A Soul Sickness Killed Off My Entire Family...But I Survived!

Hard Truths Served with Compassion and Empathy

If you have struggled with the legacy of trauma: racial injustice, addiction, depression, sexism, abuse, neglect, suicide…This website delivers strategies on how to survive in the pain, how to thrive in the aftermath, and how to help end the transmission of hurtful behavior down family lines. Mixed Girl Survival School is the name of my book, this website, and a new brand of learning & teaching in this diverse world.  Welcome!

This site hosts:

  • my blog on the educational, racial, and gender norms in America's schools, families, and society at large: an empathic call to action
  • excerpts from my memoir: Mixed Girl Survival School
  • events: for people to come together for lectures, readings, and other nourishing activities
About Me

Hi, I'm Laurie

Picture of me

There's more than one kind of schooling. Watching my family members hope, struggle, and die taught me extreme empathy for other's who suffer. Though my survival brought life-lessons, I benefited from formal training as well. I hold a master's degree in education & social justice, and earned two special education teaching credentials. As part of my training, I studied infant brain development and human personality at WestEd’s Center for Child and Family Studies. I have worked with families who are coping with multiple disabilities, including trauma related mental health issues.


Real Talk
From this sharecropping field in Arkansas to Berkeley during the 60s, my memoir, explains how I grew up with a White mother and brother, a Black father, a Black & White Brother, a Japanese & Black brother, and a Korean & Black sister. It explains how an admirable racial experiment went terribly wrong.

But Not All of It Was a Bummer

Little hippy Laurie with her big afro
A lot of funny, OMG moments occurred that are ultimately amazing and inspiring. From how the cast of Bonanza interacted with my hair, to "Boogie Nights" at the golf course I literally lived at, and the racial sorting on the playground that rivals anything in the Lord of the Flies. I have wisdom to share with today’s mixed families that may prevent teasing, awkward interactions, and boundary violations.

Advance Praise for the Memoir

Advance Praise for Mixed Girl Survival School
"WOW WOW!!! Incredible!!!"
Caitlin Flanagan

Caitlin Flanagan

author of Girl Land, and To Hell with All That: Loving and Loathing Our Inner Housewife, and contributing editor to The Atlantic
Laurie Panther’s loving story about being the last healthy survivor of her “rainbow family” of origin sheds light on the mechanics of neglect, reckoning, and resilience so prevalent in the American experience. Her light narrative touch lets the reader empathize without being traumatized, joining her hopeful personal journey through the center of a sad epic.
Kristen Caven

Kristen Caven

co-author of The Bullying Antidote & President of the California Writers Club, Berkeley Branch
Don't Miss My Blog

Steps: From Soul-Sick to Soul-Healthy

(This is part 2 of a 2-Part article. Read Part 1 first ) I was soul-sick. No doubt about it. When I should have been bonding with my mother as an infant, she was nurturing her career and I was left with a babysitter & bottle. When I could have turned to her for...

“Soul Sickness Killed Off My Entire Family”…But What Is It ?

What is soul sickness? Let’s start by defining soul-health and work backwards. According to soul-guru —  and Oprah’s good friend — Gary Zukov, the soul is a nurturer, soother, and provider of life energy. And when one connects with this source, well-being and a direction in life will flow like a leaf falling into a stream....

Dragon Free Zone

I’m part of a spiritual program that’s helps me abstain from destructive substances because “There Be Dragons” waiting off the edge of that map, and that dragon already ate my entire family, so I’m pretty sure he’s licking his chops waiting patiently to finish off the meal. And yet, even though I’ve been practicing...


How This Workshop Came To Be

This workshop for women blends my post graduate studies on human development, and experience facilitating Adult Survivors of Child Abuse meetings with my recent somatic training by Padma Gordon of the Responsive Body Movement. I look forward to leading us (I’m still on the journey with you) to the next level of loving ourselves...

Trauma Recovery Reading in Oakland Nov. 8

November 8, 2017 5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. The Octopus Literary Salon 2101 Webster Street. #170 Oakland, CA I will be doing a reading/workshop at the Octopus Literary Salon, wherein I intersperse memoir readings with dialog about trauma research and recovery. RSVP via Facebook.


Inspired by what I've shared? Or have your own survival story to share? I'd love to hear from you.
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