“It's a hard life, I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy”
Kimberly Sondoval has lived in Santa Ana's Civic Center for over 15 years. She was born in Fullerton and adopted as a young child, and spent her childhood years living in Huntington Beach. "Everything was normal until one decision changed my life forever," she said regretfully. This one decision turned into a life of imprisonment and addiction. Behind this dark resume, I know the real Kimberly. I know the Kimberly with the big blue hopeful eyes that tear up as she pleads for a solution or a way out of the Civic Center. Her addiction started at 16 years old and for the last year, God's been moving in her heart to change. Kimberly talks a lot about the fears of living in "normal" society. "Everything's changed now. I went shopping with Kathleen the other day and everything is electronic now." When I was there everything used to be manual", she remembered. This big change is hard for her to realize; especially without healthy community and friends believing in her. Where she sleeps outside, she also calls home. The familiarity, the neighbors and the community have become her life and it's all she knows. Unfortunately, that very same population makes staying clean very hard.
Day to day, Kimberly's happiness is manifested through her three dogs – Chico, Diamond and Little Bit. They are her everything, and a constant stream of overflowing love in a lie filled with hopelessness and darkness. They are the source of all her smiles. I believe in Kimberly. Her parole just ended in August and I feel that marks the beginning of change. If her portrait sells, Kimberly plans to use the money to buy a van to sleep in. She'd like to slowly put distance between the ones she's communed with for 15 years, to start a new life of sobriety, hope; and mental and spiritual health.