Nicole Stagg: Growing Up With Drug Addicts For Parents
I’ve always thought so many people are secretly broken like me. Some of us are brave and not afraid to wear their scars proudly but I like to hide mine, pretend my life and childhood were perfect. I would tell stories of growing up from episodes of sitcoms like the "Wonder Years" or "Growing Pains". In reality my life was a disaster that I worked so hard to turn into my own beautiful disaster.
I grew up with parents that were addicts, and I was molested at the age of 4 by my father's dad. My therapist said I’ve blocked this out or I’m in denial. Maybe I have, I wonder if I've made it up. Then I think what child could do this. I moved in with my mother's parents at the age of 8 after being beaten with a belt for flushing a baggy of white powder down the toilet. Ironic enough I had just learned about all this stuff because it was red ribbon week at school.
After a few years being raised in a home home with a complete generation gap and being called a whore in 7th grade for crimping my hair, my Noni sent me to move back home with my mother and her boyfriend. My “parents” moved since and I was expected to start a new school mid year of my freshman year of high school. This was devastating after I was with all my friends from middle school, even some from elementary. I was only 14, these people were my world.
The thought of starting over was incomprehensible. I decided to walk to school the same school I had started at even if it was out of my district. My parents refused to drive me knowing how far this walk would be for me. This may seem like a small thing but to me it was huge. I walked 2 hours to school everyday and home. In the rain and fog and blistering heat. I walked just to stay in my comfort zone with my peers. My parents never understood this, honestly I'm not sure they cared what made me happy. They didn’t help me with homework. I didn’t get to join activities like sports. They fought all the time and were up all hours of the night.
I went to a school dance and when my date brought me home my mother was washing the car at 1:30am. This was a huge turning point. I couldn't hide who my parents were anymore or my life - I was exposed. My friends knew my mother was a drug addict. I guess this is when it really hit me. Shortly after this night I moved out. The worst part was no one tried to stop me. Is this real did no one really care about me? Were the drugs more of a priority? I could never understand this and the same for my real father. He either hated me because his father went to prison for molesting me or he couldn’t face me because of his addiction and my mother's infidelity. Either way it was clear to me now I was on my own.
The next few years were hard. I lived on my own, worked, dropped out of school. I partied drank too much, experimented with drugs slightly, but I never wanted to be like my mother. I was hurt, broken and resentful. I continued to fight the battle against the life I was born into and life I envied. The happy families where parents watched their kids play sports and the moms made dinner. The leave it to beaver stuff. I took my GED and passed. Thank goodness with dropping out my sophomore year I wasn't sure I could. I worked a few jobs at a time enrolled in a few trade schools.
I became pregnant at 25. This was terrifying - would I be like my mother? I realized I wanted to give this little human her best life. I enrolled in Junior College. Got an esthetician license and worked very hard to be everything my mother wasn’t. I had many storms to go through with perseverance and my relationship with God I made through all of it. I've tried drugs, been to jail for fighting, and had abusive relationships.
In 2009 I met my best friend. He was a police officer, a devoted father and divorcee. It hasn't been perfect but it's my organized-chaos. Since then we’ve had 2 beautiful boys and blended our family of 5. I own my own business and am an esthetician. I do what I love mentoring woman and girls and providing services to make woman look and feel good. I realize looking back on everything and all that I've been through has made me who I am today. With all of the disappointment and heartache I’ve learned to love myself and others. My story and my whole life up until now has made me a beautiful disaster.