I built my walls...brick by brick.
My high school graduation day came and went. We celebrated and I began making plans to move. I begin the hardest chapter of my life to date, in shambles. I was lost before I even got started. No one had a clue. But, there's one thing I was born with...will. My God given will eventually saved me, but these years are when the real work to becoming His legs began.
I entered my 20s much differently than many of the friends I knew. Scared. I was working several jobs, attending school full time, on my dime, barely making ends meet. I was determined to steer my own course...at times I was drowning but others I did just fine.
Most of these years were a guessing game when it came to Dad. When would he call? Show up? Be gone for months on end?
After so much uncertainty I started to push back. No one supported me, the concept of loyalty swirled around my thoughts, I wouldn't let them in. Especially not him. In fact at 20, I confronted the demons...the nightmare I was silently living. In that heated argument my Dad said...5 words. Words that crushed me and catapulted me into an abusive marriage I didn't belong in. I worked so hard to seem ok on the outside, that I completely lost sight of what I really wanted. My dreams. My passion.
You are not my daughter.
It was a sober moment, in the middle of the day no doubt. So he meant it, and even if he didn't...he broke me. Completely. The one man who was suppose to love me unconditionally had disowned me in one fail swoop. For what? I wish I could say his words came from a place of reason...that I did something to deserve it, but that's not true. It took me years to understand. Comprehend. Broken. Simply broken into a million pieces. I began to live out of fear. Rejection became my second home.
So, I did the next best thing...I threw myself into a relationship of manipulation, alcoholism, mental and physical abuse. Then, completely aware of what I was getting myself into I got married. In the South at 20 people stop asking you questions once you "get married" and "start a family". Marriage meant, I could stop running from my past and begin again. Even if it was for all the wrong reasons, with the way wrong human.
So...before God and all my family. Well most of them. I did it. Many ask why, after they ask how long it was going on...(2 years before we were married it started) and I'm happy to share that it's not because I thought I could save him...I knew I wasn't capable of that. See how well I saved my Dad?? I did it because I believed I was strong enough to handle it. After all...it's what I knew. What I'd seen for years, so why not?? My Dad showed up that day. Drunk and crying in the back of the church. It crushed him that I didn't include him. I could see it in his eyes. We would never really recover from that moment. I knew everything I was taking on was wrong...but I couldn't breath. I needed an escape from all the questions and judgement. I despised feeling misunderstood, yet I was still a child. Yearning to be loved by her daddy. A child that needed someone to fight for her. No one showed up to the fight. Except me.
The marriage didn't last long. In fact it ended abruptly on our wedding night. Well, for me anyway, I had warned and he tested me anyway. Previously in marriage counseling I told him...like looked the pastor and him in the eyes and said...if he ever touches me again I'll leave. Period. It may take me 8 months or 8 years...but I'll for sure be gone. It took him even less time to strike again. That wedding night was a night that changed my future...Screams, tears, security, near death experience...I begin immediately planning my out. My escape. One thing Dad taught me...never enter anything without an escape route. So, I had mine well prepared. How you ask?
Becoming a Nurse. It was my only way. I entered that Nursing program married and graduated divorced as president of my class. I knew if I could complete Nursing school I'd survive. I also knew that there was no way I could bring children into the world with that man. Nursing was the route, the dream of my unborn, someday children...my strength.
The children piece is something I must elaborate on. You see the mere thought of putting any child through what I'd been through was why I left him. I knew children would be the next obvious expectation...and my dreams of being a mother didn't look like this. I'd love to share that I bravely walked away, but that's not true. I was terrified. I didn't make some calculated decision to move forward, the dreams I had of those kids saved me. How could I love humans so much that I hadn't even met? Over the years you'll see just how many times "they" saved me. So, it's an understatement to say that I know God is creating the most beautiful gifts up there. And there's a very specific reason he hasn't given them to us yet. Being a mother was something attached to my heart and soul years ago...I may not always love the path to motherhood, but it's mine, I believe you'll understand more as time goes on. And so will I.
So...survive is exactly what I did. I survived it all. It was a horrible divorce. So much nastiness I won't even bother with the details. Took almost 2 years to process...mainly because of enabling in laws, but it became finalized and I could breathe again.
Sort of. I was free but lost. No friends. A still divided family. I found myself at the bottom of the "do what everyone thinks you should do" hole again. I had no clear direction. So I took it from those around me. Acceptance is the very opposite of Rejection and I dove in head first. Dad and I didn't speak for several years...
I was a mess. But out of all that mess my heart still loved him, missed him. It was still beating. As much as my spirit was broken...I knew I'd rise up but... conquering those demons wouldn't happen for years to come.
I'm now 22, almost 23. Yes only 22 years old. After all I'd gone through, now armed with the spirit of a fighter...I began to slowly rise, and as I did, my walls came with me. I left 2 men in my past that year. One resurfaced a few years later. It was Dad, and honestly, he was always with me in my heart and spirit.
Remember...He knows what He is doing. Always....
Cheers to all you brave souls,
we are not born that way...we earn it.