TW: Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault 

Life has been a disaster and it's been a journey to remind myself that Beautiful is far more than looks... beautiful is heart and soul.

My Daddy died when I was 5 years old, so my momma raised me and my siblings (5 of us in total) completely by herself. My mom was a strong, independent woman, and she taught her children, especially her daughters, that we could always take care of ourselves. 

I got married when I was 19 years old. Our parents tried to talk us out if it, but we knew we what we wanted. Lesson #1: we learned we were too young and were so not ready to be married. We were divorced a year later, so I started working and just kept it moving. No real relationships - just by myself and I was content. 
In 1996, I started a new job and have worked there ever since. Along the way, my coworkers became a second family to me. I met this guy and we ended up being pretty good friends as I knew him a long time. One day he got a different job, left and I didn't see or talk to him for a year....we reconnected some time later.
Lesson #2 was a hard lesson to learn and took a long time to learn it. My friend and I took our relationship to the next level by hanging out more and eventually dating. I got pregnant and his first reaction was that I should get an abortion, which was not an option for me because from the moment I knew that baby was in there, it was clear to me I was a mother. I loved my son and he was mine. I told my boyfriend I was keeping him and he could go - I would take care of my baby all by myself. 
He distanced for a little while before coming back in and out of our lives. He wasn't really involved in the pregnancy and wasn't present when our son was born (2001). He never claimed paternity and, to this day, my son's birth certificate has no father listed. I did what my momma always taught me - take care of me and mine. My son was my life. 
When my son was around 6, his Dad (I use this term lightly) moved in. As I had mentioned, I had known this man as my friend for a long time, and I feel stupid for not knowing there was a monster inside him.  
He was living with us and that monster started sticking it's head out once in awhile. He was smoking crack on a daily basis... taking money out of the house, my belongings started to go missing in the house, my jewelry (anything that kinda had value), while he was unemployed doing nothing at home.  
He would tell my son and I that he was the king of this castle and we had to respect him.  At first, it was verbal and emotional abuse, and I don't think I even realized that he was doing it. He called me stupid and told me I was too stupid to talk to him. He told me I wasn't a good mom and that women couldn't raise boys. At first, he only did it behind closed doors, but then he would do it in front of people. My family kept trying to get me to see it, but I was so broken thinking I deserved it. 
We visited my brother in Texas and were arguing before he trapped me in my brother's kitchen yelling at me. My brother stepped in and, at that point, begged me to walk away from him. He told me he was gonna hurt me and I needed to get away from him. I couldn't fix him and that the "friend" I thought was in there was no longer there. I didn't listen and I stayed trying to find that guy I thought I knew. Then, of course, it escalated to physical abuse.
The first time it was a shove, then a slap. He gaslighted all the time, always pushing to ensure things would escalate. His favorite thing was always to trap to get between me and the exit. It was right after Thanksgiving, we had a nice weekend, even had a nice date night on Saturday night, then on Sunday something changed. The argument started and then he had me by the throat up against the wall screaming in my face. My son, who at the time was probably 12, tried to get him to let go as he pushed him and hit the door jam. I broke loose from him and I told him to leave, and that he wouldn't be putting hands on my son. Of course he wouldn't leave. I was so angry I picked up a handful of his clothes and threw them out the front door. He was enraged and he just started hitting me over and over in my face. I walked around with left side of my face bruised for 4 weeks. No, I didn't call the police and no, I didn't leave. I was completely broken. He had ingrained into son's and my brain that if the police came they would take me to jail and take my son away from me. My son would tell me not to call cause he didn't want to get taken away and I couldn't live with out my son. My family knew he was hitting me now and my sister soon moved in after, so the hitting lessened.   
3 years later, my son was spending a couple weeks with my niece for his summer break, so he was safe and sound and I knew it. Someone called DHS and I set up a home check with them. He refused to talk to them and as he left the house right before they arrived, he assured me he wouldn't be far away, he would be watching and made sure to remind me I could tell the social worker whatever I wanted, but to remember they would take my son - he would make sure if it. He had convinced me I was guilty because I allowed everything to happen in the house. So, in the end, I sugar coated for the social worker and I am aware she knew that. She sent me to Domestic Violence classes and to counseling. I learned something, but not enough I guess. That was one of the first time I thought I would break free.
My son was with his cousin for a longer visit and was safe and sound, so I moved into my son's room while he was gone. I slept at night with his dresser in front of door. He made me take antidepressants, because of course, I had mental health issues. I came home one day and was in the basement working on laundry when he came downstairs. I was trapped in the basement. He demanded we have sex and I said no over and over, but I wanted out of that basement, so finally I just laid down and let him, so he would leave me alone. I cried the whole time. I was sick to my stomach and he made me go back to the master bedroom. 
My son was safe and sound that night. I picked up my antidepressants and poured some into my hand...not sure to this day how many I swallowed before I laid down and said, "God it's up to you. If I wake up in the morning I'll keep walking through your plan". I woke up the next morning and apologized to myself for being weak and tired, and felt so guilty because of my son. My son came home and I started living for him.
In April of 2018, my son's 17th birthday, he didn't want to do anything besides relax, but his Dad made him go to lunch, bowling, shopping...none of the places my son would choose to go, so it was not about him at all. They got home and his Dad started "play pushing and wrestling." My son accidentally got a harder elbow in and his Dad snapped, shoving him up against the wall. I jumped up and got in between them, but he shoved me across the room and I hit the wall on the other side. He threatened to kill my son. My sister stepped in and he walked out of the house. That was literally the last day my son spoke to him.
My mother, who at this point was 91, was very alert, still doing everything for herself with a little help and still living in her own home with my brother staying with her. She went to the bank in July and took a fall, broke her hip and a stayed in the hospital. I slept in a chair at the hospital and we didn't think she was going to come out of the hospital, but she was strong and did go home. However, on October 6, 2018, we got a call that they were taking her back to the hospital. I got everyone (except my boyfriend as he wouldn't get up and go) loaded in the car for the 45 min drive to the hospital. I made it 10 minutes and my brother called to tell me my mother passed away. I drove to the hospital to start making the arrangements. My stepson and sister called him from the hospital to ask if he was coming to support me and he said, "No".
Those days between that day and the funeral, he did not help nor support me and my son at all. So, the night before my momma's funeral, I told him if I had to go through that alone I could go through all of the rest of my life without him. 
That very night, I moved from the master bedroom into the couch in the living room. Packed my clothes into totes and moved them to the living room with me. I slept there for a year. Most nights my sister set herself up all night in the chair behind me so I could sleep for work. I would get off work and wouldn't go home until he was gone to work. 
Finally in November of 2019, he moved out and I was finally free. He continues, to this day, to try and contact me and my son. I have blocked his number and changed my number. Finally, this year, he seems to have finally gone away completely. In my mother's death she reminded me who I was - that I was strong enough to break free and that I didn't deserve what I had endured for the last 18 years.  
I started telling my truth and started apologizing to my son for not being strong enough, although he always tells me there is nothing to be sorry for that we were both victims and that we always had each other. I'm still a work in progress, and it is a healing process. 
I love everything that Beautiful Disaster stands for. I found Beautiful Disaster Clothing through an ad on Facebook and it has became my favorite place to shop! When I wear my You Don't Know My Story, Loyalty, Phoenix, Angel, and Butterfly Collection, I feel proud and strong. It helps tell my story and it helps support others in similar situations. No judgement. If telling my story helps just one person, then I will tell it a million times. Maybe telling my story will make others who haven't lived it will understand more and people will receive less judgement instead of, "why did you stay so long?"  Thank you Beautiful Disaster Clothing for helping broken be beautiful ❤️❤️ 

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December 03, 2021