Editor’s note: We are Onslow is a weekly feature highlighting Onslow County’s residents. To suggest a person to be featured, visit JDNews.com/WeAreOnslow or email localdesk@JDNews.com.

Doctors told my parents that I would likely never walk or run on my own due to my diagnosis of Holt Oram syndrome, causing my arms to be what they are and not having the balance without arms. I started dance classes at three and soccer when I was four. My motivation throughout life has always been to prove people wrong when they don't believe I can do something. With a source of motivation like that, it's instilled a drive in me that I don't ever quit. I keep going until I win. It makes it easier to achieve things when you're pushed that way.

I've had depression my whole life and was diagnosed manic depressive when I was 12. I've dealt with suicidal thoughts and almost actions since I can remember. Finding a religion that I connect with has helped a lot though when I feel down. A lot of people go to praying to Jesus/God/etc for good things to happen to them, but in Asatru (Norse Viking) we don't ask the gods for anything like that. We don't beg. We make it happen with the help of their strength and that of our ancestors behind us. But it is ultimately up to us as individuals to fight. Never give up and die fighting, and you get to spend eternity feasting or really partying with the gods.

I spent years trying to find what I relate to most. My father grew up on a Native American reservation and so those ways and culture were taught to me at a young age. I also grew up going to an Episcopalian church with my grandparents, but nothing quite felt right about that to me and when I was in college it was confirmed, when my bible study group basically held an intervention for me because I had tattoos, piercings, and was open about being attracted to women. I started studying Asatru about four years ago and felt a weight lifted the more I learned about it. It's pretty relaxed how I practice. I don't sacrifice anything to the gods lol I just concentrate and try to gain strength coming from them and all in Valhalla when I feel down and I visualize all my favorite foods in an endless supply waiting for me as long as I keep fighting.

My main challenge around here is finding a place that will hire me. I also try to sell my artwork, but I've found Jacksonville isn't the most art friendly place. That’s why I started up face painting and it helps. I eventually want to get out of here, get my teaching license and start teaching elementary school art classes. Other than that, I would say to stop staring at people with disabilities. Teach your children to be kind to those who are different, and just believe in our abilities.