April's Story: A Queen Turns Her Pain Into Power
A Queen turns her pain into power. That was ingrained in me by my mom at a young age. It was ingrained in my mom by my grandmother. My grandmother was a firecracker. When my brother was little, my mom said he pushed a little girl. Her dad had hit my brother, so my grandmother punched the little girl's dad and he landed on his ass and she said, "Don't ever touch my grandson again". I wasn’t born yet, but I always loved that story. It sums her personality up perfectly. I’m actually named after her, but everyone has always called me by my middle name, April. I have a lot of both of those women in me. My mom always said to me, “you’re strong, you’re my daughter”. So, I had it tattooed on my arm as part of my sleeve with her signature.
My mom was a single parent and raised both my brother and I by herself. We didn’t have much but my mom worked two jobs, so I was with my brother a lot growing up. He taught me how to play sports, swim, fish and to never take anyone’s shit. He took me everywhere he went. He was almost 10 years older than me. I can’t say I had a bad life, because I haven’t. My mom always made sure things were ok, even if they weren’t. Education was important to my mom. She wanted us to never have to depend on anyone. She never did and really never had anyone she could depend on aside from my grandparents. My mom has always been very independent and doesn’t ask for help. I still struggle with that myself. My grandfather died when I was 9 years old and my grandmother died in 2017. Bobby went to Penn State and graduated with a degree in construction. He moved to NC and started a business. He always came home and every summer he was there I went and stayed the summer with him. I took a year off after high school and then my mom said you have two options, go to college or move out. I said, fuck I’m working as a telemarketer and I can’t afford to. Plus I’ve always been a mama’s girl. It’s been just her and I for a long time. I took out loans in my own name, I worked throughout college, and I got my Bachelor’s and then my Master’s.
Death has been a part of my story as long as I can remember, starting when my grandfather died when I was 9 years old. I was with my grandmother when she got the call. My brother, Bobby passed away April 9, 1995. I can remember everything from that night. I still remember hearing my mom scream. I know that moment forever changed my mom. She said she only got through it because she had me. It changed me too. This major thing happens and you know you’ll never be the same. I was just a month shy of turning 15 years old when we lost him. I always thought I was ok not having a dad growing up because I had Bobby. Now that I’m older and Bobby is gone I think it does bother me and probably always did. For me, losing a sibling gets harder as I get older. I feel robbed of the time I should have had with him. I put a lot of pressure on myself that my mom never put on me or would have. I didn’t want to ever disappoint her because she already lost one child and I seen what that did to her. Bobby truly was an amazing man.
My mom has always worried I’d be alone if something ever happened to her. She loves my husband like her own because she knows I’ll always have him. He takes care of me. I don’t mean financially, I mean emotionally and that is priceless. I sincerely do have a wonderful husband. He’s so kind, he’d do anything for me, he’s never called me a name nor has he ever even raised his voice at me. He really is my best friend.
There were a lot of hard times and more grief between losing my brother and the the next significant loss. The man I was with prior to my husband died. He was a Marine Corp. veteran and he had his struggles that ultimately took his life. When he died I sunk into a very deep depression. I almost took my own life. The only thing that stopped me was that I couldn’t do that to my mom. I spent an overnight in the hospital, my mom came and stayed with me and only went back to PA when she felt I was safe enough for her to. I know I need to talk about it more because I really don’t. Death is like a scar, the wound heals but it’s still painful to the touch. I think that loss with always just be part of me. There are sone things you never get over, they just get integrated into who you are. The trick is not letting it destroy you.
My biggest struggle is chronic pain. I don’t know what it’s like to live without physical pain. I have dealt with it since the age of 16 years. I have scoliosis, spinal stenosis, herniated discs and other spinal issues. My neck literally curves the wrong direction, kyphosis. Three years ago I had cervical fusion surgery. Pain wise it hasn’t made a huge difference but I’ll take some over none. I’ve tried everything to make it better (including having the nerve endings in my neck burned) to no avail. I’ll keep trying things though in the event that something finally does help provide relief. I try to stay ahead of the depression that accompanies being in pain 24/7. I love the warrior line because I think I handle my pain well. I do have a choice to give up but it’s an option I’ll never take. I repeat over and over, “I’m stronger than my pain” in my head daily and I wear a bracelet everyday that says, “fuck pain”. Some days it’s unbearable but I still push myself to go to work and try to not let the pain control my life. It’s a battle though.
My husband is a huge help and inspiration. He is blind (limited vision in his left eye) and also has glaucoma, which can be very painful. He never complains and doesn’t let it stop him. It helps to have someone that understands. My little dog, Bailey is the best pain antidote. Bailey faithfully goes to every doctor appointment, physical therapy and procedure with me. Dogs always know when you need them and Bailey is the most loyal little guy. I would be lost without him.
Writing this was difficult because let’s face it, being vulnerable sucks! I think this brand is so amazing because it gives us a place in the world where it’s ok to not be ok. Beautiful Disaster has provided us all a chance to get support and give support, to be seen and to be heard. It’s a safe place to just be who you are and to be celebrated for that, flaws and all.