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Letters to You

Survivor Vignette: Wisdom from PB

One of the greatest pleasures we’ve had here at BRANDED is the opportunity to work with artisan PB for almost two years now. She is one of the longest hires we’ve had, and this woman is not only an amazing artisan but also an unspeakably impressive individual. Her life has been riddled with great darkness as well as great light. The depths of loss she has endured and the courage she has found inspire us daily. We’d love for you to get to know her a little too. May you enjoy our interview with this powerful and humble young woman. Thank you, PB, for sharing a bit of yourself with us. And congratulations on almost two years of excellent work!!


Question 1: You’ve accomplished so much over the past two years here at BRANDED: getting into college, buying a car, getting to spend time with your son again, getting your own apartment. How does it feel for you each time you accomplish your next goal?

PB: It almost seems surreal, like it’s not really happening... ‘cause I never imagined any of this happening.


Question 2: So much of your story involves living without things of your own and having your independence taken away. What would you say is the material possession you are most grateful for now that you have accomplished a great deal of independence?

PB: My favorite is my car! I named her Tuli, after tulips, because the car makes me think of tulips! Honestly, having a car is the ultimate freedom for me. I can go where I want, when I want. I’m not dependent on others so much. I never knew if I would be able to have that freedom again. No more bus line! My favorite place to drive is on country back roads! I like to roll the windows down and listen to music.


Question 3: One thing that seems common for humans to do when life gets really hard is to give up, give in or make excuses. You don’t seem to do that. You’re like the energizer bunny. What’s your secret?

PB: (With a sneaky grin) I hide it very well.


Question 4: What motivates you most while you’ve pursued all your achievements

PB: More than anything, my ultimate goal has always been to have my son back with me. He is the reason I do everything. He’s my motivation and my ultimate goal.


Question 5: When you have a dark day or a moment where hopelessness seems really big, what do you do to get through?

PB: Usually if I’m having a really dark time, I will turn on really loud music and burn incense… I love nag champa. The music is usually Evanescense, Flyleaf or Lauren Daigle.


Question 6: What is the best part of your life right now?

PB: My son, always. My car and my apartment. I love that the apartment is mine; I finally have a place of my own. I can go home, lock the door behind me, and not worry about anybody else.


Question 7: What is one thing you have not yet achieved that you are excited to continue to pursue?

PB: My degree in social work! And my minor in criminal justice. And finally getting my son living with me again, at least some of the time.


Question 8: In five years, what is one more thing you’d like to accomplish?

PB: Either working at End Slavery Tennessee or Restore NYC, or somewhere in the anti-trafficking field. And I really want to make sure my son is moved in with me by then.  


Question 9: Let’s say someone is reading this who is in a very hard place - a place they do not think will ever change. Is there any one thing you would like to say to them?

PB: If you’re in a dark place, like I’ve been, the biggest thing is to reach out. Extend that hand. Let someone inspire you. Don’t be embarrassed for needing help, because there’s nothing embarrassing about it. There are trustworthy people out there, and you’ve got to learn to accept their help. Don’t block good people out. Basically, if your head is telling you no, but you feel in your heart that you’ve met someone who can help... take it! Ignore your head and follow your heart. Go get that help.