Not what I planned on writing about…

Admire

 

My heart is aching as I sit here at my desk. Around me nurses are taking care of their patients, having coffee etc., all going about their day with no clue of the week I just had. I’ve…

Source: I Admire Your Strength to Know Your Worth.

I’ll give you two options:

  • First, go ahead and click on the link above titled “I Admire Your Strength to Know Your Worth” Read it (it’s not long) then come back and continue reading my post. (recommended)
  • Second, read my post to the end and then go back and read the above link.

Like it says in the title, this is not what I planned on writing about. I was wanting to go down a different road. Maybe something not so serious. Maybe a little humor.

 

I was reading this morning and came across the post above. My heart sank. The words she wrote were words that have been in my head before. Not that long ago. The feelings she described were feelings that I could completely relate to. So much, that it really brought back some strong emotions and memories. It was then that I decided this was what I was writing about.

 

If you’ve never been in an abusive relationship, then you might not can relate. When I was in the midst of what I can only describe as a nightmare that you can’t wake up from, people would always give their opinions.

 

“Just leave…”

“I wouldn’t put up with that…”

“If it were me I would be gone…”

I know those people were only trying to help. They cared and were looking out for me and my kids, BUT….BUT…..pay attention to what I’m about to say. UNTIL YOU ARE IN THE SAME EXACT SITUATION, YOU DO NOT KNOW HOW YOU WOULD REACT. Just because you think you would have handled a situation differently; you really just don’t know unless you’re in it. And when I say the exact same situation, I mean it very literally, because if fate… or the cards…or the stars…or the planets…or however you want to look at it… aren’t lined up exactly the same then who’s to say you would’ve handled it any differently.

 

In the early part of my marriage things were ok. Looking back now I wouldn’t say they were great at all, but you know what they say about hind sight. I got married when I was twenty and had my first child at twenty-two. I had no clue what life was about. So in the beginning it didn’t seem so bad.

He skipped from job to job….ok, but he kept a job most of the time. Then the drugs started. I’m not sure that I can look back and tell you and exact time that I remember things drastically changing. I just remember that I started suspecting he was taking something. His behavior changed. He had massive mood swings. He lied about everything. I remember staying so angry. We had this beautiful little girl that had some struggles the first few years of her life and he chose to eat pills and not go to work. We began struggling to pay our bills. At this point, had I not had a child, maybe I would’ve walked away, but who could really say for sure.

The drugs got worse, the lies got worse, his behavior got worse. He would steal from his parents, but had he not stolen that $20 I wouldn’t have eat that day. That in no way makes it excusable, but when you’re hungry, or your lights have been cut off you tend to brush things to the side and just be thankful you have a meal and electricity.

Then, something happened. For most, it would’ve been time for excitement and planning. For me, I felt guilt. How could I bring another baby in to this miserable situation? That following July, I was blessed with a precious baby boy.

I would love to say that bringing another life into the world made him change, but it didn’t. He only got worse. He had become very sloppy by then. His lies were obvious. He was very mean. If he didn’t get what he wanted or if anyone questioned him he was verbally abusive. I was exhausted mentally. I could tell my body was starting to get weak. I was tired. He went through job after job. And in between jobs could go for months. Every time we couldn’t pay the rent, we would be evicted and move to another trashy place unfit to raise kids. I got so used to moving that I finally just stopped unpacking. We were married for 12 years and based on the locations I have listed as addresses on my credit report we averaged a new place to live at least once a year. Sometimes two places in a year.

The drugs got so bad that I expected to find him dead any day. He would fall asleep during dinner with his food in his lap sitting in the recliner and would stay there for days. If he did move he would only walk out to the garage to smoke a cigarette and fall back asleep while the cigarette burned. We had several close calls with fires. Most of which I didn’t know about until after the fact when I would see where he had put it out. Sometimes he would have burn marks between his fingers where the cigarette would burn him as it reached his fingers.

 

 

 

Sure, we tried to get him help. He even went to rehab a few times, but as soon as he was back out things went right back. If he had drugs in his system, he wasn’t as hard to deal with. As soon as he ran out or didn’t have the money to get what he needed, that’s when the anger began. He hated everyone. He was so mean. At the time, he never laid his hands on me so I had no clue what he was doing was abuse. My mind was overloaded. He would scream and scare me and the kids and when we got scared I think it gave him more power. I would lock myself in a room to get away from the screams, but he would bust through the door and would stand over my body, slumped over in the corner crying, screaming and saying the most awful things until I would start hyperventilating. The room would spin. I couldn’t breathe. My muscles would lock. I would choke on my own spit. My face and hands would be numb and I would lay there gasping for breath while my kids would watch and cry “daddy is mommy dying?”

 

 

One afternoon I was getting ready to leave work. A friend of mine walked in my office and closed the door. He said “I feel like I need to tell you something that’s been on my mind. And you may get mad at me, but I’m still gonna say it.” The words he said to me that day changed my entire outlook on life. I’m certain that others had said the exact same thing to me over the years, but maybe it wasn’t the time. The next few words he said that hit me the hardest and what I think was what made me make up my mind was “You are 30 years old. Other than your two kids, what have you got to show for your life? Do you actually think things are going to change? If not, then why are you staying? Yes, you’re going to have to restart your life at 30, but it’s better than restarting at 40.” And that simple, yet profound statement was the beginning of me taking my life back. We had that conversation on a Wednesday and on Friday I told my husband I wanted a divorce. I told him to leave. We had exhausted all other avenues so we had moved in with my mom so as soon as I told him I was done, she made sure to help him out the door.

 

The next few months were brutal. He was constantly calling. The kids would cry because they missed their daddy. I felt so alone. I had help…I had my kids…I had my mom, but I still felt alone. And the panic attacks, well, they had taken over. My body was so overwhelmed and exhausted that they would come without a trigger. I was having 2-3 a day and they were so violent and were causing seizure symptoms. My body would twist up and I would gasp for breath. My mom became an expert at massaging my muscles so that my twisted feet and crumpled up hands would relax and go back to normal. My mind was so beaten down. My personality had changed. I wasn’t the happy person I used to be. I was depressed and tired.

 

The last word that I would use to describe the next few months of my life would be easy. The one thing I can honestly say is that once I made my mind up and told him it was over, I never regretted my decision. Once I was out of the constant abuse and fear, I was able to see so much clearer. I could see where all of it was coming from. The children were still sad and I was still lonely, but each day I got a little stronger. The kids would cry a little less. I would smile a little more. I began laughing again. I started getting the real me back.

 

 

Unfortunately, for my kids, he has chosen to stay on the same path. Once I wasnt the punching bag anymore, the mental abuse turned to them. They have suffered a lot over the past few years because of him. I hate that this has been put on their plate and we still struggle daily, but God has put an amazing man in my life and father figure for them.

 

 

I got remarried 3 years after my divorce to a Godly man whom I adore. I also gained a bonus son. When we began our relationship I didn’t know what to think. I had no clue that this was the way a man was supposed to treat a woman. Sure we argue and fuss like the next couple, but it isn’t the same. There’s no abuse. We both go to work every day to take care of the family. He makes sure all the bills are paid. The lights always come on and there’s always food in the pantry. He makes me smile.

 

 

Let’s go back to the link at the beginning of my post. In her post she says:

“I want to talk to someone who’s been in my situation but had the strength to walk away. I admire any woman who can understand my fears but unlike me knew her worth and left. I need to see what’s on the other side of the rainbow. That’s what holds me back. I have this intense need to know what happens if I take that step.

I am not this weak woman I have become.”

I have always said that God would allow my abuse to be used for good. That maybe I could connect with others being abused and encourage them to take that step. I was not that weak woman I had become either. I saw no worth in myself. I was miserable and broken. I admire this woman who see’s things aren’t right. She’s scared and unsure, but she’s not as weak as she thinks. She’s strong enough to reach out.

 

 

I had an intense need for myself and for my children to take that step as well. What happened after I took that step?

I took another step.

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Stay in the fight.

I love to write and it’s a huge release for me, but sometimes I sit and stare at the screen and nothing comes. While sitting at work I realized I was thinking too far in to it. I already knew what to write about. It’s been on my mind for weeks. Let’s just say… this wasn’t a fight I should’ve fought.

fight     –     /fīt/ Red laced boxing gloves hanging:

  1. take part in a violent struggle involving the exchange of physical blows or the use of weapons.
  2. a violent confrontation or struggle.
  3. a battle or war.

Everything happening in my country right now has hit me in so many ways. I’ve experienced anger, confusion, sadness. Yet I’ve also felt pride and happiness. Unless you’re living in a hole right now; there’s no way you haven’t been impacted by something that is going on. Each person handles their emotions differently. My feelings tend to play out in the music I listen to. For me, music is therapeutic.  Sometimes the right song can say exactly what I need to hear. It may help me understand a situation I’m going through. A song can help me cope when I’m struggling and it can help me process emotions. Music also has the ability to bring back memories. Some that make me smile and others bring tears.

“I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.” ~ Billy Joel

 : For example, when I hear Rod Stewart I recall waking up on Saturday mornings; my mom cleaning house and blasting “Maggie May.” When I hear old gospel songs it takes me to that red back hymnal on the back of the pew while my grandfather stood at the pulpit and preached. Turn on Dave Matthews or TLC and I’m back in high school. When I’m searching for strength I can turn on “Total Praise” and I instantly go back to a sharp dressed choir director leading one of the best choirs I’ve ever heard; not knowing that I was about to go through one of the darkest times in my life thus far. The list of songs and memories could go on, but there’s one song, an anthem if you will, that could probably sum up so many phases in my life including those still to come.

Rachel Platten said of her inspiration: “‘Fight Song’ was inspired by a lot of experiences that were hurting me and that were making me feel like maybe I didn’t have a chance in this industry. I wrote it because I needed to remind myself that I believed in myself. No matter what, I still was gonna make music, even if it was on a small scale. Even if it was just for me.” She also said: “I really challenged myself in writing the past couple of years to be vulnerable in my lyrics. I didn’t want to skate past what was hurting. It didn’t scare me to be vulnerable because I think that’s when you get something great”

When I hear the lyrics I immediately feel empowered. All the challenges in my life become squishable (yes squishable)  and I’m ready to take back my life. I’m ready to cause an explosion with my one match.

There are so many “fights” in our lives. We fight addiction, abuse, diseases, racism, hunger, violence, etc. But there’s also the small fights. The fight that happens daily when you get home and your kids haven’t done their chores. The job you go to that you dread or the bills that are due that you can’t pay. Every one of these situations whether they seem big or small are a battle. There isn’t one person that you meet during the day that isn’t fighting something. That waitress that you didn’t leave a tip; she wasn’t very attentive because she was dreading her last hour of work before going home to an abusive husband. The elderly man you got frustrated with on the grocery aisle because he wouldn’t get out of your way; he just lost his wife to cancer and this is the first time he’s ever had to plan meals alone.

Do not confuse my bad days as a sign of weakness. Those are actually the days I am fighting my hardest.:

If you know me then you may know some of the battles I’ve already fought. I’ve been through things that have been so terrifying. I would never have imagined making it out on the other side (and with a little bit of sanity left.) I think of some of my friends or family reading this and I wonder: “How did she survive losing her mother to cancer?” “How did losing her son at such a young age not make her a bitter hateful woman?” “That child watched her father abuse her mother and waste his life away on drugs; yet she still has a loving heart.” “My precious friend who has lost her husband and her father and she’s watching her mother fade; how does she manage to give me encouraging words?”

It Is Well With My Soul:

All of those people as well as myself have fought. We put our armor on and we went to battle. Yes, we may have had to rest in between the fights, but a very respected man I know recently said “that’s ok.” There’s times our bodies can only take so much. God planned our lives with rest in mind and we can’t be ready for battle if we aren’t rested. So I’m passing his advice along to you “Take a break and eat a Snickers.”

What are you fighting right now?

Maybe you’re going through a divorce.

Possibly an addiction that has taken control of you?

The Dr. just told you that you’re going to need to start treatment immediately for the cancer he just found in your body.

It’s only Tuesday and your bank account has $26.00 in it until Friday and you have to feed your kids.

Your daughter refuses to listen to anything you say and you feel like y’all are drifting apart.

During the past month, I have witnessed these senseless crimes all around the world. I have seen multiple friends lose family members. Another friend was told her father has throat cancer. Someone my husband knows started radiation for lung cancer. I’ve seen children struggle because of something their father chose to do. I’ve watched a family try and find a home for their father’s end of life care. All these people are fighting. They’re fighting to make the right decision. Fighting to be strong. Fighting not to cry. Fighting not to be bitter.

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I’ve met very few strong people with easy pasts. We are all shaped by our pasts. Each struggle we face makes us who we are. Without them, we would not learn exactly how strong we are capable of being.

I could never treat people the way certain people have treated me and the people I care about. I could never be rude or mean to someone who has a different opinion than me.  The more this happens, the more I Iearn about the type of person I do not want to be.                   I kept the saying that was written with it, very good!:

In your quiet moments, what do you think about? How far you’ve come, or how far you have to go? Your strengths, or your weaknesses? The best that might happen, or the worst that might happen.

Whenever you start doubting yourself how far you can go, just remember how far you have come. Remember everything you have faced, all the battles you have won, and all the fears you have overcome.

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You will never truly understand the struggles of another person. Remember to realize how hard your own struggles are for you, the other guy feels the same way about his life. We are all trying to make our way in this world so make it easy on everyone and don’t judge.

You will have those days where you feel like giving up. Anyone can give up, it’s the easiest thing to do. You need to understand that life isn’t what you’re given, it’s what you create, what you conquer, and what you aim to achieve.

Joshua 1:9 | Scripture for #graduates. Be strong and courageous! #commencement #graduation:

Keep fighting!

 

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Journey

Remembering terror in Chattanooga

Unpredictable

Thursday July 16, 2015 will forever be a day remembered in Chattanooga, TN.

It was the day that we will remember hearing the news of an active shooter situation.

We all waited. Rumors were flying about other shootings happening. Everyone was glued to the tv, radio or computer waiting for information. All the businesses around the location went on lockdown. No one in and no one out. We all called our loved ones just to make sure they were not involved in any way. We finally heard that it was no longer an active shooter situation. Our police officers had taken him down. Then came the questions. What had happened? Why had this happened? Who was this man? Who were the victims? Who was the police officer injured and how serious were his injuries?

Abdulazeez had sprayed bullets into a military recruiting center before heading to his second location where he committed this heinous unthinkable crime and finally being gunned down. Unfortunately before his death, he murdered, in cold blood, four brave U.S. Marines and one U.S. Navy sailor. He also injured a Marine recruiter (Sergeant DeMonte Cheeley) and a local police officer (Dennis Pedigo, Jr.)

I left work that day and had to take an alternate route. My normal path would have taken me down the road that all these murders took place. It was obviously shut down, flooded with police cars and news media and city officials. My drive home still took me past the first crime scene and I could see news media vans gathering from the highway. By the time I got home they had released the gunman’s name on CNN. *chills*  Could this have been a terrorist attack in my southern city? We were the top news story on all stations. We were national news. As I was falling asleep that night Chattanooga was being flooded with FBI, ATF & National Homeland Security.

I drove to work the next morning and passed the first crime scene again along the interstate. Even more news vans had arrived. As I reached my exit to drive down the road that this had happened; I got a sick feeling in my stomach. I neared closer and began seeing blue lights from the police cars blocking the entrances. Police tape lined the property and across the street were news vans parked one after the next. I began thinking about the lives lost. Sons were lost, husbands, dads and friends. They weren’t able to tell their loved ones goodbye. They were ripped from this world leaving behind mothers, fathers, kids and wives.

We will continue to grieve, mourn and pray for everyone involved. The amazing Chattanooga and Hamilton County officers that protected our city, the officer that was injured from the gunman, the Dr’s and nurses who treated those that were injured, everyone that lost their lives too soon and their families, anyone that witnessed this tragic unnecessary act of terrorism, all the public officials of Chattanooga and all those visiting our city to investigate the crime.

We never know when we will take our last breath on this Earth. As a Christian I know that I can say if something like that happened to me I know where I’m going. My family won’t question that I’m in a better place. I pray that each life lost had the same security I do.

Religion aside…it didn’t matter to that gunman what color, race, sex or religion those men and women involved were. We were attacked. Chattanooga must stand strong.

It has now been one year since this devastating act. Memorials are placed around the city to honor the fallen five and remind the city of the bravery that day.

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All five victims killed were awarded the Purple Heart as well as the injured recruiting officer. The five Chattanooga police officers who discharged their firearms killing Abdulazeez as well as the injured officer were awarded the Top Cop award.

There have been countless services and benefit concerts to honor those who lost their lives and their families.

Chattanooga Unite: A Tribute on the River to benefit the family members of the fallen five was emceed by Chattanooga native Samuel L. Jackson and included Harry Connick Jr, Brantley Gilbert, Colt Ford, Aaron Lewis and Trace Adkins.

Chattanooga Sings for Hope concert at the ICCM church raised money for victims’ families and honored first responders as well as Officer Dennis Pedigo.

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Rev. Willie Kitchens sings “People Get Ready” during an opening ceremony Sunday, Aug. 16, 2015, in Chattanooga at a memorial to the five servicemen who were killed. The memorial is located at 6219 Lee Highway near the Armed Forces Career Center where the July attack began.

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Hundreds filled Finley Stadium for a community photo to honor the fallen.

Vice President Joe Biden gave an emotional speech at a memorial service at The McKenzie Arena.

“The day will come when his memory brings a smile to your lips, before it brings a tear to your eye,” Biden said to family of the fallen. Biden went on to say that the five men lost were part of the 9/11 generation, one of the finest generations of warriors the world has ever known.

It’s really hard to know what to say about something like this when it happens, other than how much you feel for the families and the friends whose lives will never be the same as a result of something like this.We should all remember that the majority of the people who are taken from us, and from their families and friends when this sort of thing happens, are just like us. They are people who are just out there living their lives, doing what normal, regular, in many cases God-fearing, good honest people do every day. And they were randomly taken, by someone who for whatever reason chose to take them. And the thing we should never forget about any of this are the victims and their families.

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Look Up Chattanooga

Look Up

“Looking up” out my car window this morning. My scene on the way to work.

 

Built in 1890, the 2,376 feet Walnut Street Bridge was the first to connect Chattanooga’s downtown with the North Shore. The bridge is historically significant as an extremely long and old example of its type; according to the Historic American Engineering Record: “The bridge was apparently the first non-military highway bridge across the Tennessee River.”

The “county bridge”, as the Walnut Street Bridge was once known, connected the predominantly white city on the south side of the Tennessee River with the large black work force on the north side (“North Shore”) in Hill City, a town that was annexed by Chattanooga in 1912.

The bridge was closed to motor vehicles in 1978 and sat in disuse and disrepair for nearly a decade. Repairs and structural modifications have been made to turn the bridge into what is now a pedestrian walkway. The Walnut Street Bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places on February 23, 1990. The pedestrian bridge sits near the heart of a massive and recently completed urban renewal project.

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Depression & Panic Attacks

What NOT to say!! Everyone needs to read this. Especially if you don’t have a clue about depression. This is one of the best articles I’ve ever read on this subject. As someone that suffers from depression and panic attacks I can honestly say this girl is right on it. I’ve heard every one of these things she’s listed and these comments hurt; often pushing us further into the dark than we were. Depression, anxiety and panic attacks are real diseases.

Read and take note…especially if someone you love is suffering.

http://www.wifemomsuperwoman.com/2014/09/03/whatnottosaytosomeonestrugglingwithdepression/

 

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A woman’s like a rose…

A woman’s like a rose. If you treat her right, she’ll bloom. If you don’t she’ll wilt.

 

I never wanted someone to buy me roses; I wanted someone who’d plant them, knowing that I’d be around when the flowers blossomed.

 

We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.

 

Learn to love with all your heart and accept the unlovable side of others. For anyone can love a rose, but it takes a great heart to include the thorns.

 

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Tyranna-Saura-Spidey

 

I’m laying here scrolling through my phone trying to get sleepy when out of the corner of my eye something distracts me.

As if he belonged in my bed, he scurried across my sheet beside my arm. I immediately jumped back and slapped at him. Somehow this fearless breed of arachnid crawls across my hand. Without hesitation I go in to super ninja combat mode and try to get the thing off the bed.

 

I reach up toward the ceiling fan to turn the light on and as I was reaching my aggressive watchdog grabs his bone as if I was trying to steal it from him. Realizing he was going to give me no assistance with his predatory terrier skills I looked over the side of the bed to face this creature. I see the beast obviously dazed by its flight through the air and can only describe the size of this spider similar to a small dinosaur. I grab a book from my nightstand and stealthily slam the book down on the floor crushing my unwelcomed intruder. I look over at my dear sweet hubby only to find that he never even moved. I would inform him the next morning that I saved his life during the night.

Now I’m laying here wide awake, adrenaline pumping from my karate kid moment. I just had a mini heart attack/stroke and everyone around me sleeps. No concern for my emotional trauma whatsoever!!

#ihatespiders

#ialmostdied

#somuchforsleeptonight

 

dm