‘A Lady Without a Face’: A Trafficking Survivor Shares a Renewed View of Womanhood

Brenda Myers-Powell reconnects with her lost identity in ‘Leaving Breezy Street’


How does one find one’s true identity after being torn apart? They say we aren’t defined by what happens to us, and it’s true, but finding who we are under the rubble of abuse and hardships can be a tall order.

In her earthshaking memoir, Leaving Breezy Street, Brenda Myers-Powell details her life as a survivor of molestation, sex trafficking, and the 25 years she spent as a prostitute and drug addict. She writes about the alternate identity she embraced in the face of danger and survival—someone named Breezy.

“By the time Breezy came, Breezy was a mess. Breezy was created by all the other names, and that ho was something else,” Brenda writes.

While her life story draws back the curtain on the dark and unforgiving heart of Chicago’s streets, it also reveals a testimony of survival and redemption of her identity from every sort of evil. But this process of discovering one’s true identity is not born overnight; Myers-Powell shared with me that her continually changing identity was molded over time by her abusers, pimps, and fellow prostitutes.

I was fortunate enough to hear more of Myers-Powell’s story firsthand over a phone call. Our conversation was effortless; her humor, joy, and friendly disposition made the time fly by. Despite the heavy topics we discussed, I told her how wonderful her humor was throughout her book. At that, she grew excited and said, “The humor was the only way that I got through it. Don’t get caught up with not laughing; please, laugh! If I didn’t have humor, I wouldn’t have made it.”

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