Recently, I learned of an event taking place near me, a Ladies N.O. H.O.W. Luncheon. A gathering with the intent to provide women an outlet to scream; to tell give their testimony of what life has thrown at them, and how they survived it. Sadly, I already had a prior engagement, so I asked would they like me to send in my testimony, when I told of some of what I've been through, her answer was yes. This is it....
I’ve come to realize that life is nothing more than one huge cosmic joke. So instead of shedding tears day in and day out about all of the things going wrong within your life, sometimes you just have to laugh. Oh, I know how crazy that sounds, and I know that everything isn’t always joyous. To say I have been through some things would be a drastic understatement. And I am still going through.
As a teen, I always had to come across as a big tough chick. I had to, because I couldn’t be at home. At home I had to be on pins and needles since if I looked at my Mom’s boyfriend the wrong way I would either be slapped across the face or stomped like I was just some dude on the streets. That toughness didn’t even get me far either. Sure, I was able to let out a lot of aggression at the expense of others, it also got in me in more trouble than it was worth. One day when I was sixteen I decided to visit a friend who was a Blood, dripped in all my Crip G-Queen beads and rags. Stayed behind while he went to see his probation officer, with a couple of his male cousins. Result, getting raped at the age of sixteen by that cousin after he showed off his sawed off shotgun, and his friend kept lookout. Blaming myself for what happened, which most victims do. But, I survived that.
Doesn’t end there, see, my life is chock full of pleasantries. At seventeen I called myself falling in love at first sight. So in love, so young, so dumb. While we had plenty of good times, they didn’t outweigh the bad. Always told myself that since half of the fights we were in, physical fights, I started and definitely fought back, that it was okay. But it should never be okay for a man to raise his hand in violence to a woman. After being together two years using no protection, we decided to wise up and start taking the pill. Well, as soon as I did, I became pregnant with my first daughter. Which made me that much more convinced to stay with him. Also made me try a different method of birth control. And what do you know, turns out not even being on the depo shot for over a year could stop me from getting pregnant. A few years later, neither could the patch. But being pregnant with my third daughter, the fighting becoming more frequent, him deciding he needed to take a break from working. Still I wanted to try to make things work, anything was better than going back to my family. It wasn’t until our last fight, when my little three year told him to get off of her Momma and he pushed her aside, that I decided it was pass time to leave. So after he was good and drunk, in the middle of the night I packed up my kids and left. And to this day he is no longer in their lives, pays no child support, no phone calls or birthday cards. The kids say they don’t miss him, but would they really tell me if they did? But, I survived that.
After seven years of no men, no relations, I decided to start dating again. Went online and met someone, instant attraction, sparks flying, the whole nine. Only went out after the kids were sleeping, yet my family still accused me of being neglectful to them by doing so. Well, my Mother even said I was being neglectful by going to a job. Never mind that job is putting them through private school, ensuring they have everything they both need and want. According to her I should be satisfied with being on welfare. Again, I ended up pregnant, a boy this time. While pregnant I learned just how crazy my new significant other truly was. He tried robbing a gas station, down the street from where he lived, on a bike, with a steak knife. And two weeks after giving birth to that beautiful baby boy, I lost him. And though it felt as though a part of soul had been ripped away from my body, I survived that.
A year later, I tried dating once again. This time for sexual purposes only, no feelings attached, I became pregnant, again. The guy I was ‘dating’, swears to this day that it can’t possibly be his. Yea, his loss, my gain. Because now I have a gorgeous, rambunctious, healthy and happy one year old little boy. So, yes, I definitely survived that.
And that is just the edited edition of all the things I have been through. Now, even though I am stuck at a job making only $15 an hour, stuck in the same house as a family who looks down on me for not being married, belittle me every chance they get, try to strip my kids’ respect of me. My Mother is still bipolar. Not really able to afford to move since I am still paying for my girls’ to go to school. Sleep is now a commodity to me since I work full time midnights, a Girl Scout Brownie Troop Leader, have to do so many volunteer hours at my eldest daughters’ High School, have a one year old son and a preteen, and desperately try to find some time to write. But guess what, I’m surviving that too.
So whatever it is that you may be going through, you CAN survive it! Remember whenever life deals you another crooked path to walk down, that someone else has a whole lot worst. There are days when I want to just end it all, I think of how much easier it would be. Then I think about my kids’. Even my teenager who acts as though she doesn’t need me anymore, I know she does. They already lost their father to stupidity, they will NOT lose their Mother too. Though it is a long and lonely road I have to walk, I will, knowing that someday, somehow, things will get better. Scream, shout, do whatever you need to do, just remember that you too can survive what you’re going through.