Dragonflies and Restoration

The following is a written narrative of a woman named Elizabeth Bellamy. She is a daughter of a single-parent household, a mother of one, a survivor of substance abuse, and a believer in trauma-informed care. Through the REAL (Recovery from Everyday Addictive Lifestyles) Life Program of Richmond, Bellamy shares an anecdote about fear, hope, and perspective — an accumulation of short stories that build her narrative, her life, and her philosophy. Although I can’t capture the full essence of Bellamy’s life experiences, I aim to convey a small portion of her life in order to capture her humanity. 

Fear, for 28 year old Elizabeth Bellamy, begins with a loss of hope–hope that succumbs to the pressure of overwhelming expectations. This fear often stops Bellamy from attempting success, hesitating in the wake of a possible imminent failure.

“My biggest fear? Failing. At life, at my recovery, getting a career and not being successful with it. I guess I haven’t really had much experience at success so I still question myself, whether or not I can do it. I mean, in order to find out, I have to try,” Bellamy said.

Growing up in Poquoson, VA, Bellamy strutted proudly through her grandmother restaurant, Owen’s Marina, wading between the kitchen ingredients and the finished cuisines. She was the confident, young daughter of a single-parent household, spending most of her days with her father and older sister near the coast of the Chesapeake Bay. However, removed from the safety of her family, a new feeling of self-doubt trickled its way into a 10-year old Elizabeth Bellamy as she encountered unwarranted judgement and bullying from classmates in the fourth grade.

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Article written by:

MiJin Cho
VCU Honors College (B.S./M.D), 2023