MARIELA AND CHRISTOPHER HOLDEN WELCOMED THEIR LAST CHILD ON OCTOBER 25, 1984. HER LIFE DID NOT START LIKE THAT OF MOST TYPICAL GIRLS, AND AS IF THAT WAS A SIGN OF WHAT LIFE WOULD BE LIKE GROWING UP, EMILY DIDN'T HAVE THE STORYBOOK LIFE WITH THE BIG FAMILY AND THE WHITE PICKEt FENCE. EMILY'S PARENTS HAD MET WHEN THEY WERE BOTH STILL QUITE YOUNG HER MOTHER HAD BEEN ONLY 18, AND HER FATHER WAS 21. MARIELA WAS AN ASPIRING JOURNALIST WHO WAS TRAVELING TO THE UNITED STATES ON VACATION WITH HER FRIENDS; MEETING EMILY'S FATHER HAD BEEN WHAT THE CALLed BEING "AT THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME". AS TIME WENT ON, IT WAS SOMETHING THAT EMILY STARTED TO CONSIDER BEING AT THE "WRONG PLACE AT THE WRONG TIME". EMILY'S MOTHER WASN'T THE MOST LOVING AND MOTHERLY OF PEOPLE, AND BY THE TIME THAT EMILY'S BROTHER WAS BORN HER PARENTS RELATIONSHIP WAS WELL REACHING ITS END. MARIELA HAD STARTED TO GROWN RESENTFUL THAT SHE'D HAD TO GIVE UP HER DREAMs OF traveling the world and becoming a successful JOURNALIST, AND BY THE TIME THAT EMILY WAS BORN SHE HAD BECOME ALL OUT HATEFUL. SHE LEFT SOON AFTER, AND EMILY NEVER HAD THE CHANCE TO EVEN KNOW THE WOMAN. IT WAS SOMETHING SHE WONDERED ABOUT AS A CHILD, BUT NEVER SOMETHING SHE LET HERSELF DWELL ON. THE WAY SHE SAW IT, IF SHE DIDN'T WANT TO BE IN THEIR LIVES, SHE DIDN'T NEED HER around either.
HER FATHER WAS A NAVY SEAL, AND RAISING TWO KIDS ON HIS OWN WAS PROVING TO BE A LOT HARDER THAN HE'D EVER IMAGINED. AS LONG AS HE WAS HOME HE WOULD BE THE EPITOME OF A GREAT FATHER -- HE MORE THAN MADE UP FOR THE FACT THAT THERE WASN'T A MOTHER FIGURE IN HIS CHILDREN'S LIFE, BUT WHEN EMILY WAS ONLY FOUR YEARS OLD AND HE WAS ONCE AGAIN DEPLOYED IT TURNED THE LITTLE GIRLS LIFE UPSIDE DOWN. HE GUARANTEED THEM THAT HE WOULD BE BACK, AND EVEN THOUGH SHE BELIEVED HIM, SHE MISSED HER FATHER TERRIBLY AND WAS EVEN ANGRY THAT HE'D LEAVE THEM. FOR THE FIRST FEW YEARS OF HER LIFE SHE WAS RAISED BY HER GRANDPARENTS, BUT IT WASN'T UNTIL SHE WAS 7 YEARS OLD THAT SHE STARTED TO UNDERSTAND THAT HER LIFE WAS DIFFERENT THAN THAT OF HER FRIENDS. HER GRANDPARENTS HAD EXPLAINED THAT WHILE HER FATHER LOVED THEM ALL VERY MUCH, HE HAD SOMETHING VERY IMPORTANT TO DO, AND HE NEEDED TO MAKE SURE HE WAS KEEPING THEM, AS WELL AS EVERYONE ELSE SAFE AND ABLE TO HAVE A HAPPY LIFE. IT WAS THAT VERY YEAR THAT EMILY STARTED TO UNDERSTAND THAT THERE WAS MORE TO LIFE THAN WHAT SHE WANTED, AND GREW TO LOVE AND RESPECT HER FATHER MORE THAN SHE EVER HAD.
WHEN SHE WAS 14 YEARS OLD IT SEEMED LIKE LIFE HAD FINALLY STARTED TO SETTLE DOWN A BIT MORE. HER FATHER WAS AROUND MORE OFTEN, AND HE MOVED THEM INTO A NICER AREA OF SEASIDE. HE'D BOUGHT THEM A HOME NEAR HER GRANDPARENTS, AND FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE SHE COULD REMEMBER EMILY STARTED TO FEEL A SENSE OF NORMALCY. IT WAS ALSO THAT YEAR THAT SHE MET HER CLOSEST FRIEND AND HIS MOTHER, THE WOMAN WHO SHE WOULD SOON LOVE LIKE HER OWN MOTHER. THEY WERE VERY WELCOMING OF BOTH HER BROTHER AND HERSELF, AND THEY DID MORE TO MAKE THEM FEEL AT HOME THAN THEY EVER KNEW THEY DID. EMILY LOVED HER GRANDPARENTS, BUT THEY WERE ALWAYS NANA AND PAPA, FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE SHE WAS BORN, SHE FELT LIKE SHE HAD A MOTHER-LIKE PERSON IN HER LIFE; SHE FINALLY FELT HE WASN'T MISSING OUT ON SOMETHING THE OTHER CHILDREN HAD. AS SHE GOT OLDER, SHE REALIZED THAT WAS EXACTLY WHAT HER BEST FRIENDS MOTHER HAD BEEN DOING, AND WITH THAT REALIZATION SHE LOVED HER EVEN MORE.
WHEN HIGH SCHOOL CAME AROUND, EMILY HAD GROWN OUT OF HER AWKWARD LITTLE GIRL STAGE AND HAD BECOME MUCH MORE CONFIDENT AND EMBRACED THE FACT THAT SHE WAS A GIRL. FOR THE FIRST TIME SHE STARTED TO PAY ATTENTION TO HER APPEARANCE, SOMETHING WHICH OTHER PEOPLE HAD STARTED TO DO AS WELL. UNTIL THAT POINT SHE'D BEEN VERY MUCH A TOMBOY, BUT IN S DRASTIC CHANGE SHE DECIDED SHE WAS HAVING FUN BEING A GIRL AS WELL AND DECIDED TO JOIN THE CHEERLEADING TEAM. IT WAS SOMETHING SHE WOULD HAVE NEVER BELIEVED SHE'D ENJOY, BUT SHE SOON REALIZED IT WAS MORE PHYSICAL AND DEMANDING THAN IT LOOKED. SHE QUICKLY FELL IN LOVE WITH IT, AND MADE A GOOD NUMBER OF FRIENDS THAT SHE REMAINED CLOSE TO THROUGH THE YEARS. ACADEMICALLY SHE WAS A GOOD STUDENT; SHE WAS ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE WHO DIDN'T HAVE TO TRY TOO HARD TO DO A GOOD JOB. IT WAS SOMETHING THAT SHE SOMETIMES TOOK FOR GRANTED AND IT took a failing test before she started to fully apply herself the way that she knew she could.
When COLLEGE rolled around, SHE already knew WHAT SHE WANTED TO DO WITH HER LIFE, AND EXACTLY WHERE SHE WAS GOING TO MAKE IT HAPPEN. THE CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY CRIMINAL JUSTICE DEPARTMENT WAS CALLING HER NAME. IT WAS A BIT OF A DRIVE FROM HOME, BUT SHE WAS DETERMINED IT WAS WHAT SHE WOULD DO, AND TOWARD THE END OF HER SENIOR YEAR OF HIGH SCHOOL SHE STARTED SEARCHING FOR APARTMENTS NEAR CAMPUS -- SHE WANTED THE COLLEGE EXPERIENCE, BUT SHE DIDN'T WANT TO LIVE ON CAMPUS. IF SHE WAS TO LEAVE HOME, SHE WANTED TO LIVE BY HER OWN RULES. FINALLY, RIGHT AFTER GRADUATION, AND ONE SAD GOODBYE TO HER FAMILY AND FRIENDS -- EVEN THOUGH SHE WAS ONLY A FEW HOURS AWAY, SHE WAS ON HER WAY TO STARTING HER NEW LIFE AS AN INDEPENDENT ADULT.
THAT LIFE DIDN'T LAST VERY LONG, AND HER FIRST SEMESTER AWAY FROM HOME BECAME ONE THAT SHE QUICKLY WANTED TO Forget. It took one night of letting her guard down and attending one Of the many parties that went on around campus for her life to drastically change. Emily had always known never to take anything from someone she didn't know, but a few drinks into the night she was feeling good enough that she wasn't too worried about things. In a move she'd come to regret, she took a drink from one of the guys she'd been talking to that night. He was in one of her classes, but before that night she'd never really talked to him much. It wasn't long before she realized something wasn't right, and next thing she knew they were in his bedroom, HER CLOTHES HALFWAY RIPPED OFF HER BODY. As much as she tried pushing him away, it was a failed attempt on her part. It's a night not many know about -- her best friend being the only one she told, but it was a night that brought a lot of changes to her life.
That SEMESTER WAS NOT
ONE THAT SHE NEVER FINISHED -- the anger she felt every time she saw THE GUY
THAT RAPED not letting her do so. WHILE IT SURPRISED EVERYONE WHEN SHE ANNOUNCED
SHE WAS LEAVING, HER CHOICE IN WHERE NEVER DID; THE UNITED STATES NAVAL ACADEMY
BECAME HER HOME FOR THE NEXT FOUR YEARS. AFTER RECEIVING HER DEGREE IN AEROSPACE
ENGINEERING AND FURTHER TRAINING WITHIN THE NAVY, SHE WAS ABLE TO GET THE
POSITION OF NAVAL AVIATOR. IT WAS A JOB THAT SHE LOVED, and she continued to do
for years. Finally in 2016 she left the navy and headed back home to seaside.