By Nate Hill, Bozeman, MT

To begin my story is to go all the way back to the very beginning - I was abandoned as a baby, and turned into Wesley Hospital in Wichita, KS. It just so happened that an angel was looking to adopt a newborn. The catch? She was married to a devil! A devil who throughout the years would often beat, abuse, rape and threaten my mother. He would also beat, abuse and molest me as a child from the ages of 5-8. He would threaten me that if I told anyone he would kill my mom and then me. I found out later that he told my mother that if she told anyone he would kill me in front of her.

It all culminated one night when I was 8 yrs old. He and my mother were having a bad argument, which was fairly common. She told me to go to my room put my headphones on and go to bed. The next thing I knew while I was laying in bed, he came busting through the door and jumped in my bed and put a knife to my throat and started to apply pressure yelling that he was "going to kill me" to my mom. Thank God my older brother, who was 16 at the time, wasn't too far behind him. He ran in and was able to get him off of me and then he ran out of the house. We called the cops. They came, and took him away. We thought that we had finally gotten rid of him and the evil. The great court/justice system decided that 6 months inpatient at a mental hospital was all he needed. After that, I had court ordered visits and court ordered counseling until I was 13. He still had outbursts, threatened us, and stalked us. I went through many counselors. Some would ask me "what could I have done better to have made him happy or to prevent the situation??” That really starting getting to me.

I grew up way faster than I should have! My "innocence" was taken away and it started to spill over in other areas. How I viewed men and sexuality. I became violent and would get in many fights. I lied about what happened to my dad because I was too ashamed of what happened. Since the counselors asked those questions, I thought it was my fault. I turned into a very pissed off youth! I hated God and the world,I didn't care if I died. Why live? That was also driven by the fact that due to the abuse to my mom, she had her breast implants ruptured. She developed silicone poisoning throughout her body. Then vasculitus, and later on brain tumors, and lupis. She became terminally ill which spawned back from what that demon had done.

Through those years, I was shot at multiple times, stabbed, jumped, witnessed "friends" get shot, killed, overdose, commit suicide, and many get arrested and sent away. Then, in about a weeks span, one of my best friends was killed, another killed himself, and I learned that my mom had developed the brain tumors. I decided that I needed to get my life straight! That's when I started to really get into working out and martial arts. I was always into martial arts after what happened and I told myself "I'll make sure that nobody can hurt my family or me ever again.” Corny kid thinking! I started to get a "high" through training, discipline, and clarity! The saying "those who have a why can bear any how" rang very true! I was going to become a son that my mom needed, someone that was there and could help take care of her, and someone she could be proud of!

Shortly after that, my best friend who was more of a brother than my actual brother at the time, was murdered. He was the one person that knew what I was going through and my past. He always wanted to see me get out of the mess I was in!  So much happened that I never really took stock of the toll everything had on me mentally. I had tried to bury so much. I knew something was off and decided to give a counselor a try. It had been years since the court ordered sessions had ended and they left a terrible taste in my mouth. I found a good one and started telling my story, and broke down. I was diagnosed with PTSD, anxiety, ADD and depression. It was very hard to hear. I was still pretty young and that was a lot of labels to carry, and all I heard was "I'm really messed up."  For years, I wouldn't let anyone in or tell my story. I would lie and leave out things or make them much more palatable. I felt like I too was a devil with all the bad and terrible things I did. To think that I could be anything like my adopted father took me to dark places! Music, training, and lifting were my refuge. To this day I feel and know that I owe them my life! I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for those outlets! I learned that I was going to be constructive or destructive but it was my choice! Later on I became a teacher, trainer and coach. Helping others was the ultimate high for me! I used to be ashamed and embarrassed of my past and childhood but not anymore! I came from the gutter and made it to become successful, but beyond that I found peace that I never thought I could find! I still have my struggles for sure, but coming to grips with who I really was, who I wanted to become, and, more importantly, who I was no longer have been life changing!

I tell people that are struggling, find your peace, find your new addiction that is constructive that gives you a sense of purpose and pride. Discipline has been my best friend! Discipline = freedom I truly believe! Keep your mind and body busy doing good things and good things will happen!  Along the way, I became very spiritual. I don't believe in God because of religion, or because I was raised too. I believe because there is no other reason for me still being here! The fact that I made it out! I found God or God found me! I don't do the "religious" thing well, but my first and last conversation of the day is thanking God for another day and to please give me the wisdom, strength and courage to become who he made me to be. At night I thank him for a chance of tomorrow! I know that I'm very blessed to even be alive and should have died many, many times! 

I know it's hard to find people to talk to and relate too. I've been told by many counselors that I will always struggle with that due to what I've gone through. Just know you're not alone! My past does not define me, who I chose to become and continue to strive to be will! I live my life everyday trying to become a better version of who I was yesterday! I recently read Jordan Peterson's 12 Rules for life book (which I HIGHLY recommend EVERYONE read!) and one of the rules was compare yourself to who you were yesterday, NOT to who someone is today! In this day in age of social media, I think that is a very valuable lesson! I was never really suicidal but there were many days and periods of my life where I would pray for God to just end it, to take me out of this place, and end all the suffering! One of the passages I try to live by and remind myself in those times is Psalm 46:10 "Be still and know that I am God".. That helps me remind myself that no matter how bad of a season it may be, it is just that - a season that will pass! That and the "cookie jar" principle from David Goggins. All the things I've overcome and made it through. I pull one of those out of the cookie jar and remind myself that this is just another cookie! Never give up or quit. I've had times where I'd tell myself, tomorrow I'll quit, then if I kept telling myself tomorrow, I got out of that season. Through great suffering comes great blessings. If you allow them with an open heart and an open mind! I hope if this gets put out there it can give at least 1 person hope! Honor towards my mom has always been something that has helped as well.  What she sacrificed when she didn't have to.  Having someone to live in honor of definitely helps perspective!

If I can do it, ANYONE can do it!  Thank you for reading!