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Saturday, June 16, 2012

D is for Darkness

The letter "d" is versatile today as many thoughts crossed my mind such as divorce, dieting, deadbeats, and deliverance, but darkness seems fitting as you read through this blog and attempt to connect with me on a deeper basis.

If you sat next to me on a bus, carried on a conversation with me and laughed together until our stops came about, you wouldn't know that I carry I deep, dark past, but I do. Perhaps you caught a glimpse of the darkness as you read my first blog in this challenge in regards to the anger I used to express blindly. If not, looking at me now and thinking of me then, I have to thank God for deliverance! Okay, perhaps to "d" words will fit this blog today, but I'm focusing on darkness.

I'm going to keep my personal writings based on my adult life as to not offend anyone throughout my childhood as I don't feel it would be right to do so. Starting in my adult life, however, I'm going to take you back around the time I was eighteen years old. Things were going really well for me at the time, I was living with my grandparents and paying them rent, buying my own food as I was working two jobs and going to school. I moved into my grandparents after I was forced to leave my childhood home at the age of 18, a few months out on the streets, a couple more months with a friend, and a month with my father... none of which worked out of course, or I wouldn't have moved in with my grandparents. I was enjoying life and having fun. My best friend at the time helped me get my license by using his mother's car so I was able to buy my first car, a 1981 Chevy Chevette (remember those?).

I finished my GED courses and was awarded my "good enough diploma" as I would refer to it as and began to pursue my dreams of going to college to become a music teacher. Everything was working out so well as I had a school offering me a full scholarship based on my music abilities, however, rather than taking this opportunity up, I had met my now ex-husband and threw it all away by moving to Evansville. When you're 19 years old, I've learned, you can't distinguish the difference of being in love with someone, a sense of belonging, lust, or images of running away into the sunset to begin your life in a new direction.

If only I had listened to my grandma as she repeatedly told me not to leave, to stay with them and finish out my schooling, then perhaps my life would've been on a completely different track. Would I go back and change it though, no, because my past made me who I am today and got me where I am today. It's the past, it stays in the past, however I do believe God gives us each our own personal experiences in order to remind people that He never gives up more than we can handle and that we can make it through as He never leaves us.

Life always has it's way of throwing curve balls at you and mine definitely did so. Those first few years with my ex were anything but pleasant. It started off with him not wanting to work but rather lay up and play video games which caused us to live in a rundown motel room for quite some time. I was miserable. I remember when he finally did get a job, I would come in from work into that horrible place and wallow in depression. I was homesick and a part of me wanted to go home to my grandparents, but when I start something, I seek to finish it.

We finally got out of there as I made him get a job and keep it or I was leaving, plus we were pregnant with our daughter, whom was planned in the mind of a 19 year old along with him as I wanted to start a family while I was young. Our first apartment wasn't too hot either as it was a one bedroom furnished apartment with rundown furniture and no a/c. It was also that first apartment of ours that the violence had begun as he had cheated on me while I was away in KY at a baby shower. Now, I don't know about you, but I can definitely remember the pain of that first heartbreak when you learn you've been cheated on. It's the most horrible feeling in the world, it's almost as if you're in mourning for your soul which has been murdered. When I learned of the incident as we all had worked together, I went home and confronted him, leading to what was my first shove into the wall while in my 7th month of pregnancy.

The violence never subsided and I dealt with it for years, eventually gaining my own strength to fight back in a manly way. No, this wasn't any way to live, but it was my survival instinct to make it through.  I knew my life wasn't headed in the right direction. I had married the man when I was 22 years old and our daughter was 2 1/2 although people told me it was the dumbest move I could make. However, again, when I start something, I seek to finish it. We had also had long extensive conversations about how he wanted to change his ways and be a man about his family. Naivety and hope lead me to believe him, so I married him thinking our lives would be different.

Unfortunately, nothing changed. By the summer of my 23rd birthday, I was in the darkness era. I only left the house to go to work, but my depression deepened so much that I left my job to pursue work from home, which at the time was scouring yard sales in order to turn a profit on eBay. I was doing very well as I had later went into purchasing wholesale products and selling those on eBay and then even began to buy bulk loads of closeouts to sell as well. Financially, everything was going great, but violence and depression lingered around the walls of our home, which affected everything I did.

There are some with the mindset that there's only so much you can deal with until you escape. My self-esteem was so low from his words that I believed within I'd never make it on my own if I divorced him, he made me believe I was a terrible mother, and therefore between the emotional and physical abuse, plus a medication I was taking which is now said to cause suicidal thoughts, I attempted to take my own life. I ended up in the hospital for a while, medications were changed, and therapy was administered. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder as well after testing and observance.

After leaving the hospital, he had improved his actions for a few months, but there's a honeymoon period in most domestic violence cases and ours had plenty of them. My medications in combination with therapy was improving my day to day life as well... so for once, I thought everything was going to be okay but the darkness came back as he began to cheat on me yet again and this time with someone he forced into our home and I had become friends with, unknowing that they were sleeping together. This time, I wasn't as devastated as before because there were actually a few other instances in between the first one I wrote of and this one I'm writing about now, however, it was a different disappointment. The girl he had cheated with this time was someone he asked if we could take under our wings for Christmas and help provide their children with gifts and I agreed as my charitable heart was for the children to smile at Christmas time.

When I learned of the discrepancies in their relationship, I was crushed for several reasons as things were almost normal at home again, he couldn't handle the stress of two relationships so he became violent at home, and finally, because I had become friends with her and her husband.  I didn't speak to him for weeks although we lived in the same house and I even put him on the couch as I didn't want him anywhere near me, but he knew as well as I knew, it wouldn't be long before I accepted him back into our room and would continue on as if nothing happened. On the outside anyhow, on the inside, I was already dead so there wasn't much more he could do to destroy me.

I began to go to church, learning of my self-worth and value as the pastor had given a sermon of how others will do anything to tear you down when they are full of Satan's spirit. The whole sermon seemed as if it were written for me and our home life. As I began to go back to church on a regular basis, I began to come alive and feel worthy again to the point one spring afternoon, I decided I wasn't going to take my medications anymore and flushed them down the toilet. After three months of cold-turkey symptoms from going off the medication as well as prayer, the darkness around me lifted. I began driving again as I hadn't driven in 4 years up to that point, and even started school. My independence endangered my well-being though because now when he'd become violent, it was worse than ever and even an attempt to knock me down the stairs at one point.

Although the darkness had been lifted, the danger hadn't, and I knew I had to get out of the situation. Eventually, we both admitted that our relationship was over and though we lived in the same home, we went our separate ways. He slept with anything that walked and I was working to get my life together so I could get away and that I did.

There's a bit more to this story, but it would be almost book-length if I were to write it. I'll just say that after several years of dealing with him and his in- and outs after we ended the relationship, he attempted to choke me to death in January of 2008 in my house one night. As I watched my life flash through my eyes, I prayed to God to let me live, to let me out of that situation. I was powerless in the beginning of that struggle that evening but the strength was given to me to get him off of me. It was that point I knew major changes were to be made and I filed for the divorce. Divorce was the only way I would be able to keep him away from me because without it, the police wouldn't do anything to protect me since we were legally bound together. I couldn't even make him leave the house, regardless if he were living there or not because we were legally married and he had mail delivered to my house!

Once that divorce was final however, I was able to fully reclaim my life and to keep him from harming me ever again and at that time was my darkness completely removed from my life. There were several suicide attempts in my life with him as I was so far into despair, I knew no other way out. I survived through it all however as God has a plan with all of us. It wasn't His plan to see me being abused, broken, or destroyed as He never left my side through any of it, but there's a plan for me. Perhaps just sharing this story is part of the plan, one which will let you see your own situation and take that first step of seeing yourself out of the darkness. Pills aren't always the answer, but God is and He can protect you if you allow Him to.

Joshua 1:5 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.

Isaiah 41:10: So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 

Encourage yourself, pray about your situation or your darkness, and He will see you through. I'm thankful today that I'm able to sit here and write bits and pieces of my story as I could've died over the years rather at my own hands or the hands of my ex, but I am a survivor as it's God spirit which enable me to survive.  God bless.

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