“Create Success”

“In your life there have to be challenges… they will either bring you closer to God and therefore make you stronger, or, they can destroy you. But you make the decision of which road you take.”

-Elder F. Enzio Busche

The reason I am sharing what I am about to share reminds me of this quote from Elder F. Enzio Busche. He was a church leader in the LDS (Mormon) faith but has since past away. First, let me explain a little about myself.

Asian Invasion

I am a (mostly) extroverted boy, with a dash of introvert, who takes responsibility too seriously. SpikeballMy friends say I do homework too much and they are right! I am currently attending BYU-Idaho and am soon to graduate this July.Student Support 2013 I was originally born in Cedar City, Utah but also spent half of my childhood and young adult years in St. George, Utah. My parents divorced at age two and my father re-married just before I turned four and moved 45 minutes away to St. George. My mother also entered into a gay relationship (SURPRISE!) when I was around four as well. Although divorce is never a pleasant and fun experience I think my parents did an excellent job with the cards they were dealt. There were never any custody battles, no drawn out court dates, fights about things in the house, or anything else (to my knowledge) about us kids. We each saw our mother and father often. I am LDS (Mormon) and after High school graduation I attended SUU in Cedar City, Utah before heading off on a two year mission.

Seattle backgroung mission photoI was called to serve in the Seattle, Washington mission and loved it! My mission shaped so much of who I am today and taught me so many priceless lessons. If you ever want to learn more about the LDS religion click here. I am so grateful for all those I served with and what they taught me. My mission is what taught me to “Create Success.” I came to a strong knowledge and understanding that no matter your circumstance you can either blame others or you can stand up, move forward, and create what you want out of life. This has been my life motto ever since.

So here is the main reason I am posting this blog:

What I am about to share has been something very personal to me all my life. Something I have been trying to keep secret the last 12 years of my life! It sucks! This is something that makes me so vulnerable that I decided to just move on and forget, to push it behind me, and to never think of it again. It was after many stories, testimonials, and experiences from individuals that led me to change my mind.

When I was 12 years old I was living in Cedar City, Utah after recently moving back from St. George, Utah with my father and step-mother (I attended 6th and 7th grade while living there). My parents, like I said earlier, allowed us to choose and decide where we wanted to live. I lived with my St. George parents and the grass wasn’t necessarily greener on the other side. 90's family photoI believe I moved at the wrong time. Middle school was just so much fun (major sarcasm) and I remember everybody being nice in Cedar City. Well, I moved back to Cedar City and GUESS WHAT… everyone was still in middle school and the ruthlessness of middle school students followed me. In the awake of insecurity, middle school is a time to make yourself feel better by putting others down. I wish I could say I was immune in putting others down but I was just like everyone else going through puberty in middle school.

It was also during this time that summer was coming to a close and I was nearing my 13th birthday in August of 2003. My family in Cedar City had started some construction projects around the house. We were painting, making improvements to bedrooms, adding electrical features, and other random projects. It was during this time that my Uncle came to live with us while we were remodeling. He was a gifted carpenter and construction laborer and was hired to help with these projects. At first I felt very comfortable around Cory. He seemed funny, kind, interested in my life, and purchased some gifts for my 13th birthday party. It was also on that day, my 13th birthday, which my life was forever altered.

We lived out on 20 acres against a beautiful mountain on the outskirts of Cedar City, and Cory wanted to pitch a tent outside instead of staying in the home. He invited me for a sleepover in the tent for my birthday and said it would be a fun camp-out. I agreed and so did my mother. It was during that time that some very inappropriate events began to take place. As I was settling in with my sleeping bag, gummy bears, chocolate candy, and flashlight, some WEIRD conversations began to occur. My uncle began to describe his homosexual feelings and thoughts. It was a fast progressing conversation about sexual activities he had performed and wanted me to perform. I immediately felt uncomfortable and trapped. I was so afraid. As I began to express “no” and wanted to leave the tent the threats began. I was threatened that my family would be hurt or killed if I didn’t do what he wanted me to do. Without going into anymore unnecessary details I was molested that day, my 13th birthday, as an innocent child.

The next morning when I woke up I just started to cry. I had no idea what I was to do. What felt like a nightmare was actually happening. I awoke to reality which was in all seriousness a full blown nightmare. I remember walking into the house that morning and taking a shower, and then showering again and again. I felt so dirty, unworthy, ashamed, sorrowful, and in complete shock. This person that I came to trust has completely altered my universe. I showered four times that day attempting to feel clean.

I wish I could say that it was just done and over with but that sleepover in the tent was just the beginning to a series of unfortunate events. As the construction went on and I was often left to the house alone the molestation occurred over, and over, and over again, and again, and again. I almost become numb to the feeling after that short amount of time. School had started and my grades were falling FAST! The middle school ruthlessness was awful. School felt like a prison and so did home. I couldn’t go anywhere feeling safe. I would try to talk to my mom about nothing in particular and Cory was always there, looking over my shoulder. He’d constantly remind me that his sick and perverted presence was always there in case I ever told what was happening. His threats never stopped. I was a victim and a prisoner in my own home. A comfortable loving home that became hell. A hell I never thought I would endure. In all honesty I wanted to die.

My grades still falling, my attitude worsening, and feeling like no way out that I started to plan my suicide. I got the idea from a movie our family watched and “learned” it was an easy clean up. As I stood over the sink in my bathroom holding razor blades I found in the garage, sobbing, and filling the bathtub I remember feeling like my pain could finally leave. I was home alone when the phone rang. I don’t know what captivated me to answer it. I was so close to ending it all. It was when I answered the phone that my cousin Chelsea was on the other line.Chelsea and I 1994Chelsea and I summer 2008Chelsea and I in fireplace

Little do people know that this person, my favorite cousin Chelsea, saved my life. She’s the reason I always call her my favorite. If she hadn’t felt inspired to call I would not be here writing this story. It was she who held my hand through the darkness and led me to the light. It was she who gave me another chance to live. My life will forever be in debt to Chelsea Hamilton and all the sacrifices she made for me through my life’s darkest days.

Chelsea and I Emigration CanyonAfter a series of events and with the help of my father and step-mother I confessed to them what happened. That day was probably the second worst day of my life. I felt constant humiliation even around my family now that they knew.  We contacted the police, the bishop, and began counseling services. My life slowly started to turn around. After a terrifying court appearance two years later (my sophomore year in high school) where I had to look at my abuser in the eye and explain to a court room of people what happened, I finally felt free and clean again.

So now you’re asking, “what was the whole point of this long story of hard experiences?” The point is that no matter what circumstances we come across in life we can still be the creator of our story! We can still create success!Kadee surpirse party

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

We can move forward and write new pages, new chapters, and new beginnings. Yes I did need the help from A LOT of people to finally move forward and create success but know that it can be done! I can PROMISE you that if you have been a victim of sexual abuse you can change your life! Talk to a trusted adult and the authorities. You will finally be able to move forward. You will finally feel what life has to offer. Life does get better. I promise. Whatever you do don’t give up! Don’t give in, move forward and create that success! I can say that with the up most confidence because I am happy. I am grateful, yes… grateful, that I went through this experience because I have been able to help so many serving on a council to aid peers through crisis! It was after this experience that I wanted to show others that you don’t have to turn to drugs, alcohol abuse, and/or suicide. Although it may be difficult NEVER blame others for your circumstances. Be a creator of your circumstance rather than a creature of one. Stop blaming others for your actions and take responsibility. Don’t let the abuser win! Go forward and create your success! Have I made that clear enough yet? Good! Because this is the whole reason I am sharing these experiences.Cody's homecoming

You might have to find an outlet. I used Harry Potter, Disneyland, music on repeat, friends, family and professional counseling but I was able to do it! Live your life to the fullest and try new things. Don’t be afraid to take that leap and start moving forward now. Don’t hesitate another day! Become the person YOU are supposed to be and don’t let anyone else change that NO MATTER WHAT THEY DO TO YOU! Life is also easier if you forgive, even if it hurts so much that it seems to choke you. I won’t sugar coat it. It is not easy forgiving Cory, but I’ve done it and I honestly think of it very little whereas before I thought about it all the time and it consumed my thoughts. Forgive, and you will be free again. Move on and like I said before, create your success!

“Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.”

Show the world who you are. What legacy are you leaving behind? Which path are you choosing? Let us become who we are to become and “CREATE SUCCESS.”

“In your life there have to be challenges… they will either bring you closer to God and therefore make you stronger, or, they can destroy you. But you make the decision of which road you take.”

-Elder F. Enzio Busche

I’m always here if anybody reading this needs a listening ear.

Yours sincerely,

John Paul BottemaMission tbt