Title by Steve Spencer, story lived by me.
Where to start? The double divorces? The dramatic weight loss/lifestyle change? The two children? The string of failed relationships where being mislead and cheated on repeatedly by numerous people left me severely co-dependent and broken? The emotional, psychological, and even physical abuse I suffered from both of my husbands? Growing up as a Pastor's Kid with the pressures of being perfect? The breakdown and betrayal from the plethora of "Christians" I called my close friends? The doozy-The Rape? I couldn't choose, so let's just dive in.
~She's a Little Runaway~
I ran away once or twice as a child, doesn't everyone? However, there was one time in particular that I remember vividly. What the situation actually was I can't recall, but the emotion is clear as day, "I'm not good enough." I believe I was in 3rd grade at the time. I pulled out my suitcase, a pillow and a sleeping bag. I told my mom I was running away...she helped me pack. Not in a vindictive or cruel way. More like a parent wanting to let me figure this out on my own. The fact is I am very strong willed and she probably saved herself a lot of trouble handling it that way. I walked myself to my neighbors house and got situated under the tree that myself and the neighbor boys used as a play fort sometimes. I'm sure you could ask my mom how long I was gone and she would know, but to me it felt like days. Eventually the elderly lady that lived there came out and told me I had to go home. So I returned, tail between my legs and everything. This story doesn't play a huge part in who I was or who I've become except for one thing, the voice in my head that said, "I'm not good enough," was a voice that has forever been impossible to silence, and in the times in my life where my confidence was as it strongest point and that voice was a whisper, something broke me and put me back in my place.
~Boys Will Be Boys~
I had my first crush on a boy in 4th grade, I remember his name, his hair cut and his smile perfectly. I attended a year-round elementary school so I had the same kids in my class every year. I liked this boy all the way through 6th grade, even up to the point where my best friend decided she liked him too and they kissed behind the backstop on the baseball field. I never got to kiss that boy...or better yet, he never got to kiss me. It wasn't until 8th grade that I would have my first official boyfriend, (I use the term lightly because the extent of our relationship was passing notes between classes and talking on the phone). This was a big deal, this boy was one of the, if not the most popular guy in school. He uuuuh, grew up fast, was athletic and had great hair. (Looked him up on Facebook awhile back and he's fat now so that's cool, ha). This boy would be the first one in a long list that would make me cry. After months of going out we had our first fight, and during this fight I would suffer the wrath of a pissed off man for the first time. During the class we had together he passed me a note that read, "Why are your boobs so small and your thighs so big?" As if I wasn't insecure enough. ("I'm not good enough.") We eventually made up, he would later become my first kiss, and shortly there after would cease to remember I existed when my family moved 45 minutes away to plant a church. So much for "true love." So there's the groundwork leading up to my string of failures. I started high school in a new city with small boobs, (they were average), big thighs, (they weren't that bad), and poor-ish in a land of rich kids. Perfect.
I used to pride myself on the fact that I didn't care what people thought. Well my high school taught me to care, in fact, it required it. My first week of school a cheerleader that sat behind me grabbed the collar of the back of my shirt and flipped the tag out to look at it. When I asked what she was doing she told me she wanted to see what brands I wore...when I told her I didn't know she looked at me like I had just slapped her grandma. I was in a twilight zone, completely out of my element and less than prepared for what lied ahead. (I'm not good enough.) Long story short, I survived, but not entirely unscathed. My first high school boyfriend would eventually experiment with drugs (I did not), and would make out with my best friend after school one day. I tell you this because I now believe it set the stage for my tolerance on this type of situation later on. I almost view it as like a callus, not to say that it hurts less every time it happens, some hurt worse than others, but the recovery is quicker and it becomes easier to forgive. At least it worked that way for me.
I know, I know, you want me to get to the good stuff. I'm working my way to it, believe me. Meanwhile during all of this high school drama, (literally), my family had planted this church I mentioned earlier. I went to church every Sunday my entire life, when we started this church it became a part-time job for which I wasn't paid. In fact it cost me. Our church was for new believers, or seekers as it was, and I helped with the worship, (I've also been singing my whole life,) my dad preached every Sunday, and my mom helped with everything else. I loved the church, I loved the people, and I loved God. The families became my family, I babysat their kids (usually for free), my mom would cook meals and was basically a friend, counselor and everything else you could imagine, and we would host Bible Studies at our house frequently. This was our life. My family put every ounce of love and devotion into these people for just over 4 years. You know what they say, all good things must come to an end, and there's always a bad egg, well that about sums it up. One man that was a family member of someone I was extremely close to was that bad egg. Why he did things he did I can't say for sure. But, his poisonous ways spread and in church lingo we had our first "church split." This happened just after I barely survived high school. People that I considered family betrayed my family, turned their backs on us, and my entire world was turned upside down. (I'm not good enough.) The emotions that I felt would be nearly impossible to describe, in fact unless you have actually been through something similar, I don't think you could understand. It's like combining the pain from every break-up you've ever had times 250. To be precise, It's 12 years later and I'm not over it, (my parents would get divorced not long after all of this, in part because of this, and I recovered from that faster.) It hurt me so deeply that I moved away when I got the opportunity with my job. Since then I can count the number of times I have been to church (not counting Christmas Eve) without taking off my shoes. I did not survive this as unscathed as I did high school. In fact when I moved back home, almost 5 years later, I saw one of the couples while shopping at Costco and that scab got picked and I bled all over again. This has yet to change, even to this day. (And as far as the bad egg is concerned, well, I actually look forward to the day when I accidentally run into him).
.....So, there's the beginning...check back soon because this story isn't even close to being over. (I promise there's some good parts!)