Elena Ivanova, Talking to the Moon

I escaped a dark and soul-crushing world where my life wasn't my own. I could trust no one. I was entirely alone. By sheer accident, I met a mysterious westerner online, mere weeks from forced marriage. Not only did she shatter my programming, but suggested we meet in Kiev. Getting to Ukraine's capital was going to be my escape, my battle to take back my life, and my only chance to survive.

Elena and Meg, on the run

If years back In Russia

I could see my present self, I would not have believed it was my life. So unattainable what I have now would have seemed to me. I choose who to be with. I determine who I am and what I do. I have a relationship I had no idea was even possible! I live an adventure, that doesn't seem to end.

Once Meg and I were left alone and became our true selves, crossing the planet on the run for our lives, there was no going back for us. To the charades, noise, programming and denigration of what matters to us the most: our very lives. What we have now, despite the dangers and threat of separation we constantly face, is millions times more valuable to us than what we had years back, when we were trying to be someone we were not.

I hope my story inspires you to fight for you! There will never be a better friend and support for you than you, yourself. My determination and strength came to me only when I started believing in myself and more than anything, loving myself.

My story is about love. In 2006, I permitted myself to love me! To love the world and the person who was making it shine for me. I never stopped loving and I am living my dream!