Do you remember being 8-years-old? Your days consisted of going to school, playing outside, and enjoying your childhood. For this woman, being an 8-year-old meant taking beatings with the heaviest belt in the drawer, being screamed at for drips of water left on the sink after cleaning, and eating sugar from the bag to get her fix of sweetness.
Born in Queens and raised in San Diego, Calif., Captain Ruth Corfah of the United States Army has lived a life worth writing about.
Corfah was raised by her father, a previous navy seal and an immigrant from Liberia, with high expectations and incredibly harsh discipline. At a young age, Corfah was a victim of abuse in her household.
“I was depressed and I felt unworthy of love,” she said.
Corfah had bigger dreams despite her pain. She was an all A-student, played for her high school’s basketball team, and wrote poetry and stories as an emotional release.
“I dreamed of escaping that life, escaping my father and being successful on my own. I dreamt of being a doctor and saving lives,” Corfah said.
Corfah’s journey was not an easy road. She worked various different jobs before getting to where she is now.
“I once worked in a baby bottle assembly factory, was a cashier at 7-11 and also cleaned up on the night shift at some glamorous hotel; so glamorous in fact that I had to enter through the back door to be let in,” She said. “Years later, I actually went to a ball that was held in that same hotel. Crazy how things change, huh?” Corfah said, laughing.
At age 17, Corfah joined the army in hopes for a better life. She had goals and aspirations of being a leader and a healer. Alumni of University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Corfah graduated with a Masters in Chemistry, Masters in Forensic Science and Bachelor’s in Psychology.
When asked what her motivation was throughout all of those years, she says, “It started out as self-motivation, and I guess knowing that working hard would get me somewhere better, but after I had my child, she was my motivation. It was making sure my child didn’t have to worry about anything and that she could live a life that was more stable.”
With a list of accomplishments and honors, Corfah is not done yet.
“I want to be a doctor, publish a book, and create a cure for HIV… just a few small things,” she said, laughing.
Corfah currently resides in central Louisiana where she works as a preventative medicine officer and teaches Biology for central Texas College. Corfah’s story continues to influence many. Her hunger for success is inspiring and not only does she want to succeed, but she makes it her job to help and heal people along the way. Ruth is a perfect representation of the true and raw determination it takes to be successful both as an African American and a victim of abuse.
“To all the young girls and women being abused, stay strong and find a way out, don’t let it be an excuse to fail because things will happen to you in your life and you control how you respond to them and what you do afterwards.”
Cynthea Corfah is 18 years old and majoring in print journalism. She is from the Washington D.C area and can be followed on her personal blog: www.cyntheasays.blogspot.com.