Thursday, July 24, 2014

My Father; The Abuser

This post has been a long time coming. I've tried to start it several times in my mind, but I've never been able to actually put fingers to keyboard until now. It's time. It's time to tell my story. 

My father is an abuser. Emotional, verbal and physical. I have only personally experienced the emotional and verbal, but I know first hand of the physical. Since the physical abuse was not inflicted directly upon me, I will not speak of that topic. But I will speak of the emotional and verbal abuse that I experienced throughout my entire childhood and teen years at the hands of my father. 

You may ask, why now? Why is it time to bring this to light? The answer is a simple one. I have finally found the courage to speak up. I have finally found the strength to speak out. It no longer will be a hush-hush thing that I shove under a rug for fear that it will "look bad" on me or my family. Abusers want that. They want their victims to remain silent, ridden with fear, guilt and shame. And truthfully, I'm shaking right now as I write this because the fear of backlash still rings in my head and pulses through my being when I think about speaking up. Luckily, I am surrounded by the most amazing support system and I know that I am fully protected from any harm that should attempt to come my way. 

Here it is.....

The first time I remember my father yelling at me, I was 3 years old. He and my mom were steam cleaning the carpet in our home and I was perched at the top of the staircase watching them clean below. The cleaning vac was sitting in our tile entryway and had somehow managed to leak onto the floor. As I'm watching, my mother walked by and slipped on the tile and fell very hard onto her back and arm. She screamed out in pain and I screamed out in terror. After first yelling at my mom for falling, my father yelled at me, up the stairs "SHUT UP, LESLIE!!!" The feeling of watching my mother be hurt mixed with having my father invalidate my fear is one that I will never forget.  Sadly, it was only one of countless times that I would feel this way. 

My father yells. He yells loud and he yells often. I know these days yelling is very common, but that doesn't make it okay nor does it make it non-damaging. It is due to the damage that it caused me, that I refuse to yell when I'm arguing with someone. I also refuse to yell at my child. The few times I've slipped in an argument with someone, I've felt horrible afterwards, like somehow I was turning into him. And I certainly don't want to do that. 

I remember being around 8 years old and hearing my mother and father fight in the other room. My father would always yell, and my mother would always answer him calmly. As it does with most abusers, this only enraged him, causing him to yell even louder. One particular fight left me bent over a chair in our guest room, clinging to my worn out Bible, praying to God to please make him stop.  I remember around that same age telling my cousin that I wished her father was my father. Watching their relationship and how they were with each other caused me great jealousy. And then, of course, because I was a "good church kid," I felt guilt for my jealousy.  

My father is also a controller. He controls by fear and manipulation (emotional abuse) and he does it well. Behind everything there was a threat; of what I wasn't quite sure, but I sure didn't want to find out. While I do believe in tough love and in having your children fear the consequences of their actions, I don't believe in having them fear YOU; the parent.  

Around the same age (7-9) if we were out in public and I said something my father thought was out of line or something that didn't coincide with what he thought I should say, he would grab the back of neck and squeeze as hard as he possibly could. He would do it subtly so no one else would see. I cringe just thinking about it now. I truly feared my father. 

For years I had reoccurring nightmares in which he would finally lose his cool one day and attack me. The days he was home (he worked a LOT when I was a kid), I would hide myself away in my room hoping that I didn't have to interact with him. 

The years went by and the emotional abuse became more predominant. As I got older, I got a little bit more courage to tell my father how he made me feel. Wrong idea. As is common among abusers, my father would silence my feeling by telling me, "You shouldn't feel that way." "That's stupid."  

Through the years my self-esteem went from low to lower. No one around knew what was happening and I was too scared to speak up. To the outside world my father was a stand-up guy; lots of friends, working two jobs to support his family, church going, tithe paying man. There was no way he could be an abuser. Must be some mistake. 

At the age of 16 my parents divorced and I moved from my hometown to live with my mother near her family. However, I decided to return to my hometown for my first year of college. My father had just remarried and I had acquired a step-mother and step-sister. It should go without saying that the living situation did not turn out well. My father had not changed in the two years since I'd lived with him and the abuse started again. I remember one particular conversation in which I said, "You're going to do this again. You've done this to me and you're going to do it to her!" (referring to my little sister).  His response was, "No I won't because no one is like you except you and your mother!"  It was my fault. The years of abuse, they were my fault. I guess because I'm like my mother? The next week I packed my bags, dropped my classes and moved home. Roughly a year later I would plop into the couch of a therapist and when asked why I was there reply, "I will never be able to have a healthy relationship with a man, until I deal with my dad." 

It's been 9 years since I first sat down in that therapist office and I'm still not okay. This is not something that goes away. It's not something prayer heals. It's not something space heals. It's not something time heals. It's something you learn to cope with. I will never "be okay."  I will never not cringe when I hear a man yell loudly. I will never not have nightmares about being physically attacked. I will never get back those years of innocence that I lost. 

But what I WILL do, is speak up. I will not be silenced. I will stand up and speak up for those who have been through what I've been through and for those who are in it now. I will do everything within my power to make sure that they know there is hope and there is help.  

If you are being abused in any way shape or form, tell someone. I know that it seems impossible to find the strength inside of you, but it's there. I promise you. You do not have to put up with it a day longer. You do not deserve it. You are not worthless. You are an amazing person who has a full life ahead of you, I don't care what anyone else has told you. They lied. You are worth taking the step and walking away. 

The National Domestic Abuse Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

Texas Abuse Hotline: 1-800-252-5400





Tuesday, April 15, 2014

10 Months Old!

In just three days my chunka will be 10 months old! I say it every time, but I cannot believe it. This past month/age has been one of my favorites for sure. She is into so much and learning new things almost daily. Here's a quick overview of the exciting things that have been going on.


Chunka LOVES to read. 
This is her favorite book entitled "Baby's Best Friend." She has been known to let you read to her for a solid hour. 




Chunka loves to play with her blocks/name puzzle.
She can't quite figure out how to place the letters yet, but she knows what she's supposed to be doing. 


Chunka loves her ball pit. 
A gift from a friend; this has quickly become one of her favorite attractions. She dives in and crawls out with ease and speed! 


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Chunka can almost walk! 
She flies around with the help of this walker, but it won't be long until she's walking tall on her own. 


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Chunka can say "night night."


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Chunka can say "duck."


Speaking of "duck," Chunka LOVES her duck.
He is her best buddy and is always close by her side. 



My angel baby is the light of my life!!!!!!!!! I never knew I could love on this level. And it gets deeper and deeper with every day that passes. I love you, Audrey Emeline!!





Thursday, March 13, 2014

Yeehaw!!

Howdy folks!!

It's rodeo season here and as usual, my country side is out in full force!  I've had it planned for awhile now to take chunka to the rodeo. I bought her an outfit back in November and her uncle bought her some adorable boots for Christmas.My sister was in town for the week and she had never been to the rodeo so we decided to make an afternoon of it.

So, Saturday after she arrived we loaded up the car and headed out. I was worried that Audrey might be fussy because she didn't get in a good nap beforehand and that usually sets the tone of the day. However, to my surprise and delight, she was absolutely PERFECT!  She fully enjoyed herself.  My sister snapped some pics of us (I am in love with them), and I got some play-by-plays of little miss. personality.

In our rodeo outfit. 

She's so sweet!!!


Boots are yummy. 


So is hay......

A bottle to start off with. 

Then some french fries.

And some cotton candy. 

Then mommy bought her a toy. 

She was quite intrigued. 


All in all, FABULOUS first experience out at the rodeo with baby. I'm looking forward to our next adventure! 



Thursday, February 20, 2014

Yep. I'm THAT Mom.

Since becoming a mother 8 months ago, I've been monitoring my "mothering" ways to see just what type of mother I am. Before having a child, I always thought I knew what kind of parent I would be; how I would view certain things (i.e. exposure to germs, safety, keeping a clean house, etc.). But once Audrey was born, everything changed. Well, not everything, but a LOT of things. Things I thought I would never be okay with, I'm totally fine. And things I thought wouldn't bother me do bother me.

So, what kind of mom am I? I'm THAT mom.

I'm THAT mom who recycles rice puffs that fall on the floor and in between the cracks of the car seat because she can't justify getting out new ones when those are perfectly fine.

I'm THAT mom who allows rice puffs to remain on her floor and allows her child to eat them off of the floor as she crawls along.

I'm THAT mom who doesn't require that every single toy be sanitized regularly. I'll hand her something today that she slobbered all over yesterday.

I'm THAT mom who doesn't bathe her child daily. I bathe her as needed; meaning I don't leave her stinking to the high heavens or dirty.

I'm THAT mom whose house looks like a tornado hit it. Toys are everywhere, clothes are everywhere, shoes are everywhere. Navigating it is a skill and I am well trained in it.

I'm THAT mom because I choose to spend my evenings and free time with my daughter, first and foremost, and then with myself. Rather than kill myself from exhaustion trying to make sure my house is spic and span, I take a hot bath after the baby is in bed and then catch a few shows on Hulu.

I'm THAT mom who, 9 times out of 10, puts her child to bed with a bottle. I don't rock her to sleep or hold her until she falls asleep

I'm THAT mom because I know good and well that the next morning, no matter how late I'm running or how hurried I may be, I will put my baby in my bed and lay with her while she drinks her morning bottle. I would rather have that time with her than the night before when I know she's just tired.

I'm THAT mom who wears her house slippers out of the house with her heels thrown in the diaper bag because she doesn't want to fall down the stairs carrying the baby.

I'm THAT mom who puts her makeup on in the car or at work so that she has more time at home with her baby.

I'm THAT mom who loves her baby beyond her wildest dreams and knows that even though her house and car may be a total wreck, and even though her parenting style may not match up to what experts say, or even to what the general public says/thinks, she is doing what is right for her and her family. And she will continue to do so no matter what anyone thinks and may tell you to mind your own business if you stick your nose in hers.

Yeah.....I'm THAT mom.







Wednesday, February 19, 2014

8 Months Old

My chunky monkey turned 8 months old yesterday. What a difference a month can make! She is crawling EVERYWHERE and standing up on EVERYTHING! Mommy can hardly keep up! Here are some snapshots and footage of the past month. Enjoy!


Audrey is really starting to enjoy "real" food now. This is hummus. Clearly a favorite. 


Audrey had her first Valentines Day date; John Carter. Apparently roses are yummy. 



She was not a happy valentine that morning, however. But certainly a cute one!



I love this new "smile" she has going on. She has 6 teeth now; 4 on top and 2 on bottom. 

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Here she is! Crawling like crazy! 




Monday, February 10, 2014

Farewell, Faithful Friend

I've not been updating my blog as often as I used to, so for those who follow here, this will come as a surprise.

Yesterday was my last day with my precious Charlie girl.  My life is changing rapidly; I'm moving in a month, Audrey is now crawling and standing and into EVERYTHING, and with all of the changes, poor Charlie girl was just not getting the attention that I felt she deserved. She had also become very jealous of the baby and I was very concerned about how she would react with Audrey becoming more mobile. The combo of all of that led me to the painful decision of re-homing her. I said a prayer and posted an add on my company's Yammer site. To my delight, I got a response. A guy that I work with thought she would be a good match as a playmate for his dog (an Australian Shepherd). We did a trial run a few weeks ago and it went well. He agreed to take her and yesterday he came and picked her up.

With the way things have been going lately, I kinda figured I would put my feelings of loss aside in a "to be dealt with at a later time" compartment and move forward. But scrolling though pictures today have made me misty eyed.

Charlie came to me as a result of my last relationship. You can read that full story here.

I could make this post go on for hours with story after story of my faithful companion, but I will leave you with one short one and a ton of pictures instead. ;)

After my ex and I parted ways I fell into an incredibly deep depression. Most days it was all I could do to function at work and as soon as I would get home all I wanted to do was sleep. I've read that dogs are really in tune with our emotions, however, if Charlie knew I was having it rough, she completely ignored the fact. Instead of offering a shoulder for me to cry on, she demanded that I pay attention to her, namely walking her at the track across the street each night. If I failed to do so, she would whine and annoy me until I gave in. At first I was extremely bitter about it. I didn't want to be walking my dog, I wanted to be sleeping and grieving. But as time went by and night after night I put on my sneakers and made my way around the track, I started noticing a change. I was no longer anxious to get back home to my bed of misery. I began to enjoy the walks. They became a safe haven where I could process my thoughts a midst a beautiful setting sun. And slowly but surely, I started to live again.  Maybe Charlie was in tune, maybe somehow she knew that the only way for me to get better was to continue on; to plow forward.

I will miss my Charlie girl so very much and I am so grateful for the past 4 years that I got to be her mommy.


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Friday, January 24, 2014

Happiness Is Mine.

I promised you a happy post last week and I failed to fulfill. So here it is!!

My precious angel baby that I am so deeply, madly in love with is 7 months old!! I cannot believe how fast the time is flown by. Before I know it she will be a year old! But I refuse to think that far ahead. Right now she is 7 months old and a total "mess cat," as I call her. She is so on the verge of crawling it's not even funny. The platinum blonde hair is getting thicker by the day. She loves to laugh and play. And as crazy as it sounds, she can keep a beat!!! She loves to pat her hands and kick her feet. She brings me joy beyond measure.