Hi there,

I'm Angie and I'm 53 years old. 
You know identifying myself as a Beautiful Disaster is perfect actually. I've never liked the word beautiful, nor did it ever come out of my mouth.  (Till now, a few years back) I've always felt to be beautiful was just a look. I don't see any one person in this world as beautiful.  I've always used words like stunning, or gorgeous to describe a person. If i saw something it was pretty or something along that line of words. Throughout the years though I have finally come to realize the word beautiful describes so much more and so many things. I've opened my eyes to find beauty in definitely so many things in this world. The word beautiful disaster completely describes me. I actually feel pretty confident in calling myself that too. Lol . Where as I might not feel beautiful on the outside, I know I am beautiful on the inside! 
I've never judged a book by its cover because I knew if I had stuff that happened, surely we all do. People are so quick to judge, they just don't give chances or care to learn about someone. I've always had that resting bitch face and I definitely have been judged by it. Later to be told, wow you scared me at first, but your so nice. You've got one of the biggest hearts ever, sorry. I reply, yep you shouldn't judge. 
You don't know my story, is perfect in many ways.  It took me years to understand that my history and scars is what makes me who I am today.  I'm a hairdresser of 34 years i am not afraid to share anything of my past. I'm a honest loyal person with a huge heart. To be honest about events and such helps us all grow and you never know who you might be helping out. The beautiful disaster clothing line is perfect. To wear and walk around proudly in. Someone, somewhere will see you in it and go "right on, me too!" So we aren't alone! 
So when I was younger my parents got divorced. I went with my dad, my sister went with my mom. Kind of strange, courts really didn't do that kind of stuff back then. I guess I was about 12 then. I'll never forget coming home and all that was in the house was my bedroom set, 2 end tables, and a kitchen table. It will always be in my memory bank. Worst feeling ever.
I wasn't your best behaved kid. I had a smart mouth to which it always got me in trouble. I did some things that I guess I shouldn't of did. Looking back now at it, maybe I was jealous of my sister and what she had. I loved being with my dad and being raised by him. My sister and I didn't really get along, but even so you miss some things. I never had the girl together shopping or the borrowing of things or even simple days out with your mom. I hated going to Kansas city where they all lived, but it was court ordered. I didn't care for the new step dad. As time went on it seemed to never get any easier and I grew more of a hate towards all of the bull shit that was happening around me. There was feelings such as abandonment, disappointment, anger, rejection etc.
When I was 17 and graduating from high school it was not fun. It was full of dad having to pay child support for my sister, buying my mom out of her share of our house. The stupid stuff of no one getting along at all and arguing all the time. My graduation was a joke with family feuding, the graduation dinner was even worse. Thank God for my grandma though! She was my best friend! Through my years I've come to realize that certain chunks of my life I have completely blocked out of my mind. Like gone, can't remember. During my senior year of high school I have a couple months wiped out of my brain. I guess that was my own body protecting me?! 
So, throughout my dating years I had boyfriends and did some cool things with them. Something in common though with all of them is I was never good enough for them to bring me home to their parents. I could of dated them a year, it didn't matter. Kind of weird, they all seemed to of did that. But yet it was cool for them to hang out at my house though.  Here comes more of that rejection, disappointment and abandonment again. I always wondered what was wrong with me. It definitely isn't an ego booster. Throw in a couple date rapes and getting into a fist fight with a boyfriend and boom it's a making of a girl turned into woman who doesn't love herself by any means.  I was not perfect by any means and definitely did some things that I wasn't proud of. But again, why me, why does life have to be so hard and suck so much. I hated everything still. Thank God again for my grandma! 
In 1992,  I met a guy, then to become my boyfriend. He fell in love with me. I didn't know how to fall in love back. He lived with me for a while. I guess i was in love too. As time went on he was screwing me out of money for bills etc. He was good at lying, great at it I should say. Well we were not trying to but I got pregnant. Oh he thought this was great!  I was scared shitless. I was 24 with a dishonest truck driver boyfriend that I do believe was doing others beside me. 
When I got 3 months pregnant, he left me.  What the heck am I to do?  I can't afford to live in these apartments.  So I got a mobile home. It was kind of weird, my best friend since 4th grade also pregnant got herself a mobile home also right near me.  Guessing that gave me a little sanity for the moment. Well the next couple months were then going to be the worst months ever in my life. The Great Flood of 93 hit.  In one days time, what I could get moved into a garage got moved. Everything else had to stay there. It rained and rained and rained. Everything in the garage was getting damp and ruined. My clothes were where no one could get to them.  My mobile home, destroyed! I had nothing anymore. Nothing.  But that's OK I still have my son. No one can take him away. I moved back into my dad's house and with help from red cross I had a few outfits to wear to work. 
On September 9th, 1993 earlier that morning the ex boyfriend called me to say he was coming home. What the heck for?! This isn't gonna be like a happy family now, his ass had been gone. Whatever. Later that day, I was at work doing a haircut when labor pains started to hit me.  I was full term pregnant so I guess it was that time. I started to get really sick feeling. We called the doctor they said get to ER. My labor pains and contractions were very short minutes in between and out of control. Very very bad. My friend who was my labor coach drove her car unto the grass so that I didn't have to walk to the car.  I couldn't walk to car! We headed to the hospital at a major high rate of speed. I couldn't take the pain. We got there, they immediately took me back. The last thing I remember seeing is them hooking me up to a machine and looking over to see tears fall from my friends eyes. 
The baby was gone, my son was dead. My blood pressure was 60/30 and I was bleeding internally. They had to stabilize me and give me 3 pints of blood in a transfusion.  Thank you for those that donate!  I was at deaths doors myself at the time. My placenta tore and the blood and oxygen was being cut off from the baby. Most times if this happens to someone they bleed externally and it can be caught and saved. Mine wasn't like that. Hours later after being stabilized they did a emergency c-section. I woke in a room with family and friends sadly standing around me. They all had seen and held my son. I was asked if I wanted to?  I'm confused, crying,  upset and you ask me if I want to see my son? What does that even mean? I've never did this before! So ya, they keep him refrigerated and warm him up so that I can see him. 
Omg seriously, can I really do this?  Yes I want to see my son, but he's dead!  It took some convincing to me and then me understanding better as to what's going on for me to say yes. So, I did, I said yes.  I don't remember who was in the room with me. I remember them bringing him in and them wanting me to hold him.  Again, how do you do this? I'm clueless and a total mess.
I finally held him. I lost it, I just lost it. Take him back i can't do it anymore right now. Here's my angry bitter self now coming out again. What the hell is so wrong with me? Why does bad things always happen to me? I can remember being told that when my ex got off the bus he immediately was brought to the hospital. Of course my family and his did not welcome him. Apparently there was a huge fight in the hall over this.  I just wanted him there with me at the moment.  Instead he couldn't handle any of it and ran! Gone! Again I was alone. Once I was  approved to sit in a chair I was kind of gone and out of there myself.  I had a friend wheel chair me downstairs and we sat outside for the evening.  I wanted out, I wanted to smoke, I wanted to be left alone! We finally went back to room and she left for the night.  I couldn't take it. All they wanted me to do was push my morphine button. All I wanted to do was cry and be alone, not drugged! 
I didn't care about the pain, it didn't really bother me much. The worst pain was in my heart and head.  I remember later that night grabbing my IV pole and cigarettes and carefully sneaking out of my room. Down the hall, down the elevators and out to the garden area I sat. I sat all night long! I don't think I've ever cried so much. I totally hated everything. That next morning, not knowing what time it was my pole and I thought we snuck back in. Haha we didn't, I walked right past family in waiting room. I didn't know I wasn't supposed to be instantly walking around after a C- section.  Oh well, I did it anyway.  A long 3 or 4 days spent in the hospital. Many hours spent downstairs in garden area. I've held my son more than once by now, several times. Everytime I ask to see him though his marbling in color spreads and he gets darker. It's harder to see him like this. I constantly keep getting asked to please give him a name on the certificate. That was harder than you can imagine.
I called him PJ the whole time I was pregnant. His name was going to be Parker Levi.  Parker being my dad's middle name, Levi being my grandpa's middle name.  But how do I do this?  I loved this name, I wanted a living kid with the name Parker Levi. It was so confusing to me. So being pissed off and tired of being asked i said whatever,  PJ Phillip Joseph,  there I'm done, he's named. I hated it!  I hate everything right now!  I jinxed myself by saying no one or nothing could take PJ away from me.... 
Later in 2014 I wrote a letter and framed it. I placed it on PJ's head stone. The letter to him explained how he wound up with that name. It was a apology letter to him from me to help me with closure from the pain of choosing the wrong name. 
So the book, What to expect when expecting sure leaves out a lot of things.  It doesn't tell you about things like this or the what if your baby dies. It doesn't tell you that in the real world this is considered a fetal death, at least in Missouri.  Basically a nice way of saying a miscarriage.  Ummm, bullshit!  I gave birth to a baby I carried for 9 months. Yes it was dead but it was a full baby.  Ten fingers, ten toes, a baby! I had to bury this so called fetal death! I fought with the Missouri senator over this. My child, my son, my baby was buried. I had to find a funeral home to do this, and find a cemetery. Thanks to my dad, he gave up his spot next to my grandpa for PJ in our little cemetery in the country with many family members there.
I designed his head stone with a fire engine Dalmatian. That is what his bedroom was going to be done up in.  But yet no recognition of anything. There is no birth certificate, no death certificate, no vital records, no nothing!  I have a little 8x10 flower picture with a tear drop with his name on it.  I do have his hat, and the tape measure they used to measure him.  There is absolutely nothing legal to prove that this even happened to me. I have a scars, belly and mental. I have a headstone where he's buried, but with that stupid name I used on the paper they have for what records?!?!  Ya that book leaves out a lot of info. Your on a 6 weeks maternity leave from work for having a baby that you don't have. You stare at your tummy, you rub your tummy, nothing it's gone just like that.
I had pictures taken of PJ, but no one asks to see them. That hurts.  I get it, he's dead in the pictures but dammit this is my kid!  I went back to work, no one wanted to talk to me. My friends didn't know what to say, so they said nothing. I finally said to them, you don't have to say anything about this  just talk to me please! Then our local radio station begins playing a release called ALL THAT SHE WANTS.  Bad, super bad timing. "All that she wants is another baby". Omg I've just had enough. I really had thought about doing away with my own self. Why not, I have nothing, life sucks, who cares anyway. I do actually, I care.  Why would I put someone into my hurt just to make my stuff go away with me. I would never want anyone to feel pain, disappointment, anger etc like me, because of me.  So I'll have my pitty party and keep moving forward.  
Not very long after this I met a guy that was coo coo nuts over me.  Ya coo coo alright, later to find out. Lol.  Anyway we wound up getting married and I got pregnant again.  This time I had a baby girl, her name is Shelbi. The best thing ever to happen in my life!  So I tried staying married but I just couldn't. He was crazy, he did crazy things. We were married about 5 years. 4 of them was no hand holding no kissing no nothing. Back then I guess i thought I loved him, but I didn't. I guess what I really wanted was that child. I didn't know it then, that's a now thing years later that I realized. I guess i was reaching out so hard for that love that I thought i had it.
There was so many things wrong with him besides the craziness and suicide stuff that I got tired of being a mother of two (him and our daughter)  and lonely that I finally said I'm done.  Divorce time.  I helped him pick out a apartment and filled it with things so he didn't go without. Remember what I went through as a kid.  I was never going to do that to someone.  It didn't take him long for the crazy to turn crazier but now it was with just him and my daughter on his clock.  He drove through a crowd of people once cause i was there. He drove with his truck on fire with her in there. He sat in a closet with a gun pointed to him with her right there. Omg the list goes on and on.
I finally said enough when he and his new girlfriend was locking Shelbi's baby doll in the trunk of their car. When she was 3 1/2 she asked me why they did that. Why she couldn't play with Matty at her dad's house? I confronted him and asked.  I was told it was because she was a black baby doll. I just about lost my shit!  Seriously, my daughter with her own birthday money picked out that doll. Over how many dolls in a Toys R Us store and that's the one she picked out and paid for. Who cares what color the doll is!! She LOVED that doll! So that is the short version of the marriage and how it ended. He quit seeing her at that young age of 3 1/2. That was his choice. And btw he missed out on a terrific child.  His loss. Oh, and his parents, her grand parents quit seeing her as well.  No cards for bdays, Christmas, nothing ever!  He later died right before she was 16.
When Shelbi was born, I did some changing, some soul searching.  I was done being bitter at the world. I had to take the things that were given to me and just make it work. I tried really hard to be a better person. I had to finally admit that things that I wanted when I was younger just weren't going to happen and or come back. I made amends with many things in my life.  It was years later, time to close the chapters of the book of my life and move forward. So I did. T
here has to be a reason I'm here and going through what I have. Could it be my heart? It seemed to be getting softer on me.  I felt as though maybe I was here to help others and that would help me make it through my hard times. I never did turn to drugs or daily drinking. It really seemed to me that opening my heart and helping others was my addiction, if you could say. Being a hairdresser it is so easy to help others. We are counselors, therapists, teachers, bartenders, etc etc.  We hear a lot. We are the ears that folks cry into. I've helped people get over fights, break ups, divorce, prison time, rapes, family issues, deaths and drugs. I've helped move women in the middle of the night numerous times to get them out of a bad situation. I've got called to help drive someone drunk home. Heck, some of this started while I was still being stupid and hating the world towards me. 
One time I felt sorry for one of my clients who needed her sons haircut before school started, her husband wouldn't let her use the car.  So I packed up things and went to their house to cut. Before starting the haircut the house was raided by DEA. OMG! Pregnant and on the ground with a ninja suited cop with a long gone pointing at me telling me not to move. I was scared shitless!  I had nightmares about this forever. My heart seriously though has helped so so so many people.  I'm actually proud of what I've did for others. They needed someone at the time and I was their someone. 
I think it was about when my daughter was in 2nd grade I got married once more.  I really did honestly love this guy. Things were great till we got married. He was a bad alcoholic. My marriage was abusive. I was kept away from my family and got in trouble for everything I did.  My kitchen was done in a 50s diner style and because it was there before him, that meant it was mine and my exes. He hated it. I had to rip everything down till nothing of proof existed. I had saved things for years to have this kitchen.  Half hour, boom all gone.  It was never re-fixed. The abusive was verbal, mental and physical. His drinking and pot smoking got out of control. When he couldn't get pot he later turned into other drugs. I didn't realize that at the moment that he was doing other drugs. I just thought since all we did was fight that the anger and rage was just getting worse. What was happening was he was coming down off of crack and couldn't get it fast enough. Found that out later. Just like the tv show Snapped, I did that once.  I had enough fighting.  I walked into the kitchen pulled a knife out and turned around to stab him.  I seriously had the devil on one shoulder, the angel on the other. They were fighting with me.  Devil said, stab him, kill that mother fucker. Angel said, Angie don't do this, you have your daughter this is your house, please don't.  After a bit of them two bickering back and forth, I put the knife down. I truly would of killed him.  I would of stabbed over and over and over again. I'm glad I didn't really.  He finally approached me needing help. He had smoked up a whole 8 ball that he was supposed to of sold.
Men were after him, they came to my house with guns. He admitted he needed help.  Long story short, I found a place in Florida for him to go to for 30 days. While on a 3 way call with him and the nurse I told him that it's done. I'm filling for divorce get your things when you get back and get moved out. I wasn't afraid no more. He was gone.  How could I of been that person that helped so many women out of these messes but yet get myself in one. Why? What again am I doing so wrong that I'm constantly punished for things? The funny part of this story was that he thought he was gonna tell my daughter he was going on vacation. Oh hell no!  She had just one 1st place in a Dare contest at school, he was going to be honest and tell her the truth!  To which he did.  
Well that just added more memory loss to my brain, more PTSD to deal with, more triggers in my life.  I basically was beat down, completely drained.  The back of my house was turning into a hoarding mess and I kept myself under a rock in my bedroom. Don't get me wrong I worked still,  I took care of my daughter properly and I still helped others. In the down time, I could be found under that rock. At that time I honestly felt worse about my life than ever.  I shared info, but hid allot.  Being a single mom raising my daughter on a hairdressers income was incredibly hard.  I did my best though that I could. She wanted dance lessons then she'll have them. She actually danced from 4 to 17. She played softball, soccer and girl scouts.  She was a straight A kid.  She always kept her promise with grades so I had to keep my promise with activities. It was really hard cause we definitely had moments of utilities getting turned off, but we girl powered through it!  If you ask her one of our funniest poor moments, she would tell you that I made her eat cereal with water.  Lol truth lol it was cheaper than milk.  I believe that what I went through, what she went through in the end made her stronger.  It took me about 7 years to get out from under that rock. 
The next big event was us losing our house. Here I go again. I now have to uproot my daughter right before she turned 13. We moved down the road to a townhouse. I left many many items at the house. Some things that i wish I wouldn't of, but we only had so much room. I didn't like having my house torn into to move things. I was making rash decisions on things to leave and things to bring.  Oh well.  It's done and we survived it in the end. My heart still was where I turned.
We had been doing Christmas eve for the homeless for a couple years prior to this. Well losing the house wasn't going to stop me this year either. Dammed and determined is where I was. Those Christmas eves were just too great to give up,  folks needed us.  The feeling of hugging a older man that hadn't been hugged in years, or a husband and wife together enjoying a simple stuffed animal.  Simple things is what makes my heart grow and grow.  You don't have to be rich to give kindness. At the beginning of the move things sure weren't good for me.  It was honestly hard. I was determined that if the other events didn't break me, neither would this. I had to keep thinking of all the simple things in life to keep going. I just don't have room for hate no more. 
May 2011 my grandma passed away. She was my only solid rock in my life. At first when she was sick I just couldn't and wouldn't agree to let her go. She begged, she reassured me things would be ok. I know it's not about me but no I didn't want her to go. I was being selfish. I finally knew in my head and heart that she was waiting for me to say ok. I sent flowers for Mother's day with a note attached. I basically told her even though I didn't like it I understood and I was willing to let her go for now. She received the flowers and they read the note to her.  Two hours later she passed,  she was waiting for me to say so. Wow how rude of me for not letting her go away easy at her pace.  I have her final words to me tattooed on my arm.  I will forever be grateful for her. I will always love her. I was a lost soul once again. My grandma always saw the good in me even when I was bad. She forgave me for things when I couldn't. God I miss her. 
Well the show must go on. I have to keep pushing my good stuff. Shelbi was finally at the age that I wanted to date. I was that single mom that played dual roles for years. Every year we went to a community carnival and parade. I always told Shelbi, one day you'll be a queen candidate and I'm gonna make you the best parade float ever!  So I did! I told her we will get you a cheap grandma car. I'll do all the body work and we will get it painted a cool color.  I did!  We had to re-use a formal dress from the parade for prom. Don't worry, I will apply things on here and totally change it up. No one will know.  Piece by piece i applied stones and sequins by hand. The dress was completed and was complemented all night.  I did it! 
When she graduated, she was already a certified EMT. Ok, I didn't do this lol she did. But it was the biggest and best thing I've ever did in my life. I know i raised a kid by myself, hard as hell but I raised the best kid ever!  
When I went on that date in 2012 (slightly mentioned above) I came home and told Shelbi, nah I don't think I'll see him again.  I really wasn't sure. Well we did talk that week and did see each other that next weekend. And every weekend for the next 2 years lol.  He went to the parade with me, her final dance recital , her graduation  and so much more. It took forever, like over a year before we said I love you.  This was true forever love. Good things come to those that wait. Omg, I have waited forever finally for this!  Shelbi has waited forever.  We all moved in together about 5 years ago.  We married in Dec.2016. He legally adopted Shelbi at age 23, a little over a year ago. Your never too old for a real dad! He was told by a lawyer, you know you don't have to do this, she's a adult. His answer back to lawyer was yes i do,  I love her and want her as my daughter.
Needless to say we didn't use that lawyer lol.  Dan always says one of his favorite things about me is my heart.  Imagine that. I've worked so hard at that, it's finally being recognized and filled with love. My heart has turned his heart softer lol.  I taught him about the other side of the struggling world.  How others need help sometimes and how I'm there for them. I showed him the homeless stuff we do and he's grown with it now. He was there for me when my homeless couple got hit by a car.  He stood by me a few months later when I found them both dead. They joke at his work that one day he gonna come home to find a garage full of homeless folks staying at our house. Heck I've even given an old lady at rainy bus stop a ride home once.  
I just can't help it. I do still have issues with some things about me. I know my heart and soul are where they need to be. I just need to learn how to love myself. I look in my mirror and just see a big fat ugly wrinkly woman. I need to be more positive about myself. Spread the kindness, do simple acts. The world is harsh right now. I hated life, I had nothing and I didn't care anymore. So many folks suffer from something. Many are broken, we are all somewhat fixable. You might not be back to perfect, but the edges can be much smoother with the right filler. Just gotta have faith. Being a beautiful disaster will always be me!  
Thanks for reading...... omg can I talk! Lol Can you imagine how much I left out :) 😃 
Angie West-McKenna  
Here is a poem I wrote about my son. 

September ninth is a date I don't care for,
I can cover it up but the thoughts are still sore.
My mind has a tricked me and emptied things out,
I had to ask different people the way it went about.
Even though sometimes it can feel like a dream,
The truth about it is real and makes me want to scream.
The what, wheres, whys, and hows, are things I ask again,
Wondering always how things could of, should of, would of been.
Its hard to explain to some people and usually is covered up with a lie,
For not many people can understand the reason and why its easier to deny.
I have some objects and some things to comfort me,
But its not often for someone to ask or want to see.
Just like the song The long and winding road, thats where my sadness ends,
Gathering together under a tree in the country with family and friends.
The moment was so hard, standing in front of a dirt mound,
No one felt right inside, for there is now a baby in the ground.
Tears covered our faces as soft words were said,
As we all put my son P.J. in his final little bed.
I love and miss you

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December 15, 2020