My story is a boring one to me, but a life changing one of encouragement to many others. I’ll be honest, there were many times I wanted to hang up my advocacy work and quit all this, but then I’d receive that one message from a “fan” who credits me for their life changing, who says: “If it wasn’t for you and your videos years ago, I wouldn’t have found kratom when I did. My life wouldnt have been changed for the better if it wasn’t for you.” Then I pause and reevaluate my reason for having spent all these years talking about this plant publicly. Kratom truly does change lives, and I knew that it needed to be known. I didn’t know that many would start affectionately referring to me as Kratom Girl, but they did and it stuck…. A business woman became Kratom Girl.
It all started in August 2012….
The windows were rolled down in my Jeep. I welcomed the chill air while I sped down the I-5 corridor, crossing the bridge into Portland, Oregon. This would be the last trip down from Tacoma, WA that I would take before calling Portland my new home for my daughter and I. The fear in my chest for making this huge decision for us choked me. Combined with the chill breeze, I welcomed the uncomfortableness. I was here to start a new life for us. Leaving an emotionally abusive relationship was one of the hardest things I had ever done. It took me five years to finally make that decision and make that escape. No more would I allow myself to be mentally controlled, guilt tripped, manipulated and gaslighted by that man. Never again would I let my childhood trauma keep me controlled and cemented in an unhealthy marriage just because “it was a sin” to divorce. I was a new woman and everyone who knew me knew it. They looked at my move as a “nervous breakdown”. They saw me as “rebelling”, but I didn’t care what they all thought. They weren’t married to that man. They didn’t know the secrets I had kept simply out of embarrassment of admitting to the shit I had put up with for five years. I was free. I was finally free.
My daughter and I settled in well in the rainy city of Portland. I quickly became in love with the atmosphere. I dove straight into my career. I knew that I had to hustle for my daughter and I, so that I could provide for us. I chose to work nights so that I could be there for her during the day instead of throwing her into a child care center during this hard transition in her life. I chose to go days with very little sleep just to ensure there were some form of normalcy in her life, where she still had her mom whenever she needed me. The church we had joined was such a blessing for me during those days. So many blessings played a hand in my career quickly taking off. Before I knew it, I went from security officer in downtown Portland to Executive for a school district in a span of six years. I literally started with nothing.
Throughout that time, I remarried, had two more kids, bought a house, started a business on the side, and found such amazing contentment that I never thought I’d ever feel.
Where does kratom come into play? Well, during these years of growth were a lot of pain, both physically and emotionally, because life couldn’t possibly be predictable right?
To summarize, within these six years, the following occurred (in this order):
- I got remarried.
- I got pregnant.
- My neck began hurting, nerves were being pinched, but I was pregnant so I was unable to really treat my pain issue or fix the pinched nerve.
- I gave birth and began to figure out what was going on with my body.
- I was diagnosed with Degenerative Disc Disease and needed surgery. I had a month to wait.
- My mother was dying from cancer, so I had to go down to California (where Im from) to say goodbye. While living in so much pain, I buried it as much as I could while I spent a few days with my mother before she passed away.
- A week after her death, I got surgery (neck fusion).
- There were a complication on the surgery and I ended up losing my voice. I had to wait three months before they were convinced it was their fault and that my voice wasn’t planning on coming back (all I could do was whisper for almost a year).
- 9 months after neck surgery, I had another procedure to get my voice back. A gamble, but it worked. I still live with issues to this day with my voice. For example, in the mornings, I can barely talk. I have to “warm up my voice” first thing before I can speak normal.
- The pain of having a nerve being pinched for several months did a lot of damage to my arm, hand, back and neck. I could no longer feel two of my fingers on my left hand, and the pain would linger now. It wasn’t sharp like it used to be, but it remained present as a dull ache.
- The emotional pain of losing my mother before getting the chance to heal the damage that my divorce had caused on our relationship was intense. I was depressed. I had no time to grieve. Too many things were happening all at once. I was not in a happy place mentally.
- Much of the above was during my postpartum stage….which made it all so much worse!
- I had a few career changes during all of the above! Imagine going through all the above WHILE holding down a growing career! I couldn’t not work because I had thousands of dollars worth of legal fees to pay off from my divorce.
So where in all this did I run into kratom? Well, the pain I was living with got me searching for natural alternatives after dealing with some nasty side effects of the pain medication. I couldn’t live with those, and my pain wasn’t going away, so thankfully a friend of mine told me about this powder that she had been taking. She invited me to this “secret Facebook group” called NACU where everyone talked about this plant. I joined the group and quickly realized there was this underground community of people who loved this plant, but kept it hidden from the public in fear of it catching the attention of the government. The benefits of this plant were just so amazing that they feared it would be grabbed up by the wrong people, abused in a sense; and then the government might feel the need to ban it.
It peaked my interest, so I ordered my first ever batch of kratom from a kratom company called Red Devil Kratom. I recall the first time I took kratom. My tense body began to relax while my outlook turned more optimistic. I suddenly felt like life was good, and if it wasn’t, it soon would be.
I soon realized why this underground community tried to keep this plant hidden, but I also realized that this plant had the potential to change lives for the better. With kratom, I was able to still function, feeling normal, with no side effects. I felt motivated. I barely felt my nerve pain (Nerve pain is nearly impossible to fully take away with medication). I began to feel happy again. The pain of losing my mom wasn’t as debilitating anymore. Kratom took the edge off of all the issues I was living with.
I began to study this plant, but soon realized there wasn’t much information out there. It wasn’t well known at all, so finding accurate information was near impossible back then. I started to buy from different vendors, trying new “strains” and potencies. I documented my experience with each one and began to talk about it in the kratom groups I was apart of. Many didn’t approve of some of the things I said, my observations or questions. Talking about how the plant made us feel was a “no no”. The kratom world back then truly was weird and SOOOO different than it is now. In fact, the drama I ran across inspired me to begin this blog before I started creating videos on YouTube. The kratom community inspired all kinds of blog posts like:
- No Drama
- You’re Vetted? Then You Must Be the Best (remember the “vetted” days? LOL)
- I Am the Problem
and so many more!
Kratom took the edge off of all the issues I was living with.
When I started doing videos, that is when many voiced their disapproval (believing that I actually needed it lol), but I didn’t care. There were so many out there that needed to hear about this amazing plant, and there were smart ways to go about spreading that knowledge. I started to work closely with Botanical Education Alliance (where are they now btw??), designing some of their marketing material. I offered my business services at major discounts to vendors, just so I can be apart of representing kratom in a beautiful way. I worked with these vendors before they were big and trending on page 1 on Google. We have all come a long way. Some made it, some didnt.
To cut this long story short, I’m still around! Sure, I’ve had numerous accounts shut down for “breaking the rules”. I’ve had YouTube channels that were built up to almost 10k subscribers be shut down and deleted because I was accused of promoting “drugs”. But no matter what, I rebuilt. No matter what, I kept speaking about this plant, and I will continue to do so.
Alas, here I am, a few of my fans have been with me since the beginning and for them I give them credit for me still being around.
I have many dreams and plans for my advocacy work that I do for kratom. Creating “Kratom Girl” has allowed me to truly use my ever expanding platform to present kratom in the respectable light it deserves to be shining in. It also allows me to be raw with you guys, to show you the reality of a kratom consumer, to apply kratom personally. However, my ultimate goal is the work with fellow advocates and vendors who join me by keeping kratom above reproach. If we do so, we just might come to a day where we will be strolling down the aisle at Whole Foods and browse the kratom tea in all its glory.