New Haven Alumni - 2007 Hayley
"Everything we went through as a family... we all fought this battle together and though we didn't make it through unscathed, we came out victorious."
Where is your daughter now?
Last year, I completed my bachelor's degree at 28. My first go at college when I was 18 did not go so well and I took five years off to learn about the world and myself. I had a job working in the state legislature part time and I waited tables to support myself. I drove all over the country visiting friends and seeing new places. I moved 600 miles away from my family for a fairytale romance with a military man, and I realized just in time that I wanted more than the life I would have as his wife.
"New Haven helped me figure out my escape route."
When I came back home and continued working in state government, I realized that I wanted to pursue a career in public service and so I returned to school to do just that. Now I am gainfully employed as a Legislative Aide in county government. I've had three long-term romantic relationships in the thirteen years since I left New Haven, each of them built on trust, authenticity, respect, and compassion.
Even amidst the devastation I felt when they ended, I honored, forgave, and took care of myself. I still get depressed, hopeless, and anxious sometimes. Some days it's difficult just to get out of bed let alone go to work. But when I sink into that place, I don't feel lost there. New Haven helped me map out my escape route.
What part of New Haven was most helpful?
New Haven taught me the importance of building a robust support network and a plan for activating that network when I need support. I learned how to ask for what I need and how to reciprocate that support. Before New Haven, my relationships were toxic, one-sided, and bonded by negativity. The relationships I have with my close friends now are deep and fulfilling; they are rooted in kindness, mutualism, gratitude, and a rich, unmistakable love. New Haven equipped me with tools in my toolbox that I still use today.
How would you describe your family relationships now?
I am extremely close with my mom & sisters (my dad did not complete the program). They are my strongest pillars of support. I live close to my mom and even closer to my older sister, and we see each other often. Everything we went through as a family --the trauma, the fallout, the separation, and the repair --gave us a bond that is sort of war-like: we all fought this battle together and though we didn't make it through unscathed, we came out victorious.