My life “Through A Child’s Eyes”

This is my journal. My life. In my own words, not edited. So fair warning if you are sensitive it may not be a good story for you to read. I was going to write a book, but never did. In fact I wrote in to Dr.Phil  asking for help to once and for all get over this and put the past in the past where it belongs. They wanted me to be on the show, but I just couldn’t do it. I wrote this three different times and deleted it each time and decided not to write about it, and then changed my mind again and here I am. It has taken me 48 years to share my story with the world. I guess in a way I just wasn’t ready to face it or relive it. Not even my kids know this. I never wanted it to be their burden. It’s bad enough that as a child it had to be mine. But as an adult, a mom, I have always tried to protect them from how ugly people can really be.  But now, somehow it feels right.( They are all older, and I am older)  And if I can help one person by sharing my story then it’s a no-brainer for me.I’m not going to tell them, but if they happen to read it or find out about it, I will sit them down and talk to them about it. I’m not here to bash anyone, in fact everyone involved in this train wreck, I have already forgiven. Forgiveness is part of the healing process. Even though it has taken me this many years to figure that out.

I’m not looking for sympathy. And I hope my readers understand. My biggest fear is people looking at me like I’m different or damaged. I hope you all don’t. And I hope I don’t lose any of you as followers because you all mean a lot to me.

The road I am about to take you down is a sad one with a happy ending.

Everything I write comes from my very soul, lessons learned the hard way. Pain you would think would kill you but doesn’t. It stays with you though, like a battle scar, slowly fading but never really going away. Remaining with you like a reminder that the horrible experiences you had really happened. It wasn’t just a nightmare.

Why does life have to be like that? Why can’t we just deal with pain easily and move on? Better yet, why do we have to feel pain at all? I can ponder these thoughts hours on end, and I did, for a long time, but the fact of the matter is, I was dealt a tough childhood. They say life is no bed of roses; it is what we make of it but some things you just can’t change no matter how hard you try, especially when you are a child and your life is ruled by fear. Fear of him. Fear of what he can and will do next. Fear that you have no way out but death.

My family comes from a small country town called Emporia in Kansas, a farmland area where everyone knew everyone. You could walk down the street for an errand and be sure to stop at least once for a chat with the townsfolk. People were friendly, and it was safe. Bad things never happened there or maybe they were unspoken of, hidden from the public eye as best as possible.

My grandparents wanted a better life, one with more opportunities for their family. All parents inherently want the best for their kids and so they made the difficult decision to move to California when my mom was just a little girl. Hoping she would have a wider variety of prospects available to her as she grew up.

Looking back through all the old pictures it’s hard to imagine Concord, the way Concord used to be – gravel roads, no stop lights, a small population with only a few small stores. It was just simple back then. Things were simple, “life was simple”.

I have always loved to write, it’s always been my escape, my saving grace. I could be anything I wanted to be and go anywhere I wanted to go as long as I could keep writing. There is something really amazing about how writing can transport you far, far away from your life, delivering you to a safe haven, if only in your imagination and only for a little while. From time to time, that is just what you need to maintain your sanity rather that’s what I did to hold onto mine.

I was a bright eyed, full of energy wild child, according to my parents and grandparents. My grandmother used to tell me I was full of piss and vinegar! I never really understood that saying but knew coming from her it came from a place of love. My grandparents “meant” the world to me. Past tense only because they are no longer here on earth with us.

As a kid, I always wanted to be a mom. My sister and I would play house and she was always the one with some sort of a career. Always pretending to go to work and be a doctor. I was the one who carried around a ton of baby dolls every where we went! Feeding them, changing them, bathing them and loving them. Kind of funny looking back now because that’s pretty much how we are as adults. I have 6 kids and she has 1. I do have a career, but  most of my life from a young age on was spent as a wife and a mom and my sister is a critical care unit specialist at a hospital.

 Someone once told me that my life was interesting and I should write a book about it. I thought to myself, really? looking back at it now and all that I have made it through maybe it just might be. But it’s like being in the eye of the storm all over again. All your fears and insecurities come rushing right back to you, haunting you and your thoughts… However it also brings you gratitude, gratitude for where your life is now. I realized that it just might be insightful to someone else. If I could touch one person’s life, extend that hand out in to the universe to pull someone up, someone who is searching for a way out, and help them by sharing my own experiences, then I would do it. Sometimes all you need is a voice telling you that you can, you can get out of the mess you are in. You can lead a better life, it exists and you can have it. So here I am, telling you about the experiences I have lived through and how and why I got out. A warning though, parts of my story are graphic and violent.
See I grew up very different from others. I grew up in a life with an associate.  For those of you who are not familiar with the term “associate” it is not really a member of the mob, it is more of a go between, or an under dog that does as they are told no matter what that might be or who that might hurt.  His name was Flaco. Jerry Flaco Silva he was my step dad and this was my life.
I’m telling my story now to all of you for a few different reasons, like how on TV they glamorize this life style. They make it seem lavish and luxurious, and to some degree it may be. (Mob Wives)  Yes, you have your parties and the ability to buy almost anything. Unfortunately, they don’t really touch on the dark side of this lifestyle. A side where that money is received through ill-gotten gains, a side that rips you apart, from seam to seam and steals your innocence. A lifestyle that does not care about your age, or your fears, it just wants your soul. It wants control over all that is you.
But the main reason that I am doing this is to bring awareness. I know from experience that what happens to you as a child changes who you are inside. It alters your perception of reality, what’s right and wrong, and if you are not strong enough to get through it, you get lost. You don’t know which way is up or which way is down… like a never ending cycle of bad experiences that stays with you through out your life.
Life shouldn’t be stressful for a child. Life should be fun, happy and structured under normal circumstances. Just imagine how intense it is for a child to feel like their life is in constant danger and that the people they look up to and count on to love, care and look after them, don’t.
People say all the time, “They’re just kids, they are resilient, they will bounce back.” True it does happen, but more often that’s not the case. It’s really is a lot harder than that. Adults don’t always understand or address the issues at hand. They want to forget about it so they just sweep them under the rug not fully understanding that when you are young and vulnerable is when you set the tone, the foundation of ‘You’, and who you will be when you grow up.
I have learned from my own experiences that the things that happen to you as a child, affect your whole world. It’s difficult to forget what you have gone through. You tend to carry that with you, those burdens and hardships right into your adult life and it affects your choices and your relationships with people. It changes the makeup of who you are as a human being and how you see the world.
I don’t remember much about being a baby, but then again who does? I do remember being about 2 or 3 years old living at home with my mom and my grandparents. I don’t really remember living anywhere else before that.
I was happy with my grandparents, they showered me with love and affection. I remember my favorite dish that my grandmother made was biscuits and gravy. Whenever she made it, the aroma would fill the whole house. I could never get enough of them. She also used to make really good chicken and dumplings. She was quite the little homemaker. Every summer they would take us camping to pine crest. The lake was beautiful, water so still it was like glass. It was so peaceful and serene. The lake was called Strawberry Lake. As a child, I used to think it was funny that they named a lake after my favorite fruit.
I had no father present, at least none that I knew of. The man who I was told as a small child was my father, later turned out that he wasn’t. To me it was not a big deal. I didn’t really know him anyway. From what I was told he was an upstanding military man and he was not around much. I had seen pictures, very few but they do exist. He was just married to my mom. One minute he was there, the next he was gone.
As I said before my mom, a small town country girl, like many others wanted to make a name for herself and the opportunities in California were much better than in Emporia, Kansas. She was a very beautiful and had dreams of becoming a model, a life in the limelight. She craved the adoration from an audience and knew she had the looks to back those dreams up. She set her sights on that goal. Being a modeling she met a lot of people who today are very famous, (like the late Sonny Bono) & Cher, Hugh Hefner and Barbi Benton just to name a few. Being a model opened a lot of doors for her. In fact, she even attended a few functions at the Playboy Mansion. However this was all way before me. It never meant much to me, I was way too young, but to her it did, it was her dream, a thirst for a better, more glamorous life.
Growing up we lived in a small house on a quiet street where everyone watched out for each other’s children. Those were the days. Children were free to run around and you could actually let your children play outside in the front yard with out fear of them being snatched up by a stranger because although crime did happen, it was not as prevalent as it is these days.
I went to a little elementary school called Williams, not too over populated. I remember my kindergarten teacher very vividly. She had iced blue eyes and long blond hair. She really cared about her job, and about us kids, a warm loving sort of person. She was like a mom figure for us kids who were away from our moms. Kindergarten is a time in life, when most children start to form bonds that teach us how to be active members of society later on in life.
My mother and father were on and off most of their teenage years – young love. You know how that first love is. The first time your heart beats rapidly for someone else. That love that almost never works out in the end because you are way too young and immature, but at the same time, it is the one you can never really get over and holds a special place in your heart. That was my parents, although I don’t really remember them being together as a child.
In the beginning I heard a few different stories on why they didn’t work out. You know his-side-her-side kind of a deal but let me take you back a bit. You already know my mom was a model. My mom met my dad – a rough, tough, hoodlum; according to my grandpa. Grandpa never really liked him, he thought his daughter deserved  better. My dad ran with a bad crowd, into drugs etc. He was my mom’s first love, the one she never really got over. When my mom got pregnant with me they were young, in love, and starry eyed with big dreams, viewing life through rose colored lenses. They moved into an apartment together and planned to have me and live happily ever after. It was very romantic and sadly very unrealistic.
They thought they had what it took to make it all work. But, they both had this other life. One they couldn’t wait to get back to. One that was more exciting for them. For my mom it was her modeling career – bright lights, glamour, and a healthy pay check and for my dad it was his addiction and his partying lifestyle. Married life and a white picket fence was just not something they were cut out for at that moment in time. What did this mean for  me? Where did I fit in that equation?
My mom told me at a very young age that my dad left us to be with another woman and help her raise her son. I always wondered why, what about my mom and me? Later in life when I asked my dad he said that this was not true. He never promised his best friend that he’d take care of his wife and son. Although he did admit to cheating on my mom and the drugs that he did. He and my mom split up for many different reasons and he just moved on. I never understood why, if this was really true, why would you tell your daughter that?
When my mom got pregnant with me she was afraid to tell my grandparents out of fear of what my grandfather would do. As I said, my grandpa did not care for my father. So she took off for a week with Sonny & Cher to do some soul searching and simply did not tell my father where she was going or when she would be back and I guess that was just the last straw for him. I can understand that. Looking back now, I like that version better, at least in that one he did not pick someone else over me, his only daughter. This was the start of my daddy issues and a downward spiral at a really young age. As long as the relationship is healthy a child needs both their parents to have a well-rounded development.
Throughout the ‘Finding myself’ that both of my parents were doing I was with my grandparents a lot. Living with them was the best. I was the apple of their eye, the first grandchild born. My grandpa even quit smoking cigarettes the day I was born! Our bond was inseparable. I don’t mean to make it sound like I did not love my mom, I loved my mom, but she knew I was taken care of when she was not home and I wasn’t lonely. I had my grandparents, I was very happy just staying there with them. After all, this was the only stability I had ever known as a child and although I didn’t know this then, it would be the only stability I would know for a really long time.
So far it sounds like my life was pretty average and normal, right? Give or take a few little bumps in the road. I lived with my grandparents, I went to school, I was happy. But soon things would change.
I don’t know who determines our future or our destiny, or what path we all get to take. I just know that I didn’t pick or chose the path I was about to go down. The choices you make as a parent are so important. You are not only affecting your life, but the life of your child as well and that little innocent child does not get a say in the matter but is taken along for the ride. My ride was no trip to Disneyland, far from that. The innocence that I was born with would soon be ripped away from me. Taken away at a very young age and replaced with a childhood of fear, panic attacks and bottling up my feelings. It’s a life that no child should ever have to go through.
My mom then met my sister’s dad, and married him. I was taken from the home and friends that I knew and loved and moved away from my grandparents. I remember being sad that we were so far away from my grandparents and my best friend. We did everything together and when I moved away it was hard on all of us.
We moved in with my new step-dad in his big mansion in Livermore – very secluded, very private and very big. I could get lost in the house, that is how big it was. For me it was very boring until the day my sister was born. That was the best day ever, I finally had someone to share things with – a buddy. My sister and I are only 4 years apart in age, so we played together and kept each other company and were very close. For many years we got everything we wanted, whenever we wanted it. Nothing was out of the question for us – a pony, a pool, a car! Yes, a car at a very young age! The gifts kept coming, we lived like princesses and life was great, until one day it just wasn’t.
I remember the yelling, the crashing of glass hitting the walls and breaking – a sound that would soon become a part of our everyday life. We never really knew why, but within days we were back at my grandparents’ house again which was fine with me. We were told later that they drifted apart. He seemed to be a good man at least to us, other than the last fight, all I can remember about him back then was that he was really nice to us and he cared.
We lived with my grandparents off and on for a long time. My mom dated but nothing too serious. At least nothing that ever really went anywhere. I think my mom just wanted to be happy with someone. She wanted what we all want, the American dream. Settle down, marry the man you love, buy a house, have kids and grow old together. I guess that was just not in the cards for her which is sad when you think about it. She isn’t a bad person, she just made bad choices. Choices that my sister and I had to live with and live through, whichever way you look at it. Our lives were like a roller coaster ride that had way more downturns than it had upturns.
When you see a drug peddler on the street, you wonder what would have lead them to chose that kind of life, was it crime, was it a sense of low morals, was it the money? You tend not to think that maybe that person has a family. You tend not to wonder if their harsh behavior on the street is replicated at home and if it is, who at home is affected by it. My childhood is an example of what happens behind closed doors.
I know now that there are a lot of people in this world who grew up like me, but back then, in my world, “I was the only one“. I was different from others. I had things to hide, things I could never tell people about, I had to pretend to be perfect and normal on the outside, when I was anything but that on the inside.
My next step-dad was an abusive drug lord. A ‘drug lord’ or ‘drug associate’ is not really a member of the mob, it is more of a go-between, a middle man or an underdog if you will, that pushes the big boss’s drugs and does as they are told. No matter what that may be or who it might hurt in the process, they do as they are told, sort of total ownership of will.
I distinctly remember the day my mom introduced us to him, her new man. I was just 6 years old and my sister was 2. I remember he had a darkness about him that was very cold and calculating. His eyes had no soul. Have you ever noticed when you meet someone, their eyes tell you a lot about them? You can see love, hate, good or evil in someone’s eyes. His eyes, they were empty, cold and dark like an abyss. I just never got a good vibe from him, right from the start even at such a young age.
Once they were officially dating though, he did everything in his power to win us over, almost too much. He bought us things all of the time, took us on shopping sprees, vacations, anything we wanted we got. He was buying our love in the hopes of winning my mom over. So, basically the lifestyle we were used to living financially did’t change much. I know what you are thinking, that does not seem that bad right? Well truthfully in the very beginning it wasn’t. Although there was something not right about him, I just could not put my finger on it back then. He seemed to have all his i’s dotted and his t’s crossed.
He was always trying so hard to make us the ‘perfect little family’. Maybe too hard.
Not soon after they started dating my mom married him. Everyone thought he was Mr. Wonderful including me, with all the spoiling and gifts, who wouldn’t? He was tall, dark and always very nicely dressed. Always? Kind of strange do not you think? I wondered if it was just a part of his lifestyle or was it another way of him pretending to be the perfect man for my mom. I didn’t know what the lifestyle was back then, I just knew we lived very differently than everyone else.
After a while things started to slowly change. In front of my mom or in a crowded room he was still perfect. He dazzled us with stuff! He made us cookies, bought us gifts, read us stories, gave us money to shop, laughed and joked with us like we were important to him, but when it was just us and him, he would stare at us with an empty glare, as though we were just in the way. It definitely confused us, we didn’t understand why he was so different when it was just us. Never in front of mom though, he was very careful about that in the beginning.
I never really knew what his job was or what he did for a living. He didn’t have that normal 9 to 5 job. He would leave a lot on assignments and always say he was working and come in very late or not at all. Sometimes even days later, but then he would be home for long periods of time. I didn’t understand it or question it. We always seemed to have money so it was never really an issue of what type of job he had. I mean if there was money, he must be doing okay.
When he would leave for days at a time, there would always be a fight when he finally did come home. Sometimes the fights were so bad that my sister and I would hide in our room but we could always hear things breaking. Mom wouldn’t know where he was or what he was doing. At this point I don’t think she really knew what his job was either. I think she was worried more than anything. He would say that he had to work and then leave, and if that meant days on end then that’s just what he did. She would raise hell on him when he got home, I think deep down she felt he was cheating. You know how when you start worrying about someone, you mind goes into all sorts of unlikely scenarios progressively becoming more irrational and scary? I assume that’s what she went through.
He would slap her around and use the choicest foul words to tell her to shut up. He was very controlling over all of us. We were not allowed to question anything. It was his world we were just trapped in it. Almost as soon as it started, it was over. He would give us money to go shopping and miraculously it would all be better. These were called our “makeup days”.
We were kids, we didn’t think too much of it yet. We didn’t understand or know why things were the way they were. “They just were” even if we questioned it, his thoughts on children were that they were meant to be seen not heard. We learned that real quick. It makes you wonder what kind of childhood he must have had to be that way.
We often went to extravagant dinner functions with people we did not know, families kind of like us. Dressed well, nice stuff, people we could relate to. In fact he called them our family, but I knew they were not our real family. I thought this was strange and very confusing but my mom fit the part. She loved the glamour of it all and mingled with the rest of the wives like it was normal, and we were still too young to really question life at that point. We just wanted our mom to be happy. We started to think that maybe it was the outside world that was different.
We moved around a lot back then and I didn’t understand why. We would get settled in, go to school and appear normal on the outside, but behind closed doors was a whole other story. Looking back now it was very sad. It’s tough leading a dual life like that, especially on a child, you are told to behave normal in public, so you can’t possibly divulge the trouble you have at home. You learn not to trust people. Every time we moved we made friends that were later just ripped away from us. This started to really take a toll on us and was the beginning of our insecurities which made it very difficult to form bonds with people.
Our moves were not always upgrades. We are talking about in a few days’ notice being once again taken away from a life we were just getting used to and friends that we had just grown close to and going to a new place. We had to learn to quickly adapt and get used to different schools, and teachers, and a whole different life all over again. As children we needed stability we needed to know that today things are a certain way and tomorrow and every day after its going to be the same. The constant moving made us very insecure and closed off. We were afraid to get close to people and make friends because we knew they would just be ripped away from us again. So if we didn’t feel, we wouldn’t get hurt.
This is when I started to write. Poems, short stories, songs, whatever I could. My mind would just wonder. It was my escape. I could be anyone and anywhere I wanted to be as long as I kept writing.
My step-father was an evil, sick, twisted, disturbed man and my instincts were right about him all along it just took everyone else a while to really figure it out. Sometimes children are better judges of character than we give them credit for. They judge with an innocent open heart and mind because they have yet to be corrupted by the negativity of the world.
Some of the chaotic details I don’t really remember. I think my mind has some of it blocked out and won’t let me remember. One of my therapist’s said that it’s normal and when I am ready I will remember it all, the problem is I’m not really sure I want to. Because what I do remember I don’t like and if the rest is worse, I don’t think I want to know.
My mom really loved this man. Her eyes would light up when she was with him. I just couldn’t figure out why. Maybe she just liked the money part of it, and the expensive stuff. Because I don’t see how anyone could truly be happy this way but there was more to the story that we didn’t know growing up. We were young and vulnerable. We didn’t understand the ways of the world. Good or bad. We were coming in to our own, learning the important foundations of life’s lessons that would define us as adults.
The day had started out good for us. We were taking a family trip, one of many. Excited and eager to take a little trip and relax, we loaded up the car and went to Monterrey Beach for a family picnic and some play time in the water. It was a beautiful sunny day, very warm outside. The summer air smelled fresh, clean and warm. I remember the sun warming my face and the breeze in my hair like it was yesterday. We always knew not to go too far into the water; my mother drilled this in our heads every time we went. Mostly because we couldn’t swim yet, but also because she was afraid the waves would drag us out. We sat up on our picnic blanket and enjoyed the summer sun. There were lots of other families there doing the same.
My mom was lying out in the sun and my step-dad was in the water with my sister and I. We were laughing and splashing around when all of a sudden I went under. I don’t really know what happened or how. I just know one minute my head was above water, the next I was pretty far out and could not touch the bottom anymore.
I remember looking up under the water and seeing the blue sky. It was almost like a slow motion picture. I could see it, but I couldn’t reach it. I was scared, I couldn’t get my head above water to take a breath and I started to panic, trying my best to get to the top or make some type of splashing noise to draw attention, but I was too far from the top. I held my breath for as long as I could, until I could not hold it anymore. Surreal as it sounds, I felt the air leaving my body, and things got dark.
The last thing that I remember before going under is looking up at my step dad. He just had a blank stare not a worried look; it was just a blank stare, one I have seen before. He didn’t physically push me or anything; he just kept moving his body closer to me and moving me over until I could not touch the bottom with my feet. See my step-dad was not a stupid man; he was very subtle about it. He didn’t do it in a way so that I could alert anyone. He knew exactly how to get results without getting his hands dirty, unless that’s what he wanted to. And during this beginning phase he wasn’t ready to go there just yet.
I remember is waking up on the sand throwing up and gasping trying to breathe.
There was a crowd of people around me; my mother and sister were hysterical. When I came to and was stable, I was told that he was the one who saved me. Which I thought was bizarre considering he was the one who pushed me out further and was supposed to be watching me and keeping me safe. I didn’t get it or understand it then, but it all makes sense to me now. He wanted to be the hero. He wanted to be seen as the knight in shining armor. He knew right where I was in the water. He put me there, he took me out.
I don’t think his intent was to drown me, or he wouldn’t have gotten me out. I think it was to show my mother he was indeed Mr. Wonderful, hero of the day who saved her little girl from drowning. Or maybe, to teach her a lesson of how easily one of us could be taken out if she didn’t do exactly what he wanted her to do.
From what I was told later on, my sister noticed I was not there and alerted my mom who in turn freaked out frantically looking for me and then my step-dad started feeling around in the water right where he knew I was and pulled me up, rushed me to the beach and thankfully there was a nurse there who started working on me until the paramedics came.
To this day I am deathly afraid of deep water and will not go into it. I won’t go on a cruise or swim in deep water in the lake or a pool. His quest to be the hero worked, but it messed me up life. From that day on, it only confirmed my suspicions that something was not right with this man. He was malicious, but then again, I was just a kid and it looked like an accident to everyone, who would believe me?
Life went on, but I was more cautious. We moved again to a house around the corner from my grandparents which I liked because I was able to still be close to them. After a short period of time, the fighting between my mom and step-dad started again which was starting to become normal to us. So when I say things were normal, I know now that it was not a normal way of life, but it was what we were used to it so in a way it was “our normal” Dr. Phil always says, “People do what they know” and I really believe that is all my step-dad knew. (Yes, I love Dr Phil-through his shows he has helped me so much and he has never even met me)
This type of fighting, arguing and chaos became a very familiar way of life for my sister and I. I didn’t know this then, but this kind of behavior, low self-esteem and insecurities would set the tone for both of our relationships later in our adulthood.
I clearly remember, as if it were yesterday, my mom put me and my sister in front of the T.V. and told us to watch it, that my step-dad and her were going to go talk. My step-dad was very controlling and abusive to our mom so when he wanted to talk, she had to go. No matter what us kids wanted or needed. We were left eating candy and watching the T.V. My sister began to choke. I freaked out. I could hear her making these wheezing noises. I was just a kid myself and had no idea what to do. I ran to their bedroom and the door was locked. I started to cry and scream that she was choking and my step-dad yelled back through the door for me to stop playing games and making up stories or I would be sorry later. Not once thinking that this might be true and they, the grown-ups should check on us kids who they left alone in the front room.
Realizing that help was not coming was the scariest thing for me. I knew I needed to act fast. I ran back to my sister in the living room and she was turning a grayish blue color so without thinking I just reacted and I hit her on the back hard as I could and luckily the candy flew out of her mouth. She made this terrifying noise as if she were gasping for air and trying to cry at the same time. It was horrible. Of course my mom heard it and came running out of the bedroom, my step-dad right behind her. My mom was shaken by this but not him. He looked at me as if I interrupted him, with that cold dark stare that I had become so familiar with. I wish my mom saw those moments. Maybe she would have left him before it got worse.
He rushed over to my sister with fake tears in his eyes pretending to care, trying to play the hero yet again. I really don’t know if this was for our benefit or for his. He would put us in situations that he knew could be potentially dangerous all the while knowing that if something were to happen, he would step up and claim his fame as protector. Isn’t he great? He saved the day again. Someone was definitely watching over us from above because we could have been seriously hurt or died so many times.
As kids we loved to go play in the snow, building snowmen, making snow angels, having snowball fights and all the other fun activities that came along with it. My step-dad had the grand idea of taking a drive to the snow. It actually sounded fun to us. My mom was worried that we wouldn’t get there until it was almost dark because it was a pretty far drive from where we lived, and it might not be a good idea. My step-dad convinced her it would be fine and she was worried for no reason. I would like to think she may have had a sixth sense about it, like she knew something was going to happen.
When we finally got there it was almost dark and we didn’t have much time because it was getting late. We played for a bit and my mom wanted to go but my step-dad wasn’t ready to leave yet. He wanted to take us hiking in the snow. He was intentionally delaying us. We were wet and cold and wanted to leave but like usual we didn’t get a say.
We walked through the woods as the sun was going down. Cold and afraid we stuck by our mother’s side. We walked further and further until all you could see was snowy trees all around us. It was dark. My step-dad pretended that he didn’t know the way back to the car and that we were lost. We stayed there out in the open in the dark for a long time. Anything could have happened, it was a very dangerous situation to put oneself in as an adult, let alone to put a child in.
After walking in circles for what felt like hours to us little kids, he found the car. This memory stuck in my mind for a very long time and I just could not understand why we went hiking in the dark in the snowy woods. Later on as I got older, I was told that it was a scare tactic to show us, how easily we could have been left there to die.
I laid there in bed that night trying to process the day’s events, remember I was only like 7 or 8 years old at this time. That’s when I wrote this poem:
In The Dark
God, are you listening? God, are you there? Make him go away, if you really care.
It’s dark, and I‘m scared, I just want to scream, please take me away to a nice dream.
He’s a bad man, the devil in disguise, being fake with all his lies.
Don’t look at him ‘cause you’ll see the hate. God please don’t let this be our fate.
As I said before writing was my escape, it kept me sane through some really bad times. I would sit and empty out my feelings on paper. I know some of the poems I wrote as a child do not make a lot of sense, but they were how I was feeling at the time.
Once a week we would go visit his mother. He would display so much anger towards her when he didn’t think anyone one else was watching. I thought the relationship was strange. I remember that I didn’t like to be there. It was a funky vibe.
I never called her Grandma. His mom would make my mom, my sister and I call her Momma Carmen and I hated that. She was not my mom! It was very boring there for us as kids because we weren’t allowed to go anywhere but the living room. Not anywhere in the rest of the house without permission, not even the bathroom. I know it sounds very strange and eerie like something right out of a horror film and it pretty much was.
The blinds were always closed; the house was very dark and musty. No T.V., no communication with the outside world, just locked away inside, within the four walls of the living room. The only light that was ever on in the house was in Carmen’s bedroom, which is where she spent most of her time praying. I don’t mean a thank you prayer to God, or bedtime prayers, I mean like constant crying and chanting with a rosary in her hand as if she was being judged right then and there.
My step-father’s brother also lived in the house but we were never allowed to see him. He spent all of his time in the basement which was right off the kitchen. We were told that we were not allowed any communication with him at all, ever. My mom told us it was for our own protection because he was a very sick man.
He was crazy and I don’t mean crazy in a joking way, I mean he was 5150 certifiable CRAZY. We were told horrible things about him so needless to say we were afraid to step foot anywhere in that house. Nonetheless I think the thing that made us most afraid was the fact that he violently raped his own mother several times!
My step-father’s home life was beginning to tell me a story. A story of this little boy who was born of incest – by his mother and his brother. A little boy who was neglected and abused as a child. His mother was a prostitute in her day, and used to bring home men and have sex with them while my step-dad was in the next room. I’m sure it was pretty obvious what she was doing and I’m sure to some degree it traumatized him, how could it not? It was a very toxic environment for a child to grow up in. Later he would confess all of this to my mother. Sometime after my step-father grew up, his mother turned to God. She was like a born again Christian. To me it seemed like the damage was already done.
My step-dad lived a bad life. A scary life with a sick tormented brother as his father and a mother who brought home several men a night. Maybe that’s why he was the way he was as an adult. Maybe that explains why he got into drugs, doing them and dealing them which lead to him becoming involved with some very bad people. I could never understand why someone would voluntarily choose this way of life, but I guess compared to the life he lived before just about anything was better.
Maybe this is why he always wanted to be the hero. He craved the positive praise and attention that he didn’t get as a child. What better way to get this than to put your own step-daughter’s lives at risk and being the one to save them? I wish there was an erase button in life. So we could go back and erase the memories of things that hurt the most. This was definitely not the ideal situation for two little girls.
Time went on and we moved again, and for unknown reasons, we moved right back out. I don’t think we even unpacked all of the way this time. I lost count of how many times we moved but I think this was the 4th or 5th move. I can’t even count how much money we wasted all the time on houses continuously moving, but I know it had to have been a lot. This was extremely hard on us. We never had the stability we needed to form bonds with people,  and we were very closed off.
This time we moved into an apartment. It was hard because we went from a 3 bedroom house to a 2 bedroom apartment with no explanation to us. Not that we deserved it I guess, we were just kids, but a little insight as to what we were doing as a family would have been nice. We knew better then to ask questions – ‘Children are to be seen not heard’.
For me this move was a good thing and a bad thing all rolled into one if that makes any sense. This apartment was basically where it all started to get really bad. On the outside, my step-dad demanded that we present ourselves as looking like a normal family. On the inside we were anything but. Looking back I think my step-dad in some way just craved that normal family life that he had never gotten, but he was just way too damaged to make it happen and damaging us in the meantime.
Often I would hear my mom cry at night and I knew my step-dad wasn’t home. Where would he go for days at a time? Was he taking a break from us or was he sent on an errand by his boss? This seemed to be a pattern for him. I could tell she was trying to keep the tears down, but I could hear her.
When my step-dad would come home, they would fight, he even started to get physical with her but by now but we learned to keep our mouths shut because at this point he didn’t care if we were in the room or not. He continued taking out his temper on her. It’s a horrible feeling for a child, seeing their mother being hit repeatedly, yelled at, and treated badly. It makes you feel so helpless. We would see this and hate him for hurting our mom, and then the next day we were supposed to act like none of it ever happened and just be this happy little family on the outside again. Why couldn’t she just leave him? I just didn’t understand it then. Was he doing this because of us? Were we really just in the way?
But, remember I said this was a good time for me too? Well I met someone. I didn’t know it then but he would help me through a very tough time in my life later on. He was the neighbor’s best friend’s son. All I could do was stare, his eyes just pierced right through me. I felt a sense of security and warmth in his eyes. I’m sure he must have thought I was crazy at the time. I had never liked a boy before. I was only 10 years old at this time. After a long gaze though he smiled at me.
Even though I was afraid to get close to anyone out of fear of moving again after some time he broke though that barrier. My step-dad would get very angry whenever I talked about him. He didn’t want anyone else around us ever especially not boys. He was very territorial and controlling with all 3 of us. We were his property.
Secretly we would meet up. We would just hang out in the parking lot since I wasn’t allowed to go anywhere. That didn’t bother us, as long as we could hang out together neither one of us cared where we were. He helped me so much and I don’t think he even knew it.I never let him know all the things that were going on in my household, all the abuse, all the fights etc. I kept the two worlds separate and never wanted them to collide. At the time he kept me out of the hell that had become my reality.
After I met him I wrote this poem:
When I need you
When I need you, I just close my eyes, you make me happy when my heart cries.
When the night is scary, I dream of you, you’re the only thing that gets me through.
You bring the sunshine through the rain, and make me happy through all the pain.
You’re always there to catch me, when I seem to fall, you’re my weakness and my strength that gets me through it all.
We were very crammed in this little apartment. My sister and I shared a room but that was okay with me, at least I knew that no matter what happened I could always try and protect her until this one morning when I couldn’t.
It was early morning, my mom was still asleep and my sister was watching TV in the living room with my step-dad. I came out to go into the kitchen for something and walked into a very disgusting scene, he was pleasuring himself right there on the couch staring at my  little sister while she watched T.V.. It was the sickest thing I have ever seen in my life.
 I was shocked and couldn’t move for what seemed to be a long time but in reality It was only seconds. All I could think to do was grab her and run, I don’t think she really knew what was going on, but I was older and I knew. My step-dad didn’t even stop, he didn’t care who was there in the room with him. He was not going to stop on our account. That vision stuck in my mind for a long time. I just wanted to forget about it, but I couldn’t. I had to find a way to block it out of my mind.
When my mom woke up we were in our room and we would not come out. So she eventually came in looking for us. I told her everything, I don’t know if she believed me right off the bat, I mean it did sound kind of crazy, right? Like who would do that in front of two little girls? However when my sister confirmed it she had no choice but to believe it. She was heartbroken and completely crushed. I thought she was going to kill him. He didn’t even try to deny it. He did however, blame it on the drugs that he was doing. I think this was a big part of what lead to his downward spiral. The fights, the physical abuse and now this. I think he was doing more drugs then he was selling at this point. Regardless, the harm was done. We were innocent kids, and this disturbed us for a very long time.
You would think after an incident like that she would have left him. She didn’t. She stayed. He agreed to go and get help and she stayed with him even when we begged her not to. I knew he was sick. He hadn’t changed, he was just trying to fool her. He did not fool me.
After that he hated me, he hated that I told. Hated that my mom had to see some of his true colors. I could see it in his eyes how much he hated me. It scared me but I just tried my best to make sure my sister and I were never left alone with him again. After all we were defenseless. There was nothing we could do to stop him. We just had to deal with each day as it came. I really got into my writing at this point. It helped me a lot.

Now looking back and talking to my mom about all of this, I know the reason she stayed with him. He had threatened her with us and there had already been so many incidents that she knew his threats were not empty ones. He told her that if she ever left him he would make sure we went to school and never made it back home. He would tell her it would appear to be just another missing child story. He had the means and opportunity to make us disappear, she knew this and so she stayed. Plus I think there was a part of her that did love him. Maybe it’s like an addiction. Remember before I said this lifestyle sucks you in. It doesn’t care who, what, when or how, or even what age. When you are in your in.

On a positive note my friendship with that boy was going great. Do you have any idea how strange it was to feel so much love and yet still feel so all alone all at the same time? I was trapped in this nightmare I couldn’t wake up from but at the same time experiencing a feeling of comfort from this boy. I guess I started to rebel a little bit, but what kid wouldn’t? There was just so much violence and abuse, who wouldn’t rebel. There were also so many times I just wanted to disappear. Leave, run away and never look back, but I couldn’t. I was too young and had nowhere to go. I also couldn’t leave my mom and sister behind at his mercy. I felt helpless and hopeless.

I wrote this:

Put On A Smile

Put on a smile before you go

What they don’t see, they don’t know

Tired of trying, sick of crying

But I’ll keep smiling, though I feel like dying.

We had a lot of makeup days, which were usually after my step-dad had royally messed up with my mom, he would take us out on a ‘family’ outing and show my mom that he could be good and be who she wanted him to be. This one day in particular I remember as if it were yesterday. No matter how much I try and block it from my mind, it’s always there to this day.
Trying to be as normal as we can for a twisted family, we were going out to get ice cream. I didn’t want to go anywhere with him, but was forced to. Right before we were going to leave he got a phone call, which happened a lot. His phone calls were private, he called them business calls and we weren’t allowed to listen. Now keep in mind, he had a lot of business calls for not having a job. At least not a regular job. Usually we left the room until he told us we could come back out. However this one time my curiosity got the best of me and I listened. I heard him on the phone and I thought it was strange for him to call the guy on the phone ‘boss’, when I knew he didn’t have a job. I was a very curious, inquisitive child. I always wanted to know, what, when, where and how, even if it meant I got in big trouble later. That was something that he couldn’t take away from me. He told the person on the phone that he would handle it and we were rushed out the door.
This trip was taking longer than it ever had in the past. We pulled up to a park and I remember thinking to myself that I really did not want to get out of the car here. It didn’t look good to me at all. It was not a family oriented park. There was trash everywhere and rough looking people were walking around. There were people sleeping under the trees, lots of homeless people and no swings to play on. I later came to find out it was in a bad part of Pittsburgh, well no wonder the drive to get ice cream took so long, we lived in Concord at the time.
My mom seemed nervous, like she had an idea of why we were there, but we had no clue.
My step-dad told us both as we sat in the back seat of the car, in a very STERN voice, “I have business to handle and when I get back we will get ice cream but you have to look down at the floor board and not look up until I get back in the car and tell you that you can.” Those words are etched in my memory. I can remember the exact way he said it and his expression at the time. Well of course we both agreed, we were afraid of him, but I thought it was strange and me being the rebel/curious mind that I was, I just had to know, what was so important that we had to go all the way out here before we got ice cream.
I couldn’t help myself. He got out of the car but didn’t shut it off, he left the car running, and after a few seconds I looked up. I wish I hadn’t because the image still haunts me to this day. I saw my step-father approach this guy sitting down at a bench, he sat down next to him, reached out to shake his hand and exchanged something with him, I couldn’t tell what it was from where we were, it just looked like a package or something and then out of nowhere he took out a gun from his pant’s, a gun I didn’t even know he owned and put it up to this guy’s head and shot him.I remember there were no noises like there were in the movies when a gun goes off, that part I didn’t understand. I now assume he must have used a silencer.
My step-father leaned him over the bench as if the guy was just sleeping and he took the package back that he had given the guy. It all really happened so fast. I was in shock that my step-dad had just done this and just left him there like it was nothing, slumped over the bench. I looked back down real fast so he wouldn’t see that I had looked up. My heart was beating so fast. I didn’t know what he would have done to us if he knew that I had looked. My body was shaking inside the rest of the day, I felt sick to my stomach.
When he got back in the car he asked, “Okay, who is ready for ice cream?” Like it was NO BIG DEAL, all in a day’s work. At this point I was terrified of him. I didn’t talk for hours, I didn’t eat the ice cream, and I just wanted to go home. I was so sick. I couldn’t believe what I had just seen. That day changed me. This was when utter fear of him set in.
Many years later, I came to find out it was a hit/drug deal and he had killed the guy and taken the drugs and the money. When I discussed it with my mom, she was surprised that I still remembered it; she didn’t think that I would being so young. She assumed my mind would block it out, but I remember it today as clearly as I remembered it the day that it had happened. I wish I never would have looked up. I never talked about it to anyone at the time. Mostly for fear of what he would do to me if he knew that I saw what he had done.
Turns out this guy was much more dangerous than just the creepy dark person I originally thought he was. I mean who takes their kids or even step-kids out on a hit?
News spread of this incident and the next thing I knew we were moving yet again. The funny thing is we never really moved very far but I guess the actual distance was not important, just the move. We moved to Antioch this time. I was so depressed and sad. I wanted to stay in a school that I liked, I had friends, I had my boyfriend, my best friend, and my grandparents. I guess you could say the normal parts of my life, I wanted it, and I didn’t want to leave. I hated my life even more than before. Once again, everything I knew and cared about was taken away from me.
After we moved I wrote this poem:Life Fades
My life fades into darkness, as day turns into night, is giving up an option, when I just can’t take the fight? I don’t want to be here, but I can’t just go, nothing is for real, it’s all just for show.
Why is life so unfair, does anyone really care? I don’t want to be selfish, but all I do is cry, is it so bad to just pray to die?
Try to erase the memories, just keep here to myself, all my hope and dreams locked high up on a shelf.
We settled in to this big house in Antioch. We had to switch schools again. Things were never even remotely good again. They just hadn’t gotten any worse yet, meaning the usual fighting, throwing things etc. still went on. The money was abundant, the drugs were still there, and we had tons of stuff. Nonetheless it didn’t mean a dam thing to me. I just wanted peace. I wanted to close my eyes and go to sleep. That’s the only time I had any peace, that and my writing which I didn’t really do much of anymore. It was all too dark now.
My step-dad was obviously sick. I used to think if I could get his phone and call his boss and tell him about all the drugs he was doing instead of selling he would be the one to die and then we would be free. It’s sad that as a kid I thought that way, but I think that was the only way I could see us ever being free of him, is if he died. Most kids think about what Barbie doll’s or toy they want next, but me I thought of ways to get rid of my step-dad and be free. I thought about it a lot too, but I didn’t have it in me. It wasn’t who I was. I fought with myself for so long over how I could just make him disappear so we could leave. If I could get his gun and shoot him in his sleep we could be free and the fear and the pain would stop. I just couldn’t do it.
My sister and I tried to avoid any alone contact with my step-dad. I hated him with every fiber of my being. If my mom was not in the room we did not go near him, but, unfortunately sometimes it couldn’t be avoided.
On one occasion, my mom was in the garage doing laundry; my sister and I were in my room which is where we would usually spend the majority of our time to avoid him. I don’t know why or what I needed but for some reason I went to see my mom in the garage. I left my safety zone, which was unusual for me at this point and there he was, like a tiger waiting to pounce on his prey, which at that time was me.
He was sitting in a black rolling chair. Next to the chair was a little black table where he kept his drink and his drug pile. The house was very quiet no Television on, no noise whatsoever, that is why I thought it was safe to come out because I had not heard him or any noise to indicate he was there.
He had a black robe on. He asked me to come over to him and said he wanted to show me something. I was immediately startled, I didn’t know he was home. It caught me off guard. I said no, I didn’t want to and he demanded me to come to him, I was shaking inside and as I turned to him, I saw he was naked under that robe, fully exposing himself to me rubbing himself. I looked away and as I was turning my head I saw a small pile of powder on the table. I quickly started for the garage door; I knew my mom would protect me if I could get to her. It was a split second decision and as I reached for the door knob he picked up the knife that was lying on the table and he threw it at me!
I don’t know if he really wanted to hit me or just scare me. After all he was a killer, I am sure his aim was pretty good normally, but this time he was messed up on drugs so who knows maybe his aim was a little off because of it, thankfully. Whatever the case was, he missed me. The knife stuck in the door, literally inches from my head. He yelled at me and said I better not tell my mom or the next time he wouldn’t miss. I was in shock. I screamed so loud, I am surprised the neighbors didn’t hear me.
My sister heard me though and she came running out. I grabbed her by the arm and ran back into the bed room and hid under the bed with her until my mom came in to look for us. I don’t know if my sister really knew or understood what had happened. We are 4 years apart in age. To me it was better this way. I didn’t want her to know. I just wanted to protect her, the best that I could. I didn’t tell my mom right away because I was afraid. I saw him kill someone already, and he throw a knife at me, that was more than enough to ensure my silence. I was not about to tell. I was too scared.
We never asked for this. We were just kids. We wanted to play with Barbies and Big wheels, we did not care about money or power, or respect especially not at the cost that it came to us.
The one thing that was always preached to us is to be “loyal”. Don’t turn on family, but it couldn’t possibly apply in this case, could it? I couldn’t understand why I had to be loyal to someone who was so sick and demented and hurt us all the time.
So many times I would lie in bed at night and pray for my step-dad to just die in his sleep or for God to take me to heaven so I could escape. I was worn and torn in a million different pieces. I didn’t want to run away, because I couldn’t take my mom and sister with me, I didn’t want to stay there anymore, but I was afraid to talk, eat, sleep or even just exist.
One day my prayers were answered! Sadly, at someone else’s expense. I remember having mixed emotions because I felt guilt for not talking sooner. I felt horrible for this girl, but such relief that he was finally gone. He molested the neighbor’s daughter during one of his drug induced, drinking binges and her father was an x-cop. I carried this guilt for so long because I felt like if I had told someone, my mom, the neighbor cop, just someone then maybe this would not have happened to the girl.
She was older than us and he said that it had not happened the way the girl said it did. He claimed that it was consensual sex. How in the world does a grown man have consensual sex with a young girl, teen or not? It was disgusting. He was disgusting.
I cared about what happened, but I didn’t care that he went to jail. I just wanted him away from us so he couldn’t hurt us anymore. Maybe we could start to be normal again, even though after all this time, my interpretation on normal was probably really screwed up. I was a very young child when I was brought into this lifestyle. I was a teenager when this last event took place so it had been pretty much all I have ever known at this point.
Several months had gone by and we had to move because the money ran out and we could not pay for the big house anymore, or any of the bills that came with it. My mom didn’t work, she really didn’t have to with all of his money. We moved back in with my grandparents which could not have made me happier. I was close to my best friend again, my grandparents and my boyfriend who I did not get to see as much since we lived so far from Concord.
Little by little things were improving. I think I even started to smile again, I know I started to feel happy again. I finally felt like we were safe. The nightmares continued for a long time. They were always about him, hitting us or our mom. My sister had night terrors where you wake up in the middle of the night freaking out as if someone were trying to hurt you. She would wake up screaming and hysterically crying until she was bright red in her face, and trying to climb out of the window in the bedroom. My mom would hold her and gently wake her up from the night terror, and the next day she wouldn’t remember them at all. I thought this was good in a way, at least she didn’t remember most of it. Mine were different. I always remembered mine.
A lot happened when we moved back to my grandparents’ house. It was almost like a whirlwind. An upside down life if you can imagine that. All we knew, all the anger, yelling, violence, and bad stuff, was gone. It was quiet. Almost to the point of being unreal. We were damaged kids, we didn’t know up from down.The quiet drove me crazy sometimes.  Nonetheless my grandparents were committed to trying to make our lives as good as  possible. It was very different and just took some getting used to.
I acted out a lot for a very long time. My grandparents, bless them, were very understanding and patient with us. After some time and counseling we met new friends and things were looking up for us. One of my new friends ended up being the daughter of my real dad’s best friend. After we started hanging out and getting to know each other’s families she put two and two together. She came to me one day after talking to her dad and told me that she had something important that she needed to talk to me about. She sat me down at her house and told me that my real dad and her dad were best friends, so we were kind of like family.
I didn’t know what to think. My mind was going in a million different directions. I mean you have to remember back to the beginning of my story. The guy I thought was my dad was in the army. Okay, so turns out he was not my dad. Then I have the step-dad from hell, and now a real dad? Where had he been? Why hasn’t he been with me?  Was all I could think! I was in shock but I also then wanted to know everything. I went home and made my mom tell me the whole story. She did, she confirmed what I had just been told and my friend Kathy, and arranged for me to meet my real father.
It was an awkward meeting. Now I know who I looked like ! And I had 2 brothers! One was younger than me and the other was 6 months older than me. I was excited about having a new family, but very cautious. I didn’t know how to trust people, or really bond with people so it was a struggle for me. I just kept telling myself that it would be okay and to try because anything was better than the step-father I had.
For a long time my real dad (Gary) did construction, he was in between jobs a lot. Later on in life, he got into the Electrician’s Union and eventually retired from that job. We look very alike – our eye color, hair color, our faces and we both are on the shorter side. My younger brother is a carbon copy of my dad. He looks exactly like him. We both have the same brown-green eyes. My older brother looked more like his mother with beautiful blue eyes.
It was a slow process but after some time I let my guard down and got to know my father. He was a really nice guy and was really good to me. It was very different from what I was used to. I got to go spend the weekends with my dad and my brothers, it was nice. My dad was divorced from my brothers’ mom, and he lived in Concord not too far from me. His ex-wife was super nice. I really liked her a lot and still to this day call her mom. She is such a giving person with a warm loving heart.
I loved my brothers very much. My older brother was very protective of me. It was an odd yet cherished feeling having someone be protective of you. I was a teenager when I met him. He hated my boyfriend and thought I could do better. You know the typical don’t-hurt-my-sister-or-deal-with-me kind of stuff. My younger brother just wanted to hang out with us older kids all the time. He was always fired-up and liked to play jokes on us – typical little kid stuff.
It was almost too good to be true, that all of this time I had this whole other family who knew nothing about what I had gone through. As hard as I tried not to, I just kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. I was too accustomed to disappointment. This was definitely a relationship I was not used to, in fact it was the complete opposite. There was no violence, no fighting or name calling, no degrading. Just kindness and love. I didn’t know how to accept that.
My dad was a pretty wild and crazy, fun, happy guy, a free spirit. He took us to the zoo, the park and had barbecues. He just wanted to have a good time and wanted everyone around him to have a good time too. The more I got to know him, the more I found him to be a pretty big partier but, at least when it came to us kids, I felt like he had good intentions.I knew he loved us kids.  I was used to getting yelled at or hit. I was not used to a dad putting his arms around me, telling me he loves me. It took me a long time to trust him and his love for me, but eventually I did.
You could see it in his eyes, it was not just a cold dark blank stare like my step dad.
All I ever wanted as a child was my dad. I think that’s what most little girls want, their daddy. I knew if he had been around, he would have protected me and maybe none of this stuff would have even happened. But I don’t think he was ready then to be that full time dad at that point in my life, when I really needed him the most.
My dad had a lot of friends. He was a fun person to be around. Good personality, great sense of humor, liked to be the life of the party and he was a ladies man, very charming. The weekends were kind of crazy at my dad’s. The parties really got to be pretty wild but I sure did love him. I felt connected to him in a way that I had never felt before. A pure love. Not one with conditions, or expectations.

The one day, my dad left again. I was heart broken and didn’t understand why. He was just gone, my brothers were gone too. I know it sounds like I’m still making excuses, but I’m not, I have come to terms with my childhood, I just know addiction is tough, and he wasn’t thinking clearly.

I think back and wonder what my life would have been like if my mom just stayed with my dad and never married my step-dad. It’s sad to say, I couldn’t even picture a normal lifestyle because I didn’t know what one was. I seemed to regress at that point. Mostly because I was heartbroken about my father leaving, but at the same time I knew deep down it wouldn’t last. I didn’t feel that I deserved any better.

In the midst of all of this, my mom was back in touch with my step-dad. He was a self-proclaimed new man and for some unknown reason my mom wanted to give him another chance which I found hard to believe because she was so happy without him. She smiled a lot more now; she laughed more and had even gotten that sparkle back in her eyes. I just couldn’t wrap my head around why she wanted to take us all back to that hell.

I came to find out my step-dad wasn’t really in jail long, he had just disappeared. He called it going under, or laying low. Same thing, I’m guessing the higher ups did not like all the ruckus and attention that he was drawing.

After everything, all the crap, how my mom could even consider taking us from a safe and secure home and undo all the rehabilitation we had gone through to take us back to the lifestyle of a murdering, drug addicted, child molesting drug associate.

I begged her, cried and pleaded, I even told her about the knife incident and begged her not to make us go but it was almost as if she didn’t have a choice. I could hear it in her voice and see it in her eyes; it wasn’t what she really wanted.

I can’t even count how many times I ran away from home because I just couldn’t take it anymore, but I always got dragged back. There is no running or hiding from this lifestyle and the people in it. They will always find you unless of course they don’t want you to be found. I also had my sister to think about. I could never really leave her for that long. I was afraid of what he might do to her and my mom.

I can’t give you the dates on all of our moves, because we moved so much. This next time was to a house in Clyde, California. Not too far, but very depressing. I hated my life. I hated my mom for making us go, ( I really blamed her a lot) I hated him because he was him. I hated his mom for having him, “I hated”. Plain and simple, I just hated. I didn’t know I had it in me to hate so much. I became very depressed and angry all of the time.

I fought with everyone, if someone looked at me wrong I punched them in the face. I was mean, I was angry, and full of so much rage. I felt like the whole world had failed me and I was taking my rage and revenge out on anyone and everyone that crossed my path. I really acted out because I couldn’t process everything. I got kicked out of two schools for fighting and failing my classes, I think I just gave up. I definitely wasn’t that bright eyed innocent little girl that I used to be. That was all taken from me. I was not making good decisions that’s for sure. It was almost like my mind was frozen in time. I was very immature for my age and to some degree I suppose I still am. I definitely didn’t think of consequences for any of my actions. It never even crossed my mind. I didn’t care.

The only thing I had any control over was what I ate. So I stopped eating. I got down to 85-90 lbs. in high school. I would eat when I was made to eat then throw it up later on or just not eat at all. I looked horrible. Skin and bones. Dark circles under my eyes. You’re probably wondering why anyone would do this to themselves, right? But you have to understand, I had no control over any aspect of my life at all. This was the only thing in my life that I could control. So I did.

I don’t know if my mom really expected or believed that things would be different this time around. She wasn’t stupid, she knew you don’t just get out. It’s not something that you can just walk away from. So to believe that he had, was just insane as he was. He hadn’t stopped the lifestyle or doing the drugs, he just became a better lair. Looking back, there were too many signs for her to not know, especially since she had been through this with him before for many, many years.

At the time, I blamed her for going back and putting us right back in hell, but all this time later I know the truth. Remember that snow trip I mentioned earlier? Where my step-dad purposely lead us into danger? He told my mom that accidents happen and if she did not go back to him stay with him and be the ‘perfect family’ he would kill us. And not only us, my grandparents too. With no way out, my mom went back. It must have been so hard for her to pretend to be happy on the outside when she was so miserable on the inside. I know it was hard for me.This man beat my mom almost daily and we had to hear it and see it, my mom lost six pregnancies because of this man. He beat them out of her. She had no doubt he would follow through and stay true to his word and kill us if she did not go back and stay. Part of me feels bad for her, but then part of me feels like she should have gone to the cops or done something to protect us.

Some time had gone by, and my step-dad started to get stranger and stranger, if you can imagine that. He was doing more of the drugs than he was before. He started to get sloppy. His whole perception on life, good or bad, right or wrong was even more warped and twisted than before.

My mom kept my sister and I, away from him as much as possible, hoping and praying that one day soon he would go to jail again but it never happened. Somehow he always got off on the things he did and never faced that much jail time, if any, not that it would matter anyway because when he wanted us back, we were back. Period. There was no way out.

The few friends I had, did not like him at all. They all thought he was creepy. If only they knew the half of it. I didn’t talk. I kept it all to myself, bottling it all up inside me, just waiting to erupt like a volcano. The only one who knew was my best friend. She was the only one I could talk to, the only one I felt like I could confide in. Partially because I really didn’t connect with people or have many friends on the level that I could trust and open up and talk to about my life.The other part is because I just didn’t talk about it, I was conditioned not to.

One day my step-dad approached me with a proposition. I was terrified of him. Afraid to listen and afraid not to listen. I just stood there and shook inside at the sound of his voice. I blame it on fear. Fear of what he would do to me if I didn’t do what he said so I did, I had no choice. He told me I was going to start selling drugs for him and the response that spilled out of my mouth without even thinking was, “Yeah right that’s crazy.” I knew that I had unleashed the devil with that remark. Being called crazy really bothered him. I guess because of his childhood and his brother/father, he would react in a really bad way if people called him crazy.

I could feel the blood drain from my face. I must have been pale white, very light headed, dizzy. It was out of the blue and I just blurted it out without thinking of the consequences that would come along after it. He grabbed me by the throat and held me up in the air against the wall and choked me. The lack of oxygen and being unable to breathe quickly reminded me of who I was dealing with and why I should keep my mouth shut. He told me if I didn’t do what he had asked me to do, he would kill us in our sleep and if I told anyone he would kill us in our sleep. I had no choice but to do it or die. I was caught between a rock and a hard place. I was afraid of him. He knew this and took full advantage of my fear.
I was little in high school. As I mentioned, I weighed like 90 lbs. and was 5 feet tall. My step-dad was over 6 feet tall and way bigger than me. He sent me to school with all of these little pouches of the powder drug and said if I got caught that I should call him, not my mom and he would take care of it. I didn’t even want to know what that meant. How would he make the problem go away if I got caught? Make my principal disappear? You’d never know with him.
My line of thinking and my logic was very altered back then. I was child like and immature for my age, almost like I was in a state of childhood forever. It was hard for me to put two and two together sometimes or to see the bigger picture of things. I just didn’t really think that way.
I anticipated what I would do with this stuff when I got to school. I didn’t know how to sell drugs. I mean it’s not something you can really go around advertising. So how to do you sell something you can’t advertise? I just knew I had to figure it out and quick or once again face the consequences. My best friend helped me after school so I wouldn’t get into trouble with my step dad. She knew people that would buy it. Thank God. She knew everything. I had to talk to someone about it. I couldn’t tell my boyfriend, I was too ashamed. So I turned to her. She knew everything about me anyway. We had no secrets or so I thought.
We sold a lot of it for my step-dad and made some pretty good money too, and then one day she told me that she wanted to try to the stuff. I wasn’t sure. I had never done anything like that before and I had seen first-hand what it could do to people. I was worried about that but she talked me into it by saying that we were not like that and it might make us feel better and so we tried it.
It smelled nasty and tasted nasty and burnt my nose so bad, I was in tears. I couldn’t sleep all night long; I had so much energy I was bouncing off the walls even when I knew it was way past bed time and then the next morning – oh man! I felt like I had gotten hit by a mac truck! I swore I would never do it again but yet, to me there was something freeing about doing it. Almost like it was my secret and I was defying him in a way. It’s hard to put it into words but I guess I felt empowered.
One time turned into two and then three and so on, soon it was weeks and months. Here we were, on the weekends, doing it again and again. One thing led to another, and although we made a lot of money somewhere along the way, I lost what was left of ‘me’.
Home life was so much easier to cope with when I was high. So I stayed high. I just didn’t care anymore. I wanted to be numb, not feel anything. I wanted to stay in this fantasy world. It was way better than the reality I had to live in.
The drug situation had gotten pretty bad. I knew it wasn’t right for me. I wasn’t even me anymore. Who I had turned into, I just don’t know. I don’t know that person. I was this little tiny frail shadow of the girl that I used to be. Even before the drugs, I was tiny because I didn’t eat much, which was at my own will. But now I was just wasting away. I would look at myself in the mirror and I couldn’t even see me anymore. I looked and felt horrible but drugs, money, violence, this life style is how I grew up, it is all that I knew and let me tell you, I was starting to act the part which really frightened me. Fighting, getting kicked out of school, running away, was partying all of the time. Who had I become? I wasn’t sure anymore. My step-dad grew up this way and I did not want to be like him, but I couldn’t stop myself. Maybe it was my destiny now too?
I actually didn’t hate him as much when I was high either. I know it sounds crazy, but that’s really the only way I could tolerate him and stand my life, or what had become of my life. I was failing in school. Not going to school. Doing whatever I wanted to do, damn the consequences. I continued to sell drugs for my step-dad for a long time. Until one day my step-dad, took things to a whole different level.
He had been on a binge and was up for a few days straight. This particular day he was gone, so my sister and I thought it was safe to have a few friends over, hang out in the tree house and listen to some music. I had no idea what was coming next, but it was bad. Over the music I heard a very familiar sound in the distance (His sports car was very loud) it kept getting louder until my sister heard it too. We looked at each other in a panic. I said, Quick! “He’s home!” and everybody scattered but me. I was always so small; I couldn’t get in or out of the tree house on my own. Everyone jumped but me. Here I am rushing trying to get down and into safety before he pulled up, not that we were doing anything wrong. We were just hanging out listening to music but he had a very warped sense of reality so we never knew what to expect from him.
Anyway, I couldn’t get down, so I jumped. It was higher than I thought it was I guess because I remember bouncing off the ground trying to get up and run inside. I hurt my back and my head jumping down and was kind of dazed for a second. My sister must have noticed that I was not behind her and came back for me. Even though she was scared, she didn’t want to leave me there alone, and I’m thankful because it could have been a whole lot worse if she hadn’t come back.
She grabbed my arm to help me up and as he got out of his car, she ran. The look in his eyes was blank; like a crazed maniac, like the lights-were-on-but-no-one-was-home kind of look, just very dark. I remember this because it scared me, worse than any other time. By now we had somewhat of a mutual connection – the drugs so I never expected what came next. At least before when I looked at him, I could still see a glimmer of him, this time I couldn’t even see that. There was no one in there; he had completely lost it this time. This was the first time I thought Oh shit, he’s going to kill me.
It made him mad to see everyone scatter from the tree house and run as he pulled up. He immediately assumed we were doing something that we shouldn’t have been doing because once again, that’s how his mind worked.
As I was trying to run he grabbed me by the back of my hair and he slammed my face into the side of the house and I went blank. I woke up, what seemed to be a long time later but I’m sure now that it was just a few seconds later, with blood gushing from a gash on my forehead, my lip and my nose. I begged him to stop because I thought he was going to kill me. My sister must have run inside crying which alerted my mom that something was wrong but I couldn’t move as he bashed my face into the side of the house again.
I remember falling to the ground in sort of a slow motion way and I must have passed out on the way down because the next thing I remember is waking up to him yelling at me to get up and calling me a whore like his mother. It was like a nightmare. I was there but I wasn’t fully there. He kicked me several times while I was on the ground and I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t cry for help. I remember thinking okay this time I’m definitely going to die. Please just let it be over and I surrendered to it. I was ready to be done. To let all the pain stop. Somehow and I still don’t quite understand it, I heard this little voice in my head saying get up and I felt a fight in me that I had never felt before. I know it may sound crazy, but I know God was watching over me or I would probably be dead right now. I still get goose bumps every time I think about it.
I managed to roll over to my side just as he was going to stomp on my head and instead of him stomping on my head while I was down, he missed by the grace of God and stomped the ground, hurting his foot. I knew I had to try and run, it was the only chance I had. While he was injured I got up and some how ran in to the house. I was full of blood, holding my face. I don’t even know how I did it. To this day I can’t explain what energy came over me. (Remember, as I said before I only weighed about 90 lbs. and was 5 ft. tall. I was very little. This man was over 6 ft. tall and a lot bigger and stronger than me and he was in a drug induced craze.)
I could barely see. My eyes were immediately swollen shut, so I grabbed the first thing that I could grab to stop the bleeding from my face, which ended up being my t-shirt and I sat on my bed. I couldn’t even cry, I was dazed and I think I was in shock. It all happened so fast. My step-dad came running in after me. He threw my door open and pushed me down on the bed and put his knees on my arms so I couldn’t get up. I was too weak to fight back anyway. He started punching me in the face over and over with his fists. I don’t remember what happened next because I blacked out again.
I remember going in and out of consciousness, and then the last time waking up to my grandmother holding me crying and cleaning my face. My grandfather on the phone with the police, my sister freaking out on the floor and my mom with a knife in her hand stabbing the bathroom door which is where he had locked himself in at. She was yelling, “No more! No more!”  None of it seemed real to me at the time. Like I was having a bad dream that I couldn’t wake up from.
I was out of it for a long time. When I really remember being fully awake, I was in the hospital. I had a concussion, a broken nose, a split lip, stitches next to my eye and my forehead where it was split open from my face being slammed into the side of the house, being struck with such a force shifted my whole face, bruised ribs and two black eyes. Needless to say I didn’t go to school for a long time. I didn’t see anyone. I was so embarrassed of how I looked. I remember just looking in the mirror and thinking I was the most hideous looking person in the world. It took several months for me to physically heal, but it has taken a lifetime for me to emotionally heal.
My step-dad disappeared again and we moved back in to my grandparent’s house. I don’t think I was ever really right again after all of this. By this time, everyone knew parts of what had happened. Not all of the twisted details, but enough of them. I never wanted any of it to get out. I didn’t want people to know because I didn’t want them to treat me different, even though I was different.
It was way too much to handle. Way too much for a kid/teenager to try and recover from. People say kids are resilient and bounce back? I’m here to say – no. No we don’t. Not always, because it’s a demon I still battle to this day. I went from a young innocent kid who loved to play with her dolls to being mentally and physically abused, a drug dealer, a drug user, a liar, a runaway, a fighter, and someone who just hated the world and wanted to die.
I know my boyfriend and I were very young when we got together and I knew things like fairy tale happily ever after probably weren’t for me, but I had no idea. No clue of what was going on. I don’t know when it happened, but I lost him, maybe not completely yet, but this was the beginning of the end for us. With all the traumatic things that I had gone through, I didn’t even notice or pay attention that my best friend had taken him from me right under my nose.
Let’s put it this way, that betrayal hurt me the worst out of all of the other stuff that I had been through because they were the one true thing that I thought I had had in my life until they weren’t anymore. They were both my rocks through it all, even though my boyfriend didn’t know about all of the things that went on until way later because I kept most of that from him. But she knew. She knew and still did it.
The day I found out I fell apart. The worst part about it was that she didn’t care, she just said, “Oh sorry. It just happened.” How does it just happen? How do you do that to your best friend? I couldn’t get over it, and he had kind of picked her at that point anyway. She ended up pregnant by him and married him. That hurt. Hurt like hell. Maybe I just didn’t deserve happiness in my life. Maybe it was for the best. Maybe I was just far too damaged to open myself up to anyone. That put me over the edge and opened up a whole different side to me -a dark side that just didn’t care anymore. I pretty much said Fuck the world.
I’m not in any way trying to make it sound like I am perfect or innocent, I’m sure I was to blame too. Not seeing him for months while I was healing, being too screwed up to think or feel, let alone try to open up and be vulnerable. I just couldn’t do it. Besides, now I know not giving a guy what he wants or needs no matter how much he says he loves you, he is going to go get it somewhere else, this I have come to find, and when the next girl is too willing to give it up hey, he’s gone. But I didn’t think like that then.
A few years had gone by and during that time I went to a lot of counseling to try and get my head on straight. But for the most part I think I just faked my way through it. I felt like it was all bullshit. They were just doing the job they got paid to do and didn’t really give a shit about me. I felt like it was a waste of time, they couldn’t fix me and maybe I didn’t want to be fixed. This was the hand life dealt me at a very early age. Now I might as well own it because it’s all I have. I wanted to see her in pain. I wanted to hurt her like she hurt me. Right or wrong I didn’t really care. And I made that my mission for a very long time, it consumed me.
Until one day she came to me and told me how sorry she was for hurting me. I remember we sat there and cried together for what seemed like hours. I don’t think I ever really forgave her or let her close to me again, but somehow we tried to work through it. How I will never know because I never thought we could but it was just not the same this time. Our relationship was definitely strained. Keep in mind I had known her since we were in kindergarten. All my life. I had shared more of my real life with her than anyone else. So to not have her in my life anymore just did not feel right to me.
I made some new friends and started hanging out with them more and her less and just tried to re-learn how to live my life without the both of them in it. They all had different interests and perfect lives. I tried so hard to fit in with them because after all that’s exactly what I wanted – A perfect life.
One of my new friends was taking an acting class and I thought that would be fun too. Pretend to be someone else for a while. I mentioned it to my mom and she encouraged me to do it. I think she just wanted me to get into something positive that would lift my spirits. So I did. I was actually really good at it and did a few commercial classes, T.V and film. I even did a Beauty Pageant. I wanted to do everything my new friends were doing. I took signing lessons and did recitals, the whole nine yards. I put on a happy face and smiled for the cameras, but deep down I just couldn’t be happy. I didn’t know how.
That’s when I wrote this – Nothing’s For Real:
I smile on the outside, but you’ll never know
How hard it is to fake it, the pain I just can’t show.
Try to be strong, don’t let yourself feel,
Locked away inside, emotions be still.
Just a void, going through life,
The fear lives inside and it cuts like a knife.
Try to be strong, don’t let yourself feel,
It’s all pretend, nothings for real.
I really think that is how I felt back then. Like I had to put on a smile and show the world that I was okay when I really wasn’t. I dated for a while, but nothing too serious. I couldn’t let myself trust enough to really love or let anyone in. So it never really worked out with anyone.(kind of like how it was for my mom) It was a cycle, a pattern and I just followed in her footsteps so to speak.  I just always thought of myself as damaged goods, not worthy of real love. I could use the abuse as an excuse, all day long. But for what happens next, I’m really responsible for my own actions, and this I understand now being an adult.
Okay, so you got it now right? My personal life fell apart, my family life was about to get ugly all over again because my step-dad was back in the picture yet again. Yes, that’s right – he was back! I guess he had to kill one of us before my mom would leave him for good, who knew at that point. I don’t know, all that I knew at that point was that now, I really was all alone. I had no one in my corner to help me, or keep me sane anymore because they were together and I had lost them both. I was all alone.
We moved again, this time right down the street to these ugly nasty apartments but it was close and if I had to go, which I didn’t have a choice in the matter. I would rather have been close. Our lifestyle seemed to change a bit, I don’t know why but things started to settle down just a little. People stopped coming over, no more drugs lying around the house, or money everywhere. We didn’t shop as much or have nearly as many nice things.
It was almost as if my step-dad was lying low again, flying under the radar as he had done many times before. He still got phone calls all hours of the night and left for days at a time, but he just wasn’t as flashy about it now. Like maybe this time he had finally got into trouble with the higher ups about drawing attention to himself, in fear of the attention being drawn to them? I don’t know, it is just a wild guess but things were definitely different.
He got a visit one day from a man I had never seen before. This was a strange visit. Very secretive, not like the usual to the point jobs he was usually given. My step-dad looked reluctant almost like he didn’t want to go this time, but knew he had to. I didn’t catch a lot of the conversation, I was in the house they were outside. I only caught bits and pieces of it through the open window. He looked a little shaken by it. I’ve never seen him shaken before. Normally he is just very cold and calculating. But this time it was different. This man that visited him was different. Not like the guys that used to stop by. This man was older, dark clothes, dark hat, and dark sunglasses, all in all very secretive. I know it sounds cliché like out of the movies, but that’s how it was. That was my life!
They exchanged something and the man left. Next thing I knew my step-dad left. This time for a few weeks longer than normal but I did not care, I was happy he was gone. He left my mom money and packed a bag and left. In the meantime my personal life was about to take a turn as well. Right or wrong, married or not, I wanted my ex back. Remember now, I knew no boundaries. I wasn’t taught this as a child. I wasn’t a normal child. That however is not a justification and this is the part I take full responsibility for. And, part of me still wanted her to pay for what she had done to me.
I don’t remember what reason my ex told his wife to come and meet me but he did, and just like that it was back on. All was right in the universe again. Except for the fact that now there was a third wheel and it was me! I had to share him. I was the other woman. How did we go from love at first sight at 10 years old, to me being the other woman?
I couldn’t believe that I had settled for this, even for a while, but I did and he would sneak over to see me every chance that he could. However, the empty promises got old fast, and we were so young. Our situation would have been hard for me to deal with now I can’t even begin to wrap my head around how I did it then. (I think part of me still just wanted to hurt her back and let her know how I felt when she did it to me)
I‘m not even going to pretend that I was strong and that it didn’t hurt. Looking back I cried a lot over this and him. It seemed like we had done the back and forth thing for a long time. I couldn’t tell you months or years or whatever I just knew it felt like an eternity. All because of this one mistake my mom made, being with this guy and always going back to this guy sent me down a path of betrayal, lies and destruction.
My step-dad was home from his venture, which usually meant the job had been done. We had no contact, no words exchanged, nothing. I would avoid him all at costs and he pretty much did the same thing to me. My mom wasted so much of her life for this man. She gave so much but lost even more. Looking back I think we were a lot more alike than we even knew. We both did things we weren’t proud of, we had both put up with crap from a guy that we loved, but the difference is, I did not have kids that I dragged along through this mess of a lifestyle and she did. But then again, look at the tangled mess my life had become, how could I really judge her?
One day at school I just didn’t feel right. I was a junior at CHS. My friend at school said I should take a pregnancy test. I thought what?? NOOO, that can’t be. But this sickness was strange, not like any I had felt before. So I called my boyfriend and told him what I thought was wrong and what we needed to do. I left school and he came and picked me up and we went to the store got a test and sure enough……I was Pregnant! Holy cow! I thought to myself. I’m pregnant by a married man. Even though he was mine first he was her’s  legally. Now I knew shit was going to hit the fan. He didn’t seem too fazed by it. I don’t know maybe he just didn’t want to freak me out so he didn’t freak out? Because I was doing enough of that for the both of us.
I still had my family life to deal with. How could I even think of bringing a child into my twisted messed up world? But the alternative to that I couldn’t even bare to think of. God gave me this baby for a reason. I just didn’t know why “now”.
I thought I was in a good place with my singing and acting, it was my escape from all the craziness, but In looking back now I think the drugs started to effect my performances And I just knew this pregnancy would surely kill my career choice. But then again, I thought my mom is going to kill me anyway so who cares. Plus I will be alone because he’s married. What a mess my life had become.
I mustered up the guts to tell my mom and it actually went better than I thought. She only broke a few things and they were all her’s. My step dad was gone again (on a job). So I thought if I put my career on hold just for a little bit I can do this. No more partying, no more drugs no more drinking. Well, my career was more then put on hold. I had a choice. Baby or career. Are you kidding me? How can anyone ask you to do that? I guess its an image thing, being a young mom, time off etc. Back then I don’t think it was acceptable because my manager did give me the ultimatum..Well there was no way I was getting rid of my baby. So I let the dream career go. And to this day, I’ve never picked it back up and I don’t regret it at all. I mean sure I wonder what could have been but I also know that I loved that little girl more than my own self. The choice was an obvious one and for me the easiest one I’ve ever had to make so far.
I went to the doctor and found out I was already 6 months pregnant. Crazy right? Only me. This could only happen to me in my crazy world. I’m not a normal person, it just figures, is all I could say. Now I’m worried and stressed out about all the stuff we had been doing. All the partying for months and months. I had to tell the doctor. I had no choice. I was so worried until all my tests came back good. The baby was fine.(Thank the lord above)  Was I a bad person? I mean I really didn’t know I was even pregnant. All these things raced through my mind.
In the mean time, my x best friend found out about the affair that my boyfriend and I were having. And she wasn’t happy but now she knows how I felt when I found out.
Needless to say we weren’t friends anymore. In fact we didn’t even talk anymore. That was hard on me. Because deep down I loved her like she was my sister. When she found out I thought she would leave him. I imagined she would and he would come be with me. But I’m really not sure how they patched things up for as long as they did. I know he was telling me he loved me and probably telling her the same thing It was a love triangle for the longest time. I hated it but couldn’t or maybe a better word is wouldn’t walk away. It’s almost like an addiction. I think I was addicted to him.Kind of like my mom was to my step dad. (We live by example)
I was under so much stress that my baby was born 6 weeks early. Let’s do the math. So I found out at 6 months (which is 24 weeks) that I was pregnant and had her at 34 weeks (instead of 40 weeks which is full term) So I really wasn’t pregnant for very long, or at least that I knew of. I didn’t even have that much of a belly. I still wore my jeans. Was very strange almost like god just put her there to make me straighten up. I tell her now that she saved me, because I really believe that she did. She only weighed 5 lbs 10oz. She was still big for being early and all of her scores were perfect. They said if she went full term she would have been like 8 lbs.
My home life was finally peaceful. But now my love life was a mess and all over the map. I just wanted to be happy. Completely happy not just part way happy. But I guess it just wasn’t going to happen. I mean in this situation how could it? Someone was going to get hurt. I just wish I knew how to handle the whole situation better. But being young and stupid and thinking your in love you just don’t.
Months went by and still no step dad. Maybe, hopefully he was finally gone for good. One could only hope. The on and off crap went on forever it seems like. I look back now and I see it was all just a game. Unfortunately there were no winners.
She ended up pregnant again, and then I got pregnant again. Yes, I know how that sounds. But you have to understand they only got married because she got pregnant. They didn’t love each other. Love. Ha ha. That’s a funny word when your young. What’s love? I mean how do we really know what love is at that age?
We continued to sneak around as much as we could we had kids so we couldn’t be one one one all the time any more. I knew he was doing things he shouldn’t be doing. Illegal things. I begged him not to get caught because I was pregnant and didn’t want to be alone this time. I needed him there with me. But the money was good and I knew he wouldn’t stop. See he often told me what I wanted to hear I think partly to make me happy, but the other part to just shut me up. I thought maybe now she would leave him now that she knows he is still seeing me too no matter what he tells her. But no.She didn’t and neither did I. Were we both stupid?  I truly hated this situation. I’m not saying it was easy for her either, but her intentions in the beginning of all of this were not the same as mine. This was my first love, from the time I was 10 years old, this was just a fling to her that she got knocked up by. The two situations were totally different. And that’s how I justified it to myself. Right or wrong.
He ended up going to jail right before I had our son. He wasn’t even there for the birth. But, somehow it kind of brought me and my x best friend a little bit closer. I think it gave us perspective and clarity on a whirl wind crazy situation. We had kids now. Brothers and sisters. And they needed to know each other. So we started talking again, it was minimal at first. But then as they days went on, it became more. She would come over with the kids and I would go over there as well. Yeah I know it sounds as crazy now saying it as it did back then living it. But we put the kids first and our differences aside so that they could have a relationship.Then all of the sudden right before his release date she got funny again. See we never talked about him. That’s was our golden rule. He just played us both for as long as he could.
When he got out of jail, he didn’t come home to me. He went home to her. His wife. I should have known but I was blinded. She came over to tell me in no uncertain terms that he would no longer have any contact with me that he would see the kids but it would be arranged by her and that they were staying together. I was devastated.But at this point I was kind of done with it all. I had kids to think about now and they were more important.

Everything that I had been through up until this last event just hit me in the face like a ton of bricks. I had a break down. I’m actually surprised it didn’t happen sooner.

I couldn’t take my life anymore and I tried to take my own life. I think a part of me was afraid to do it, that’s all I can think of otherwise I’m guessing I would have succeeded. I knew I wanted the pain to end. I knew I loved my babies, and I knew I couldn’t live with all the mixed emotions I had brewing inside me my whole life. I think I was just so messed up in the head from everything. The way I had to grow up, having kids at a young age, losing the people who meant so much to me, and my mom being such a basket case from my step dad, I was just messed up. I slit my wrist. I remember I actually wanted to feel the pain. Maybe just so I could feel something other than numbness. I only did one wrist because it hurt. I guess I didn’t have it in me to really kill myself either. One more thing I was a failure at. (I still have the scar to this day) It’s faded a lot, but the memory’s are still very clear in my mind.( I actually got a tattoo over it now.)  I was on a 5150 watch at the hospital. I didn’t think I cut deep enough to really do a whole lot of damage. Maybe it was just my way of releasing all the pain.
The next few months were very intense for me. I had to see a shrink, that was a given. I hated talking about my feeling, I just wanted to bury them so far away and close the door and not look back, but no this lady wouldn’t let me do that. She made me talk. Which just reopened all the old wounds I was trying to lock away. I was forced to go if I wanted to keep my kids so I went. I lived at home with my mom which made it easier for me. And looking back now, it did help me to talk it out and get passed the hurt.
Don’t get me wrong, there were some good times, but I think it was just too much too soon, it was so intense, how could any child (and that’s basically what I was) know what to do with that when some adults don’t even know?
We needed change as a family.. And I wanted a back yard for my kids so we started looking for a house for just us. We found a house and moved. We were all excited about the move. It was a positive, fresh start for all of us. Until, my Step dad got out of jail and tried to mess with my mom’s head again but this time it was different, she didn’t let him. I think she drew her strength from my kids and the weakened state that I was in. She knew things had to be better on the home front for the kids, for my head, and for us a family. We had been through so much. Mental, physical and sexual abuse by the hand of this man(my step dad) He literally broke us. We were a broken family, trying to pick up the pieces and continue on for the two babies that we had to bring up now.
I decided I wanted to get a job and occupy my time, and to make money to help support my kids. So I got a job at GEMCO. Over by the mall. It isn’t there anymore, it’s been gone for many many years now. But I got hired on in the watch department. GEMCO was like a big Walmart. Food, jewelry, clothes, electronics, etc. I worked there for a while and met a guy. I wasn’t looking. Maybe that was why I met him? I don’t know. I just remember thinking “this is not a good idea”…Push him away… and I did for a long time. But he was very persistent. He came over on his breaks and talked to me at my station, he would follow me around the store. It was kind of cute in a way and so was he. I had to keep telling myself I’m single, why not, just go for it, what’s the worst that can happen. Looking back maybe I shouldn’t have asked that.
It took a while because I was very closed off, but we started talking, then dating, I liked him. He was kind of a bad boy. And he took my mind of my past. He was the perfect eye candy to help me take my mind off of all the B.S. and so I ran with it.
He made me feel better about myself again, for the first time in a long time. It was a nice change to think I was actually number one to someone. For the first time in a long time my smile was because I was actually happy again. I mean other than my kids, nothing else made me happy.
We weren’t careful.  I didn’t think about it. I was young, and stupid, and I thought we were exclusive. Key word being “thought”. Well, I ended up pregnant again. Looking back now I know I was lacking the love of my father and I was seeking it in all the wrong ways.
I thought this meant he would be with me and be there for me. I don’t know why I thought that, it wasn’t enough to make my x stay with me I don’t know why I thought it would make him stay with me. I remember the day I told him. We were sitting on the lawn and I just blurted it out. And he looked at me and his jaw hit the ground. He didn’t say a word for a very long- few minutes. He asked me if I wanted to keep the baby. I said yes. And he said OK we would do this together. I was happy. We had talked about getting an apartment together and having this baby and being a family. Things were good until I found out that he had another girlfriend the whole entire time we were together. I never understood how. We spent so much time together. How did I not know? There were no signs at all. “None”. I had no idea at the time.
But now all these years later, I look back and yes there were signs I was just too young and naive to see them. Like one night we went to a party and we went in the front, were literally there for 5 minutes his friend came up to him whispered something in his ear and he freaked out and snuck us both out that back. So fast I had to run to keep up with him. Or all the phone calls when I was over. Or when he would get a call and hang up on the person for calling and then tell me “come on we gotta go I gotta go handle something” and we would leave. Just strange stuff that for some reason did not seem strange to me then.
Well, come to find out he had a long term girl friend who broke up with him, then he met me started dating me, and then they got back together and he just didn’t tell me. She was also pregnant. 6 months pregnant and I was just a few weeks. So pretty much the whole time.
I remember how I felt the day I found out. Like wow, is this really happening to me all over again?? Why was I not good enough to be the only one, ever. Now I’m bringing yet another baby into this world based on a lie is all I could think of. My mom told me it would be OK we would make it work somehow. But saying it and feeling it are two different things. I felt so low, I just didn’t know how I was going to pick myself up off the ground yet again. And now I have this crazy chic coming after me when I had no idea about her.
Alone and pregnant with baby number 3. How did my life get like this. Seemed like just yesterday I was an innocent little girl playing with my dolls, and now I’m a single parent with baby number 3 on the way. I wouldn’t get an abortion, I didn’t believe in that. My faith was everything to me. Talking to God, Praying to God all of the time kept me alive through everything.  My mom and I talked a lot about adoption. My mom wanted to adopt this baby from me. My mom had several miscarriages with my step dad and she desperately wanted another baby. I remember one time she was showing already and he pushed her down the stairs and she fell on her stomach and lost the baby. I do have sympathy for her, I mean after all she is my mother. It’s just hard because sometimes I still blame her for what we went through and I have to stop myself and tell myself she went through it too.
But to adopt this baby just seemed strange to me. How would this play out later on in life? It seemed the pros outweighed the cons here. She would be in the family and I would have unlimited access to her. And my step dad was out of the picture, which was my biggest concern. It took me 7 months to make up my mind. It wasn’t something I could just do, it wasn’t an easy decision for me. Especially because of the other kids. But I knew if I were going to make it in life and have any kind of a life I had to do this. I was so young I was only 20 with 3 kids and a messed up head. So I eventually agreed to this. Looking back now I wouldn’t have done it the same now. I would of toughed it out. This was the biggest mistake I could make and I didn’t know it then. But my mom’s divorce from my step dad was final and that was one of my requests. I was not going to allow my baby to go through what my sister and I went through. I really believed her when she said I could have unlimited access to her and be a part of her life. Well that she had no control of because I was family I was her daughter so she really couldn’t keep my daughter from me, or could she? Let’s just say she made it difficult for me later on. I think she was jealous of the relationship we had.

You know, I’ve always wondered if we are pre-destined to live out a certain life. Like what makes some peoples paths so much easier than others? Who decided this? Who determines this because at this point I’m pissed! It’s not fair the crap I keep getting handed. Is this some kind of a test? If so I’m sure I BARELY passed it.

My daughters father and I are friends now.( Years later)  In fact he is remarried and has other kids. They are a great little family. I get along with his wife, she was just what he needed to straighten up. You know they say the right women can make the man. And I really believe that. Because in the end it was all bad with me and him, the whole relationship was a complete lie. He was a bad boy, and I think that was what drew me to him. When he his wife he straightened up with her help, and age.

It wasn’t a good situation at home with my mom. She was just plain crazy. I think all of the abuse must have gotten to her too. All the promises of being able to be a part of my daughter’s life went out the window when she adopted her. And I was on the straight and narrow  for a long, long time by now. I was moving on with my life, going back to school, working, got my head on straight, I hadn’t drank or did drugs for years, since the day I found out I was pregnant with my first daughter. Everything stopped for me that day.

I noticed that my mom was starting to become more territorial with her. Not only that but I caught her in so many lies, like stupid lies. Things most people wouldn’t lie about. I mean meaningless stuff, just to lie, I don’t know why.
My sister and I talk about it now and we can’t believe some of the things she has told us throughout the years. It makes us all think now that some where along the line she just snapped mentally. But it’s strange because some of the time she seems normal. I guess that’s when you really have to be worried. (lol) I do love my mom. I just think she went through way too much and never got the help she needed until recently.
Time had passed and my sister wanted to set me up on a blind date with her boyfriend’s brother. She got me to talk to him a few times on the phone and to be honest I could not stand him. I thought he was arrogant and cocky and I did not like him at all. See even though in the past I CLEARLY wasn’t the only women, I was treated good. OK I know what you’re thinking, I must be crazy right? Well let me explain, I don’t mean what they did to me was good, I mean the time we spent together was good. They were good to me when it was just “us”. They both treated me like a princess, like I was all that mattered in the world. That’s why the outcome of both relationships was so devastating to me. I was blindsided I guess you could say, I didn’t see it coming until it hit my upside the head.
This time with this new guy was defiantly different. He made it sound as though he was doing me a favor by taking me out! Are you kidding me? I will pass thank you.
After breaking a few of our blind dates because I couldn’t even stand to talk to this guy on the phone let alone go out on an actual date face to face where I would have to talk to him and see him and hang out with him, my sister finally made me go. I guess she got sick of me moping around the house being depressed.
I was shocked. In a way it wasn’t as bad as all of our previous phone conversations. He was kind of cute, and kind of quiet in person. Strange. I was prepared to hate him and hate this date and now it wasn’t so bad. We went on a few dates and I actually started to like him. He was my ticket out of crazy land. (My house)
We dated for a while. He seemed normal. Not like that persona he tried to sell me in the beginning. Or maybe he just knew I wasn’t buying it and he had to try something different?  You know its funny how in the beginning they are ALWAYS nice and sweet and good and say exactly what you want to hear.
After dating for a long while, we ended up getting married. And I would say for the first year it was solid. We actually had a lot of good times. Until one day I started noticing money coming up missing. That was odd to me. I didn’t spend it. He must have but on what? I would ask him about it but he would always make something up. He was a very good liar and I of course being the venerable one that I was believed this time would be different and he must be telling me the truth right?
I ended up pregnant. I was happy. I really just wanted a normal family life you know. I wanted to get away from the crazy world I knew as a kid and teenager and just have something normal and stable. And it was for a long time.
I don’t know when it all went haywire. I think it was when I got pregnant again. Or at least that is when I noticed it all, but realistically looking back now I think it was sooner than that and I just didn’t want to see it or admit it. I didn’t want another failed relationship and I definitely didn’t want to be a single parent again so I looked the other way to a lot of things that I now- know were wrong.
After my son was born, I started to notice he would have a beer more often than before. And then one beer would lead to a 12 pack. And pretty soon it was every day. He was continuously drinking. To my surprise not only was he drinking but he would take money out of our checking account and buy drugs with it too. We fought a lot over this but at this point it was only verbal, nothing physical.
I think one of the things that made me realize it was not going to work was we had a big fight. Over my cell phone. We were at a bbq at his mom’s house and of course he was drinking that whole day. I don’t know why he was upset but a friend of mine was calling me..”a girlfriend”.. But see he was very jealous and controlling. I didn’t see it that way. I saw as he must really love me. But that controlling type of relationship is what I was used to. Now I know that this is not love.
He got very mad and demanded we go home. So in order not to fight in front of his parents I agreed to go home thinking it was just going to be another verbal fight and he would sleep on the couch and it would be over in the morning. I was wrong.
He grilled me the whole way home thinking I’m talking to some other guy. This was ridiculous. I had a job, I had kids, and a household to run, I didn’t even have time for myself let alone another guy. When we got home I tried to show him my phone and he smacked it out of my hands and stomped on it and broke it into pieces. My older son was 7 my daughter was 3 and my baby son at the time was only a few months old. I started to yell at him for being an idiot and breaking my phone because we didn’t have the money to replace it after he spent it all on drugs and alcohol.
He was enraged at me. I had never seen him this way before. He grabbed me by the throat while I was still holding our baby and pushed me up against the wall and started slapping me in the face, he had me pinned against the wall I couldn’t move and I was holding on to my son so tight so I wouldn’t drop him. I was crying and screaming at him to leave me alone. My other 2 kids came running in to see what was going on and my older son jumped on his back and started hitting him in the back of the head, at this point I ran into the living room put the baby on the couch, he wasn’t going to roll he was still too little for this. My daughter was crying hysterically. He slammed my older son into the wall and my son fell to the ground I jumped on him to get him off my son and he hit me again. I yelled at my son to call 911 and he ran into the room and called. When he looked over at our daughter crying hysterically he snapped out of it some how. And he looked at me with my fat lip and said I’m sorry and left. It was crazy. I felt like I was back home again. And what was even more insane is when the cops got there and made the report I made excuses for him. He was drinking he was this he was that. I had officially become my mother and my kids were going through the some of the shit that me and my sister did.

It was an official domestic violence report now. It was out of my hands. I no longer had the option to press charges or not press charges. It was up to the D.A now. A few days later he came home. And he cried and cried and begged me not to leave and said he would get help and confessed to all of the drugs and drinking he had been doing and all the lying.

I didn’t want to be alone again, I didn’t want to be a single parent, and I just wasn’t strong enough to say no, so I took him back. A little time had gone by and I didn’t see him drinking or anything else so I thought maybe he was really going to straighten up, maybe that was the first and the last time. He promised he would never do it again.
He did construction and getting laid off was pretty typical for this line of work. When he got laid off again a long time friend of his moved in with us for a little while to help us out financially. He had a girl friend who would spend the night a lot with him, I didn’t know her but she seemed OK.
 I was at work and I decided to go home for lunch and surprise him.Well instead of me surprising him I walked in on something that I wished I never did. Our bedroom door was shut. I could hear him talking and laughing but he wasn’t alone. I could hear a girl in the room. In my room? Are you kidding me right now. He had the nerve to do this in my own house, in our room? I was afraid to open the door, afraid of what I would see and when I did open the door I saw exactly what I didn’t want to see. They were both in bed in their underwear under the covers laughing with each other. Needless to say,  I flipped out.

I started throwing stuff at him and yelling at her he got up and ran in the bathroom which left her fair game! I yanked her up by her hair. Oh wait did I mention, this was our new roommates girlfriend. (yes his friends girlfriend) I made her go outside half naked and beat the living day lights out of her on my own front yard. Sweet justice. Then I told her not to ever come back again or she would be even sorrier then she is right now and that I was going to tell her boyfriend! She begged me not to tell him, but I did. He ended up moving out, but he was still friend with my husband. He said a guy is going to try and it’s up to the girl to say no. Are you kidding me. How twisted are these guys anyway.Needless to say we split up for a little while. But he always managed to get me to come back Looking back now I think I was just afraid to be alone. OK, so now I’ve officially become my mom, because my stupid self took him back. But I never really trusted him again. Not that -that makes it right. It was a stupid decision.

One day while doing laundry I found panties that were not mine. And all I could think of was are you serious, again. Why am I not enough and when is this going to end.
I confronted him about it and he said the baby sitter was playing with the kids with the water hose and got wet and had to change so he let her wear a pair of his sweat pants and a t shirt home.

I didn’t buy it for a second, I confronted her and she gave me the same story. So I bought it. After all she was our baby sitter. I figured I was safe with her.

Well one day, he was fired and the cops were at my door looking for my husband. He wasn’t home but apparently they thought he knocked up my 17 year old baby sitter and his boss didn’t like that too much and neither did the police. It turned out not to be his baby thankfully but just the thought It could have been meant that he was with her and that was the last straw for me. I couldn’t take it anymore, so I moved out. I moved back into the one place I was the happiest at, my grandparents. Me and my kids. And I started the healing process as a family all over again as I had done so many times before.

Now I see a pattern happening here, I’m definitely my mom. Now I know how hard it was for her and what she went through. It’s not easy to have the courage and strength to leave something like that.

I was devastated crushed I felt like the biggest loser in the world. Another failed relationship. What was I doing wrong? I couldn’t figure it out. I was afraid of the damage this did to my kids, it was a nightmare. I knew this marriage could not be saved.So I filed for a divorce.It was very hard for me. But it had to be done. I couldn’t have regrets because I didn’t want my kids to think that I regretted having them. they were the only thing good right and pure thing that I have ever done in my life.

We stayed at my grandparents for a while and I tried to get my act together and be strong for my kids. But I was messed up in the head from everything. Not just him, my whole life seemed to come back at me and I had a hard time coping. My work offered me counseling and I took it. Counseling again, is it ever going to work or is it just a waste of time because nothing seemed to be helping me.It did make me feel better to talk to someone but only for a minute. After all I was convinced I was the crazy one. It was ugly between me and my X-husband for a long time. But now, all these years later, I have forgiven him and we are friends because I was able to move on and move past everything he had done. And I realized that a lot of his behavior was the drugs and alcohol.

My soon to be x husband came back around fully reformed. Or so he said. And at this point like I said before, I didn’t know if I was coming or going. I just knew I hated being alone. So I took him back. I know what your thinking, I’m a dumb ass right? It’s OK you can think it or even say it, believe me I did a bunch of times that and worse. And yes, I was a dumb ass.

I believed his lies and we stopped our divorce right before it was final. The second biggest mistake of my life. We got a condo. (Rented a condo) Things were OK for a little while again. So tell me, what is it with guys and being good for a little while only and then turning into the “real” them? If they’re going to be jerks they should just do it upfront and save us all some wasted time and heartache I think. Right?
Anyway, after some time I noticed the same patterns re-surfacing yet again. The staying up all night on the computer, money missing out of our checking account, checks bouncing, utilities being shut off, his whole demeanor was different, but the same. If that makes any sense.I remember one night I confronted him about the behavior and my sister and her husband were coming over for dinner. He got mad at me for asking him, we argued a bit and he left. Nothing physical, only verbal.

I thought “whew” at least were not going to fight in front of my sister. Her husband was my husband’s best friend. In a twisted way there were two pees in one messed up pod.We had dinner, the kids were watching TV and my sister and I were visiting and my husband decides to come home. He was different. I could tell he had been drinking. He went to get dinner and it was cold and flipped out. He threw everything off the stove and broke all the plates on the counter and stated screaming and yelling at me and I told the kids to get up quickly we were leaving. I grabbed my purse and my keys to leave and got my daughter out the door when he grabbed my arm. Both of my sons made it out the door before me so I knew they were safe. Plus my sister went out with them. Her husband tried to calm him down and reason with him, I think he was even worried because at this point my husband was enraged.He was drunk. He let go of me and grabbed my daughters arm to bring her back inside and my natural reaction was to grab her other arm and we ended up in a little tug of war with her as she was crying and asking him to stop because he was hurting her. I begged him to let the kids go and I would stay if he just let them go. He did let her arm go but I still had a hold on her and when he let go it was like the tug of war effect and I fell to the ground and my daughter fell on top of me. I pushed her off and over to my sister so she could get her in the car with my son’s and my husband came up to me and stomped on my chest. I couldn’t even breathe, It knocked the wind out of me for a few minutes. My sister’s husband rushed over to him to pull him off me. All I remember is echoing voices, like I could hear my kids calling me and crying and I could hear my sister’s husband saying no man stop that’s not right and then my husband just stopped and ran off.I couldn’t get up. It hurt. They had to help me up and to the car where my sister demanded to go straight to the police station. I don’t know if you remember the last big incident where he gave me the fat lip and black eye, but that was a matter of public record for domestic violence now. So I knew if we went this would be number two and I didn’t know if I had it in me to do that to someone. Even though he really did it to himself by laying hands on me again. It was someone’s life that I could possibly be ruining for a very long time and I wasn’t sure if I wanted that burden on my conscious.

He was a drunk and he was on drugs, he wasn’t thinking right. I just felt like he needed help not jail. But my sister made me go. I made the report and they took pictures of my chest. I brought a copy of the police report and hospital report to the court house and got a restraining order against him. And I filed for full custody with no visitation. A choice I hated to make but at the same time knew I had to make. In his condition he was not fit to be a parent.

He later called my sisters house to talk to her husband (his best friend) after he was served the order and he was very angry, for some reason my sister had this weird feeling so she hit the record button on the answering machine while they were talking on the phone. They talked for a while and then hung up. When her husband left she played back the tape and heard what they were talking about. My husband told her husband that if I thought I was going to keep the kid from him he would just kill me. He said he would cut me up into little pieces and through me in the delta and no one would ever find me. This was his drunk talk not sober talk, either way it wasn’t right.

My sister freaked out and came over to give me the tape. I hired an attorney and filed for a divorce and full custody of my kids. My attorney was so disturbed by the past incidents and now threat against my life that he gave the judge the tape to listen to. The judge went back into his chambers and it was only a matter of seconds and he was right back out. There was no thinking on his part. He gave me the restraining order and full custody.

I don’t know if he really meant what he was saying or not. Part of me thought it was just mad/drunk talk. He was pissed off. I don’t think he would really do it. My husband wasn’t allowed to see the kids without a court appointed supervisor and he had to submit to mandatory drug and alcohol testing prior to each visit and he was not allowed any contact with me and we got a divorce.

I keep the condo because I wanted to stand on my own two feet this time. I wanted to be better. I didn’t want to be afraid of anyone anymore. My whole life I was afraid. I was done with it. Now I was mad. I was not going to be a victim anymore. Forget circumstances, I was done with being afraid.

It took me a while to really except that it wasn’t me, because for a long time I felt like if there was nothing wrong with me then why did my dad leave me, and why did my step dad abuse me? Why did my boyfriend cheat on me with my best friend and then marry her? Why did my husband hit me and cheat on me, of course I thought it was me for a long time. Who wouldn’t? But I knew I had to let that go if I was going to be able to have any type of a good future. So that’s what I worked towards doing.

After a long time I realized it was the choices I made. I had to break the cycle once and for all or my daughters my go through that and let a man hurt them, I mean why not if that’s all they saw? Just like what I saw my mom go through. I was afraid my sons would grow up thinking it was OK to hit and mistreat women, and be controlling. I didn’t want that for my kids. So I made sure I taught my daughters to be strong and stand on her own two feet and I taught my boys never to raise a hand at a woman.

I stayed in the condo and continued to work and work on myself. After sometime I did meet someone else, about 8 months later. Honestly, I wasn’t thinking long term, I was thinking OK, I’m lonely and It wouldn’t hurt to hang out. When I fist saw him walk by I was immediately drawn to him. His eyes and his smile was so warm and good and pure. Remember before how I talked about the evil you can see in someones eyes? Well, this time it was different. This man was different. We started off as friends. I knew that I was in no shape to jump into something and he wasn’t either coming off a current breakup himself. But a friendship I could handle. It was nice to have him come over. We would sit and talk for hours.

We had a lot in common believe it or not. His X chose drugs over him too. So in a sense he knew what I was going through. Over time our friendship grew and became a little bit more. One night it just happened. Our first kiss. It was warm, soft, gentle and perfect.

I know me, I fall and trust to fast. I was afraid that this time would end up being like the rest if we didn’t take our time to really see what we were all about as a couple. He felt the same way. It was nice to be on the same page as someone you like for a change.

Believe me it was a hard decision for me, I didn’t want to get involved like I was before because I was afraid of getting hurt again, but one thing stuck in my mind that one of my many therapist said “If you stop taking chances you stop living”. Do I jump in? Do I walk away? Maybe I will have my happily ever after if I don’t try?

There were a few incidents here and there and my X husband bothered me for a little while after that, I guess he didn’t want to believe we were over and I had moved on. But my current boyfriend actually stood up for me and protected me and my kids. That was a first for me. I don’t remember a time where anyone really stood up for me and said hey,move on leave her alone she is with me now. So it was nice to feel safe for once.

I remember, I used to love the way he made me laugh. I don’t think I have ever laughed and smiled so much in a relationship before. And when he looked at me, it was like he was looking into my soul. Everything he did was right.

After we got serious about our relationship I sat him down and told him everything. I didn’t want to keep anything from him. I wanted him to know exactly who I was and what I had been through so if he wanted to run, he could run now. I remember thinking that conversation could go one to two ways. He would either understand me better, or he would leave. I was very nervous to tell him everything. I didn’t want him to think of me as being damaged goods, but I guess really that’s what I was. I knew that if I wanted this relationship to go to the next level, I would have to tell him.

I told him with tears in my eyes, waiting for him to say sorry that’s way too much for me. But he didn’t. He just held me tight for a long time. I don’t think he really knew what to say. But he didn’t leave. He stayed. I think he understood me more than I understood myself at that point. He always had such a positive good way of looking at things and how they effect a person. I just remember being in complete heaven with him waiting to wake up from this dream, but I didn’t. I almost think it was too  perfect for me. Like I was accustomed to the chaos and couldn’t be happy with out it or the drama that came with it.

Unfortunately I have a way of sabotaging things for myself. If someone gets to close I am always the one who messes it up. I guess that stems from my childhood. My first boyfriend (the one I thought I loved but was really too young to know what love was)  came back into my life again. Somehow. Again I don’t even remember how it happened; he was just back in my life. He left like a hurricane with a path of destruction in its wake and he came back the same way.

And me being me, not having the closure I needed from before, I broke up with the sweet, caring, good guy and went back to him.  I broke my boyfriends heart. And it was almost like I didn’t care, or at least I didn’t think I cared.. I was glad it was over because it was too perfect for me. I didn’t feel like I deserved that. I knew deep down that eventually I was going to mess it up some how or he would and I would end up getting hurt like I always do.

I ended up taking my kids and moving out of state with him and we got married. Finally my happy ending with the guy I was meant to be with all along, right? No.That would be too easy.

I thought all this time that we were connected on such a different level, from such an early age (10 years old) we were just meant to be. I left my family behind and started my life over in another state where no one knew me, no one knew anything about me or anything I had gone through. Pretty scary, right? Since all I had even known was here where I grew up in California. But at the time, I didn’t care, I was going after what I wanted finally.

After we got married, which happened right away, we just rushed into it, Like BAM were at the court house getting married, things were not at all how I imagined they would be. We were different as adults. I mean, I should have guessed we would be we were just kids when we met. I tired to live in his world, I tried to hold onto what we used to be and who we used to be. What we had before. But that was gone, it wasn’t the same anymore. We were just too different now. Too much had happened and too much time had gone for us to just pick up where we left off. I definitely jumped into this way too fast.Typical me, I mean we just reunited and immediately got married.

For some reason, in the back of my head and mind was this sweet guy that I left behind. I felt so much guilt for hurting him. I couldn’t help but to compare what we had with what I had now. I knew for a long time that I was just living in the past. And I spent a lot of my time crying, regretting my decision but not knowing how I could possibly fix it at this point. I felt like I made my bed, I thought it’s what I wanted and now I had to lye in it. Figure it out and make it work because I could not have another failed marriage. I tried so hard to make it work. I mean it was finally my time with him, my first love, the one I couldn’t get over. So why did I feel so alone? I thought about this everyday and prayed to god for guidance. I just didn’t get it.

I was very good at pretending things were OK when they really weren’t. I was good at keeping things bottled up inside. Finally one day I was talking to my mom on the phone and I busted out into tears. I couldn’t take it anymore. I realized through all of this that I was in love, but it wasn’t with my new husband/old boyfriend. I knew now that I just didn’t have the closure I needed to be able to let the past stay in the past. I had to figure out a way to make this right. I knew my decision would hurt people.  But I also think he knew and could feel that we just weren’t the same. We grew up and weren’t the same kids/teenagers we were before when all of this started.

So I made the decision to leave and end my marriage, again. I tied to right the wrong I had made. You know that old saying “don’t judge me until you have walked a mile in my shoes”…Well its true. I felt like I let everyone down on both sides. My husband’s side, my family’s side. And worse than all the adults involved, I hurt all the kids. How could I even look at myself the same? I felt like a horrible person even though I knew neighter one of us were truly happy.

It took me sometime to figure it out. Time to realize what I really wanted and needed had been right in front of me the whole time and I didn’t want to be apart from the wonderful man I left behind in California. He was my angel, my godsend, my best friend,  and I wanted things back to how they used to be with us. But how do I get it all back? How do I explain all of this if and when I get back home?  I fought with myself for a long time over this decision and finally realized that I had to face my husband and his family and explain. And I didn’t do the best job at it. My mom was ill, I was home sick, and I was in love with someone else. How can that conversation possibly go well? There is really no good way to have that conversation. But I did it. And it was hard. I hurt a lot of people being so quick to go back to my comfort zone as a child.

I left everything but our clothes back in the other state that I had moved to and flew home. I moved in with my grandparents, yet again. Bless them for taking me and my kids in. They knew me, they knew my heart and knew I was a good person who had just gone through a life time of bad things that really warped my judgement. They built me back up as they had always done before.

 

Thankfully I was able to get my old job back and start working on my self again. Standing on my own two feet in a way. (even though I lived with my grandparents) I think being alone and finding my self, learning how to love my self first was the best thing for me. Because let’s face it, I didn’t love myself. I hated myself. I hated everything about me, except for the beautiful kids that I created. The were and still are the best part of me.

All I thought about was the man I loved and if I realized it too late? Was he already with some one else?  I was pretty sure he would not want anything to do with me at this point. But how was I going to convince him to just hear me out? I had to try. So I called him and asked him to meet with me and talk to me and he agreed. I was happily surprised, shocked and excited all in one. But at the same time I knew it wouldn’t be easy.

When we met up, I saw the hurt in his eyes that I had caused and it broke my heart. He sat there and he listened to me plead my case and explain myself, but I could tell he was reluctant. And I couldn’t blame him. I was a damaged, self destructive person. I have to give it to him, because I don’t know if the rolls were reversed if I would have even agreed to meet with him again and talk. I’m just thankful he did. He said we could be friends, but he didn’t know about anything more than that. It was my mess, I made it, now I had to be the one to fix it. I’m the one that hurt him. So I had to be patient and understand it was going to take sometime no matter how much it hurt. If I really cared and wanted him in my life, I knew it was going to take a lot of work to show him so that’s exactly what I did.

We had mutual friends, and we were around each other a lot. Our friends, bless their hearts, were all rooting for us to work out. We were good together. This was the real thing, this was real love, a real love that I had never experienced before and everyone who knew us could see it. After about a year of rebuilding trust and friendship we started dating again. I was so blessed and fortunate this wonderful human being was so forgiving and kind and gave me a second chance. He is the only one who really see’s me, knew everything about me and still loved me.

In time, we moved in together. He accepted me, my baggage and my kids and loved us. He not only loved us but he took care of us like no other man has ever done for me in my life.

This love was different. It was an adult, mature love, unconditional true love. I still remember the day he asked me to marry him. It was on Valentines day. We ended up getting married 6 months later and have been married for 14 years. (together for 21 years now) I am so blessed this man decided to take a chance on this broken girl, because all these years later we have managed to build such a happy life together one brick at a time. I can’t say that I don’t still have issues, because I do and probably will for the rest of my life, but I can say that for the most part I find it easier to deal with them with him by my side.They no longer consume me. Sure I still have the occasional night mare, or something will happen that reminds me of my past and I get a little freaked out but he just holds me close and tells me its OK and that he’s got me.

My dad and I got back in touch with each other too. Some how he heard about some of the things I had gone through from a mutual friend and he wanted to be there for me. So I let him. It was nice after all these years to have him back in my life. And after the amazing second chance I was given by my current husband I just felt like affording my father that same second chance was worth it, how could I not? We talked for hours and he wanted to know everything. That was hard for me because I have only really opened up to a few people about my past, but I did it, I told him everything and we cried together, and we remembered good times and we smiled at silly times and we laughed. It was nice.

We planned a trip to see him but it didn’t happen. He ended up in Florida and I lived in California. The trip was planned, kids were all excited and ready to go, and we get a call that my grandma (his mom) isn’t doing good and he has to go take care of her in Long Beach. I wasn’t going to let a little distance come between this family re union. So I told him we will meet him in Long Beach.

My grandma had really bad heart problems. Her arteries were clogged but otherwise she was healthy so she was going to have this surgery to unclog them and then she would be able to go home as long as the surgery went good. We all went down to see her before her surgery and spend some time with her and my dad and it was nice. I hadn’t seen her in years so it was good to be able to see her and hang out with her for a while. We stayed like a week I think then we drove home.

My grandma stayed in the hospital for a few days after her surgery that went very well and then she got to go to a rehabilitation nursing home just until she fully recovered. And then my dad was going to bring her back to Florida with him until she healed. They were going to stop by my house on the way and spend some time with me. Well I had a missed call from my dad on my birthday but I didn’t hear my phone because I was getting ready for my birthday party.

So he called my mom because he couldn’t reach me and told her that my grandma had just passed away about an hour ago and they didn’t know why or what happened, they just came in her room and she was gone. My mom came over for my party and pulled me aside and told me what had happened. I immediately called my dad back. And we cried together on the phone for a long time. And then I had to get ready for my birthday party even though I wanted to cancel my mom said I shouldn’t. I wasn’t in a partying mood, I told the kids what had happened and they were sad. But we all used my birthday as kind of a celebration of her life. It was a tough day for me because it was my birthday and my grandma died on my birthday.

A few years later my grandma M (the one who I lived with off and on for years) got sick. My grandma was my rock. She was like a mom to me. And when hospice told us in a family meeting that she was in the beginning stages of dying and would continue to sleep a lot and eventually go into a coma and pass away, it was devastating to me. I loved this woman so much. I couldn’t imagine her not being in my life anymore.

I stayed with my mom at my grandparent’s house for about 10 days and helped my mom take care of her. After all she had always took such good care of all of us she deserved the same in return. We all took shifts. She would wake up periodically. But never for longer than a few minutes. She spent her last days in a hospital bed in the living room of her house with all of us there taking care of her. She was in a coma for over a week. And then she opened her eyes and sat up in the bed and looked up at the ceiling mumbled something, it almost looked like she said “okay” although I’m not sure why, She took a gasp of air and laid back down and died. I was freaked out by that whole experience. It’s not like it is on TV that’s for sure. People don’t die like that.

I remember we didn’t call anyone right away we all wanted to just stay with her and lay with her and spend as much time with her before they came to take her away. But eventually we had to let her go. Her service was so sad, but so beautiful. The church really did a good job. The plants and flowers were so nice. In fact I still have one to this day and believe it or not it’s the only plant I have been able to keep alive. My grandma passed away on Saint Patrick’s Day, 2008.

We all pretty much rallied together as a family to get through the loss. I was hard on the great grand-kids because they loved her so much and they just were kids. They didn’t understand it. It took a few years but I think we’re all at a point where we can talk about her and not cry. Doesn’t mean we don’t love and miss her very much, that’s forever. It’s just easier to deal with now.

Not to long after my grandmother passed my father got sick. I remember the day my brother called me and told me he was sick and going to the hospital. He thought he had a flu bug but it wasn’t going away. I asked him how long dad had been sick with the flu he said a few months. I thought that was way too long to be sick. So I called my dad and he assured me everything was OK and they were just running some routine tests. I was worried about him but had no reason not to believe him. A little bit of time had gone by and he wasn’t getting any better. My dad was not a big talker when it came to his personal health issues. He never wanted us kids to worry about him so he played things down a lot. I wasn’t sure if this was one of those times but something in my gut was saying something isn’t right. The test results came back and my dad had cancer. (Liver Cancer) He told me it wasn’t a big deal he would get treatment and fight it.My dad was tough. If anyone could fight it he could. But one thing about my dad was that he hated western medicine. The hospital and doctors weren’t his thing. He believed in natural remedies and natural healing which in this case worried me because it wasn’t a cold we were talking about it it was cancer.

My husband and I flew out to Florida to see my dad and spend some time with him and just help him out as much as we could. I think deep down I knew it was bad, but needed to go see it for myself. Because the last time I saw my dad he was fine, healthy, strong. I was shocked when I got to his house to see him weak, frail and very thin. It broke my heart. My husbands to. He was really close to my dad. At this time he was still doing things on his own and sitting up watching T.V. pretty much still trying to be himself. We stayed for a week and came home. I flew back out a few different times to be there for him through his treatments and spend time with him. He really thought he was getting better and would beat it. He was even making plans for the future. Trips and vacations we would all take as a family.

My brother called me again a few months after I got home to tell me dad was in bad shape and hospice was coming to do home checks on him now and I should come back, so I caught the first plane back to Florida. I happen to be there for one of the hospice visits and I flat out asked the nurse “is my dad going to die” I told her he thought he was getting better. But he looked worse to me and I was worried. She said no he is not getting better and yes he is going to pass. I remember just crying for the longest time and she sat with me. I asked about how long we had with him and she told me 6 months at the most. I was in shock. I couldn’t believe that in 6 months I wouldn’t have my dad anymore. It was really hard to wrap my head around. Just losing both of my grandmothers, and now my dad.

I stayed as long as I could but had to fly back to California because of my kids. My husband was so supportive and there for me every minute, every second that I needed him. Exactly 6 months from the time I spoke to the hospice nurse my dad went into a coma. I talked to the doctor at the hospital that he was in and he told me that if I wanted to say my goodbyes I would need to come now.  I just remember at that point breaking down, my mind was spinning. My husband took over and made all the arrangements and we caught the next plane back to Florida. Unfortunately the flight arrived 15 minutes late and my dad passed away right before I got to the hospital. When we finally got the room which seemed like an eternity but in reality was probably just a few minutes. I couldn’t believe me eyes. He didn’t even look like himself. I just remember telling my husband that’s not my dad, he kept saying yes honey it is. And I just didn’t want to believe it. He had deteriorated so much since I last saw him two weeks ago. He was skin and bones, his teeth were out (and I didn’t even know they weren’t real) his eyes and mouth were wide open. I just wanted to sit with him. I held his little hand and told him how sorry I was for not getting there sooner and that I really tried. And I hugged him and cried. I wouldn’t leave the room for about 45 minutes. My husband and the nurse finally came and got me out and said it was time.

I was exhausted from crying so much and from the flight there. I was mentally drained. I don’t know if it was a good or bad thing that I missed his actual death because I saw my grandmother take her last breath and that memory is etched in my mind forever. At the same time I wanted to be there, I wanted to hold his hand and tell him I loved him and let him know he was not alone. But I didn’t get that chance. My dad died November 2010.

We stayed at his house for a week after he died. I just didn’t want to leave my dad’s house with all of his stuff just how he liked it because knew I could never come back out here and have it this way again. Like nothing would be in the same spot or where it is now, where my dad liked it. But I had kids at home that needed me so I had to go. I guess it’s true when they say life goes on. As sad as I was I had to put on a brave face and come home and take care of my kids. Something like this happening makes you take a good long look at your life and re-evaluate.

I  miss him every day. That ache doesn’t go away, it just gets a little bit easier to deal with. I always want to pick up the phone and call him just to hear his voice and talk but I cant. I felt bad, depressed. Like we wasted a lot of time that we could have spent together. I try now just to remember the good times. I have his ashes next to his picture in my living room and I talk to him all the time. I feel like he is always with me.

Almost right after me being back from my dad passing, my Grandpa M got sick. ( My Grandparents last name started with M, the ones who took care of me when I was a kid and helped me though everything) It seemed like I was just losing everyone I was close to. My grandpa M had lung cancer and we didn’t know, he didn’t know.

He was set to have a surgery to remove part of his lung, but he was just too old, and not healthy enough to recover from it. He had  such a zest for life, he loved his family so much, but losing my grandma really took a lot out of him. They were together 65 years. How could it not. My grandpa passed away on Christmas day 2011. Christmas day hasn’t been the same for me since. Not for any of us really.

With all the loss I turned to my faith and my family for support. It’s the only things that got me though it all. It’s funny how things happen in your life that effect you so detrimentally. And lay out the path for you as an adult. But one thing I have learned through all of this is that just because something bad happens to you doesn’t mean you have to let it define who you are as a person.

The things that happened to me as a child were horrible and no child should ever, ever have to go through any of that, but in the end I think it made me a stronger person once I let it all out and really learned how to deal with it. I’m not completely healed by any means. I still have my demons locked deep inside. My night mares, my depression, my days where I just can’t function. The only difference is that now all these years later instead of self destructing, I turn to my husband for help and he lifts me back up again.
In the end all you can do is trust yourself. Trust your head and your heart, and your instincts. And just know that no matter what your possibilities are endless. You can get through it. That old saying what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger is so very true. I am living proof of that.

On the other hand, we as parents need to understand the future effects of child abuse. Child abuse can have such damaging effects not only on the children who suffer though it, but on people and communities that have to deal with the aftermath of the abuse.

Did you know that there is a report of child abuse is made every 10 seconds? And more then 5 children die every day because of said child abuse. 90% of these abused children know their abuser, and 68% of them are a family member doing the abusing. And about 30% of abused and neglected children will grow up to late abuse their own children continuing the cycle because it’s all they know. It’s a scary thought isn’t it? Especially since today’s children are tomorrows adults.

 

You can never be too careful. Single mom’s out there wanting that happy ending just know who you are bringing into your children’s lives. They don’t have a say, they have to go along for the ride like me and my sister did. What we went through changed us, changed who we are inside and started the cycle for our abusive adult relationships. I’m not in anyway saying all men are bad. Because I have one of the best. And even though we do have kids together, he treats my children as if they were his own, not like step children. In his eyes they are his. He loves them all the same. There are good men out there. All I’m saying is you really have to be extra cautious when you are bringing someone around your precious children. And the first sign of anything being off, leave.  Don’t stay because you think you can fix them or because they say it was only a one time thing. If you have kids it’s your responsibility as their parent and protector to get yourself and them out of any negative or abusive relationship.

I often wonder how our lives would have been if my mom had left right after the first incident happened, the first sign that something was wrong. How would our lives have been and how would we be now as adults? Through all of the hurt and the pain, I know I’m right where I belong. “Our worst fears become our biggest strengths”. I am truly blessed because I have a wonderful family, an awesome career, and all of you guys that I get to write for all of the time. I’m finally in a good place.

Love each other and enjoy life….

XoXo

 

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