Tonight's special guest is Shelly Elliott (The Real Beavie Wonder) from Baldwin Park, California, a survivor of childhood domestic abuse. "I had a violent introduction to the world," she says. She had a broken arm as a newborn. Her first memory was of her mother getting her head smashed with a bloody telephone. "At five I nearly drowned on a family boating trip, my first near death experience." She goes on, "My drunken father liked inflicting pain all in good fun. Right after my seventh birthday I witnessed my father and uncle in a fight to the death. My uncle, in his hatred of my father, used all his might to kick my mother, who was seven months pregnant and send her flying across the room. Her life was one terrifying episode after the next, and Shelly didn't feel safe anywhere. "All the while I was treated like the wicked ungrateful stepchild who didn't deserve what I'd been so graciously given. The last straw occurred when I was 28, in 2011. My parents put all my possessions in a storage unit in an attempt to blackmail me for money." Still, she refused to lay down. "I took my parents to court and haven't spoken to one single blood relative since. After separating myself from the threat of my family, I found solace in writing about my experiences." Shelly concludes, "With four years of healing, I'm now living the life I always dreamed about. I have a wonderful family of friends who love and support me. I continue every day to give thanks and find wonder exists in the madness if only we look."
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