I was born “Caroline Marie Trader”, but these days I go by Carly.

Basics: I’m 24 years old. I was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and now I live in Kennesaw, Georgia. I have five siblings who I wouldn’t trade for the world. I’ve worked for Starbucks for over four years. Even though I’m not entirely too far ahead in college, I’ve changed my major three times. It is currently set as “English”, with the intention of getting my masters in Library Science. We shall see.

A little deeper: I’ve got a lot of love. I love writing, animals (especially cats), doing my part to save animals from kill shelters, coffee, reading, friends/family, quotes that make me think, things with cinnamon, chocolate, and Starbucks. I actually got my job at Starbucks because I was there every day anyway. I’ve got a lot of hesitation. I hesitate to share my true life story (in full detail), to be honest with others about my true feelings in the moment, to participate in a group (especially when I don’t know anyone), to speak out loud, and to be the center of attention.

Even deeper: I do have a story to share. I believe everyone does. I also believe that as of right now, it is my mission in life is to help others choose life. Even if I only help one person choose life, I will feel complete. Obviously helping more people would be even better.

And finally: How do I expect to accomplish helping someone? Writing. I have been writing in one form or another for a very long time. I believe my earliest journal dates back to 1998-1999. I can hardly interpret my handwriting, but still. Writing has always been my best form of communication. When I cannot speak words out loud, I speak words on paper. As long as I’ve been able to write, I have confided my most deep and dark secrets to the pages of my journals. My hope is that one day I will be able to publish a book on my life journey, especially the journey I’ve lived in the past seven years. I aim to share my darkness and my light so that others in similar situations can feel less alone.

So whoever you may be, reading this page right now, I welcome you to join me on my journey of surviving life on life’s terms. Welcome to the club.