CATIE BURRILL - 2019 Blessons Scholarship Award Recipient

catieburrill.jpg

Battling inner monsters as well as fighting the ones around you can be one of the toughest things a woman can do. One needs to make sure they do not end up as the monsters they are fighting, which is what ran through Catie Burril’s mind through her adolescence and young adult years.

Our latest Scholarship recipient, Catie Burril, has shared her ‘What’s Your BS?’ story with us, and it is one that definitely strikes a chord with the Blessons Foundation. Burril grew up in a negative an abusive household, finding herself fighting with her abusers and others, letting violent behaviors take control. Making it out alive from one abusive relationship, she unfortunately found herself deep into another. Negativity had followed her, and unfortunately after getting herself out of that abusive boyfriend’s grasp, yet another abusive relationship formed when she least expected it, leaving her stuck in what she calls a “cycle of violence”. During this time, Catie was unable to attend college.

Understanding how to break the cycle of violence was just the beginning of Catie’s search for a better life. Leaving the relationship, finding counseling and therapy, and enrolling in college courses proved to be the biggest factors in bettering her life. Burrill found so much positivity and happiness through learning, which she didn’t see before. She’s been able to maintain a 4.0 gpa at Harold Washington College in Chicago at the age of 32, and is working towards getting a degree in arts at SAIC.

Burrill uses art and creativity as a way to cope with her traumatic past, and continues to challenge herself to new things. She wants others to know that one of the most important parts of overcoming the negativity in life is to make peace with your past. “Sometimes, I wish I could take it all back and trade it in for someone else's life. But then I remember: I am who I am because of the culmination of my unique experiences and I am proud of that!” Burrill told Blessons. Catie wants others who have gone through traumatic experiences like her own that it’s okay to take your time with accepting and making peace with your past. Her Blessons are what created such fierce determination and grit to push her towards a brighter future.

Finding peace through a hobby is an important part of self help for someone who has suffered from abuse or traumatic experiences. For Catie, it’s an artistic part of her that she wants to make into her lifelong career. We here at Blessons want to encourage Catie to keep pursuing her goals, and to cheer her on in her attempt to move forward from her past. We hope that in the future, her story will inspire others to pursue their dreams despite the difficulties of their past or present day lives.