The name Maya’s Love comes from my childhood. Growing up my younger sister and I faced many adversities. The life chances that we were handed as children created factors that would affect us for the rest of our life, but we persevered and broke boundaries and cycles.
Growing up my little sister could not say the letter “r”, so each time she would scream for me, she would say, “Maya!” As we grew older this was a memory that we held close to our hearts. My little sister grew up and developed into an amazing adult who had a little girl of her own, who she named Maya.
Our name is based off of one of the few good memories that we had as children and now has an even bigger meaning because it is my niece’s name.
Logo *Trigger Warning*:
Our logo has a sad beginning, but with life experiences it transformed into a healing symbol.
Throughout my childhood I experienced different incidents of sexual trauma. As a child I was unable to connect the dots to my nightmares and to see how these horrific incidents were affecting my development. At the age of 9 I was molested by another adult that was in our family. Although I had experienced sexual abuse at an even younger age, at the age of 9 I was able to remember. I remember clearly, it happened on a Thursday because the next day was Friday and we were allowed to wear blue jeans to school. I remember being so excited because my mom had bought me these beautiful bellbottom jeans with yellow sunflowers on the bottom pant leg. My mom was not in town, so we stayed with our neighbor, but I just had to wear those jeans, so I ran home excited. I walked into our house in the projects, leaned over to grab my jeans from the drawer, and was never the same after that. This adult man, with the enabling of my close family member, took advantage of me as a child and took what was left of my innocence.
I grew up, joined the military, and hid these traumas far back in my heart and mind, but these things still affected my relationships with family and others. During my time in the military, I also experienced military sexual trauma. It was as if I fought to leave my past behind, but walked into the exact same situation of helplessness while in the military. For so long the simple sight of a sunflower hurt me down to my core and even triggered hurtful emotions caused by the childhood trauma. In 2020 I heard the name of an outstanding soldier for the first time. This soldier was Latina, Mexican American, First Generation, and in the military. Her tragic story resonated with me on so many levels. Hearing her story made me think that that could have been me in her situation. I felt personally connected with this soldier. I had to follow her story and do anything in my power to help her be found. Many of her pictures showed her and sunflowers. It was as if I was being made to face my childhood and military sexual trauma all at once. This soldier’s story changed my life forever and gave a different meaning to sunflowers.