I went off to college. I was 17, and I moved 12 hours away to a place where I knew no one. I went from being a party girl, who slept around and was completely wild.. to something else completely. I decided I needed to get my life right with God, but not really for the right reasons. I was bound and determined that I would find me a husband, and as soon as possible.
When I went for freshman weekend I met this guy. He had grown up in Florida, though his family lived in Montgomery then. He was 18, a freshman like me, and he was so cute. He was a good kid, a virgin (though I didn't know this) and we were 'in love'. When school started we were dating. His family really was so good to me. We were going to get married. Ha. We moved way to fast and eventually we, too, were sleeping together. After a few weeks, perhaps a month, he decided that things had gone way to fast. We needed to back up. Slow down. He wanted to start over. I didn't know how. I started then on a campaign. I needed to find the right guy.
I literally went from guy, to guy, to guy. I needed their attention. I needed to be noticed. To be seen. To be loved. I never stuck with one for more than 2 weeks, though, and luckily I didn't sleep with any of them, either. I led guys on, I made out with guys, I flirted with every guy I saw. After dating guy 5, or 6, or perhaps 7, I met the guy. My best friend, who also happened to be my academic advisor, introduced us. We were infatuated with each other. He was 23. He had graduated school a couple of years earlier, he had his own place, and he was working and ready to settle down. We started dating, and things really started to calm down for me. I started spending a lot of time with him, and his friends who were all older. I remember trying to be 'normal'. Trying not to be so immature and boy crazy. I was trying to be calm, trying to fit in. Trying to not scare him off. I got a job at the local mall. I spent some time with his family, and I worshipped with them, as well. That's where I met my sweet other mother, whom I miss so very, very much.
He and I were very comfortable with each other. He's the first guy I ever told that I had been abused, though I didn't give him any details. None at all. Eventually, we too slept together. Though this time, for perhaps the first time, it was because I truly, truly wanted to.
I was still struggling with depression, and I was head over heels in love with this man. I just wanted him to tell me he loved me too. I wanted to know that he wasn't going to leave. I spent so much time with him that I was neglecting my classes. I still went, but I wasn't studying at all. That wasn't really a problem, except for in Biology. To be honest, biology was the beginning of my downfall. I was struggling to maintain a 'c' and since my best friend was working in the science department, she offered to help me study for midterms. I just needed to get by with a 'c'. I could be okay with that. However, I was terrified of failure. In my mind, my inteligence was the only thing I had left, and if I failed Bio, that would be gone, too. I would rather run away than risk that.
One morning I woke up and realized that this life was not working for me. I was miserable. I loved my boyfriend, but I was terrified I was going to fail Bio, and I was still having issues with all the other guys around. Not to mention the campus therapist was on me like white on rice trying to get me to talk to her. I avoided that woman like the plague. I could not admit that something was wrong. Could. Not. So one morning I woke up and I called my mom. I asked her if it would be okay if I came home. She thought I meant for the weekend, and I said no mom, for good.
This came as a surprise to everyone. My boyfriend and I had been doing well, my best friend and I had been having good times together. I was still hiding all of my inner turmoil fairly well, and I'd been telling my parents how much I loved being away at school. Even my room mate was shocked.
I got up that morning and went to my best friend's office and asked her if she would help me withdraw from my classes. We sat in the hallway and cried together. It was awful. But I knew I couldn't stay. She took me to the Dean's office, and turns out it was the last day to withdraw with a passing grade. He tried to talk me into staying. He said 'just stay the weekend and if you still feel like going home on Monday, then you can go'. I said no, I have to go now. And go I did. My suite mates and I packed up everything I owned into my car. I worked my last shift at work, and then I went to say goodbye to my boyfriend. He was shocked. And hurt. And I regretted that for a very, very long time. And then I left and drove the 12 hours home. Back home into the same abusive environment I had been running from.
Within a week I knew it had been the biggest mistake ever. I wanted to go back so badly. I tried for a while to remain the good girl. I stayed clean for a while and only hung out with people I knew I wouldn't get into trouble with. But then, things went back to normal, and I fell right back into the cycle of drugs and drinking and sleeping around. My brother was still living at home, and I was desperately just trying to avoid him, and old memories and old flashbacks. And I just wanted to be numb.
Once I was numb, somehow, my brother and I managed to start getting along. I stayed high, and I was in serious, serious denial. He talked me into going to EMT school, since he was working as an EMT. I decided sure, why not? It'll give me something to do to get me out of the freaking house because at that point my mother was driving me absolutely INSANE. I couldn't handle the emotional abuse that came from her, but I didn't have a lot of choice. So I started school.
I'm a wife. I'm a mom. I'm a photographer. I'm a lover of Jesus. My house is a mess, my kids are dirty, we eat take out more often than not. My life is loud, busy and crazy. And that's okay with me.
This is Eric, the man you've been praying for. He's a paramedic. He quilts in his spare time. No, I couldn't make that up :) He has NASH (a form of liver disease, non-alcoholic) and diabetes, but those things don't define him. He's a man of God, an insanely wonderful husband, and the best daddy in the world.. Just ask these guys..
Our daughter Ali, she's 9. She's fiercely opinionated and strong willed. She's a Daddy's girl, but the umbilical cord hasn't but cut from me, either. She's a gymnast, and proud of it. She spends more time upside down or turning flips than she does walking. She's crazy smart, and absolutely sure of it. She is my insufferable little know it all.
Our son Dylan, 7. We lovingly refer to him as Chubs. Or Chubby. Or fat boy. Ahem. He is all boy, as you can see by his crazy wild energy. He has the highest pain tolerance of any child I have ever met. He plays soccer and does gymnastics, but truly he is a gamer, a nerd. He is an avid reader and loves to climb. Not to be outdone by his sister, he's a drama king, but to him, I'm the best mommy in the world.
I'm here to use my voice. So many people can't. In a world of darkness, I just want to help God's light to shine through. I pray that my words are His, and my love is His, as well. This is my journey through the darkness. To start are the beginning of the story, click here.