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Friday, March 30, 2012

My Story

So when you do not know where to start it's best to start at the beginning. The very beginning. This is my story. The story of how I know God exists and kept me alive. It may read like a crazy mess but I assure the timeline is accurate to the best of my knowledge. It is not pretty. But once I started to type, it just flowed. Along with the tears. But the more I am able to share the less hold the past has on me. I am still healing from all it. It may never be a long forgotten memory but maybe just maybe someday I can tell it without my eyes being clouded with tears. Or the fear of remembering that girl who was so lost for so long and only wanted a Mom.

I was born in March of 1978. To two loving parents who had been through a lot themselves. The past, it affects us all and all those around us. I believe based on what I have been told from various sources that my Mom had more than just depression problems. Back in '78 they did not know much about any of it. Not compared to what we know now. Maybe Mom had some of her own demons she couldn't shake. I don't know. But I do know she did have what we now call Postpartum Depression. Did they call it that then? I don't know. So, Daddy hired a nurse to help her out and me. Some months later she convinced everyone she was fine. This after 2 previous attempts to take her life. Daddy had no idea that all was not as it seemed. So, he let the nurse go. Not long there after he came home from his graveyard shift to find her dead by her on hand in the garage with carbon monoxide and me in my crib. I am unsure if someone called him from work of if he just came home when his shift was over. He told me that every door between the garage and my room was shut. To some they wouldn't see what I now see. That was her last thought. Protect me. I believe that an angel whispered to her and she shut my door and all other doors she could. I could've died that day. But I didn't.

I say that was God looking over me and knowing my path and how important it would be. So there I was a tiny baby with no mother and a Daddy who all the sudden was my one and only. Oh he had plenty of support. There was some ugliness and I don't really feel I can go into that. Let's just leave it at some people decided to play the blame game. Daddy needed more support to defeat that than I think he really got. He became a drunk. Never did he once abuse me. I was always safe and taken care of. But I recall several times it seemed like he was in a bad way. Even as a kid I knew he was deeply troubled but I couldn't help him. With God we made it through. Daddy didn't go to church but I did. I believe God is always watching and helping us, even when we do not realize it.

Daddy had been married, I believe they were married, to my Mom's little sister, my Aunt. They split when I was about 8, I believe. I remember it always seemed volatile and I never knew why. I was in the middle and words from all sides were being slung around. It was an ugly violent time. Daddy drank more and more. He would sometimes throw things around and break them. I never once was scared that would be turned on me. I somehow sensed I was protected.

When I was about 10 Daddy married Step Mom 2. She seemed for all the world like a God send. Little did either of us know she couldn't live up to that at all. Not a year after they were married she started to subtly take pot shots with words at me. Always criticizing this or that. Hardly ever nice words. Slowly splitting me and Daddy from each other and making her kids more important. By Jr High she was saying things like, "I hope someday you turn out just like your Mom."  I was so dumbfounded. I had no idea what to say or do. A few times she even slapped me and I found myself literally thanking her for doing so. It's crazy to me that I did so. Then she played her ultimate hand. She convinced my Daddy I was sick like my Mom had been. Slowly things I owned would disappear or be moved and I'd look crazy cause I couldn't find it. She made it seem like I was depressed and that I was going to kill myself. She hid knives in my in my bed and no dose in my backpack. She convinced a psychiatrist I was nuts and slept walked. So I ended up on some strong sleep medicine. I spent a week in a mental hospital before they sent me home. Saying I was fine. That was not enough for her. We would have arguments that I never won. I was isolated and being told how stupid I was. How useless I was. That someday I'd have rotten ungrateful brats just like me. Eventually she convinced Daddy I had to be sent away. So I was sent to our pastor's house.

I was not their a month before he started working on me to groom me for his intended needs. He made sure I knew that if I ever said anything he'd have no trouble convincing people I was crazy and a liar. So at 14 I allowed him to touch me. I did not know what else to do. I just had no fight left in me whatsoever. So in turn for "behaving" I got to watch things like 90210 and make calls to my friends back home. The friends I was not allowed to say goodbye to. He only ever touched me all over and said nasty things. Sometimes if I forgot to lock the bathroom door he'd come in and watch. His wife worked nights so it was easy for him to get away with it. By the summer of that year I had been allowed back home. Only to be sent to a children's home at the start of the next school year.

There I found a little more of me. I had people willing to help me and that saw what was going on. But Step Mom 2 still managed to take jabs at me. I would say "Hey I got a 100 on a really hard essay test!" She'd say, "You were always good at school but a rotten child at home." That summer I got to go on a trip to Arkansas with a group from the home. The next summer I got to go to Washington DC. Step Mom 2 made sure to let me know how unfair it was that I was going. "What about your sister? What if your Dad gets sick?" I was smart enough by now to just say nothing. But I went and talked with my cottage parents and my case worker. They helped me understand what she was about. They slowly gave me my voice back. I didn't tell any of the adults about the pastor. But a few of the close friends I had made I told. That got me to seeing that I was not at fault.

By the time I left the children's home, at Daddy's request, I felt like I could and would survive whatever came next. What came next was more ugliness. More insults. During one argument I actually told Step Mom 2 what happened to me and she promptly told me it was what I deserved for being a rotten child. And to never tell my Daddy cause he didn't need to know. She yelled at me more. Called me stupid, a lot more. Told me every chance she got how rotten I was. I did all she ever asked of me. I rarely fought back.

I don't know how I made it through all that. It's for sure I didn't have even a basic faith anymore. Though I did often bawl and talk to God. I guess they were sort of prayers. And understanding that this was happening for a reason and when would it be over. I was forced at 16 to move out of my Daddy's house and in with an older step sister. It was ok but not ideal.

I soon found myself living at a friends house but that soon was over. By the time I was 17 I ended up living with my husband's family. Oh, neither of us knew it would get more serious. I was just a girlfriend who had been kicked out of her home. They took me in. That was my first taste of what family is all about. I start going to their church but it never felt right. Soon, I stopped doing even that. After we were married. I just didn't hear or feel God there. Not to say he wasn't there. I just knew I didn't belong.

Years past. In 2001 Sean was born. I was filled with dread. I just knew that I would die but the time he was a handful of moths old. I did not go out of my way at that time to be close to him. I remember once turning on a street into oncoming traffic and later wondering why I didn't die. Sean was 3 months old. Not anyone did anything or seemed to notice something was off. Of course, I didn't tell them about the oncoming traffic incident. I was basically waiting to die. I had also learned early on that whatever I felt had to be buried and never spoken of or people would hurt me. So I suffered in silence. Sean was a difficult baby and I was so over it. I was once again convinced to go back to church. At least for his sake. So, I did. Same religion, different church. I still did not feel God's presence. All I could think of from the moment I sat down was when is it time to go? It didn't matter if I went with what I thought was an open mind/heart. So eventually, we stopped going.

I prayed occasionally. But we never went back to church regularly til after Meghan was born. I allowed both Bridge and Sean to be baptized to please the family. I figured it made them happy and as long as I wasn't having to bring them up Catholic, I was fine. Meg was about 2 1/2 to 3 when we started coming to Reece Prairie. It wasn't long, a matter of weeks, before I felt we belonged. That at last I was hearing God. My life changed that day. Oh I was baptized at 12 by the pastor who would later abuse me. I had accepted Christ. I reaccepted Him again when I was in High School and cried rivers cause finally I felt His presence. It gave me strength to keep moving forward. Keep going a voice told me. So I did. Maybe I didn't always listen and obey but I kept going. Suddenly all of it was making sense to me. I was like, I am blessed. I am loved. God has been watching over me and protecting me my whole life. Like the poem says, sometimes He even carried me.

I may not be very strong in my Faith. I may be a lot like a new believer. But I know that without God guiding me even when I did not know it that I would not be here. I could have died so many times but it was not His plan. I look back on all those years and know that I am tough. So now that I am a Mom to a Bipolar/ADHD/ODD child, I know that I can handle it. I can help Sean. We can go to church and I hope someday he and all my kids hear His voice and know what I know. That we are not nor have we ever been alone. That is the greatest knowledge ever. There is something greater than us. All we have to do is acknowledge that. If there was not a God, I do not see how I would have survived all that.  That is what I tell people who ask me why I believe. That looking back I can see where God was even when I knew Him not. Even when I doubted Him. He was always there patiently waiting for me to hear.

For those wondering, my Daddy now knows a good portion of this story. I do not know if he knows of the sexual abuse. I have never told him. I also know that as Step Mom 2 was close to dying she told him she was sorry for the way she treated me. She may have gone into detail, but Daddy was not clear on that point. Thanks to Step Mom 3, Daddy finally did brave sitting down with me and telling me of the night my Mom died. That is how I know those doors were shut. She also miscarried a baby before me. A sister. I also know she told Daddy that she did not want babies. Not that she couldn't have them but that she did not want any. I don't know a lot about my Mom or about her life as a child. I am sometimes compared to her in some way or other but that's all I hear. I keep waiting for someone to tell me something more. Even if the truth is ugly. I have not been brave enough to bother anyone with asking. I hope someday I can.

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