My Mother Was Murdered When I Was a Child. Here’s How I’m Healing Myself.
From traumatic childhood to "Trauma Queen," Jimanekia Eborn is rewriting the narrative of her life.
“I can’t tell you what my mother smelled like or how she sounded,” says Jimanekia Eborn. “But I can tell you that I know I was loved and cared for.”
Many children are born missing one or both parents. But, in Eborn’s case, she was born without a dad, and then her mother was tragically taken away just one year later — murdered by a man she knew. She had to learn how to heal from a trauma that few could barely imagine.
The 35-year-old mental health professional and sex educator is a true story of perseverance – a phoenix that rose from the ashes. These days, she so willfully shares her stories on social media, including her journey undergoing a breast reduction and being a Black queer woman in straight world. She calls herself “The Trauma Queen.”
And no one knows trauma as she does. In 1987, Eborn was born to a single mom in Riverside, California, about 50 miles southeast of Los Angeles. The city, situated beside the Santa Ana River, is known for oranges and professional baseball player Barry Bonds. Eborn’s grandfather was an airman in the Air Force, and the city housed a base.
While she was too young to have any early memories of her mom, her grandparents shared that she was beautiful, loved to laugh, and had a smile that could light up a room. “I was told stories about how she loved food, had a big heart, and had an impeccable work ethic, like me,” shares Eborn, who also sports a stunning smile.
But, Eborn was never able to even share a meal with her mother, as their time was cut short.
“My mother was killed on December 22, 1988,” Eborn recounts. “She had broken up with a man, who may or may not have been my dad. He lured her to his home with promises of Christmas gifts for me. That was the last time anyone saw her alive.” She was only 24-years-old.
“People always ask me what my childhood was like growing up without a mother. I definitely always think about what my life would have been like, had she been here. There were times I’d see other kids playing in the cul-de-sac but I couldn’t because my grandparents were always working.”
Eborn was raised by her maternal grandparents, whom she called “mom and dad.” “Even though I was raised in love and care and because of it, I had a normal life — but, as a child, I constantly felt like something was missing. I don’t trust people until they earn my trust,” she muses.
But, thanks to her “mom and dad” and multiple other family members who stepped in to help with her care, she never went without. That, along with regular visits with social workers, helped her overcome what had happened to her so early in her life. “We have all read stories on what could happen. The children are harmed, forgotten or traumatized for the rest of their lives. I’m glad this wasn’t me,” she laments.
Eborn also developed an affinity for professional wrestling and characters like Stone Cold Steve Austin became a colorful escape from the confines of her life. Those people she saw on the screen almost became like the nuclear family she was missing. “I was captivated,” she shares.
As it turned out, this man who allegedly ripped a new mom away from her newborn child, and robbed Eborn of any life with her, had murdered others too and was convicted for those crimes. He will spend the remainder of his days in a Nevada prison. However, Eborn says, some 30 years later, he has yet to be brought to justice for her mother’s murder. “My mother was stolen from us. Yet, the date of his trial continues to be pushed back,” says Eborn. “The system has continued to fail us.”
An apology that came years later from the man offered Eborn little solace. “He sent us a Christmas card from jail and told me he was sorry for his actions, showing fake care and fake concern.”
Once Eborn entered her late teens, thinking she’d left the childhood trauma behind, the teenager knew she wanted to go into criminal justice to become like those who’d helped to catch her mother’s killer.
Only, at 21 years old, she’d be brutalized yet again. “I woke up one night to a man standing over me with a condom on. This was someone I knew. He raped me without saying a word, then got up and left,” she explains. At the time, Eborn didn’t tell anyone about the rape and didn’t talk about it for seven years. “I didn’t report it because I didn’t feel anyone would believe me,” she says.
The assault set Eborn on a new path. She changed her major to psychology and became a rape crisis counselor. After graduating from California Baptist University, she worked in various mental health facilities and has since successfully combined her love of mental health with trauma support into a life mission.
Several years ago, when she was looking to launch a podcast, someone referred to her as “the trauma queen,” and the name stuck. “Trauma queen is who I feel like I’ve always been striving to be,” she laments. “A strong Black woman who is a fighter. Someone who shows up for others as a survivor and an ally.”
Once the word got out, Eborn became busier than ever. Nowadays, she’s traveling around doing speaking engagements at places like Princeton University, and promoting her company Cintima. The intimacy coordination training company focuses on marginalized communities, and her non-profit Tending the Garden has recently started delivering quarterly subscription boxes to survivors of sexual assault that contain “grounding” items, aimed at helping women get “back into their bodies,” says Eborn.
Eborn also resurrected her childhood love for professional wrestling and turned it into a part of her career, working in the mental health department of the All Elite Wrestling/Ring of Honor professional wrestling league.
“When I step back and take the time to look at all I’ve accomplished, I have lived beyond my wildest dreams,” says Eborn. “Sometimes, my trauma makes it hard to receive love, but I work at it daily. I am deeply loved. I hope I am making my mom proud.”
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, help is available. RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline is here for survivors 24/7 with free, anonymous help. 800.656.HOPE (4673) and online.rainn.org.