Updated: Oct 26
This heart wrenching, yet inspirational novel takes you on the journey through the life of Brylee Splaine. Needless to say, her life experiences have left a countless amount of scars, which for a long time had caused her to become heartless, bitter, and unable to trust. However, she was still very naïve and fell for many traps, because indeed she did not know everything. Instead she was a baby trying to play a grown woman’s game, while being unaware of what she was up against.
Brylee has been hiding from her past traumas, pain, and her wrong decision making up until now. She is taking back the power that belongs to her by becoming not only a survivor, but the voice for many. So, for the first time, she will be sharing her deepest and darkest secrets as one of the guest speakers for the Young Adult Recovery Program at the OutReach Rehabilitation center in Detroit, Michigan. Yet, once the patients in Brylee’s group session start to reveal events in their lives, connections will be made that no one was expecting.
Some of their experiences, decisions, beliefs, and/or opinions will collide with one another causing tension, anger, and tears. Everyone’s life story is unique and no one’s life is exactly the same, but we can learn from one another, only if we took the time to actually listen. In the end, this emotional roller coaster will place change upon many of their lives but ultimately, it is how Ms. Brylee Splaine was transformed, “From Dull to Divine”.
“Don't nourish your fears more than you nourish your hopes.” ― Steve Maraboli
It was seven thirty in the morning and the spring air smelled fresh, yet moist as I walked out of the Detroit MGM Grand hotel doors to wait for my car service. The birds were chirping, and as I looked up towards the sky. The sun shined bright upon my light brown freckles that were mainly masked across my cheek bones and nose. I could not help but to slowly take a deep breath, while closing my eyes to soak up every ounce of this moment. The warmth of the sun on my face was uplifting, because it felt so good to be back at home in Michigan. Even though, I am glad that I got away, this state will always be home. To my dismay, seconds later I was bumped out of my “reminiscing moment”, when I heard a gentleman’s voice speaking to me.
“Hello, Ms. Splaine right this way,” the gentleman stated as he directed me to the rear driver’s side door of the limousine.
However, the minute I turned around to get in, I could feel his eyes behind me scanning all over my body. I was not offended or anything, because I had already accomplished what he was currently doing the second I laid my eyes on him, and baby— he deserved a high eight from head to toe! So, I obviously had to tip him graciously, while giving him a flirtatious smirk and a, “Thank you kindly,” before he closed my door. He smiled in return, and gave me that seductive, “I want you look”. I decided to entice him a little bit, by giving him a suggestive but innocent smile. In place of the laughter, I was so desperately trying to hold in, because little did he know his chances were slim to none. Considering, I had absolutely no desire to date anyone. I must admit, that it did feel good to know that I still got it. I also found some humor in watching him drool all over himself, as he walked over to the front driver’s side door to get in.
Nonetheless, he was still completely distracted by my presence. Considering, I caught him staring at me twice through the rearview mirror, as I did my routine mirror check. Once I was satisfied with my outer appearance I gently closed my portable mirror, and signaled him to drive off.
“Yes, Ma’am,” the gentleman respectfully responded as he put the car into drive to exit the hotel parking lot.
Surprisingly, the car ride was short, smooth and quiet. I am not going to lie— I was counting on him talking my ear off the whole time but no he remained professional. Well, let me rephrase that— his mouth did because his eyes revealed that his mind was on a whole different level and thought process. As a result, I kept quiet because I did not want to lead him on any further. To be truthful, you never want to lead anyone on too much if you are not really interested in them. For two main reasons: One, because it is simply not nice and secondly because it can backfire on you by causing the individual to stalk, rape or even kill you. Please never forget that we live in a world where a lot of our peers lack several crayons from the Crayola box. If you catch my drift.
“Ma’am we’ve arrived to your destination,” announced the driver.
“Thank you kindly, I just need a moment to get myself together first.”
“No problem, Ma’am take your time.”
I sat there for a second with my head leaning back against the headrest, while I just literally stared at the entrance doors because the reality of what I was about to do was finally sinking in. Suddenly, my nerves started to follow suit by going completely haywire. For that reason alone, I had to immediately distract myself with positive thoughts to calm down my nerves because I did not want to back out. After a few minutes of silence and several deep breaths.
I finally said, “Okay, I am ready,” to the driver as I reached over to grab my purse.
“Right this way,” said the driver, as he opened the door.
I responded, “Thank you again,” while exiting the limousine.
“Ma’am it states on my roster that I am supposed to return for pickup at 4:00 p.m., is this correct?”
“Yes, and if any changes occur I’ll have my assistant contact you.”
The perfectionist in me would not allow me to walk away before doing an outfit, hair, and makeup check through the limousine’s windows to ensure that everything was laying right.
“Ma’am, you look just fine.”
“Well, thank you Sir but a woman’s job is never done.”
“From the looks of it your job is, but your welcome and I hope you have a good day Ma’am.”
I could not help but to laugh as I waved and responded, “Same to you,” because he was truly trying to play it cool, which was kind of cute. However, once I began walking up the sidewalk I had to question whether or not I was participating in my morning workout. Because it was quite a hike to reach the entrance doors to the center. Shoot, I had to catch my breath before opening the door. Thankfully, as soon as I entered the building I was greeted by the receptionist who was sitting at the front desk just a few feet away.
“Hello, I am Rebecca. How can I help you today Ma’am?”
“Hello, my name is Brylee Splaine. I am here today as one of your guest speakers for the Young Adult Recovery Program.”
“Oh Yes! So, you will need to talk to Ms. Nashville. She is the Director of the program. Just give me one second, and I will call down to her office to let her know you are here. You can have a seat until I can get a hold of her,” responded Rebecca as she pointed to the chairs placed across from her.
“Okay thank you,” I replied.
Rebecca looked upon her listing of extension numbers to find Ms. Nashville’s. Here it is, Rebecca thought to herself as she was going down the list of names. She quickly dialed the number and listened to ring after ring, while she twirled her finger around the cord of the phone.
“Hello, Ms. Nashville speaking, how may I help you?”
“Hello, Ms. Nashville, this is Rebecca the receptionist from the Main office. I have one of your guest speakers Ms. Brylee Splaine down here.”
“Oh yes! I’ll be right down, just give me five minutes because I am wrapping up a meeting,” said Ms. Nashville.
“Okay— sounds perfect,” responded Rebecca before hanging up the phone. Afterwards, she looked up at Brylee who was sitting across from her in one of the chairs and said, “Ms. Splaine she will be with you in just a moment.”
I replied, “Thank you”, and went back to fiddling with my fingers to try to keep my nerves under wraps. Clearly, it did not help tame the butterflies swirling around in my stomach, which only left me to look through my phone to try and stay busy. Unfortunately, nothing was going on via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram but the same ol’ depressed, I need love, I am rich, you are not this or the famous men and women aren’t shit pictures, memes, statuses or quotes. Finally, a beautiful woman of Latino decent in her mid-thirties wearing a burgundy Armani suit with a black blouse and a pair of black Manolo heels began walking towards me. Her essence was so captivating that it completely distracted me from my current situation. What can I say I fancy both sexes. Well, that was until I was knocked out of my few seconds of lust by the woman’s sensational voice saying—
“Hello and welcome Ms. Splaine, my name is Diane Nashville. I am the Director of the Young Adult Recovery program here at the OutReach Rehabilitation Center. I have heard so many wonderful things about you and I loved your book! So it’s definitely a pleasure to finally meet you.”
I stood up and shook Ms. Nashville’s hand while replying, “Thank you so much. It’s definitely a pleasure to finally meet you as well and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to be one of your guest speakers today.”
“No, please— thank you. This means so much to the center. These young men and women need to hear your story. We are hoping that after today many of them will change their perception on life,” responded Ms. Nashville.
“I hope so to, because all jokes aside this is extremely hard for me. Due to, the fact that I have never spoken about my life in a setting of this nature. So I am beyond nervous.”
“I promise you, there’s no need to be nervous because you’ll do just fine— trust me. So if you could follow me I’ll take you down to your classroom and on the way I’ll tell you a little bit more about how our program works. I’ll also answer any questions that you might have as well,” replied Ms. Nashville.
At first I just simply smiled the whole time, because I did not want to make it noticeable that I was intrigued by her beauty before I responded, “That sounds good to me,” as she escorted me from the center’s Main office towards the direction where my classroom would be located for the day. Of course, I had to dwell on the worse case scenarios again, such as puking, stuttering or completely freezing up, while I followed Ms. Nashville down the hallway. Thankfully, she interrupted me from my thoughts with the sound of her seductive voice once again.
“Okay— so as you may already know that every month, we invite five guest speakers to come and talk to our patients. As a part of our Young Adult Recovery Program, which caters to the ages of eighteen to twenty-five. Therefore, all of our guest speakers range from the same ages because we want them to be able to connect with our patients. By going this route, we have learned that the end results are more life changing, due to them being more receptive to those of their age because they can relate to them. They also feel as if breaking their bad habits are more possible because they are living in the same day an age.” said Ms. Nashville.
“Which is understandable,” I responded.
“Yes it is. Now every guest speaker will have their own classroom with five to eight patients it usually depends on how many of them fit the questionnaire you filled out previously. That was based on the type of battles you have dealt with in the past. We do this because we only try to assign patients with guest speakers that have faced the same obstacles. By assigning our guest speakers to individuals that are dealing with issues that they have never faced would defeat the purpose of yawl being here. Now, normally the individuals are usually suffering from substance or alcohol abuse, molestation, rape, food addictions, attempted suicides, or they are domestic violence victims. Currently, you have free range on how you run your session today but lunch is at noon and the day ends at 4:00 p.m. Other than that, I think I have pretty much summed everything up. Do you have any questions?” asked Ms. Nashville.
“No, I think you have covered just about everything already.”
“Okay good. Well, here we are room 2027, and from the looks of it everyone is already here. Now, don’t forget that your classroom is in the C hallway. I know it can get pretty confusing around here. Just try to remember that the A hall is the patient’s living corridor, and the cafeteria is located in the B hall, while the C hall is where the classrooms are located for our group sessions. As well as my office, just in case you may need anything. I’ll also introduce you to everyone first and help you get settled in but then you’re on your own. So are you ready,” asked Ms. Nashville as she grabbed the door handle before opening it.
I laughed and responded, “Yes— as ready as I am going to get,” as I followed Ms. Nashville into the classroom.
“Hello everyone, some of you may already know who I am but for those who do not my name is Diane Nashville and I am the Director of the Young Adult Recovery Program here at the OutReach Rehabilitation center. I’d like to start off by thanking you all for participating in the group sessions today. Whether it was for guidance, inspiration, support, or general help with getting back on the right track in life. We understand that this is a big step for a lot of you but it demonstrates that you are willing to take the steps to turn your life around.
Most of you may also already know that every month we try to have different guest speakers come and visit to share their life experiences with you. We have learned that sometimes it is easier to gain wisdom or accept advice from those who are of your age and have walked down similar paths. I ask that everyone listen and respect our guest speaker today, while giving her your undivided attention because it takes a lot of courage to speak to individuals, such as yourselves. Now, if we could give a big round of applause to our guest speaker Ms. Brylee Splaine,” clapped Ms. Nashville.
(The Class Applauds)
I was completely terrified as I walked up next to Ms. Nashville, who was standing in the middle of the circle of patients sitting in their chairs. Hopefully, they were not able to see it upon my face, because I tried to smile so pleasantly.
I literally had to clear my throat though before saying, “Hello ladies and gentlemen, first I’d like to thank Ms. Nashville for allowing me to be here today. Secondly, I am just going to admit right now that I am completely nervous because I have never spoken so openly to individuals that I did not know pertaining to my personal life. When this opportunity was first brought to my attention by my publicist I was completely against speaking here today. Please do not misinterpret that as if I did not want to come here and help any of you by sharing my story today, because that was not the case. I have always dreamed of helping people all over the world. Too be honest, that was one of the main reasons I even wrote my book. My objection came from the fear of speaking about my past aloud, because I have never spoken about it to anyone outside of my counselor, the book I wrote, and close family or friends.
I am sure a lot of you can imagine the fear I was consumed with by coming here today and telling people that I do not even know about my personal struggles. I guess you are probably wondering what made me change my mind, right? Well, the same day it was brought to my attention later that night when I went home I was watching R&B Divas on television. They had a life coach come on and talk to the ladies with the hopes of helping them with the anxiety they were experiencing pertaining to sharing their life stories.
The life coach said to the ladies, “It is one thing to survive something but it’s another thing to thrive beyond. When you are thriving, it is because you totally take in all of the power that belongs to you. Thriver’s tell their story, because the secrecy part of it still holds you captive in some way. To be in secret you have to hide, but when you are out, and you are like there is no more hiding. This is who I am, this is where I have been, at that moment your whole story becomes your whole story. Now, you get the opportunity to hold that thing in your hand and strangle the life out of it if you choose to.”
From that moment, I realized that it was time that I became a thriver! Meaning in, it was time for me to stand up and take complete control of my life by no longer hiding, being scared or ashamed! The next day, I told my publicist that I would do it. So today, I am here to take back the power that belongs to me and for the first time my whole story will become my whole story. And I am hoping you will all do the same today with me.”
I paused for a second, while putting up my pointer finger to signal them to wait a minute. As I looked around the classroom to find a chair so I could pop a squat because my six inch Chanel heels were killing my feet. Ah, I thought to myself as I walked across the room to grab the empty chair that was sitting all alone in the corner. After retrieving it I rejoined the group, while gasping for air after sitting down in the chair that I placed in front of the circle of patients.
“Okay, sorry about that but my poor feet were barking. Now, back to the topic at hand. I am obviously here to share my story, but you were all chosen to be in my group because we either share similar experiences, struggles or mistakes. I would like to run today’s session by starting off with telling you guys my story, and in between those moments there will be times that I will pause for those who can relate to the topic at hand to give them a chance to speak briefly on their experience. We will also utilize those segments for any questions and/or concerns. I want everyone to try and take the step in talking at some point in time during our session. Whether it is only about one of yours scars because a wise woman once told me that, “The longest journey starts with but a single step”.
Please also remember that we do not have enough time to go through everyone’s complete life story but that is why we are going to touch basis on some of your struggles as we go through mines. Considering, I would like to hear at least a little bit about everyone. Clearly, I cannot force any of you to talk, so if you do not want to, you do not have to. However, I want you all to understand that I am highly interested in getting to know all of you a little bit better. With that being said, I am hoping since I’m sharing my life story that you will all do the same, because just maybe you will come to trust me as I am trusting you—
Yet, I also do understand that yawl do not need to just trust me, but each other as well. This means respecting one another scars, pain, decisions and or struggles. Do not run around here releasing people’s personal business or using it against one another neither. We are all grown and around the same ages, so let’s not forget to act like it because no one wants to sit around and talk about their private struggles that sent them down the wrong path in front of immature individuals. Therefore, let’s make sure everyone minds their manners and peers so this can be beneficial for those whom want it to be.
Last but not least, please do not forget that I am not a psychiatrist, therapist, counselor or anything within that field. Meaning in, my opinion and or advice will come from my personal experience because I am no different than any of you. As I tell my story, I am going to give it to you wet, raw, and with no sugar coating. We are grown. I want our environments setting to be chill as if we are all just friends kicking it. Yet, learning and helping one another in the process.
Therefore, before I start I’d like to go around the circle one by one, while yawl introduce yourself, such as telling us your name, where you are from, and how old you are.”
Ms. Nashville, saw that I was more prepared than I gave myself credit for, she took that as her cue to get lost as she quietly slipped out of the classroom before the patients started to introduce themselves.
“So let’s start with the first gentlemen to my right and then we will go around the circle one by one as previously mentioned.”
“Okay, I guess that’s me— well my name is Keyon and I am from the Eastside of Detroit. I just turned 21 last month and that is everything about me,” concluded Keyon.
After Keyon was done introducing himself I glanced at the young woman sitting next to him hoping she would catch my drift that it was now her turn to introduce herself.
“Oh sorry about that— I just had déjà vu. Anyways, my name is Iyonna and I am from Inkster. Currently, I am also 21 years old. Well, that’s until my birthday next week. The reason I am here is because of my addiction to alcohol, marijuana and my sex addiction.”
The class silently laughed, while trying to cover up their mouths to hide the fact that I did not even ask why she was here, on top of it being a little odd and hilarious that she was here due to a sex addiction.
“Oh, I see yawl find that shit amusing huh,” asked Iyonna.
I instantly interrupted her by saying, “Absolutely not, right everyone?” as I glanced over to the other people in the group for their reassurance. Thankfully, they went along with me but Iyonna knew deep down that they were all still thinking the same thing but just decided to be cordial. She sat in her chair with her arms folded, while she simultaneously stared at everyone with the expression upon her face that said, “Bitches I am not stupid”.
“Okay everyone let’s get back to introducing ourselves. Who’s next?” I asked.
“It’s my turn shawty—
“Hold up, before you start please do not refer to me as shawty, shortie, baby, mah, or any other name besides the one I have given you. Agreed?” I demanded.
“Dang, feisty aren’t you but that’s cool. I got chu. Now back to my intro, yawl can call me Neko because I don’t know any of you like that to be giving out my government name and shit. I was born and raised in Eastpointe, but the Eastside of Detroit made me. Oh yeah, and I am 23 years old and the homie in my pants is the same just convert that into inches,” laughed Neko as he grabbed at his nuts through his jeans. I figured I’d add something to my intro since home girl decided to drift off to space and tell us information that you didn’t even ask for.
“Screw you,” yelled Iyonna.
“Back at ya’ baby girl,” laughed Neko while blowing her a kiss.
I could already see how this was going to go today. Yup, a screaming match between judgmental angry adults. Just my luck!
“Oh my gosh, don’t tell me you're one of those? You know what, don’t even answer that, let me just get my introduction done. With that being said, my name is Yonnie. I am 24 years old and I’ve lived in Westland for most of my life. And I do not have anything extra to share with you, so next.”
“Hi, my name is Nathan and I am 19 years old. Currently, I live in Ferndale but I was raised in Eastpointe majority of my life.
“My name is Leilani, but I have not figured out a name for my little bun in the oven as of yet. Other than that, I am 24 years old. I’ve been homeless off and on for most of my life since I was sixteen. I’ve fallen back into being homeless once again, so I guess it’s fair to say that I am from nowhere land.”
When you pay attention to how a person conveys something you can literally feel their emotions simply by how it is conveyed because her introduction was what, maybe four sentences? Yet, I could hear the pain, emptiness and how lost she truly felt while she trying to intentionally joke about her situation. I could only shake my head because it broke my heart to see that pain.
“Hi, I am Blake and right now I live in Royal Oak but I was raised in Warren for most of my life. I just turned 22 and I am here because of my addiction to alcohol.”
“Good job everyone, and it’s nice to meet all of you but before I start I’d like to say a few more things. Please keep in mind that we all live, love and think differently. So if you have any questions or feel the need to express your opinion wait until the speaker has finished and most importantly remain respectful. We are not here to judge anyone because no one is better than the next. We have all made mistakes, but we are here to help each other by providing one another with a listening ear, guidance, and support. So, let us try to keep the atmosphere uplifting even when it seems as if it is impossible.
To be Continued......
Written by: Brianna Spurlock