Two years ago, if you had told me I would survive, I would have probably laughed in your face. Honestly, after over 20 years of physical and mental abuse, I thought the hope was gone. Lucky for me, I had a strong support system. I know some people don’t have that, but they really do. When I got brave and left my situation the outpour of amazing humans that supported me blew my mind.
I lost everything. I left what I couldn’t take behind. I realized it was only materialistic things. Those things could be replaced, however, me living and breathing, being a mom to two boys couldn’t be replaced. They had only one mother, and I had to be strong for them. I knew it wouldn’t be easy. I lived with my parents for a few months, then was able to get us a small apartment. My oldest son was in his senior year of high school, and my youngest was a freshman. I knew I had so many things to pay for and was not sure where to start. I started cleaning houses to make money because I didn’t work when I left. As time went by, I got a job as a secretary in insurance and cleaned houses after work and on weekends. I was able to provide for my children. I was exhausted, and most of the time felt defeated. I did have the fight in me. Even if it was a single ounce of fight, it was there.
Bravery and being courageous is a feeling that is so hard to describe. We are told in abusive relationships that we can’t survive without them and that we will never be able to do that on our own. I am living proof those statements are not correct. I found every and any odd job to do. Whatever it took to survive, whether it was cleaning houses or hauling off trash, I did it. Like Ruth says in Fried Green Tomatoes, “Don’t you ever say never to me.” I lived that. The fear, sadness, depression, anxiety, and hopelessness slowly began to fade the more I felt empowered.
I got to the point, once my son started college on a baseball scholarship, that I had to take on more responsibility due to the ex-husband not helping. I had to decide to start all over again for the second time. This time, I knew it was temporary. I gave my stuff away to those in need and sold all furniture. I bought a small camper and decided it was more affordable for me and my youngest son. By the grace of God, I came across an old friend from High School that encouraged me to go back to school. I enjoyed the insurance work, but $11.00 an hour wasn’t cutting it. I began to research Insurance Adjuster schools. It had always been something I was interested in. The next thing I knew, I was taking online courses. Then, it came time to take the test. I was feeling anxious yet again, but my boys just kept encouraging. “Mom, you made it this far…Keep fighting… You know we don’t quit.” I took the test, and to my surprise, I passed!
The next step was job hunting. I kept applying and applying. I felt hopeless again. “No experience, who’s going to take a chance on me.” I did keep trying, and then, such a blessing happened. I got a job! Let me take that back, I got a career! I can take care of my boys. I almost tripled my pay and benefits. I am still living in my camper, and I am okay with that because I know that I will be able to save and buy a house for my kids to call home. It’s been an absolute journey.
My point is even if you feel like there’s no hope at all, there truly is. I hope to one day be on my feet and be able to pay it forward in honor of all of those that chose to help me when I couldn’t help myself. Don’t give up, ask for help, and find that little ounce of fight and faith. No one says it’s easy, but oh my goodness, it’s so worth it. I’m not where I want to be quiet yet, but thank the good Lord, I am not where I was. I beat the odds. I am surviving without the abuse, and I am thriving to do more. To be a better person, to show kindness, and to remember I too know what it’s like to start over more than once.
Sacrifice and hard work can help you achieve anything. Never settle for less than you deserve. My story isn’t finished. I am ready to continue to fight, to want better, and strive to help those that feel how I did. It’s not easy leaving or even talking about it. Looking back 2 years ago, I realize bravery and hope sent me on a path that I learned from. I am extremely grateful for that.