Updated: Dec 29, 2020
This is my shocking life story and journey from covering up my pain, recovering my life, and rediscovering who I was always meant to be.
Discovering the Truth
I thought I was a virgin until I was 20. I stepped off stage in Times Square on New Years Eve in 2010 after my national debut as a "breakthrough artist" and my new identity as a sexual abuse survivor came tearing through my heart like a bad nightmare. I had just performed my debut song “Window” for 1.2 million people gathered in Times Square, launched a national TV campaign with Nivea, and was featured in People Magazine. I had finally “made it '' as a musician.
But the memories were enough to take me out of the spotlight and force me into hiding. I moved to a tiny cottage in Topanga Canyon, CA and didn't leave my house for two years. Luckily, I had enough money from the deals I signed to support myself without needing to work. I changed my number and stopped engaging with the outside world completely. The only people with access to me were my three closest friends. I couldn't be touched. I couldn't be seen. I had to shower three times a day because I felt disgusting. I hated having a body and I didn't know what was happening.
I developed phobias, anxieties and aversions, suffered from nightly terrors, and woke up frozen and disoriented most mornings. On good days I hiked, wrote songs, learned the piano, read psychology books, and journaled. I tried piecing my story together one haunting dream at a time, straining to remember the truth. And then one day I knew. I gathered enough information from memories and body triggers to know with certainty it was my dad who abused me. Immediately, my face swelled up like a balloon and I was stuck looking like I swallowed a football for the next nine years. Forget about your music career now, Delfina, I thought every time I looked in the mirror.
The lump put pressure on my throat and it made it hard to sing. I was in and out of hospitals every few months for surgeries and procedures. Nothing helped. The doctors reassured me it wasn't life threatening, just a deformity I'd have to live with for the rest of my life. The medical bills stacked up and I got buried beneath the shame of having an outer appearance that screamed of the horror of my disturbed inner reality.
Recovering My Life
Eventually I figured out a lifestyle that minimized the swelling and I gathered enough strength to come off the mountain. Four years had gone by and I needed to make money. I moved to Santa Monica where I picked up my guitar and took the stage again, only this time to build my career from the ground up. My face was still swollen and my hospital visits were frequent, but I kept it all to myself and pushed through the pain to win back the life I had lost.
I searched for healing and answers in the world of yoga and new age spirituality, grasping onto anything that could make sense of my mess. Sure, I had grown up Catholic, but my faith was long gone and warring against torment with Christ's love wasn't something I was familiar with. So I took up meditation, astrology, numerology, eastern philosophy, affect psychology, personality typology, past life regression, astral projection and more. I looked for physical healing through ayurveda, acupuncture, massage, chiropractic work, reiki, extreme dieting and exercise. And I explored my sexuality as a way to heal the paralyzing fear and shame I felt in the bedroom. What does it matter anyway? It's not like I was a virgin to begin with. My purity was stolen and I tried on men like shoes at a store because everything felt like fair game now.
Despite the pain and endless search for meaning, 2014 to 2017 were some of my most inspired years. I composed and recorded two musical albums, performed for small audiences in New York, Los Angeles, and Buenos Aires, and discovered a new passion for writing and activism. The insight I gained into health and wellness landed me a job writing for major fitness magazines. I wrote for Mens Health, Muscle & Fitness, M&F HERS, and FLEX. I became vegan and started weightlifting at Gold's Gym, Venice. I influenced the plant-based movement with my writing and helped the meat-head magazines adopt greener articles and Meatless Monday.
My passion for activism and fitness merged in 2016 when I joined the Skid Row Running Club. I'd never trained for a marathon before, but the idea of helping the homeless through fitness intrigued me. So I signed up. My team consisted of LAPD officers, district attorneys, recovering addicts, ex-convicts, and regular citizens like me. Craig Mitchell, our founder and Superior Court Judge of Los Angeles, led us on 5-mile run through sewage and garbage twice a week at 6am. I jumped over needles, dodged zombie-like figures emerging from homeless encampments, and enjoyed beautiful daybreaks over the Los Angeles river. I felt like I had finally found 'my people,' people who could understand me, people who could relate to my shame and despair, people I could be myself with. We ran, chatted, and commiserated over our broken families, abandoned homes, and forsaken destinies. I even understood the recoverees' need for self-harm, knowing I wasn't far from giving up on life entirely myself. I ran through the dirty streets of Skid Row for six months and in March 2017 we finished the LA Marathon. It was glorious. Later I used my connections at the magazines to get the Midnight Mission new gym equipment.
Uncovering My Story
But no amount of running, yoga, meatless-ness, meditation or marijuana could fix the gaping hole in my heart: I still didn't have a family. Sure, I found a place on Skid Row and had a family of friends who loved me, but I still didn't have my family. There was so much shame in that. Silence and denial had distanced sister from brother, daughter from father, and mother from child all the way down the family line.
So Christmas 2016 I decided to break the silence and tell the truth about my life. What started out as a short selfie video turned into a 17-minute short film that I called “The Coverup Girl Movie.” On January 19th 2017 I uploaded it to Facebook and didn't think much about it. But sharing my story changed my life forever and 2017 became a year I will never forget.
The video went viral in Buenos Aires where my dad was a well-known rugbier from the 80s. Argentine society was left reeling at the news of their fallen hero and their national paper 'Clarin' flew out to interview me. Survivors from all over the world began reaching out to me and all of a sudden and I found myself in the middle of a huge social movement, ten months before #metoo. Miracles broke out like crazy during this time -- my medical bills were pardoned, my swollen face was pretty much healed, and I recovered a relationship with extended family in Buenos Aires.
It was an incredible time of advancement and establishing. I was free from the secrecy of my past and I was determined to rise up and ride the wave of empowerment wherever it led. In June 2017 I became a volunteer advocate for the YWCA rape crisis hotline and in October I founded a non-profit with my best girlfriends to help survivors on college campuses.
Then #Metoo happened. October 2017 the internet exploded as a global wave of survivors surfaced their rape stories and breathed a sigh of relief for the first time in history. It was a thrilling time to be alive and I was excited to be in on the buzz.
My Dad Sued Me, But I Won
But much too soon I had to give it up. January 2018 I received the cease the desist letter from my dad's attorneys. I wrestled with my options for a month, do I take the film down or stay in the fight? I knew my story was a vital part of my artistry and activism, but I wasn't prepared financially to battle it out. So in February 2018 I made the film private and hung up my superhero cape, relieved at least to know there was an army of women rising up to champion the cause now that I couldn't.
But God had other plans for me.
In the wake of taking down "The Coverup Girl Movie" I bought a ticket to Paris and told myself come summer I would fly to France and reinvent myself. The days until summer dragged on. Life was dry and flat, like a sterile shade of muted white paint in a waiting room. I was thirsting for Paris and eager to get on with my vie en rose.
Finally May arrived and I was ready to go. But days before my flight I got a knock on the door and a woman shoved papers in my face. I got sued! I took the film down and got sued anyway! In that moment, the fiercest flash of fiery passion I've ever felt in my entire life surged up from within me and I was supernaturally empowered with faith, hope, and a crystal clear vision of the victory to know I was destined to win. But how?
In desperation I fell to my knees and cried out to God for the first time in 10 years. God if you help me win I promise to use my gifts to serve you! I'm pretty sure God heard my prayer because the path to victory was inextricably miraculous to the degree that only God himself could have weaved its winding from beginning to end.
I started making phone calls. It didn't matter that I couldn't afford a lawyer, now I needed one. I
called my friend Tony to see if he knew Gloria Allred in Malibu. She was representing the women coming out against Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein and I thought, why not take a long shot? Tony didn't know Gloria. But he did have a high-powered sister in Hollywood who he thought could help. "Only thing is, she's in Paris with Serena at the French Open and you need help now." WHAT?! The serendipity slapped me sideways.
Here I was torn between leaving the country and staying put to figure things out meanwhile my answer was waiting for me in Paris all along. "I'LL BE IN PARIS THIS WEEKEND!" I yelled, and that was it. I traveled to Paris to meet Jill and she helped me with everything. She set me up with her friend, Benedict Morelli, who represented me for free and in three short months I won the lawsuit. Not only did I win, but my dad lost the case 'with prejudice' which means he can never sue me again for speaking about my life. August 2018 I earned the legal right to talk about my childhood and was handed back the keys to my career as a singer and social activist.
Jesus Healed My PTSD
My life only got better after winning the lawsuit. The victory restored my dignity and dissolved layers of fear and shame that had crystallized in my heart over the years. In "The Coverup Girl Movie" I told the world I had overcome PTSD, an eating disorder, phobias and more. And while it was true, I started to realize my definition of "overcoming" was severely undercut. 'Overcoming' had come to mean accepting triggers and trauma as a normal and permanent part of life, much like I'd accepted the mostly healed lump on my face. I was skilled at managing the highs and lows of PTSD with self-prescribed doses of marijuana, alcohol, creative writing, and sex. But now that I'd tasted victory, I knew there was more to be had. I didn't want to just manage pain, I wanted freedom from it.
So I started talking to God and listening to Christian podcasts. The gospel teachers preached a life free from suffering and anxiety through Jesus. I wanted that, but wasn't quite sure how to get it. So I just kept crying out in faith. Many times I said, Jesus I give you my life. Jesus, make the pain go away. Jesus, please fix me. I was angry, embittered, and hopeful. It was a season of relentless prayer that birthed a deep desire for purity. I knew it was time to cut out toxins and distractions from my life, this time for good. So I ended things with my boyfriend, gave up sex and self-pleasure, quit drinking and smoking, and removed all the bad words from my vocabulary. Then I gritted my teeth for months in faith that there was more to come "because Jesus."
Then breakthrough came. May 17, 2019 Jesus and I made things official. I got baptized in the ocean on my 30th birthday and dove into the unknown with reckless abandon. I threw away all my books on new age spirituality, self-help, philosophy, and psychology.
I started reading the Bible and remained pure. I replaced sex with prayer, alcohol with singing songs to God, and marijuana with Holy Communion. Six months later demons came screaming out of my body and I was completely delivered of PTSD. I have a list of 60 symptoms of trauma I struggled with for over 20 years and in one moment Jesus freed me from it all. Some preachers call Jesus the "one-step program." Now I know why.
Embracing My New Life
The only thing scarier than making a film and telling the whole world about my abusive childhood was surrendering my life to Jesus. I had no idea what I was in for. In the beginning I thought, how could Jesus possibly fix anything when he's invisible and far away? But Jesus rocked my life; I just had to get to know him better. And let me tell you -- he's cool. Like a unicorn. Like the magic in a Harry Potter movie or Matilda. Only he's the King of the Universe and he moves in miracles, signs (coincidences) and wonders (impossibilities). I can feel his guidance in my heart; They call it his Holy Spirit, similar to the worldly idea that you can "channel a higher spirit," only when it's Jesus talking you don't feel afraid. Jesus' voice always leads me lovingly down paths that empower me and heal me, even if what he asks of me seems tough or crazy at first (like forgiving my dad or writing this blog.) Jesus' voice never shames me or humiliates me. He sees a restored version of me that I can't even comprehend and talks to me like I'm her. His affirmations are more powerful than new age spiritualism or eastern philosophies because Jesus is God and his presence is enough to validate me. He approves of me and pursues me.
I could've easily settled on being the version of myself that won the lawsuit and knew a million ways to dismantle a trigger. That me would've helped a lot of people and gone on to do OK. But discovering it's possible to be100% free from trauma has changed everything. I'm not just an artist with a story anymore. I'm a deliverer, a warrior, a believer called to lead women out of bondage through my art. My life isn't supposed to be "inspirational." It's meant to be the standard of what's possible for anyone looking to heal from their past.
Stepping Into My Purpose
After so much victory, I feel stronger than ever before and I've stepped back into my music with renewed confidence, founded a non-profit called Keep It Sacred Sister connecting survivors to resources and care, and I'm working with young girls to empower their voice through music.
I'm still growing, evolving, and getting stronger each day, but I am 100% set free from the pain of my past and I know nothing can stop me from influencing the impossibilities in the world through Christ who strengthens me.