I am taking a bit of a break from my series of letters for this. Don't worry, I'll get back to that (for all 2 of you who were worried about that). For now I just want to get reacquainted with you all. Or at least let you get reacquainted with me. I am thinking of posting a link to this blog on Facebook. That's where I am most public and feeling led to share myself more but, in the back of my mind I am wondering, do you all really want to know? Do you want to know what's REALLY been going on with my life over the last 10 years? Or are you satisfied with the pithy status updates I leave you with? I suppose if you're here you are wondering a little bit what all the secrecy is about. I'll get to that. If you stick with me that is...
For many of you this blog is the introduction to my adult life. You might remember me as the big busted blonde from high school. That was me, for sure, in part.
Some of you were friends of mine and remember a reckless and wild girl who couldn't turn away from a drinking challenge. I made sure everyone knew I could drink a lot. I'm not sure why that was so important to me, but it was.
Some still, remember a girl who couldn't decide between following a God who loved her or turning away from Him altogether. In truth, I am still that girl.
But, let me start where it matters. Where the rubber meets the road so to speak, where the cross made a difference for me.
In high school I thought I was supposed to party. I pretty much felt it was my duty to make sure that those around me partied as well and if there was any chance we were going to get caught, well then, all the more reason, better enjoy it while it lasts. The problem for me was that it always lasted. I was a product of a home that was in it's own kind of turmoil and frankly, as long as I wasn't pregnant or arrested, nobody cared. I managed to steer clear of those two fates and able to keep the party going for a very long time.
I burned a lot of bridges then. Some of you were there and might even remember. It was a tough time for me. As much as I wanted those relationships to mean to me, when I was faced with a decision, instant acceptance, immediate affirmation, I was quick to betray every time. I could not say no to whatever attention was in front of me and because of that I hurt a lot of people. I cannot begin to say how sorry I am for that. I would be cheap to even try. It's the truth about me and I have come to accept that it paved the way for me in my relationships as hard as that is to admit.
By the time I was 22 I was the single mom of two BEAUTIFUL boys, but, by two different fathers. I was immensely ashamed of that. It was a fate worse than death for me to be "that girl." When my boys were very little I would drive across town after work on Friday afternoons to do my grocery shopping in Pacific Grove. It was my way of avoiding the people who knew me in the Safeway on Fremont. If you grew up on the Monterey Peninsula you know that going to the grocery store was like walking through the neighborhood. I couldn't take the stares, the questions. I couldn't begin to force myself to answer for the life that had become mine. I loved my children but hated that their mom was the kind of girl who would have two kids by two different dads. I wasn't ashamed of them, I was ashamed for them.
Somewhere during that period of my life I was introduced to methamphetamine. This was a glorious discovery for me because suddenly I could get everything done that was on my plate. I could work all day, clean all night, lose weight, take care of my kids and still have time for a visit with friends every now and again. I really felt that this drug was the answer to my dilemma and because of that I used it ferociously for two years. I could go into detail but suffice it to say that I was a wreck and two minutes from losing my precious sons by the time this addiction caught up with me.
At this time God used a series of events and some unsuspecting people to help get me on my feet. I have to mention Maria DiPretoro by name in all this because without her I would have lost my kids and then quickly lost myself. God used this woman to help encourage me and put in my the desire to get my life together for these beautiful sons of mine.
So, I did. With her and with the miracle that was Christ's love for me, I got my life together. I quit using drugs and started going to school. I earned my degree and moved to Texas to start over thinking that my life was in front of me and there was nothing that could stop me.
In some ways, that was true. Jesus had a new life for me and Cal and DJ in Texas. I started teaching and was surrounded by a loving community of people at Pine Drive Baptist School. It was a safe haven for us. We so needed it. I was still hung up on the fact that my kids had two different dads. When I interviewed for the position I only disclosed their first names. It wasn't until I was hired that I filled out their registration forms truthfully. I was afraid that I would be judged for my past. I still don't know if that fear was valid or not.
We started going to a good church in the area and soon I met James. We quickly fell in love and he began to make sure I knew his intentions were to marry me. I was thrilled and secretly hoped that this would be the final missing link to how I felt about myself. Marriage would legitimize my relationship and my children...right? However, in the back of my mind I knew that my insecurities were the same, my struggles were the same, I was afraid of how they would play out in my family once James moved in.
It wasn't long until we knew. I was a mess. As much as I couldn't handle the relationships that resulted from my promiscuity, this relationship, my marriage, proved far more challenging. If I was afraid to be left before, multiply that by one hundred. If i was afraid to fail, double that. I was in over my head and I knew it.
Four months after James and I were married I found out I was pregnant. I was horrified. If I couldn't leave before it was even more so now. I had to figure out how to make this marriage work. I tried, and tried and tried. And failed and failed and failed.
All the character flaws that had presented themselves before in my life were on overdrive in my marriage. I was rude and harsh and when I wasn't taking my frustrations out on James I was taking them out on my children. My family was falling apart and I was a major factor in that, I couldn't deny it. I just didn't know what to do.
Over many months of counseling the issues started to become clearer. I saw that I was deeply afraid that James would leave and often tried to leave first to keep that from happening. James was patient and I could see that he wanted our marriage to survive. After looking under many rocks, I was finally diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. As I learned what this meant, so much of my life began to make sense. As a Christian, I accepted responsibility for the sinful choices I had made but I also began to see that some of those choices had been influenced by a set of behaviors that were imbedded into my brain. Not that I wasn't responsible, I cannot emphasize that enough, but, suddenly the pieces began to fit, it all started to make sense.
Shortly after my diagnosis I started a regimen of medication that has made a huge difference in my life. I no longer feel powerless over the self destructive behaviors that once ruled me. Minor conflicts no longer mean major abandonment for me, as was the case before. I cannot describe to you the ways that I have been changed by medication. I wish people would speak more positively of it when the situation arises because I can tell you that without the meds my marriage would be over, or worse. Worse.
So, why do I share all this, you ask? For many reasons. First, it's not about sympathy. My husband is a major source of love and encouragement for me, I do not need sympathy. And it's not about attention. I have refrained from linking this blog to Facebook because I did not want attention. It is about information. And redemption. And the love of Jesus in my life, more than anything the love of my savior in my life.
I've come a long way. This blog is about that. I still fall short and revert back to old insecurities and behaviors so often. This blog is about that. I love my children. This blog is about that. Jesus redeems, more than anything, this blog is about that! It's my life, my days, my relationships, my heart. It's how I see things through the broken lens that I look through and how I love them through that same broken lens.
Most of all it's a place for me to be who I really am. That's who I want to be for you all. A sinner, saved by grace, being who she really is. A woman, who struggles with a mental illness, being who she really is. A mom, a friend, a wife...
And when you come here, be who you are. Be free to say what you say, do what you do. You're in good company. I hope to be a place of shared healing and a source of light. I hope to be a place where you find the freedom to love the Jesus that I love. He is everything, even when we're not.
Love to you all,