Service Array:
Individual Skill Development and Enhancement

Hi, I’m Ace, and I proudly identify as nonbinary, gay, and neurodivergent, and my journey to this point has been quite a ride.

Growing up in St. Paul, Minnesota, I belonged to a conservative Evangelical family and was heavily involved in my faith from a young age. Despite the expectations, I was a tomboy who loved sports and adventure. When my family moved to Florida right before high school, I felt like I had to conform to a completely different culture.

High school saw me maintaining Christian values in a world of contrast: I embraced a wholesome lifestyle, steering clear of drugs, sex, and rock’n’roll. College took me to a giant state university where I remained deeply involved in Christian organizations, maintaining a 3.5 GPA, and keeping busy with a million activities: class, volunteering, music, work, always go, go, go.

Beneath my successful exterior, I grappled with a personal crisis during my senior year. Traumatic memories from my childhood resurfaced, triggering depression and anxiety. To cope, I turned to alcohol.

Despite these challenges, I graduated on time and even earned a Master of Education. I married my best friend, and we lived a life filled with travel, music, art, and healing from past wounds. However, my drinking was a point of contention in our marriage, leading to interventions and therapy.

Life continued, and I discovered roller derby, a sport that resonated with me. It was during this time that I started to explore my identity more deeply both in and out of therapy. My husband and I talked about having children, but my dreams were interrupted when I was diagnosed with stage-3 breast cancer.

Survival became my priority, and I underwent intense treatment, we received support from my students, friends, family, church, and derby community. After overcoming cancer, I faced challenges in regaining my energy and independence. My battle with alcohol persisted, further straining my marriage.

Seeking change, I transitioned from a traditional middle school to teaching at an experimental Montessori high school. Alcohol was a constant companion, but I still couldn’t see that I had a problem. Throughout the years, I stayed busy teaching teenagers and seemingly a million other things: giving a TEDx talk, starting a crafting business, riding my bicycle 1000 miles across the country, circumnavigating the northern hemisphere, traveling to 8 countries on that trip, doing stand-up comedy, showing my art locally and internationally, and even writing and performing a one-woman show in front of hundreds of people.

In the spring of 2021, I took a pivotal step, seeking treatment for my mental health and alcohol dependency. During my three-month stay in Illinois, I confronted my true self, realizing that I am gay and could no longer stay in my marriage or drink alcohol. 

My journey has been a testament to self-discovery, resilience, and transformation. I’m proud to embrace my nonbinary and queer identity and share my story, aiming to inspire and connect with others on their unique paths. 

Today, I enjoy so many things: playing music, tackling LEGO projects, crafting, origami and art, roller skating, playing sports, hiking, globe-trotting, playing complicated German board games, watching movies (excluding horror), reading, and working on my recovery. I’m also a member of a local fem rock band.