I never really got into hair and makeup. I just recently learned how to French braid. When I wear dresses, it means I’m going to a special event or I was too lazy to match two pieces of clothing that day. My last mani-pedi was over four years ago and a gift from a guy I was dating. I don’t even own nail polish and yes, I still have the audacity to wear open toed shoes!
I’m a very no-frills type of woman. I think I felt like there was no point in dressing up something that I didn’t take much pride in anyway. I did spend a lot of time hiding. I hid from myself and my past, and my shameful past started early.
I hated how my mother treated me when I was a kid. After a while, her dual diagnosis of bi-polar disorder and alcoholism became the thing to blame but the fact that she refused to seek help was what angered me. I felt like she was choosing to blame the scapegoat while neglecting herself and her family. I was raped and molested numerous times between the ages of 11 and 17. I didn’t think I had anywhere to turn for help, so I retreated into my own increasingly destructive thoughts.
Having my first child at 18 was such a disgrace to my family. I remember thinking how superficial that was. My suicide attempt at 13 wasn’t disgraceful. My abortions at 15 and 16 were perfectly normal. It was this baby that was going to ruin my life and the good family name. I really didn’t care. I lost respect for anyone that looked down on me for even being pregnant that young, as if all my other life experiences happened at an age-appropriate time. My life was already in ruins as far as I was concerned, and I was fine with taking the good family name with me.
My 20’s and early 30’s were my domestic violence years. After my father died and my ex-fiancé was diagnosed with cancer, my feelings of worthlessness increased and so did the depression. My mental state was the perfect environment for my first abuser to come along and lay the foundation for what would be five years of anguish.
I eventually met a really nice and incredibly charming narcissist, so I decided to leave the verbally abusive monster for the emotionally abusive adulterer. If I had taken heed to any of the plethora of red flags our relationship never would have been, but on-and-off for five years I just wouldn’t cut the string. You know, that string that he used to string me along on that emotionally draining journey. It took my mother dying and him actually getting divorced for me to realize, I’m not putting up with this anymore. I don’t even like him, for real.
I took some time out to just focus on myself and my sons. Being so drained effected how I lived, cared for myself, and parented my children. I needed to start investing in the things that mattered again. I’d neglected everything that was important for people that weren’t even important to themselves.
I reconnected with my sons. I was finally able to get my oldest son to stop chasing this crazy dream of becoming a doctor. Well, the dream alone wasn't crazy, it just wasn't his dream. He had been chasing the wishes of someone else and it was depressing him. We found what he truly wants to do and both of us are happier for it.
As for me, I lost 50 pounds. What I found even more impressive is that I kept it off. I worked out regularly, I ate healthy, I started teaching fitness classes, and even ran in several local charity races. My stress levels were down and my depression was under control. Life was feeling pretty good!
Meeting my late boyfriend was one of those “love at first sight” type of experiences and the fact that it was mutual made me think that it was just meant to be. After we finally started dating I felt stupid for feeling that way. I wanted to believe that he loved me but his actions clearly said he was devoted to someone or something else. I don’t even think it was another woman but I could see that whatever it was would always hinder us from building a life together, until…
One day, our newborn twins were in their cribs and we were using the stolen moment to do something we didn’t get to do very often - sit and talk. I told him that I had come to terms with the fact that he and I would get married one day. He reacted offensively. I told him I wasn’t saying it like I was settling for him. I was saying it with the comfort that he and I finally had the ability to work out any problems we may have. That was really important to me and my biggest concern with our relationship. I felt like we had finally figured it out.
I would only get another 10 days with him after that conversation. His death and the events that unfolded afterwards made me realize that I didn’t know him at all. He had lied to me about almost every aspect of his life. I felt so stupid as his real life was presented to me in some of thee most dramatic ways imaginable. Who in the world was I about the marry and build a life with?
His death was the wake-up call. I’m not safe from anything. No amount of hiding or safeguarding would keep me shielded from wherever my life was headed. I could continue to sit here and hide behind the shame, or I could use this effed up story to build something great and inspire others to do the same. Granted, it took some intense therapy to come to that conclusion, but I decided to do the work and here I am.
I’ve even entertained that no one will want to read what I have to say, just like the 20-something year old me believed, convincing myself not to start a blog so long ago in spite of my passion for writing. I’m showing up anyway. I'm excited about taking this journey with you guys so I thank you wholeheartedly for being here.
After spending a year in grief counseling, I started to see that my life needed a major overhaul. Yes, my boyfriend died making me the single mom of our infant twins, but I was still grieving my loss of innocence from decades of abuse. I decided to turn my pain into a new purpose and to share this journey with others that may need some motivation.