*just a quick disclaimer that I have permission to publish someone else’s past. I am not bashing anyone or airing their dirty past, but it is a huge part of making me who I am. There have been and still are times that I think it’s unfair or I’m angry, but for the most part I’m grateful for everything I’ve been through. And one day I hope my mom has her own redemption story to tell.*
Growing up it was just me and my mom. She was a single mom and I was an only child. I know my dad, but he was not present at all (with the exception of an every 5 year lunch date). My mom did not go to church. She grew up in church and says she’s a believer, but never cared to go. She was also a bartender and worked the weekends so Sunday morning was not her thing. My aunt and uncle went to church regularly. At a very young age I remember asking them to take me with them. In the first grade, I got my first Bible and was baptized. That was the starting point of my faith and ended up being my foundation to who I would be. From that point forward until high school, I was at church. If the doors were open, I was there. All by choice. I would wake up my mom and beg her to take me every Sunday and have her drop me off on Wednesday’s before work. It was the very end of middle school and beginning of high school when everything changed.
My mom had been dating a guy for about 5 years that had practically become my dad. I thought he was the greatest person alive. I loved him so much and so did she. Well, he left and it turned my moms world upside down. She attempted suicide with me in the house and started taking pain pills. The pain pills quickly became heroin. I didn’t even understand what it was at the time. There were burnt spoons and heroin laying around the house. I even brought it to school once because I wanted to show my aunt after school to ask her what it was. Thank God the drug dogs weren’t there! That could’ve really changed my life story. That time of my life was complete chaos. I would come home from school some days and we wouldn’t have water or not have lights. One day that broke my high schooler heart was when I walked in my room and there was nothing but a mattress because she has sold all of my furniture. It was then that I stopped going to church.
I wouldn’t blame my mom for that though. I really toughened up and refused to care what was happening around me. Instead, I took advantage of the situation. My mom was either never home or high so I could do anything I wanted. My house was the cool house. I threw parties and had friends over or skipped school or stayed out until 4am anytime I wanted. It was great!
A side story that applies later- my grandma and I were super close. She didn’t know everything that was going on because I didn’t tell her.. but she knew my mom was not on the right path and it broke her heart. It devastated me to see her hurt so I decided I would make it all up to her. I would be the person she could be proud of. Anything that would make her happy, I did. Honors classes, check. Soccer, check. USC, yes. Pharmacy school, you got it. She never forced anything on me but I knew these things made her proud so I did them.
High school and college was the same. I would go to church very seldom, but mostly it was parties and good grades.
That came to an end 2 months after I turned 21. I got pregnant with Noah. For anyone else my age, they would have been devastated but Andy and I were over the moon. We were so excited to have a family. We moved back to Myrtle Beach (I commuted to school when I had a test) and started the adult life. We started going to church again too. We weren’t doing anything extraordinary, but we were doing good. We spent our twenties mostly building our family, our careers, and our faith.
This is where mostly everyone can stop reading because you know what happened next. My grandma was diagnosed with cancer and died 4 months later.. and I was 7 months pregnant with Eden. She was the head of our family and all of her responsibilities fell on me. I had to do all of the death stuff like wills, cleaning out her house, selling her house, and finding a place for my mom to live because she still battled with a drug and alcohol problem and had been living with her. I also was the punching bag of the family. When someone was mad, sad, or worried, they took it out on me. I thought I could handle it. I’m pretty good at shutting down to get through a situation… but I broke. I couldn’t handle it. I lost my sense of purpose and I didnt have my grandma to talk to and help me out of I started drinking a lot and I was so bitter. A lot of my past resurfaced and I was mad. Mad at my dad for not loving me, my mom for choosing drugs over me, my family for hurting me, and even Andy for not having a past or hurt like me. I stopped going to church again. For 2 years I was in a dark hole.
When I became pregnant with Remi, I had a lot of time for self reflection since I wasn’t drinking lol. I have always dreamed of doing big things for God. I have dreams of helping people, reaching out to those that are lost, and raising my kids to dream even bigger. I couldn’t do that angry and definitely not while drinking. I decided I had to change. Completely. We started going back to church and we joined the first study we could find. Going through that study changed our lives. Andy were baptized together, and even though the devil was quick to attack right after, our lives have completely changed. Somehow, through all of this, I have realized that people want to hear about the hard stuff. People want to know how people struggle and then get through it. 6 months ago I took a leap of faith and started writing a book. A scary book. About every struggle and mistake I have made, and mistakes that other people have made close to me that has shaped who I am. I know that there has to be someone, somewhere that needs to hear about everything I have been though to have hope that they can make it through their struggle too.
I’m trying to get comfortable with always being uncomfortable. Because growth and purpose comes only when you break out of what’s easy and comfortable and embrace the hard work. I feel closer to God and closer to the person I want to be than ever before. Still not even close… and it’s no walk in the park and I fail pretty often… but I’m trying and I’m growing daily. So here’s to sharing my story and talking about the hard stuff.