Written over a span of three years, this thesis gives an account of my turbulent childhood, which began in rural Saginaw, Michigan and trailed all the way to Hell's Kitchen, New York. Many of the poems, prose pieces, and all three short stories / memoirs -- Sundays, Hell Up in My Kitchen and Ghosts -- deal with the tumultuous relationship between my mother and me. Through my writing, I grapple with issues of abandonment, alienation, guilt, and shame as a result of growing up without the love and nurturing support of my mother. I also recount, in detail, the horrors of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse both my brother and I endured. This piece is not a pretty read, nor was it easy to write. What it is to me most of all is the triumphant way in which this graduate student beat the odds that were stacked against her.