Rebecca Miller (4th Quarter, 2006)

4th Quarter, 2006
Vo-tech Scholarship Winner
Rebecca Miller

Rebecca Miller
Denver, Colorado
Life Partner–Brian Walsh
Son–Max Miller-Walsh
Engaged to be married April 2008
Full-time student, mom and homemaker
Self-employed as a Body Shop at Home Representative
Former Ms. Colorado United States Woman 2006
Former Ms. Colorado American United States 1999
B.A. Women’s Studies/Sociology from CU Boulder
A.G.S. Criminal Justice from Red Rocks Community College- Golden
Loves to read, hit the gym, watch Little Bill and South Park with Brian, Superfriends with Max and General Hospital by herself
Currently doing research on comfort touch, essential oils and Alzheimer’s Disease–placebo, myth or reality. Mother has advanced Alzheimer’s disease.
3 older brothers, one cat and two Hissing Roaches

A Portion of Rebecca’s Winning Essay:

Rebecca Miller

I have decided to pursue a trade in esthetics and massage therapy because I need to be able to provide for myself and my son and to be more present for him as he is getting ready to enter Kindergarten next year and I need to be available for him. While this is a noble cause, it is much more interesting to know where we came from this last year.

The decision to return to school is the result of an accumulation of growth and strength that I have gathered during this past year. It is a true accomplishment to have this level of confidence in myself and my abilities. As I embark on this pursuit, I face many challenges of being a single parent without a shred of familial or spousal support. However, these challenges pale in comparison to the hell that my son and I went through just a year ago. When I need to make a choice between milk and eggs as I cannot afford both, I remind myself of how lucky I am to be standing here making that choice. When I am tired and stressed with classes and work, I feel joy to have the feeling. The weight of my backpack, the sweet and sour taste of Red Bull, the tactile sensation of oil on my hands as I practice body work lab are all sensations that are bigger than life for me as I have literally been given a second chance at life.

Max and I are approaching our one year anniversary of our adjudication. Two days before Xmas, we were finally freed from an abusive situation. Here is our story.

I was sitting on my couch, silent, while he paced back and forth raging one moment, sobbing the next. He was drunk and talking about who he wanted to kill: my mother, my brother, my niece and her unborn child, I sat there crying silently, not moving as I knew if I said anything the rage would turn on me. I remember praying to God to protect me, and I felt strangely calm as if angels were guarding me. Steve stopped and looked at me and said, “But I could never kill you because I love you, baby”, and his eyes were glazed and dead looking. He went outside and I still sat there. I prayed for strength, guidance and deliverance, and I went to bed feeling calm and safe as he was out of the house, even if just for a moment. What I didn’t know was how God was going to give me an answer the very next day.

He left to go play poker with my best friend’s boyfriend. I knew he wouldn’t be home early so I went to bed. I awoke to him standing over me, crying. I turned on the light ,and he was covered in blood. I froze, and he told me that “he did something really bad, and it wasn’t supposed to happen.” I thought it was my family, and I asked him what happened. He told me he beat up Michael, and the cops were coming. Sure enough, the police were pounding on the door. He begged me not to answer, and I just sat there on the bed. He got on top of me, held me down and begged and cried. I just laid there thinking ” how did this happen?” I was numb.

The next two days he hid in the basement. I stayed in the house, never answering the phone or the door, and then a voice in my head told me to tell him to run, to hide for a while. It was a moment of clarity. So I went to the basement and told him what to do. He agreed, called a friend, and I remember when he left I said, “See you at Christmas dinner.” The door shut, and I picked up the phone and called the police.
I was finally free.

Two days before Christmas I had my freedom but the real work began. I had been abused by him for over 7 years. I had tried to leave before but always came back. Before Steve, I was a successful model and pageant winner. I had confidence, poise, a good job and many friends. Over the years he slowly eroded my confidence and took away my freedoms bit by bit until I had at the end, $40.00 in my pocket, no gas in the truck, no job, no electricity and a battered body and spirit.
Within two days I had a job. With the help of the Northglenn Police Department and Alternatives to Family Violence, I got assistance with food, safety and slowly built my confidence up through counseling, but there was more.

When I looked in the mirror I didn’t know who I was. I had no opinions, I didn’t know what I liked–music, food, wine–nothing. I was overweight as I was never allowed to go to the gym. Slowly, I started experimenting and I soon discovered the old me. I decided to apply for the Ms. United States pageant as a demonstration of taking back my life. It was part of my therapy. It got me motivated to get to the gym but again, there was more.

I realized as I prepared for the competition that I was truly beautiful inside and out, that I was smart and giving as I have once again started working with charities–something I haven’t done in years. It has enabled me to be the woman I once was but better. I realized that as Ms. Colorado United States Woman 2006, I could get access to opportunities that would allow me to do good works, and the more I gave, the more I grew and healed. I now understand that the spirit of pageantry is about more than just a title; it’s an opportunity to do good works.

While I did not win the pageant, I did come back from competition with a new sense of direction. I realized that I needed to learn a trade as my Bachelor’s Degree was useless. I realized that if I can rise from the ashes and get on a stage and shine, if I can reach out to other victims of domestic violence and show them that they can find themselves again, I can go back to school again.

Pursuing this trade is more than a means to allowing myself to work in a career field that is constantly growing and as a way of providing for myself and my son. It will allow me to give back more to other survivors of domestic violence. By being able to provide facials and make-up to women, without charge, who are in shelters I can facilitate their own personal healing because the self image is so destroyed when you first get out. Feeling beautiful will contribute to the healing process as I know this from experience. I also intend on offering bodywork as a healing method as it can be used in tandem with psychotherapy as a way of releasing body memories and toxins and facilitating the healing process.

Overall, my decision to pursue these disciplines is more than a monetary one; it is a way for me to provide services, free of charge to women who need it most. Someone, just like me, who is embarking on a journey of healing and rediscovery of strength and being given a second chance at life.

I would be honored to receive this scholarship, and the money would be used to help pay for the extra daycare while I am in class. That is my biggest challenge as my savings is quite limited and going fast ,and my student loans covered only tuition minus $3000.00. Any monetary gift is greatly appreciated. If I am chosen for any award you can pay Max’s preschool directly to ensure that the money is used for the intended purpose or to Heritage College or Emily Griffith Opportunity School as I take classes at both colleges.

Thank you for your consideration.

Copyright 2007, All rights reserved.

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