"It's amazing what ordinary people can do if they set out without preconceived notions. " Ben Stein
"Anything I've ever done that ultimately was worthwhile... initially scared me to death." Betty Bender
It was a dark and cold night that evening. We were confused and a little scared, my sisters and I. I was 7, Nina was 4, & Hannah was 10. We were used to the arguments by now, but this was different. I picked up the phone, not knowing what I should do. Mom was screaming for us to call 911, but why? Oh, now I know, Dad was holding Mom down in the bathtub telling her she wasn’t going to leave and needed to listen to him… put our coats on, leave them off? What should we do? We weren’t sure…
That was my first taste of what would turn into a long road of being a single parent, for my Mother & then myself, to witness physical abuse, & to see what awful effects drugs & anger can have.
My mother and father tried to go to counseling; it’s a little hard though, when your father is addicted to methamphetamine. It wasn’t a swift jump into an icy creek on a cool fall day. It was a slow, ethical drift. We had a turkey farm, a few years from being paid off. So close to the end goal, almost blinding. A bad year or two with birds getting sick and the taste of debt free so close, it just pushed him over the edge. He could stay up longer, get more finished, and provide better, for his family…
So growing up, us three girls didn’t have a strong male role model in our lives.
Mom was great though; she worked hard. We went from having a stay at home mom that homeschooled us, to a Mom that worked 48+ hours every week. We knew we could only spend $100 a week on groceries and that included makeup and laundry detergent. We knew we had to help out around the house and make her lunch every night. We knew we had to keep the fire stoked and puts lots of wood in it before bed. She worked third shift. But why was she so tired all the time? Why was she so sad and what was depression?
It was 11th grade… I was pregnant. I had to hurry and get as many credits together that year as I could. A baby boy, he was healthy and beautiful. Then Senior year, I had just a half a credit to finish; I was pregnant again that winter. 13 months apart, eh, that was rough. I did it though! Salutatorian, yes that felt good! I got a full time job a month before graduation. The money helped. My baby girl was born in August, again healthy and beautiful…
Job after job after job, is that how a husband is supposed to be? Is this how it’s supposed to go, not getting spoken to for days on end? Not even a word or a glance to acknowledge me. What did I do wrong? Why wouldn’t he talk to me? Why did he keep leaving his ring out in plain sight and why was it not on his finger? Why did we never have any money and always seem to be in overdraft? We went to counseling…. a great resource with effective tools, but the want & effort to make it work has to be there.
Thus beginning my journey…
So, here I am. Still, beautiful and healthy children, but now, they’re 11 & 12. I've done the dirty jobs. I've worked on a factory floor for 9 years, with my steel toed shoes and hairnet. I've budgeted down to my last $5 dollars. I've worked full time, while being a full time student. I've earned both associate degree’s & a Bachelor’s- because of God, graduated school debt free. I've walked on runways across Arkansas & Texas. I've been paid for gigs from a national beauty company. I've started my own company and movement to better young ladies lives, who might be in the same situation I was in so long ago. So, how did I get from point A to point W? I say that because life’s a journey, we’ll never get to point Z until we meet the good Lord. It took God, strength, courage, tenacity, a need for something more, my family, SPSFBC , & my support systems. I had to want it. I had to start taking accountability for my life & for the future of my family. I knew I was made for something more. I knew failure and poverty were NOT an option.
Do me a favor, close your eyes & think, just imagine for a second, for those of you that are married, that your spouse wasn’t there anymore. What roles would you have to take on? How would that make life more difficult? What struggles would you face? It’s amazing what ordinary people can do when they don’t have any other option… when failure and poverty is NOT an option. When one bad choice, guided by severely low self-esteem, can direct the rest of your life.
I want to be an inspiring story for anyone that thinks they can’t… anyone that is chasing his or her dreams and feeling alone. You can do it…you can achieve it. I’ve already conquered my dreams. I’ve changed my life situation and changed the future for my family through education. Now, for phase 2… I'm just getting started. The best is yet to come.