I was born stargazing. Instead of coming out of my mother’s birth canal facing downward, I assumed the less likely position of facing upward causing my mother a longer and more painful birth. My mother was in labor for 24 long hours with no epidural. God bless her. When I announced that I would be sharing my personal survival story with 100 people on July 31, I was not thinking about how I was born. I was thinking about a particular memory in my childhood that I had been researching for a book I have begun. I was thinking about the constellation Orion and a telescope I was given by my father. I was reflecting about my ability to still live in wonder of the stars despite the sexual abuse my father chose to make a part of my life story. My father chose a legacy with grave potential side effects – depression, substance abuse, suicide, incarceration, anxiety, PTSD. Statistically speaking, his choices set me up for failure before I left 1st grade. The truth hurts and I suppose I could consider myself entitled. It would be easy to convince myself that in exchange for all of the things stolen from me in my youth, I deserve to go around smashing joy like the hulk. Instead, I stargaze. Every winter, Orion graces our sky and I love him. I still count the three stars of his belt and look for his bow pulled taut. I love lavishly. I grow flowered vines on my porch and make fresh lemonade to share with my friends. I spend time teaching my children about volunteering and how to use online instructional videos to conquer our mathematical deficiencies. I dance to the salsa music of another car with my husband at the gas station. I share my stories with other survivors so we can all feel less alone. I live the legacy I chose, not the one given to me. I have decided to start The Firecracker Foundation to honor the bravery of children who have survived sexual trauma with a community invested in the healing of their whole being. We have the power to decide that the children surviving in our community deserve a different legacy than what was chosen for them. For more information about this new nonprofit organization, visit www.thefirecrackerfoundation.org.
As the founder & executive director of The Firecracker Foundation, Tashmica works to honor the bravery of children who have survived sexual trauma by encouraging the Mid-Michigan community to invest in the healing of their whole being. She is wife to a talented tile installer and mother to three boys made from the unique combination of thunder and lightning. Taking to the track as Nina Firecracker, Tashmica is one of more than 40 athletes playing roller derby with the Lansing Derby Vixens (LDV).