It Stops with Me– Dusky’s Story of Resilience in the Face of Poverty and Abuse

When Dusky was a little girl, her She-Ra shoes had holes. Classmates made fun of her ugly, second-hand winter coat that wouldn’t zip. Her family received Thanksgiving boxes of food from strangers.

Dusky and her sister were raised by their single mother who was trapped in a cycle of poverty and violent relationships. Their living conditions were erratic.

*Cue Record Scratch*

Your sympathy for little Dusky is probably pounding through your chest wall.

We’re pretty sure she was a cute little kid, and you can imagine her in that 1985-vintage ugly coat, right? But her grandma made those holey “Princess of Power” shoes something more for her. “Your classmates are just jealous that your shoes are air conditioned,” she told little Dusky. These funny little words must have stuck.

To know Dusky is to know relentless positivity.

*Back to Our Story*

Dusky, her sister and mother often lived with her grandparents, which kept them just out of homelessness. When she turned 14, Dusky started her first job at an assisted living home. She was always the “employee of the month” because she worked all of the time. With this job she felt power over her life. She made the conscious choice that she would not grow up to live like her mother. “It stops with me,” she told herself.

Like all great super heroine stories, she was challenged.

Challenges came from the closest adults in her life, who didn’t understand her desire to make her life better. “What makes you so special,” they asked her. She was challenging the status quo of everyone around her, which made them angry. But she continued loving those who were critical of her.

Challenges came from the school, from whom she hid her living conditions. If they knew about the torment she and her sister experienced from their mother’s behaviors, hatred from their father’s new wife or their long hours spent working at a young age, officials would intervene. Dusky was learning to be the architect of her life and knew this would distract her progress. With these secrets she graduated from high school and then college.

Challenges came when her first husband started coming home drunk. Dusky immediately recognized the pattern and left the marriage without question. She had become a mother, and it was her duty to protect her son.

She has a spirit of giving back.

Dusky committed her life to helping other women with similar experiences. Her career started with the Police Activities League in Portland, Oregon when she was invited to craft an after school program for kids. These kids would not fall through the cracks.

Today Dusky is the development director at House of Hope, an Iowa organization dedicated to helping single mothers transition from homelessness to empowerment. Every day the kids staying in the home play outside of her office.

She’s within arms-reach of the girl in She-Ra shoes.

Dusky knows that that everyone has something to give, and she lives her life around this motto. She is relentlessly empathetic to women and the conditions that cause life disruptions. She has made peace with the adults from her childhood. Instead of running away from the discomfort, she continues to run to it. Because everyone needs a little support.

Dusky found her true love.

And for those who are keeping track, a few years after leaving her first husband, she met a charming Olympic bob-sledder and track coach. She gave the relationship time to grow, and today the two are parents to three children, Xander, Blake and Indira.

Life’s challenges don’t cease, but like a true Princess of Power, she looks them straight in the eye. With wit, cunning, and relentless positivity, she turns them on their head.

CRU9 celebrates the stories of powerful women who chose to rise up, just like our friend Dusky did. Every time you buy a CRU9 bottle, you also help level the playing field for survivors of human trafficking, domestic abuse, and homelessness.