Story of the Month- Bruised, Just Not Broken by Denise Ballard

Story of the Month

Bruised, Just Not Broken is a story based on my struggles in life. I am telling it because I want to finally allow the child within me to have a voice. I am tired of people telling me that I need to let it go because I am grown and have children. You see, people do not understand that I need to face my past in order to face my future. We were taught as children to keep secrets and that is why many of us do not speak out. I wrote the book Bruised, Just Not Broken because it was my release. It was me finally letting out my secrets. When I decided to self-publish, it was because I felt the need to be transparent and help others through my testimony; no matter what the cost. I wanted to let go of my fear, being ashamed, feeling abandoned, worrying about what people would think of me, and feeling worthless. I began to look at myself from the outside. I needed to help the child within that I see every day. This is my way of apologizing to her and letting her know that she is safe now. I poured my heart, soul and tears on every page within my book. I have become an “open book,” so that I can help someone. My purpose is to share my story with the world. I have to stop the internal suicide and allow that child within to be able to grow up and live without shame and secrets.




Denise Ballard, is an Author/Public Speaker. Denise wrote the book entitled Bruised, Just Not Broken because she needed a release. She had become tired of masking her pain through her smile and laughter. She no longer wanted to be ashamed, afraid, embarrassed, or worried about what people would think of her. Denise decided to finally allow the child within her grown body to have a voice. As children, we are taught to keep secrets. Denise felt the need to share her truths in book form. This was and is her way of touching many lives. She is showing the world that you can overcome anything and that there is hope after the storm. Denise lives in the Bronx, New York. While attending Monroe College Campus in the Bronx, Denise’s creative writing piece was selected and printed in the campus newspaper. She was also acknowledged by President Jerome in the New Rochelle Campus Newsletter as an Alumni and Published Author. Denise eventually returned to school and received her Masters of Science in Counseling Studies in the year 2012. Denise is passionate about making a difference in the lives of women and the younger generation. Denise is currently working on other projects and using the gifts that she was given to help others. She loves family time, talking and writing. She also enjoys cooking and baking (occasionally), sketching, creating art work, taking pictures of nature and creating DIY projects. Additionally, Denise founded an organization called F.A.R.A-Facing Adversities and Rising Above them. F.A.R.A is an extension of Bruised, Just Not Broken. Its focus is on healing the inner you. The main goal is to dissect our souls so that we can get to the root of our issues. Issues that have been lingering for so many years that causes us to make terrible choices as adults. The focal point is to acknowledge and correct the things that will not allow us to move forward, so that we can strive to become what we were created to be.






Chapter 3

Innocence Taken

      It was seven o’clock and the celebration had just begun. The walls and tables were decorated nicely with flowers handpicked from the garden. Ms. P cooked plenty of food. She made baked macaroni and cheese, collard greens, fried chicken, ham, turkey, red rice, cabbage, macaroni salad, chocolate cake, sweet potato pie, a variety of fruit salads and peach cobbler. There were cases of Schaefer and Old English beers, Johnnie Walker Red, Thunderbird, Vodka, Bacardi, Gin, and Blackberry Brandy. The bar was stocked from top to bottom.

Santee had never seen that much food under one roof. Her eyes lit up and grew bigger as her mouth salivated while inhaling the aroma coming from the tantalizing cuisine Ms. P prepared. She didn’t know where to begin. Ava cut her eyes at Santee as if to say, don’t chu act like you ain’t neva ate before. Pearl grabbed Santee by the hand ignoring Ava’s glance and fixed Santee a plate of food.

“Come on baby you can have whatever you want.”

Pearl then gave Ava a leave her alone look. The cassette player was playing all of Pearl’s favorite songs. Some adults were in the living room dancing and drinking while the rest were in the kitchen fixing their plates. They were having a good time.

After eating, Santee walked around looking at the adults as they talked, laughed and drank while ignoring her presence. Being invisible was the best thing for her because she wouldn’t have to go to bed. Santee tried to stay out of Ava’s eyesight. What was lurking upstairs was much scarier than her being caught by Ava. Santee was spotted. It was time for her to face her demon.

Santee walked up the spiral stairs as if she were walking on egg shells. She had on a pleated red, white, and blue polyester skirt set, red tights that had a hole in between the legs, and a pair of black patent leather shoes.

Reaching the top of the stairs, she could sense someone watching her from behind one of the many bedroom doors. They were waiting like an animal stalking its prey. Her small, feeble body started to shake in fear of being caught by her enemy. Santee’s heart was pounding through her chest. Her room appeared to be further in distance than it was.

Finally, she was safe. She laid across the bed too afraid to take off her clothes or fall asleep. The music was deafening. The guests were rowdy; but she was still able to hear the squeaking sound of the bedroom door opening. She pretended to be asleep. She could feel the heat escaping from his body toward hers.

Santee opened her eyes and was startled to find the silhouette of a person she didn’t recognize. When the light from the lamppost invaded the room, she could identify her demon. She had no idea what was about to happen to her. Santee was confused and frozen with fear.