, etc. It was beautiful to see a band of sisters helping each other out instead of tearing each other down. As I was sitting, a few women gathered around me. A Muslim woman sat down next to me, put her arm around my shoulders and said, " It's ok, we are all here for the same reason, when you are ready to talk, we are here for you." At that moment, I broke down. I couldn't tell my story. My tears wouldn't allow me. Now I am ready to tell my story. I'm telling my story because silence benefits no one. Once my project becomes successful, I want to one day repay the kindness that was shown to me during my time of darkness by helping others in similar situations.
If I'm showing this picture, it's not because I am seeking sympathy. That is not the message I am trying to convey. Not my intention at all. I'm not that kind of person. I concealed my face a bit. Not because I'm ashamed. I could be anyone you know. Your mother, your sister, your friend, etc. I don't see myself as a victim. If you ever meet me in person and heard me telling my story, I would have you laughing. No matter how bad things got, I always kept it positive. I never lost my laughter or sense of humor. To me life is just a comedy.
I'm speaking now to prove there is light even in darkness. I know this will not resonate with everyone. If you think this is too long to read, then this is not for you. My hope in sharing, is to inspire others that are going through a difficult time in their lives. No matter the obstacles, never give up. Stay focused on your goals. At times it felt I was climbing a mountain of sand. The odds were against me, but I refused to give up. I wanted a better future for my kids and myself. They were my main motivation. I hope my story motivates people. Anything is possible if you can endure the storm.
This picture was taken November 11, 2016 by a German police officer so I could send to my lawyer. Seven days before my 41st birthday. The last gift of my ex. I take responsibility that my choices and actions in my life put me in the situation I found myself in. I have never been the type of person to blame others. It's when you take responsibility that you truly make changes in your life. Having seen the abuse my father inflicted on my mother as a young child, I said I would never let that happen to me. It's easy for an outsider to think the solution is simple. Just leave. I used to think that. But having experienced it myself personally, it's not that simple. I remembered a close friend tell me, "Knowing the kind of person you are, you would never allow that, what happened?" It's complicated to understand and explain. That's why I don't judge anyone anymore. Once I became a mother, I no longer thought of myself. I put my wants and needs at the bottom of the list. However, there came a moment I couldn't continue how I was living. I was dying inside with no hope in sight.
There were times I did not know how much I could take. It's amazing how one person tries to destroy another. Even though he tried to destroy me, I remained standing while everything around me was in chaos. One is only limited to what you make your mind think you are. Only you have the power to change your situation by your thoughts and actions. No matter how many times the universe threw me down. I refused to give up. I refused to let emotions take me down. I followed what I believed, not what others said to detour me. You are the artist of your own destiny, you can create whatever you want into reality.
I don't hold any ill feelings towards my ex. As a matter of fact, I want to thank him. It was his actions that put me on this path. This is how my project came into existence. In 2014, I decided I wanted out of my toxic marriage. As embarrassing as it was, I knew I needed help to get out. I put my pride aside and reached out to family help. I was a shadow of my former self. Thanks to a man that I let belittle me. I was nothing. My self esteem was non-existent. How I felt in the inside reflected on the outside. I was extremely overweight and felt horrible. I wasn't taking care of myself. I was a person that always followed my intuition but during my marriage I lost it. I realized my mistakes and began to get in touch with myself once again.
Around February 2014, I had a meeting with a family help worker. She was filling in for the two workers that were on my case, since both went on vacation. I thought we were just going to discuss my situation but she surprised me with wanting to do a meditation with me. She got behind me and put her hands on my shoulders. She asked me to close my eyes and breathe. After a few minutes we began the meditation. She asked me, "What do you see?" I instantly saw a thinner, happier version of myself. I had bangs and long hair. I was about to enter an open door with a beautiful golden light. I had one foot in, I was about to enter through the doorway when I turned around and smiled at myself. I knew I was seeing my future self and instantly knew a happier future was ahead. Seeing this convinced me to leap into the unknown. I was never a fearful person. It was more of what will happen to my kids that fear took a hold of me. It's too long to explain why. Over 3 years later since that meditation, I do look like the person I saw :)
By 2015, I was in the process of separating from my ex, we were still living together at the time. A social worker and 2 family helpers were monitoring the situation. Sometimes destiny decides what path you need to take. There are events throughout your life, that whether you are ready or not, you get catapulted into the unknown. It's how you handle the uncertainty that determines how one succeeds. March 12, 2015, is a date I will never forget. It was this event that set my future in motion. I won't go into details what happened. The German police came and said I had to leave. Since it was late at night I ended up spending the night at a homeless shelter for street women, plus I couldn't have contact with my kids. I was at my lowest at this point. Unsure what direction to take. Even though everything around me was collapsing, I refused to look back. My eyes towards the future. Alone, no kids, no family or friends to turn to, because they lived in the US. I began to ask myself, ''What can I do to improve my life?'' I began to reflect on my past. I remembered as a teenager how much I loved creating clothing styles and graphics. It was during this time of confusion that the idea for Morgana Sin
was conceived. Morgana Sin emerged from the chaos that surrounded me.
Shortly after this event, I had a meeting with 2 family helpers. They were surprised that I wasn't upset. They asked me, "Why are you not angry or wanting revenge?" My response, "Why should I be sad, crying, depressed, angry, if it's not going to change my situation. I rather remain positive because if I dwell in negative emotions it's just going to attract more negative energy towards me and make my situation worse than it should
be." They were completely flabbergasted.
The universe has a funny way of bringing people together that are going to play a major part in your life. Around this time I began to sense that an important person was about to enter my life. I met a French man named Arnaud, who turned out to be a multi-talented creative force.The first man I meet after my separation indirectly helped me rebuild myself. I have a lot of love for him because of that.
Ironically, it was during this period of my tumultuous life that Arnaud and I became good friends. I propositioned Arnaud about a partnership. I told him I had an idea for a project and asked if he wanted to partner up, to my relief, he graciously accepted. So he showed me how to use Photoshop and we began to create images for t-shirts.
The court went in my favor, got custody and was able to return to my kids a month later.
One day shortly after the court verdict, we had a meeting with the social worker, my ex plus the two family help workers. The social worker asked me in German what I plan to do. I told her I have an idea for a project. Her response, (laughs) "Aaah, Quatsch! Du muss realistisch sein Frau Rizo!" Translation, "Aahh, Nonsense! You need to be realistic Mrs. Rizo!" And of course upon hearing this my ex starts to laugh hysterically and begins to ridicule me. I guess at the time it was ridiculous to think that a woman almost in her 40's, with 4 kids and unemployed could accomplish this. Instead of her comment demoralizing me, it ignited a fire within me. Failure has never been part of my vocabulary.
Here I am 2 years and 8 months later achieving what I said I was going to do. Even with all the obstacles that I had to overcome. I had my eyes on my goal and I reached for the stars. With my tenacity, I refused to give up on the project. Under extreme perturbation, I was determined to make this project a reality. I still have a lot to go. At the moment I have one foot in the door but pretty soon I know I will completely enter that door I envisioned long ago. A door filled with opportunities.
I've been waiting in line for this roller coaster and now it's my turn. I'm holding on tight because I know it's going to be one hell of a ride. I'm so excited to take this journey after so many set backs and disappointments, the project Arnaud and I started is finally
My advice to others in a similar situation is to have a plan. There are many organizations that can help you leave toxic relationships. Get information. Even if you are not ready to leave get informed. It took me 6 months after reaching out to family help to get the courage to leave. Stay safe. I never had meetings with my ex without family help being present. Never think that you know the person and that they will not cause harm to you. I never imagined my ex would do the things he did. The only regret I have is that I did not leave sooner.
You are welcomed to share my story, hoping it will inspire others not to give up dreaming.
The embodiment of my soul is in Morgana Sin and now her spirit is free.......