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The Word

The transparent web

It began slow. Like a silent disease he crept in and slowly began spinning his web. Like a spider’s web his threads were also transparent, unseen by the unsuspecting. I would come to know this was on purpose. This was the process. Like the spider, once it spins it’s web it sits, it waits patiently for unsuspecting prey to find its self caught in its grasp. At which point the spider attacks and wraps his prey to be devoured. Keep this image in mind as you read this story because the similarities are staggering.

Our relationship began as any other might in street life world of horrors, quick exchanges set up through text. No more than 10 words were exchanged between us during any given meeting. I began to notice that every time we met up he was driving a different car. These weren’t then $2,500 cash lot cars I was used to seeing. These were nice cars, expensive cars. More than that there was always a gorgeous girl with him. Perfectly put together and nicely dressed. I always thought he was bit slob-ish looking to be running around with those kind of girls. Truly this just confirmed the fact that he was in fact into guys, in my mind. Over time I found myself feeling a little tinge of jealously over these girls that seamed to have this lavish lifestyle.

He must have noticed that in me, the jealously, the intrigue I was now showing in the mysterious. I had gotten off work late that night. I was exhausted as I collapsed on the couch telling my neighbor friend, Lizzy, about how if we could only hook a “big one” we could live like the Hollywood stars. At that moment my phone rang. Richie appeared on the screen. My eyes widened, he had never actually called me. I answered with a question, “Hello”? His peppy charismatic demeanor beamed through the phone. He wanted me to come to Dallas with him for a pick up. I saw the opportunity and seized it.

Generally I was a plain girl. Pretty but soft. I didn’t wear flashy clothes. I wasn’t adorned with fine braids and jewels so to speak. I had thought if I was going to hook this fish I was going to need to step it up and catch his attention in the same way the girl’s I had seen in his company previously had done. I quickly curled my hair, put on some lipstick, and doubled down on my mascara. I could tell by his approving reaction upon his arrival that this was going to be my chance. True to pattern he arrived in a car I had never seen before. It was the nicest car I had ever seen in my life. Sleek and shiny, leather interior, those seats that when you sit down into them they make you feel like you’ve just sat down in the command center of a space craft. He tossed me the keys and said, “why don’t you drive.” Got ’em.

I was surprised how freely and effortlessly conversation flowed between us. This man was intelligent, on my level, unlike the men I had run around with previously. He had ideas and innovations. We spoke of ways of life, religion, astrology, intellectual topics. There was also something different about him this day. Generally his appearance was sloppy. Clothes a mess, hair a mess, but I’ll tell you his eyebrows were always on point. Tonight he was dressed, and not as I expected him to be. He was thuggish, but not pants around your knees thuggish, more like Kayne West thuggish. Hair straight and pulled back, he looked good. His voice was deeper, calmer, he was suave. Still though he kept his mystery alive. He would interrupt our conversation, stating that he needed to check on his friend. With the phone on speaker he called several women. “Hey daddy!” they all said when they answered. He would ask them if they were having a good night, making good money. They would report and he would tell them to call him if they needed anything.

I wasn’t alarmed in the least bit by these conversations. I had just thought “Daddy” was his nickname. Possibly he was even the one who was taking care of their needs. He did seam like that kind of nice guy. To me it was as if he was a white knight. Riding through the streets of the metroplex finding women and giving them a chance to become something. After several trips to Dallas together that looked exactly as they did before, he revealed to me that he owned a record label. He said he had some new talent about to drop but he wanted to hire me as a agent to gather more talent. I could not explain to you how cool and powerful that made me feel. I was one step away from Hollywood, in my mind.

I did this for awhile. Looking for talent, collecting mix tapes. Truth is I never found anything worth penetrating your ears. I couldn’t find worthy talent for nothing. I began to fear he would drop me. I was still working at the retail store but, he was giving me more than a weekly pay check. The work I was doing for him was resulting in free drugs, new nice clothes, and a company vehicle. I did not want to lose that flow of income. So I went to him, told him I wasn’t serving his company well in seeking talent, was there something else I might be able to do? He didn’t seam to mind that I didn’t want to continue to work for the label, he quickly gave me a new “station” as his runner. I would conduct all of his drug transactions from the picking up to the sale of contents.

This was a job I could do, and it was one that kept me in close proximity with Richie. By this time I had determined that he in fact was not into men, but into women. It became my mission to hook this fish by becoming the most desirable women around him. I was going to do this by availability and willingness to do anything he required. Lizzy became suspicious of Richie at this point. She was always vocalizing that something wasn’t right. She felt uneasy about him. I thought she was just jealous. Richie was spending a lot of time at my apartment and when he was there I kept her away. I had convinced myself that my lack of availability to her was aiding in her sudden efforts to keep me away from him. I wasn’t going to have it though. I spent all my time either with Richie or working for Richie. He had me completely wrapped in his web.

One night we were doing our regular pick up’s when Richie said he needed to make a pit stop. he instructed me to pull over at the gas station ahead. No problem, I did exactly as he asked. When we stopped a beautiful girl in a shimmering green dress jumped from a jeep and threw herself on Richie; I was jealous. An older gentlemen came around from the drivers side of the jeep and shook Richie’s hand. There was a brief exchange between the two before the three departed ways and returned to their vehicles. I was naturally curious but I didn’t question him. I knew he would tell me if he wanted me to know what that was about. I sat wondering to myself why that beautiful girl was with that man. She had to have been around my age, eight-teen. He had to be in his mid to late 40’s. As a young adult the age gap was a little much to stomach. At first I believed he must be her father or uncle. However, the chummy exchange between them solidified that was not the case.

“You know, I’ve put that girl through college. She’s about to graduate.” Richie said as he broke the looming silence. “Wow, really? Why would you do that?” I asked, stunned he would be so generous. “She’s done so much for me, its a way to repay her.” He said. “You mean like me?” I asked. “The work she does is a little different than the work you’ve been doing.” He replied. Becoming intrigued, wondering what she could possibly do more than I was already doing for him that earned her college tuition, I pressed him a little further, but cautiously. “What is it that she does?” I asked. “Did you see that man she was with?” he asked. “The old guy? Yeah I saw him.” “He is very rich but very shy. He has a hard time finding companionship so he contacted me.” Richie explained slowly. “Why would he call you? Is she his girlfriend?” I asked trying to piece together what exactly he was saying. “He pays a high sum of money per week for her to live with him. He provides her everything she wants from cars to make-up. I could do the same for you.” You know in the cartoons when a filing cabinet opens at it has like one million files in it and they burst open  unexpectedly? That was my brain in this moment as I questioned him, “What are you saying?” He smiled and paused before he revealed, “I’m a pimp.”

I laughed in his face. “Seriously?” Images of fur hats, canes and solid vibrantly colored suits danced through my head. I said, “nobody really does that? Seriously?” I couldn’t believe it. Not that he said he was a pimp, but that pimping was a real thing that real people actually did. After processing that fact I began to think about all the girls. They were so beautiful and put together, like beauty queens and business women. Nothing like the stumbling crack heads in leotards you see portrayed on television. My mind is swirling around as I process that there is an unknown world happening right within what we call normal life. People really do this, and are doing it. The truth was everyone of them looked they were doing better than me. They had things I didn’t have. All they had to do was look good and give men companionship, doesn’t sound all that bad. However, I was resistant. I had a slight leverage in this deal. While the shiny things that were flaunted were tempting, the truth was I did already possess the basics. I had my own car, was it a BMW? No, but it looked good and ran good. I had my own apartment. I had my own income source. All of this happened within a split second. Nothing more was said that night about his real occupation.

A few days passed before Richie and I spoke again. He always seamed to know the perfect amount of time to place between meetings. It was just enough to make me think he’d forgotten me and to be bummed out because of it. He called me and asked if I’d like to go with him on a new set of pick ups. Glad he was still interested in me I quickly agreed to join him. He told me to be ready in 15 minutes and he would be there, be watching. I jumped right up and primped up and was outside waiting within 12 minutes. He arrived 8 minutes later, 5 minutes late, I waited outside. He didn’t ask me to drive this time which made me feel like he might be distancing himself from me. We went to some of the biggest clubs in Dallas. They looked amazing with there posh architecture and flashing lights. I had never seen anything like it, so naturally I was fascinated. We would drive around the building, passing the front where people were valet parking and emerging from their vehicles in suits and black dresses. I knew these weren’t the same caliber strip clubs I had been to only months prior. As my eyes lit up with the flickering of vibrant color coming from the doors, a sheepish grin would come across Richie’s face.

We repeated this at each club we went to. After the flaunting of the lavish, Richie would drive around to the back of the building where he would be met by women who looked as though they had stepped out of a black tie event you’d only see in the movies. She would come to the car wait for Richie to roll down his window, which was always a brief 5 seconds, then she would lean in, kiss his cheek, and we would drive off. In times past he would always explain to me what was happening during our pick ups. What we were getting, who had supplied it. Where and how the person in the middle got involved. But he didn’t do that tonight. He barely said anything at all. Right when I would begin to feel like I was in trouble he would pass me the blunt giving me the feeling that he wasn’t done with me. By the end of this nights pick up’s I was fearful that if I didn’t give him something to keep him interested I was going to lose this fish. I brought up the girl in the green dress. “Can I ask you something?” I finally spoke like a child afraid their daddy is mad at them. He cut me a sideways look and raised his eyebrow inviting me to speak. “What exactly does that girl have to do? You know, the girl in the green dress?” He toyed with me, “Don’t worry about it. You can’t do it.” I sank, “It’s over.” I thought.

It was a few more days before I heard from Richie again. Like I said he was great at waiting the perfect amount of time. It was as if he would walk you right up to the very edge of a steep cliff making you think he would throw you to the bottom, then at the last second, changing his mind. He didn’t call this time, he just stopped by. Actually, he just barged in. Came in quickly and said, “I need to set up headquarters for the night, can I do it here?” I had no idea what that meant but eager to get back into his good graces I agreed. He pulled me to the side and told me, “she better not be here when I get back.” Trying to impress him I replied, “yes sir.” He looked at me surprised and was out the door again. There was no telling when he would be back so I ushered Lizzy out and waited. I ended up being glad that I did because he was back quickly with two women.

One of the girls was tall, thin, Caucasian woman with long brown hair named Amber. The other a short mixed woman, with highlighted hair. Her name was Ruby. Richie came right in and took his place in the over-sized chair in the center of the room. Amber and Ruby made several trips back and forth from the car to the apartment. They were bringing in mirrors, clothes, make up, computers, everything that would be needed for the night. Neither of the girls spoke, they never looked up. After bringing in all of their supplies both girls began man-scape Richie. One of them straightening his hair, the other buffing his nails. I was tasked with ironing his clothes, which I was happy to do. It made me feel a small part of this operation. After tending to Richie the girls began to transform there selves.  Truthfully both of the girls were plain, nothing about them was significantly or naturally beautiful. They weren’t unattractive but you could tell that left to their own vices they were pretty mousy. I was shocked to see that once their hair was done, make up on, and they were dressed there was nothing mousy about these girls. They went from a 4 to a 10 real quick. They were showing me all their tricks and expensive make up. Every outfit they brought in was brand new from Dillard’s.

After everyone was ready it was time to start working. “How do you ever lure potential men?” I asked. They quickly showed me around several websites where you simply place an add with a picture and phone number. “The pictures you’re using aren’t of the girls. How does that work when they get there?” Richie explained, “It’s about the fantasy. Show a man a picture that excites him he doesn’t see a face. He will notice skin color and hair color but otherwise he’s just interested in caring out his fantasy. It doesn’t matter its not the same girl.” I found that fascinating. It also softened me toward the idea a bit. I wouldn’t have to actually put myself out there. I mean a fake picture with a fake name, would it really be so bad? We had four cellphones with four different numbers posted all of which continuously rang off the hook. They were able to filter through the freaks and perverts by the high dollar price that was attached to these girls. They would charge $250 just to show up. Services would then range from $50- $500 in additional payment. Richie explained to me that he doesn’t make his girls scrape the scum. His girls were high class, high dollar girls that ran in high roller circles. Another thread entangled me further into his grasp. “I wouldn’t have to sleep with any sleez balls. I already give it away for free anyway.” I played with the idea in my mind.

The girl’s spent all night going in and out from one call to the next. At the end of the night the girls had brought home over $5,000. Richie declared the night a success and we all slept, on the floor at his feet. I got up the next morning and went to my job at the retail store. I had to admit that this job was nowhere near as exciting as my night had been before. I wasn’t even participating, but I felt the rush. This went on for a few weeks, late nights in a hidden world and boring days in the light of the mundane. After awhile of building up a relationship with Amber and Ruby I asked them how they got into this. Why they were doing it. They explained to me that when they met Richie they were broken women. They came from abusive situations where they were discarded and broken. Richie found them in their time of need and took them in. He provided them food clothing and shelter. He taught them to be beautiful and to be in control of the abusive men who had wrecked their lives before. “Before Richie we had nothing and nobody. He gave us a chance at a new life.” they said. I pressed them about the girl who has college and cars. “Richie’s looking for mine.” They both assured me. “But in the meantime we have nowhere else to go and it’s the least we can do for him. Plus knowing you’re in complete control with a man is the most exhilarating thing I have ever felt.” I didn’t share those circumstances so I didn’t ask many more questions.

It had all become a little much for me. The lack of sleep and food was beginning to take its toll on me. Richie provided exactly what we needed, when he thought we needed it. We always had cigarettes, we always had weed. We would get food every couple of days. We didn’t question it because it made us skinny and we were pretty strung out on drugs anyway. I had decided I needed to try to smooth things over with my parents. It had been awhile since I had talked to them. Really, I needed to get away. I escaped the metroplex and retreated to the piney woods. I spent the weekend with no calls from john’s, all the food I wanted and a renewed strength to go back to the life I needed a break from. When I returned home I was surprised to see head quarters had been moved from my apartment. Shocked and scared that my new family had abandoned me I called Richie. He instructed me to pick him up some dinner and deliver it to him at a near by hotel. I obliged. When I arrived there was a new girl with him. A blonde, I was the blonde. She wasn’t as pretty as Amber and Ruby, even all made up. However, I’m sure as he planned, I was extremely jealous. I even cried once I left. He replaced me. It’s over I thought.

The next day Richie picked me up from work. He was pressing me hard to start working for him like Amber and Ruby. He assured me that I would never do any slum calls. I would be his “bottom bitch”, the one in charge. I was resistant. I told him I didn’t need him in the same way the other girls did. Realizing I wasn’t going to break he offered a new station, “madam”. I would keep the new girl, Diamond. I would do for her what he did for Amber and Ruby. Set up calls, transport, protect. I would still turn all the money over to him but he would pay all my bills and provide all my needs. This was a deal I could agree too. There was one catch though, I would need to quit my job to be able to dedicate all my time to making sure Diamond was producing. I agreed.

Diamond moved into my apartment and we got right to business. I would provide her with the phone Richie would provide me each morning and she would post her adds and wait for calls. She stayed busy day and night. I was surprised by the clientele that came through my apartment. Bankers, lawyers, business men. Rarely did a man in casual dress come for an in house call. Going out wasn’t always as upscale. There were creeps from time to time. Men who would rough her up a little bit. She always assured me it was no big deal. “Part of the trade” she would say. The arrangement was going well. Business flowed effortlessly. I kept my end, he kept his end. I knew this wasn’t right so I could only stomach it for so long before I would have to retreat back to the piney woods for a time. That time came about month after Diamond came into the picture. I told Richie I had to leave town but would be back.

When I got home this time Diamond was gone but Richie, Amber and Ruby were back to operating out of my apartment. I was disappointed to see the set up when I arrived home. I was hoping for at least one more night before I would inevitably return to his web. Everyone was all smiles when I walked in. They greeted me warmly, excited to see me. My disappointment was quickly replaced by feelings of joy. My family was happy I was home. When I asked where Diamond was Amber and Ruby looked to the ground. Richie said, “you know why.” I knew she had been removed from the family. Before I left for the woods Richie had stopped by to check up on us, collect any money and change out the phones. Everything was fine until I had reveled that Diamond had spent some time surfing Myspace. I didn’t understand why anger came over his face. He said, “Oh. Myspace huh?” I said, “Yeah Myspace.” like what’s the big deal? She was crouched in the corner. He approached her, proceeded to lift her from the ground by her neck and mercilessly smack her face over and over and over till she looked as thought she would pass out. When he dropped her to the floor he turned and left without a word. I was shocked, I was appalled, I was terrified. I kept telling her she didn’t have to endure this. We could go to the police, they would help. She assured me her last pimp was worse and he was just punishing her because he loved her. I took pictures in case she changed her mind. Maybe she had, maybe that’s why she was dumped in a brothel.

Richie became more persistent in his insistence that I start working for him. He was providing for me and I wasn’t providing for him. That wasn’t what a family did. The more I resisted the more he pumped me full of drugs. He was pulling out all the stops, bring to life the lavish Hollywood lifestyle I had professed desiring when we first met. He purchased a beautiful two story brick him in an upscale neighborhood. Nicest house I’ve ever seen. 5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, wide open concept spacing, beautiful yard. I mean it was something you’d expect a famous person to be living in. The day we moved him in I marveled at the place. He kept telling me, “That room would be yours.” It was the junior suite, bigger, nicer more private than what the other girls had. “I’ll give you the BMW.” He said in passing. All of these things were to much for me to pass up. I agreed to seriously consider the offer. He was pleased to reward my renewed attitude with 2 hits of ecstasy, every 2 hours for the next 6 or so hours. To say I was completely out of mind was an understatement.

I agreed to go on my first call. I remember driving there and screaming as though I was on a roller coaster. I was tripping so hard that every car that passed looked like a flash of light, slight movements looked as though the world was under a strobe light. I remember walking to the door of a mans apartment and he opened the door and I barged in. I completely over took the situation. I can be very outgoing and charismatic when I want to but when I’m high, its over the top. The man must have noticed my fast talking and twitching jaw because he asked me if I was high. I told him I was, so he offered his bong. I was probably lucky as hell that my personality can be over baring and even intimidating to some. The man couldn’t bring himself to ask me for any favors. Once he kind of shrugged and began to remove his pants he uh…. finished, I was able to take the money and leave without ever even touching the man. I did it.

My victory was greatly celebrated by my new family. Richie wrapped me in his arms and showered me with affirmation. “I knew you could do it. You did great. You belong here. You are part of us.” While my immediate reaction was a release of endorphins. Acceptance. I belonged, we were a family, they wanted me. As love began to well up in my chest it was quickly snuffed out by panic and fear. My mind began to race. “Oh God, what have I done?” I thought to myself. Not only had I stooped lower than I ever intended to allow myself to, I had just given him all my power. No longer did I have any cards left to play. I had given in, I was completely wrapped in his web and it was feasting time. I had to get out of there. I quickly jumped up and ran from the house. I jumped into my car and peeled out of the driveway. “I got to get away.” was all I could think. I flew down the interstate, now sober, everything still a blur. I couldn’t slow down, not even to toss money in the tolls. Surly he was going to come after me. What if he did to me what he did to Diamond?

When I arrived safely away back at my apartment I breathed a huge sigh of relief. As the breath flowed from my lungs, tears rolled from my eyes. What had I done? More over why had I done it? I was always so careful, keeping the upper hand. This time I found myself in a situation I was hoping I could rinse away as I lie in the shower letting the water scald my skin until finally turning ice cold. Trying to muster the strength to get dressed I collapsed on the closet floor where I stayed until morning. I hadn’t been awake 5 minutes when Richie barged through the door with Amber and Ruby trailing behind. The first thing he did was take my phone. “The girls need it for calls.” I didn’t object. He didn’t say a word to me for the rest of the day. I was anxious all day, consumed in fear. Fear that he would hurt me, fear that he would leave me. I didn’t know what to do. I was relieved when the day was over and I was allowed to go to bed. I laid there all night trying to figure out how I might get myself out of this horrific nightmare I found myself trapped in. As the sun rose in the sky so did the fear in my heart. What could I do? How could I get away? He wouldn’t let me out of his sight. Then the universe seamed to through me a little favor.

My mother had text me and Richie actually let me have my phone and respond. Seeing an opportunity I text her back: ” please tell me you are in Dallas.” She responded, “No I’m picking Dewayne up from school. Why?” I explained to her my situation. That I was involved with a pimp and I wanted to get away. I was scared and didn’t know what to do, please help me. Her response set into a motion a series of events. “That’s bullshit, fix it your self.” My heart sank. I had to think quick. It would likely be days before I would be allowed to use my phone again. I said I wasn’t feeling well and went to lay in the bed. I quickly text a mutual friend of mine and Lizzy’s who knew the situation with Richie. By this time I had been completely isolated from everyone I used to know. Richie had consumed my life and all my possessions. My friends tried to warn me, but after all my refusal to listen, they stepped back. However I reached out, “Call Lizzy. Tell her to call the police. Do not respond, Do not call. It’s Richie.” I quickly deleted all the messages and waited.

Not long after there was a knock at the door, “Metro Police.” Nobody moved. We were instructed to stay quiet, they’d go away. Their knocks progressed to banging on the door. Richie began to press me to answer the door. I told him I couldn’t that I had warrants and they are probably just doing a round up. After convincing him that I hadn’t been the one to call the police he ushered the four of us into my tiny bathroom. As we sat in there he threatened us, “If one of you did this I’ll kill you.” ,”Once they leave I’ll punish you all.” all believable outcomes at this point. Between threats I was constantly silencing my buzzing phone. Lizzy was blowing me up, Richie couldn’t know. I was panicking as he finally asked who kept calling. When I told him he told me to answer it and put it on speaker. Panic. I answered, she exclaimed “whats going on?” Richie instructed me to ask her if she called the police. Not knowing he could hear her, she said “yeah, you told me to.” F*&K.

The threats that had been directed at all of us turned quickly to me. I begged God to let the police get him, for them not to go away. I knew I would die that day if they gave up. Once information that we were indeed inside reached the team of officers who had now arrived they busted the door down. They came in so quickly and dragged Richie out that it took a second to realize what was happening. Next thing I knew we were being ushered out being told to get against the wall. The officers began shouting, “Who’s Jordyn? Who’s Jordyn?” That was me so I stood up. They took me to the door way, 10 feet away from Richie and began to question me on what was going on within the residence. I refused to speak. I would not take the chance of Richie hearing me snitch him out. The officers finally got tired of my refusal and cuffed me for felony aiding and abiding prostitution. Once a safe distance from Richie’s vision and hearing I told them I would talk but didn’t want him to know. They proceeded to cuff and stuff me just like the others and transport me to the police station.

I told the police everything, except for the fact that I did indeed go out for him one time. I thought the police would judge me and that I would be labeled a prostitute. If they thought that of me I feared they wouldn’t help me. As it turned out because I had never “worked” for him, they couldn’t charge him with anything. Pimping was a victimless crime, one entered into by choice. I was to prideful to confess that I had lied. Plus I figured that if I went back and said I had lied that it would seam as though I was lying about that. However they took the report and found enough drugs money and weapons to hold them all for a few days. They advised me to lay low and get out of town for awhile. I was naïve and found that to be an over reaction on their part. Little did I know the issue would end up being forced by an eviction notice tacked to my front door. I had 48 hours to move out. I had nowhere to go, no friends to stay with, my only option was to humble myself and go back to my mother. If I’m honest her location served my needs well at the time. I needed to get away, she was far away. I had no money, she wasn’t going to charge rent. It’d only be temporary, I thought.

**** This is a true story, names have been changed to protect the identities of the individuals involved. To further assure that fact I also will not state what specific city this all took place in. But I would like to share that because of this case the local police department eventually added a Human Trafficking Department and they now work day and night to keep men like Richie off the streets and away from women who don’t know any better!

The Word

Devin

After 90 days, a week on the run, and a move across the country my chance at a “normal” life seamed as though it was within my grasp. I was sober and in a new place, nobody knew me or my family, best of all they didn’t know anything about my past. I thought I could escape the labels and the stigmas that had been assigned to me by my home town. It was all good for awhile, almost like a dream really. Moving to Texas introduced me to a life I never dreamed I would have. It was a material life. You know the kind of life that looks perfect from the outside but inside is a nightmare? That was my reality both within my head and within my home. It had been a few years since my mom and I had really had any kind of relationship. If you remember things didn’t exactly end on a good note. At first it didn’t matter but it did eventually take its toll.

I was 16 when I was sent to a group home rehabilitation type place. My mother was convinced I was back on drugs, I wasn’t. We were fighting all the time, and I’m not talking screaming matches. Once I got to come home things were fine for a little while, then the next year rolled around. I had gotten into a little trouble over the summer. Sneaking around once I had a car, smoking cigarettes, normal teenage stuff. School had just started and I was getting into my senior year. For me this was the peak of my happiness. I thought I had everything going for me. I had friends, my own money, a car, dating a football player the whole nine yards. When my parents found out about my boyfriend they flipped. I had kept him a secret because of his skin color and when it came to light, they were not happy. I was banned from my best friend, only allowed to work and school, it was stupid really. My friend had decided she would go talk with my parents and try to smooth things over.

When she showed up at my work crying I knew it hadn’t gone well. My parents had already been at my work searching through my car, they found cigarettes and notes from the boy they forbid me from. They revealed to my friend that their intention was to send me back to the group home. I wasn’t having that. Things moved quickly at this point. I knew I couldn’t go home without being directly transported back to Oak Cliff. I was 17 at the time, Texas has or had laws that stated at 17 years old a juvenile can be charged as an adult there for 17 was kind of that cut off age. I was moving out, more like just never coming home. We had to move fast. My friends parents were out of town for the week so we arranged for me to stay with her boyfriends parents. That’s exactly what happened. I eventually moved in with my friend and finished out the school year feeling as though I had achieved normal.

Sometime in spring the following year I met this guy, Devin. Devin was certainly nothing special to look at. He wasn’t really special in any way. He was a high school drop out, drug addict / dealer living above the garage at his moms house driving his grannies car. Our relationship began as completely platonic. I would hang out with him and get high then take him to parties where I would hook up with other guys. Eventually the relationship evolved to us actually “being together”. My friend and I got into a huge fight over a boy and I ended up moving in with Devin, yes, into the garage.

I remember the day that should have been the first day of my senior year. I  made the choice not to go, ever. I was almost 18, I was dropping out to live a life of crime with Devin. Of all moments up to this point, every decision, this was the dumbest. Not surprisingly it wasn’t long before we were kicked out of the garage with no place to go. We ended up moving in with Devin’s sisters fiancé.

Even though I dropped out of high school I still had a drive to do something with my life and with myself. I got a job at an eye care center about 20 minutes away from where we were living. Little did I know that while I worked these two jokers were sitting in the apartment doing meth all day. They were able to hide it for quite some time, but one night it came out. Devin and I were fighting in our upstairs bedroom, God only knows what about when he pulled out his pistol. As much as I tried to maintain some form of innocence I was pretty hard at this point. I charged Devin up and told him if he wanted to shoot me, then do it. He stood there with that gun pointed at me for probably the longest 30 seconds of my life before he lowered the weapon and fired off two rounds, through our air mattress into the floor. Him and Randy took off pretty quickly after that and I went to sleep on the couch.

I was woke up in the middle of the night to loud banging at the door. In a fog I stumbled to the door and opened it. On the other side of that door stood several police officers in tactical gear looking for the tenant of this residence. I began to panic, they were gone. The officers explained that if I didn’t get the tenant here I would be charged. Charged with what? I called Devin and Randy and told them to come back before I went to jail, I had to be to work in the morning. Devin and Randy showed up talked to officers and were gone again. I thought that was so strange considering how adamant they had been with me. Randy and Devin were gone again and I was back to sleep.

The next day when I got home from work the environment had changed. I guess they were no longer worried about hiding their activities when I walked through the door to see a huge 5′ x 4′ mirror covered in cocaine. I lost it at first. It had been several years since I had even seen any kind of upper. I would like to say that I stormed out knowing I could get myself together and change this course I had set myself on, but I didn’t. It didn’t take much convincing before I decided I wasn’t going to be the only one adulting if they were going to have all the fun. Lord why did I do that?

We had been up all night when there was a knock at the door. It was the apartment manager with an eviction notice. We were being kicked out for suspicious activity. We found that odd since the manager herself was a frequent purchaser of Randy’s. So as it turned out this whole complex was set up for “sting operation”. Every out side corner apartment had a DEA agent occupying it and they had been watching us for awhile. They knew all about the drug activity behind those walls. The final straw had been the bullet. When shot fired those rounds they went straight down through the 2nd story floor, made a 90 degree turn though the connecting living room wall and went through the headboard of the person sleeping in the next apartment. I’m unsure why nobody went to jail over all of that.

After the eviction we continued to use, continued in criminal activity, continued to spiral down. I lost my job, and however jack up it all was, my home. For the first time since all this started I began to question rather I was doing the right thing. Was this what I wanted? Was this all there was? I eventually left Devin. Bought my own vehicle and burned out. I didn’t have anywhere to go, wasn’t stable enough to get a place of my own so I stayed with friends. Couch to couch I surfed until finally landing somewhere a little more permanent.

That summer is almost a complete blur. I had fallen into the rave scene at this point. I was doing 2, 3 sometimes 4 or 5 hits of ecstasy a night. Spending all kinds of time in the strip clubs and other shady places with lots of shady people. One night I was at a house party and I’m not sure if I took to much and was over dosing or if I had got a hot hit, something laced with something you do not expect. Devin called me that night, someone he knew was at the party and had called him and told him I was really messed up. I can remember laying on the couch unable to move, barely able to talk, but assuring Devin I was fine and not to worry about me, he was just jealous. Luckily he didn’t listen to me. He came, through me over his shoulder and carried me out. If he hadn’t God only knows what would’ve happened to me that night.

I needed a place to stay. I was tired of having to rely on everyone around me. I had gotten a small settlement from the wreck I was in when I was a kid. I had enough to pay a 6 month lease in full, and I did. I got a couch, love seat, rug and mattress. My first apartment all my own. Already paid for so nobody could kick me out or take it away. I felt like a real grown up. My neighbors were super nice and friendly. One of them was even my age! Once I got set up I kicked Devin to the curb. I didn’t need him anymore I was back to doing my own thing. I had gotten close with the neighbor girl. We were hanging out all the time. I needed a new dealer in the city I was in and she provided that so it was cool. We began to party together every night. I would throw parties at my apartment, full of people I didn’t know, then I would just leave and go get drugs sit in my bathroom and do them. Maybe I just wanted the noise, or to feel not so alone.

As drug addicts usually do, my partying progressed right back into meth. All the crack dens I had frequented before, my place was now the crack den. We would stay up for days, I’m talking 3, 4 days at a time. Take some downers, sleep for 2 days then we were right back at it. Numbing ourselves at all cost, feeling nothing yet thinking everything. Talking in circles for hours about the lives we wished we had. If only we had been given another hand in life, maybe we wouldn’t be here in this place doing this. But, we weren’t. We accepted this was our lot in life, addiction. As long as we had the drugs, it wasn’t bad, but if we didn’t… I couldn’t begin to count the money I spent on feeding my tribes addiction. Why did I foot the bill? Nobody wants to get high alone, and I had the money so why not?

February 2008, I remember like it was yesterday. It began like any other day, but today light was coming through the curtains. 5 of us sitting in a circle in the living room passing the glass pipe from one person to the next. I had this moment of observation. You know one of those moments when people say, “I came to myself”. I was watching my friends as they got high eyes wide, licking their lips. Staring at the person with the pipe eagerly waiting for it to get around to you, the scene disgusted me. I thought, “this is my life. This is really what I have become.” The pipe got around to me, and as I began to melt down my life source, this overwhelming feeling washed over me. “I do not want this.” I looked at that pipe, passed it to the next person, stood up and said, “Y’all go ahead, but I’m done with this.” I truly was done and have never used again.

It’s not surprising that once the steady supply of drugs ended so did my relationship with Devin and most of the other people who had been living in my house. While I was no longer using meth I was by no means sober or living an upstanding life. I needed to make some money so I did what I knew to do, sold drugs. You meet all kinds of people when you sell drugs. Non-users imagine that only lowlifes and thugs do drugs, your assumptions would be wrong. I eventually met a guy that told me he could help me make a lot of money dealing in cocaine. I was not opposed to the idea, I knew the money would be great. The number one rule in drug dealing is, “don’t get high on your own supply”. I hadn’t learned that yet. Put a huge bag of cocaine in front of an addict and tell them not to do any. Yeah right. So that went as you would expect. I was totally strung out on cocaine and the dude who presented himself as a business man was really a lowlife bum. He was taking all my money and drugs and I got tired of it but I was to scared to do anything about it. So I called the police. “9-1-1 whats your emergency?” “It’s my boyfriend. I want him to leave but I’m scared of him. He has massive amounts of cocaine on him as well as a gun.” I pleaded. “Ma’am what would you like us to do about it.” the dispatch responded. Shocked I replied, “nothing I guess.” and hung up.

I woke up my new boyfriend and told him Devin had called and said he was on his way and if he was here when Devin got here he might kill him. The man got up, took all my cocaine and my cell phone and left. When Devin arrived and found out all the cocaine had been taken, he left too. I’ll admit I was glad to be free of them both. I knew now that I was going to have to make a major change if I was to change the trajectory of my life. e Devin and I decided we should get married. We could get a tax credit of $1000 if we were married and we could start a new life. It’s okay, take a moment to laugh. Spare time wasn’t good for me so I also started looking for a job. I was surprised that so many jobs required drug test to work there. I wasn’t going to be able to get the caliber of job I thought I should have. It’s okay, laugh again. So I got a job in a retail store that sold clothing for strippers. Perfect! Things were working out, getting better it seamed. Devin and I set the date for April 20th of that year. There was no lavish plans, I wasn’t a blushing bride, there was never even a ring. The weekend before our approaching date of union I found out Devin had been sleeping with one of my co-workers. At the time I was devastated, but I now know I dodged a major bullet on that one.

The heartache quickly led back to the harder stuff. I had trained myself to numb out the pain that plagued my heart and soul. I refused to think about the things that cut me so deep. I wasn’t willing to face them, accept them, or grow from them. I had already dealt with so much pain, and I was tired. I’d make it through the day, then retreat to a state of ecstasy at night. It was starting to a toll, the lack of sleep, lack of nutrition, overflow of toxic chemicals to the brain. I had went to work as nothing more than a warm body that day. My boss knew it so she just put me on the floor to straighten the racks and ask the rhetorical question, “can I help you with anything”? It was midway through my shift when this guy came in. I noticed him immediately when he walked through the door. His appearance caught my eye. He was a tall, built Puerto Rican man with fake finger nails, longish hair, manicured eyebrows very feminine in his appearance. We had lots of men who came in and tried on women’s shoes and sometimes even clothes but this guy didn’t fit the profile.

He was almost bouncy in his step. When he spoke his voice was higher pitched than I expected. At that moment I had stereo typed him, “oh, he’s gay.” I thought to myself as I went on about my work. I noticed him looking through the clothes racks, knowing we didn’t carry anything that would fit this man I asked him if he needed help, rhetorically. He said, “Yeah! I’m looking for two fresh outfits for my friends, can you help me?” I chuckled and told the man, “sorry, I really wont be any help. I’ve been up rolling all night and my brain is fried.” He asked if I could “hook him up” with something for the night. I told him for sure and we exchanged numbers. A few days later we linked up again, setting the sails of my life on a new path towards the unknown.

 

 

The Word

Meth

“Jordyn, you’re needed in the counselor’s office.” My English teacher said hanging up the class room phone. “Great, what kind of group are they trying to put me into now?” I thought. It had been a crazy year between moving back home from Idaho, bouncing from my dads house, to my grandmothers, briefly to my best friends home, and finally landing with my mothers friend Michelle, that one with the older son from a few years ago. The school felt I could use life skills, so they kept sending me to all these special group meetings where myself and few other “troubled” kids would sit around and talk about what was going on at home. We all found it a formality that we must adhere to, although we all lacked desire in obtaining the skills they wanted us to learn. Expecting to, at the very least, get out of class I walked confidently into the counselors office as if I already knew why I was there. “You’re guardian called, said it was an emergency.”

I’d lived with Michelle for several months at this point, but I had been away from the house for the weekend with my dad. I’ll admit I was a little worried and had no idea what to expect as I dialed the number to call Michelle at home. She answered quickly, “I need you to come home. I can’t say why, just come. I’ve already checked you out with the office, get here.” Although the weather was wet and the walk was long I was excited to get out of class for the rest of the day. When I arrived at the house and turned the handle to enter the home, it was locked. “That’s weird,” I thought, “Why is the door locked with her inside?” I waited a few minutes before Michelle finally cracked the door open slowly. She said, “Are they out there? Can you see them?” I laughed confused, “what are you talking about?” She hurried me in the door and quickly closed it behind me. “There’s men in the trees.” She said. Again confused, I laughed a little more at here and vocalized that I thought she was crazy. She jumped in her chair, “Did you see that?” Seeing nothing, hearing nothing I had decided this woman has lost her mind. “I’m going to go smoke.” I told her shaking my head at all the craziness that was taking place. She stopped me with wide eyes, “Do not go out there. You can smoke inside.” I knew something wasn’t right at that point. Michelle never smoked in the house nor did she allow anyone else to. As the day went on she told me about the man that kept peaking out from behind her chair. She could see him in the reflection of the television and the bowl on the table. By the time night rolled around I began to find her antics to be quite funny.

A friend that I immediately recognized stopped by the house and her and Michelle went straight to the bedroom leaving me alone in the living room, which was unusual. I just sat there content with being able to smoke in the house. Michelle soon called me to her bedroom. Laid before me was a glass pipe full of crystal meth. She said, “smoke this and tell me you don’t see some shit.” At this time in my life the only experience I had with mind altering substance was alcohol and weed. So I treated the meth pipe like a weed pipe and ripped a huge hit as she melted it down. I expected an immediate head change like you experience when smoking marijuana but I didn’t get one. So I took a few more rips off the pipe, and that was all she wrote. I became a full blow 14 year old meth addict just like that. Funny thing about it is that I didn’t even realize that I was addicted. When I was doing it, it was just something to do. It was partying, it was fun. I would sit in class watching the little man pop out from behind my chair in the reflection of the television.

By the time summer had rolled around I was living the life so to speak. All my friends were junkies, our whole lives were about that pipe. I didn’t have many friends close to my age, since it isn’t common for teenagers to become meth addicts. When I found one I hung on to her. It made me feel a little better to not be hanging out with all the older people who kind of creeped me out. Alice and I palled around a few days before she decided to introduce me to a friend of hers. He also used, and it was likely that he would share with us just so he wouldn’t be alone. We walked to his house and Alice went to the door, when he cracked it open I saw an older man with a belt around the neck of an older woman with a needle sticking out of the side. It didn’t scare me, or freak me out. He told us to come back in about 30 minutes, I couldn’t wait. We walked around town a little bit, meeting up with some other friends before finally returning to Todd’s to party for the night.

That night it mostly a blur. When I think about it almost feels like I’m on a roller coaster. Inching my way toward the top knowing that I’m about to be dropped off a ledge quicker than I’ll be able to change my mind about doing it. That’s what meth is like an anticipating ride up and up and up followed by the exhilaration of falling fast as you twist and turn sideways and upside down, except it doesn’t stop. You can feel everything and nothing all at the same time. You can be head over heels in love, walk down the street and cut someone, just to return home and love again. Messed up right? These feeling intensify with your preferred method of consumption. Todd’s was the needle. Remember the truth or dare situation? This was the same. I didn’t think of the consequence, I didn’t think of the damage or the possibility of death. I didn’t think of the pain it would cause my family, I didn’t think of any of that. All I thought was, I want him to like me. I gave him my arm and he gave me my first shot.

After being up for several days the effects of my drug use were beginning to take a toll on my body. Todd shot me up and we got in the shower. The next thing I remember is his face coming into focus and he was screaming my name. When I came to he hugged me tight, got me out of the shower and onto the bed. “You were dead! You were dead, I swear! You looked at me and you just went down. I grabbed you and yelled your name over and over. Thank God you’re alive. Thank God.” He cried as he held me. Maybe it was the drugs, even this didn’t scare me. I finally slept for a couple days and then was right back at it again. Here’s the thing, Todd had no idea how young I really was. I was well developed and looked older than I really was, so I went with it. A friend of his came to visit from out of town and for some reason we all decided it would be a good idea to road trip to this town to see Todd’s parents. When we got there Todd got a phone call, I knew something wasn’t right. He looked panicked, terrified even. When he hung up the phone he turned to me, “I have to ask you something and I need you to be honest. How old are you, don’t lie to me.” I didn’t want to answer him, I didn’t want this relationship to come to an end. “Fourteen.” I said with my head down, tears in my eyes. He freaked out, not only was our relationship a crime, our activities and the location where we were was all crimes, big crimes. His friend raced us back to town where my dad was waiting for me.

Coming down off meth is process, that takes several days. It was common for me to sleep for about 3 days at the end of a binge. I would eat a huge meal and then start again. This time was no different. I never thought this then, but looking back I would say I was feigning. I told my dad I was going to go to the school to ride bikes with some local kids. I’m not sure why he believed me, but he did. I didn’t go to the school at all, I rode 20 miles to Todd. When I got there, he called my dad. I remember trying to hide in his dog house, how stupid is that, but I was found and drug back home. I didn’t stay though, I found someone who would come get me and take me back to town. I was done with Todd, he betrayed me. I never saw him again. I still had Alice, I still had Michelle, I still had connections. My addiction progressed and continued, along with all the typical things you would expect. Older men, wild parties, lots of missing memories and time.

I don’t know who I became. Although at the time I never once thought I was losing myself or becoming someone I didn’t want to me. I actually fought to be able to continue in the lifestyle. Every time my dad took me home, I ran away. Every thing worth anything I stole. I lied, and cheated. I used my body and manipulated people who loved me to get drugs, yet I never saw myself as an addict. I never saw myself as a bad person, just misunderstood. That’s the thing about drugs and addiction. Sober people don’t understand. How can you possibly be happy like this? Is this what you wanted your life to be? Of course not, but next time you see a struggling addict know that they probably don’t even realize how bad it is. It probably started just like this, in some effed up situation out of their control.

By the end of it I was unrecognizable. I don’t necessarily mean in appearance, although I’m sure that drastically changed as well. I mean in thought and conduct. I didn’t care about anyone or anything. I would my sister, my step mom, my best friend. I was angry, hurt and bitter. Why? You might ask. Again this is in hindsight, but I was pissed it wasn’t enough. Enough for what? Enough for my mom to come for me. Enough to be rescued and loved by her. I was still carrying around so much pain from the few summers before. I couldn’t believe that two years had passed without hearing a word from my mother. No birthday card, no phone calls, nothing. I felt abandoned and rejected again. When I was high I felt nothing, and that’s how I wanted it to stay. It did for awhile, but then it all came to an abrupt stop.

God only knows how long I had been gone at this point. Wandering the streets, crashing here and there, with this man or that one. I was at a popular hang out spot when the cops came rolling up on us. They harassed us all the time so we weren’t really concerned about their presence. This time was different, the pulled up, stopped the car and got out. Before I knew it I was being cuffed and stuffed as a runaway. To be honest, I felt like I had just leveled up in street cred. Now I’ve been arrested, even if it was for something as lame as being a runaway. It was all fun and games to me until my dad showed up. I’d have to go home again and find a way to return. Surely he was going to be putting me on lock down now since he went through all the trouble of getting the police involved.

We went straight to my grandmothers house for dinner after we left the police station. I didn’t eat. My dad and I were in the back yard having a cigarette as I told him how happy I was and how much I liked my life and wanted to continue living it. I told him he didn’t need to worry about me anymore. I was doing just fine and I could take care of myself. He was so grief stricken. I remember the tears in his eyes and his long face as he pleaded with me. Encouraging me that this wasn’t my best life, and that I was meant for more. He kept telling me how much he loved me and that he would fight for my life. Two men came walking out the back door, I assumed they were my grandpas friends. They got me into the house where they broke the news that these men were here to transport me to a facility. I didn’t have any choice but to go with them, I could go willingly or by force. I looked at my dad dead in his eyes and said, “I hate you.” As I willingly went with the gentlemen.

I arrived in a treatment center, far away from the town I lived in, for a detox period. After being there a week or so they had determined that I would need to go to another facility for extended treatment. By the time I had detoxed from the drugs, slept and got a few good meals in me, I welcomed the treatment. I remember telling my dad I was willing to do what was necessary to save my life. I apologized for telling him I hated him and even thanked him for getting me help. Everybody was relieved that the girl they knew and loved was emerging from the hollow shell of addiction. It was like a fairy tale ending where the family all locks arms and walks up the grassy null towards the sunset while some harmonic melody tickles you right in the feels. It may look that way now, but there’s darkness ahead.

The Word

Transition

I have thought and thought for weeks about how I wanted to tell this portion of my story. Truth is there was a time in my life where I considered these years following my wreck the pinnacle of why I did the things I did. Maybe it was, maybe it was a combination of things. Maybe its just the way it was destined to be. I’ve found as I have gotten older, experienced life, and gone through my own struggles that the blame I have laid is unfair. I can understand pain so deep, with fleeting hope that drugs become the answer. I can understand being so disappointed in life and the way things are going you drown it out in alcohol. I know what it feels like to be rendered almost useless by depression and anxiety. I know how it feels to spend the day managing these feelings, only to come home exhausted and take it out on my family. I know how it feels to have so many synopsis firing off in your brain at the same time that you completely lose your mind and freak out. I understand now. All that being said, I don’t want to paint my parents or anyone else involved in these years in bad light. Today they are not those people, and its their story to tell. I’m almost 30 years old now and I have come to understand that most people are just doing the best they can with what they have. I’ve also learned that people have baggage and life isn’t what it seems through the eyes of a child in the life of an adult.

Here’s all you need to know before I skip ahead 3 years. My early years in life were unstable. Every day was chaotic and unpredictable. I had seen more by the time I was 11 years old then most people at that time had seen as adults. I was exposed to drug addiction, alcoholism, an active dating lives, abuse in various forms, divorce, and molestation. I often felt abandoned by everyone I expected to care for me. I struggled to feel accepted in my home. I always had a lot of friends. I can remember my mantra as a young kid being, “blood don’t make family”, I created my own. For the rest of my life really this would be my struggle, acceptance. As I write that sentence a single tear rolls down my cheek. I’m realizing right now that little girl is still within me fighting for that same acceptance. Enough of that, we will get there. Without further a due…..

Thinking back I arrive at 12 years old, the 6th grade, as the point in which I begin take full responsibility for my actions. Some of you are probably freaking out right now- “But you were a child!” While that is true, and although I didn’t consciously think, “I have abandonment issues I’m going to try to fill my void.” I was actively trying to be liked, accepted, and wanted anything that made me feel loved even if only for a moment. Remember, I’m twelve years old.

I always had a “boyfriend” even from kindergarten. I was always getting in trouble for holding hands on the magic reading carpet. In 1st or 2nd grade I had 2 boyfriends, they would fight over who was going to give me crayons. It continued on this way all through out school. By the 6th grade I was really developing “romantic feelings” towards boys. I wanted to kiss, hold hands, they whole nine yards. My mom was a very strict authoritarian type parent so doing bad stuff was super thrilling to me. I had a friend that was on a much longer leash than I was. She was basically allowed to go, do and talk to whoever she wanted. Like any other young person would, she was whose house I wanted to be at.

She hung out with older people, ya know 7th and 8th graders. They were so cool, and the boys were much cuter. She was invited to the coolest boy in towns Halloween party, and I was invited to come with her. I went and it was amazing! I felt so cool, I could not believe I was really here at the coolest party I had ever been to when something horrible happened. Lets just say things got a little gory unexpectedly, I got my period for the first time. As humiliating as that was, and frightening might I add. I had to leave the party and hurry home, like a lame, at 8 o’clock. Took me a little while to recover from that one.

This was early 2000’s, 2001-2002, the internet and chat rooms were just becoming the new thing. Everyone was starting to put computers in their basements with access to the world wide web. Every pre-pubescent person around the country now had access to millions of people and unlimited porn. Don’t fool yourself, we all were in the chat rooms saying we were older than we were, talking to men or women who were “older” and there was plenty of web camming and porn viewing going on. We wonder why the current generation is so over sexualized…. Needless to say, the average 12-16 year old could now become “experienced” without actually doing the act. Just like anything else your curiosity overtakes the satisfaction of the fantasy, surprisingly enough that is not just an adult issue. I had a boyfriend at this time, he was a year older than me but he had already hit that puberty phase where they begin to fill out, so to me he looked way older which I liked. We had made a plan to lose our virginity to each other. We had the perfect plan, he went to another school which was already out for the summer and my mom worked out of town. I would skip school and he would come over and we would… The plan was going flawlessly, I skipped school and he was on his way over. I was unbelievably nervous, but I thought it was what you did. If I remember right I over sprayed myself with vanilla body spray and lathered coconut lotion on my legs, how juvenile. After sitting awhile, trying to work up the courage to actually take this beyond kissing I pulled away, “I’m not ready for this.” To which he replied, “Okay, I’m going to go feed my goat.” If you know me now you know I have my palm to forehead shaking my head wondering what the cuss was I thinking.

The awkward encounter did not redirect my plans, I continued to try to become “sexy”. Christina Aguilera and Brittney Spears were the sensations. With there sexy clothes and hot music videos, every girl aspired to be them. When Christina released that song “dirty”, it was over. The bumpin’ and grindin’ generation began. It wasn’t just in the clubs, it was also at the school dances. My boyfriend went to a different school so he wasn’t allowed at this dance that was being put on. There was an older boy there giving me attention, so I gave him something to pay attention too. Dirty dancing looked like child’s play in comparison to way we were dancing up there. When you wanna act like an adult you get adult drama. The boyfriend found out about the dancing, he was pissed. There was a town festival, I was excited when I saw him but he wouldn’t talk to me. I really thought he wouldn’t find out since he wasn’t there, dumb. My first true heart break.

Not long after that there was another boy, and another try in which still didn’t happen. My mom had a friend with a much older son. I was 12 he was 16 I believe. Her friend was cool, and she liked having me around. She invited me to stay the night and watch movies and hang out with them. Chase and I were already sitting under a blanket on the couch together. I distinctly remember my mom saying after reluctantly allowing me to stay, “Make sure they stay away from each other during the night. She comes from a long line of horney women.” She probably should have went with her gut on that one. Shocker, he was definitely trying. Lucky for me we were laying in such an awkward way, his mom was right there, and I was able to shut him down, but nicely, I don’t want people not liking me. I did gain some experience that night, but not to much.

Things went a little wild after this. Like I said the internet was just becoming popular. It was back when AOL and Net Zero used to send those 30 day free trials in the mail. Well to set them up you had to provide a checking account number. I was always resourceful. I just got my moms check books from the cabinet and filled in the information. What I didn’t know was after the trial it was going to charge the account like $60 or something. I can’t recall rather it was one or multiple, but does it matter? She was pissed when she found out one more. She was freaking out, hard core. I was in a lot of trouble and she was going ballistic. That day everything changed in my life. I touched on some abuse in the beginning of this post, at this point my Grandma told me it was time to report this, So I did. Things happened fast after that, my dad came from Idaho a few days later and picked up my brother and I for the summer. It was just supposed to be 6 weeks, but during that time I had revealed to my dad that I didn’t want to go home to mother, I wanted to stay with him. He got the ball rolling immediately.

Court day was interesting. I remember jamming The Eminem Show the whole way from Idaho back to Oregon. My dad, my brother and I singing every word with just as much passion as Mr. Mathers. I remember the smile on my moms face going in, it scared me. I knew there was no way in the world we would be going home with our dad that day. She always got exactly what she wanted, and he had a record. The judge called my brother and I into his chambers separately. I can’t even remember what was asked, or what was said, then back to the hall way. We sat out there for what seamed like an eternity before my mom came bursting out, face in her hands bawling. My eyes were probably as wide as saucers as my dad came out and wrapped us up and said, “we did it”.

Looks like we’re moving to Idaho, sweet. Didn’t really turn out to be to sweet. My dad and step mom were fighting there own demons during this time, leaving to feel left out, not apart. The fact my mom wasn’t even trying to contact me didn’t help matters. I was so afraid when I started school. I came from a 98% white town. There was like one Mexican family, one black family, and a couple adopted Asians but they were no different than any of the rest of us. The school I attended was 98% Hispanic. I pronounced everyone’s name very American, J-uan, Jesus (instead of Hey-Suz). Their culture was different, their language was different, and I wasn’t in a small town anymore. I was so glad when I made my first friend. I wanted to be just like her. She was cool, and assertive, and didn’t take no crap, I liked that. We quickly became friends, spending all of our time together. She had a few brothers and a cute cousin who quickly became my boyfriend. I would again attempt a failed sexual encounter and as quickly as the relationship began it ended, rejected again. I started to settle into my identity in the new place. I was quickly making friends and building a there which was the polar opposite of the life I had lived before.

Jess and I started hanging out with this other girl, Rainey. Rainey lived “on the other side of the tracks” so to speak. I thought my friend in the 6th grade had free reign, this girl had no leash at all what-so-ever. So when she suggested we go over to a boys house none of us objected. We went to this guy name Jimmy’s house. His bedroom was in the garage, which I now realize is like the last straw for parents, red flag. So we were all hanging out there, drinking a few beers, when we decided to play truth or dare. It started pretty innocent, I dare you to kiss so and so. I dare you to take your shirt off. Then Jess dared Rainey to have sex with Jimmy… she said okay and they had sex right there in front of everyone. I was like, woah this is happening and simultaneously like, I’ve never done this before I’m so lame, don’t look lame. When I was dared to do the same with Roberto, I didn’t object, and as I write that I’m again shaking my head wondering what the cuss I was thinking.

I wasn’t ready for the surge of emotion I was going to feel after this. I was head over heels in love with Roberto. We were going to get married and have two children, who were already named. I doodled his name on my notebooks, passed him love letters in the halls. We skipped school, a lot. I thought I had experienced heart ache, but nothing hurt as much as the day I saw Roberto with another girl as we passed each other on the play ground. I was devastated, world crashed down. When he called one night and told me to meet him up the street at his friends house, I quickly jumped out of my window and went down there. Roberto and this older man were in this camper trailer, they were doing some sort of drug I didn’t know at the time, it was meth. Roberto wanted me, so of course being completely unable to control myself at the prospect of him loving me again, I obliged him. What happened next has kept me from watching XXX or any Fast and Furious movie to this day. I went inside the house to use the rest room, when I came out the older man was there waiting for me. I tried to get around him but he grabbed me and through me down on the bed and raped me. I focused on Vin Deasil’ s voice and tried to escape the reality of what was happening. When it was over I left and walked home believing I deserved that for putting myself in that position, I never told.

The next 6 months of the year got pretty bad. By the end of the year I had made enough enemies I was having to leave school a little early because the constant threats from other girls. They would think I was trying to get their men, plus I was white so that just automatically knocked me down a few pegs. Jess and I had ended up enemies by the end of the year. It was not good. My parents thought it wasn’t as bad as I made it sounds until 8th grade started. The way school were broke up there they had 6th & 7th together, 8th, 9th & 10th, 11th & 12th. So we had a building to ourselves, it was much bigger, much more open, and had a lot more students in attendance. Every day I was getting in a fight. Two weeks into the school year we moved back to Oregon. I think my parents thought it would be better there, back home, but our family would be unable to escape the turmoil that was coming.

school photo 3rd grade girl
The Word

Threaded Needle

Ding. “You have 1 unheard voice message. Playing voice message.” Ding: “Cheryl, there has been an accident. Ambulance is on the way.”

“John! Come quickly! Someone is on the phone, it’s about your daughter!”

The morning of the fire the world kept spinning. The fire fighters were able to put the fire out and we returned safely back to our home in enough time to bathe for work and school. I was upset that day, clinging to the stuffed animal offered to me as comfort by set-it-off-movie-poster-1996-1020210510one of the firemen. My mom was hesitant to say yes when I asked to spend the night with my friend Halie. I loved going to Halie’s, she had way cooler stuff than I did. In fact, her family had just moved across town into this huge 3 story house. Okay so it was two stories and a basement. Nonetheless, her room was in the basement. We could be as loud as we wanted! Plus, it was so far away from everyone else in the house her parents would never hear us cussing while we played, “Set it off”. What is “Set It Off”? Remember that 90’s movie about a gang of women bank robbers and they get back together for one last heist. Its high drama, high action, lots of super cool stunts, also very vulgar.

All kinds of what I recall as weird things were happening that night at Halie’s. First thing was this chair. Her parents had gotten this fancy roller chair. Sure, everybody has them now, but back then, you didn’t. So crazy thing about this chair is it was magic or possessed or something. Every time I sat in it and pulled the lever, the chair would lower. We would raise the chair back up, Halie would sit on the chair, pull the lever and nothing! Befuddled I would sit back on the chair and repeat the process, I would make the chair lower, Halie never did! I know now that the truth is I was able to lower the chair and she was not because… I was “bigger” than her. *Whatever* Moving along….

The other thing that really creeped me out that night was while we were playing “Set it off”. So back in the days of CDoffspring’s they would sometimes have what was known as “hidden tracks”. Hidden tracks are additional songs at the end of an album that are not on the set list. Often you wont even know they are there unless you just let the CD play out. Again, this is a fact known to older me, not 9-year-old me. So, we would be playing, and to stay true to the movie, we were of course performing all kinds of cool stunts. These stunts included but were not limited to: jumping off the desk, spinning around on the chair, high flying karate kicks, somersaults and of course, some epic wipeouts. Here is the crazy part, it was when we hit the ground hard, the hidden tracks would start playing. We assumed the boom box was possessed as it didn’t even appear to be “on” and went about our night.

Morning came early, so early. I was dragging as we were forced to help load up all the gear. Halie’s family was going snowmobiling and had invited me to join them. I had never been snowmobiling before and to be honest I wasn’t into going back home to be reminded of the fire drama a few nights before. Up the mountain we went.  We arrived at a small warming cabin in the middle of a wide-open clearing. There was a wooden fire in there and more hot chocolate than I could stomach. Adult conversation became a drag to Halie and me, so we went outside to find an adventure. Mountains_Snow_BBaccus_web4The snow was piled high and so powdery. We jumped from pile to pile, sinking right trough some. The icicles that hung from the cabin were the biggest I had ever seen, at least 12 inches. The snow was piled so high it was no problem to climb right up and snag one. It was a great day, I didn’t think about the fire at all. I was feeling good and confident.

I asked Halie if she wanted to ride the machines. She said she would ask her mom if we could, and she did. Her mom came outside and showed us the controls. “Here’s the throttle, here’s the break.” She told me. I didn’t think it would be so hard, plus there wasn’t anything to run into out here really, so how hard could it be? She told me to ride around in a circle. Show her I understood what she had told me about the controls. I made a circle like a champ. “Perfect!” She said as she walked back into the cabin, leaving us to ride alone. We made circles till we were dizzy, but now I had a real feel for it. I was sure I could handle it, so I took off in a different direction. With intentions on just making a bigger circle around the cabin I saw two split trees. I thought, “I can make it through that no problem.” I sped toward the opening between the trees but didn’t make it.

school photo 3rd grade girl
3rd grade pre accident

I remember looking at those trees, I remember my last thought, but the rest is blank from my perspective.

“Oh my god! Oh my god! What happened?” Halie’s mom exclaimed as we walked into the cabin. I had sneezed causing me to turn the machine and squeeze the throttle fully. My friend bailed off the back of the machine as I ran face first into one of those trees. My Dallas Cowboys jacket was covered in blood, they took it off me. I went to the bathroom, I drank hot chocolate, then the paramedics arrived. Once they got there bleeding had subsided and swelling began to set in. It didn’t look good, but we wouldn’t know how bad it was quite yet. An ambulance isn’t equipped to safely drive up and down snow-covered mountains with emergency speed. So, I was loaded into a cart pulled by a snowmobile down the mountain to the ambulance.

My mother received the first phone call. Frantically she tried to return the call over and over with no answer. She sped to the hospital looking for answers. She got there and received none. She would just have to wait until I was brought in and they could assess the damage. The doctors assured her the paramedics believed it was a broken nose. It was severely broken but nothing to get worked up over. She waited. I try to imagine how she must have felt. If I was her, and my daughter was me, I would be wrecked. I would be going insane with fear and worry. Chaos would overtake my mind and panic would seize my heart. I always expect the worst.

My dad ran to the front office of the state park. He was attending a Christian men’s retreat there with some of his closest friends at the time. He had recently began attending church and had given his heart over to the Lord. This was a big step for him and he was really into it. He takes the phone call and hears the news and reacts how any caring father would. “I’ve got to go!” He insisted. He had ridden up there with a friend, he urged him to “come on! Let’s go! I got to go!” The Pastor, Pat, refused to let them go without praying first. My father was not willing to take to the time to say a prayer when those were precious seconds his baby girl’s life was hanging by a thread. However, Pat persisted in the request to pray, just quick. My father finally gave in and joined the other men in a prayer of healing and protection over my little life. The prayer ended almost as quickly as it began, and my dad and his buddy were in the truck flying down the mountain to get to the hospital.

By the time he arrived I was already there. The doctors had already seen me, it wasn’t good. Doctors warned my parents, they could see me, but to prepare themselves. The doctors told them I would be unrecognizable due to thewreck1 swelling and the bruising.

They told my mom to keep herself together as she broke at the news. They needed her to be strong for me. They were going to need to life flight me to Boise, and she could not come with them. It was vital they had another doctor aboard. They broke down again. Both packed a bag and headed separately to Boise where I was being life flighted too.

The best way I can explain this is to say a normal skull curves like this (, it sticks out. Mine was like this), concaved.44925 (1) The doctors were worried about the pressure that my skull was putting on my brain. The fear was that I could begin to leak brain fluid into my spine due to the pressure and basically If I didn’t die I would be paralyzed. They were preparing for major surgery, and I mean major. The plan was to shave my head ear to ear across the top. They would then make an incision in the hair line, ear to ear, and peel back my face. Holy cow! I know right. They would then reconstruct the bone to its normal state and alleviate all the pressure on my brain. It would take a long time, and it would be very risky. Even with this surgery there would be no guarantees on the affects of the brain damage and trauma.44923 They just wouldn’t know until I was recovered. I was in ICU for 5-7 days waiting for the swelling to go down enough for the procedure. They doctors were comfortable with moving forward with the procedure and scheduled the operating room for the next morning. That afternoon I had preliminary scans done to show the current state of what was going on underneath what was still swollen.

By this time the whole family had gathered for the surgery. Everyone was there, cousins, aunts’ uncles, grandparents. Even my grandpa that lived in Alaska made the trip. I was playing the game rooms not concerned about this upcoming surgery in the least bit.44927.jpeg The doctors gathered my family in my hospital room and told them the news. “We don’t know how this happened. It is nothing short of a miracle. The bone structure seams to have corrected itself. We will not need to follow through with the procedure at this time.”

As you can imagine, celebration broke out. Everyone was happy and laughing and clapping. It was great news and a cause for celebration! My grandpa took everyone out for dinner that night. I’m not sure what it is called but that was the first time I ever had that ice cream that they bring to you set on fire! It was so cool, but honestly, I thought they would burn the place down with the fire and all.

As I write all this I can’t help but be totally distracted by this thought of “miracle”. A miracle is often described as something that happens that wouldn’t have happened without outside interference. I.e. God. Right? So, it was no question that my recovery and the crazy straightening of my skull was nothing short of a miracle. The big moment. The moment when there wasn’t going to be a surgery. The moment where my 9-year-old body kept breathing. Everybody can agree on those miracle moments. Here’s the reality of my miracle. I did not have to have surgery, but I did have to make weekly trips over the mountain for MRI’s and CAT scans. I didn’t have to have surgery, but it would be several weeks before I could return to school. I wasn’t having surgery, but I also wasn’t living. Still a miracle? I would say yes, but that’s the point.

How often do we miss out on our miracles because there is still some leg work? How often do we close our eyes to divine providence because it doesn’t look miracle-y enough for me? How many miracles do we miss because we simply can’t see though our circumstances? How many miracles do we miss because we can’t see past the right now? Considering this how much more should we trust God? Infinitely and abundantly more!

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of hearing a message live from Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke. He told a story of him as a young boy and some of the trails and difficulties he and his family faced coming oversees from Germany during the war. After he told the epic tale of cannons and capsizing he made an ah-ha inspired moment for me. He said he was not overcome, in extraordinary circumstances, because his “needle had been threaded”. What he meant by that was that God had already him in mind for a specific purpose. What the enemy meant for evil, God used for good. He spared Bonnke in extraordinary circumstances that should have claimed his life and everyone else aboard the ship he was traveling on, but God.

I too believe that my “needle is threaded”. This story is just the first of extraordinary circumstances that should have claimed me but didn’t. My case was called a miracle. I made a full recovery without one single procedure. It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. I still had to be very careful. There was uncertainty at what might happen if I was to become sick. I couldn’t go to school for quite some time following my release from the hospital. Wasn’t allowed to be baptized in the river for fear of bacteria possibly getting in my nose. God performed a miracle in sparing my life that day. He performed another one when he fixed my skull. He continued to shine his glory all through this accident. They said I would never smell, I can, very well I might add. They said I would never taste, I can do that as well, very well. They said there would be learning disabilities and personality defects, I was an A and B student, the personality, well that depends who you ask. Ha-ha. But in all seriousness, I have zero effects or defects from that accident. It was not yet my time, for my needle has been threaded and I have a job to do.

family

 

The Word

In the beginning…

Once upon a time in a mountainous land not so far away there was a young man and a young lady. The origin of their relationship remains unknown, but that’s not where our story begins. The young lady had a troubled home life. The young man liked to have a good time. It was New Year’s eve, and the young lady had a plan. “If I get pregnant, I’ll get kicked out! Then I can be free!” Plan of action: Engage. Science does it’s thing and bam, a baby. Anybody wanna guess who that beautiful green-eyed, sweet little shnookums was? Yep, it was me 🙂 Ain’t I cute?!

Baby on the floor
I think I want to eat that crayon?

Shockingly, I don’t remember much from those years. I know I know, who does? I do remember that by the time I was 5 I experienced more than I should have. My parents were young, dumb, and broke. Did they love each other back then? Anybody’s guess really. They were like water and oil, never mixing well together. Screaming and crying. Hitting and kicking. Broken dishes. All of those things were normal to me. Was I scared? Of course. I didn’t understand, but something inside of me, even then, told me that this wasn’t right. I was like any other child, I just wanted my family to stay together.

I remember the day my dad moved out. I was 5 years old, and in Kindergarten, so I was possibly 6. I had just got a little 10 inch TV, with all the channel buttons right on the front, in my bed room.

Sony trintron televison
I promise that is not a microwave

I remember being really upset that the T.V was gone, but not understanding that so was my daddy. I don’t remember the feelings I had knowing my family was split up, but I remember that T.V. I remember the wooden chess board that sat under it. But I do not remember how I felt when I realized my daddy would never be coming home.

I was always daddies little girl, still am. All of my early memories are with him. I remember watching every Disney princess movie as they came out. He taught me about Klondikes Pizza, and The Simpsons. I can remember one time, man I was little, maybe 4 years old. I was laying on the couch, watching a Disney movie and my dad got up for work. I remember thinking I would be in trouble for watching T.V. and being awake, but he wasn’t mad at all. My throat hurt, so he got me a banana Popsicle and left for the day.

After the divorce my mom remarried quickly. I thought this guy was so cool. He worked for the railroad and he carried this big army green duffel bag. He use to go by the store and pick up boxes of Popsicle’s before he came to see my mom. When he would always pull my very favorite flavor from the bag I thought he was magic. Wasn’t long before they were married. My mom made all the dresses, including her wedding gown. My brother and I were given rings during the ceremony to symbolize his commitment to us as well. They were gold and had a ruby in the center. I believe the ruby is the birth stone for the month of July, that’s the month we “became a family”. I lost that ring no more than 2 days later. Today I would say that was a foreshadowing of events to come.

My dad took a different route for a time. A trip down meth addict lane. If you’ve ever been there or seen someone there you understand when I say that lane leads to the pits of hell. My dad was no exception. A year after the divorce my dad went to jail for possession of methamphetamine. It was Christmas day, the day was grey. Snow covered the ground. It wasn’t a beautiful scene like one might imagine. It was almost ominous outside. I recall the police coming in, my dad being leaned up against the kitchen wall in cuffs being searched. There were several officers outside pillaging through his Chevy parked outside.

Black jacked up 80s model Chevy truck

He went to jail that day, and me and my younger brother watched it all go down. After that, Christmas with dad always had an undertone of anticipation. This event sparked the next several years of battle royal between the two people tasked with providing and protecting me.

My moms marriage was great at first. They were so happy, and so were we. Nights we quiet, everything was calm. We got to go on trips to places we had never been. Shop at stores we’d never even seen, like Toys R Us.

Never forget Toys R Us with Jeffery
RIP Toys R US

But those things didn’t last long. Wasn’t long before it got loud in the house again. Constant fighting at night, pretending all was right in the world in the morning. I thought it was the coolest thing ever when he started delivering pizza at Domino’s. *insert palm to face here* He brought home pizza almost every night. I don’t care what anyone says, back in the days of twisty bread, Domino’s had it going on. They still do, but with the loss of twisty bread… lets just say I’m salty. So 7-8 year old me thought, this guy is still great to me. I remember the day my opinion of him changed. I had fell asleep on the couch and I had just got a Giga Pet. Mine was a cat, and I LOVED that thing like it was a living, breathing, human baby. I woke up well into the evening to discover I could not find Crystal (the Giga Pet). I was frantic. Crying and sweating, “what happened to my baby?” I’ve always been dramatic. Step-dad finally tells me he was caring for her while I slept. Oh thank goodness- sweet man. No. The first thing I discovered was that he had renamed my precious baby: Ass Hole. The nerve!!! That was the turning point for me. No longer was I blinded by Popsicle’s and pizza, I saw him for who he was: a cat stealing thief.

In all seriousness, not that the above mentioned tragedy wasn’t serious, but I really did begin to notice something was different. Step-dad had a camper trailer in the back yard and he started spending a lot of time out there. I noticed that he would stay out there all night. He was always tinkering with something in there. My mom was pregnant, like huge pregnant. They were fighting in the camper, and I could hear them inside. I came out to see what was happening and I saw that the door to the camper was open. The next thing I see is my mother fly across the opening falling onto an open box. Shes screaming and crying, so I run to her. She yells to get away, go in the house. I remember a box of crushed light bulbs.

brokenlightbulb

My dad would go to jail a few more times, do a couple stints in rehab, receive 2 felonies and a good amount of time on probation before my mom would ever really allow us to see him. There would be times our grandma would take us to the rehab. In between jail times we would still visit him. Although he was a “tweaker”, I remember my dad as the best. I never felt unsafe, or unloved. He was a “good-hearted” meth addict. During his probation he met a woman. She was also on probation, yes it was also for meth. As my memory recalls it, they got in trouble a lot. They weren’t supposed to have any contact. Standard rule of probation is not to associate with anyone else on probation. They found the loop-hole, and got married. The wedding took place in my grandmas living room. My brother and I were not invited to attend. Today I would also call that a foreshadowing of things to come. I liked her though. She was nicer than my mom, cooler too. Plus now I had a sister, which was much better than a stinky brother.

My mom eventually had the baby, another brother, joy. Things went downhill quickly after this. There were so many times my mom would wake us all up in the middle of the night to load up in the car and go search for her husband. We would go to bars, and other known hang outs. Sometimes we would find him, mostly we wouldn’t. My mom would lose her mind over this guy and his antics. I would try to make frog sounds with my throat. Eventually we would go home and go back to bed for a few hours before school. Stop, rewind, repeat. I don’t remember the day he left. I don’t remember him being there one day and gone the next. I don’t remember feeling any kind of way about his absence. One winter night my brothers and I were playing Power Rangers. I was the pink one of course. We played hard. Mattresses everywhere, dressers set up as jump points. We had it going on, and I had a swim suit on. I guess i thought that was the closest thing I had to a Power Ranger uniform. More likely is that I wanted to combine components of Power Rangers with Mortal Kombat. My mom was screaming, wake up wake up! Guess I passed out, I don’t remember going to sleep. I was rubbing my eyes coming into the living room when I saw it. Through my moms bedroom door massive orange flames filled the window. Panic. Panic. Panic. My mom got us in the car, and across the street. She was in the street screaming and crying and jumping around trying to get someones attention. I was scared she would get burned if she got to far away from the car. The reality was the fire was 50-75 yards away. The fire fighters we nice and they gave me a stuffed animal to take to school. I was shook.

house on fire
So this isn’t my fire, but to 8-year-old me this about sums it up from my perspective

I’m not positive that my dad and  his new wife had ever stopped using. But the early days were great. This “step situation” was WAY better than the one I had experienced before. Days of video games, kangaroo rats, and rollerblading through the trailer park fill my mind. I was 10 when my youngest brother way born. He was so chubby and cute. I loved going to my dads because he was always so much more laid back than my mom. I had “freedom” there. How did I use this freedom you may ask? Well to hang with my friends and put on performances for the trailer park of course! I can remember a 3 song act put on by me, my sister and our friend. Britney Spears all the way, choreographed with the whitest dance moves ever. But we had costume changes! We could ride our bikes a few miles away to the park. We loved going to the park. There was this river that ran right through it, but you had to climb down this 12-15 foot cliff to get down to the water. One day we were riding at the park and we pulled up to the edge to look at the water. Kids are reckless, they can’t foresee consequences and most are oblivious to danger. I’m not sure if it was the way he was positioned on the bike or if he just fell, but he fell off that cliff. Panic. Panic. Panic. He’s dead! Oh my god he is dead! HELP! HELP! A man comes running and jumps down to my brother and cradles him up this embankment to the top of the cliff. As I look at my brother he is ghost white, eyes as big a saucers not blinking, limp and lifeless. I knew he was dead. By this time we had luckily found someone with a cell phone. If you can believe it, they were rare back then. My dad got there and loaded up my brothers bike along with my brother and took him home. After the shock wore off my sister and I raced each other back to the house.

It was never proven for sure, but my mom has always believed her ex-husband set the fire that terrified us that night. Right outside her bedroom window was our family hot tub. It was winter so that bad boy was full and heated, actively being used on a daily basis. It was that hot tub that was set ablaze. It burnt to a pile of ashes, basically nothing was left it so it was hard to determine what may have caused this fire. My moms theory: Ex-husband sneaks to house late at night, pulls the plug to drain the hot tub and leaves. Goes and gets hoped up on alcohol or meth or both. Comes back and sets the thing on fire. Seams plausible to me. Here’s whats interesting, by the time the fire truck is there I’m gonna guess it was around 4 A.M. This lady comes to talk to my mom out of nowhere. Shes not an officer or a fire fighter, she just some woman in leather pants. Later I learned that was the wife the of the man whom ex-husband was now living with. Like I said, unsolved. You decide for yourself.

From this point on things get messy and complicated so buckle up, and you may need to take notes.

scared little girl

Uncategorized

Welcome

Thanks for joining me! I hope you enjoy this exciting adventure! Together we will sift through God’s word discovering how we can take  biblical principals and live them out in today’s modern world.

The Lord spoke to my heart about 3 years ago of this idea: Counter Culture Christianity. I said, “Lord, what do you mean?” And you know what He said? “I’ll show you.”

At this point I think I may finally understand that when the Lord tells me he’s going to “show” me something, He means it. But, how would He going to show me?. The answer would be the same way He has shown, taught or prepared anyone: experience.

Yep, there’s that dreaded thing. So uncomfortable, yet so necessary. Most of the time my stubborn nature plays against me, so I get to learn the hard way, experience.

I have been through a series of cycles of seasons in my walk with Christ. That’s half true, it almost sounds negative. I have experienced many seasons with Christ with their own unique ups and downs. Somehow that leads to continual growth. The truth is I went through two seasons in my 10 year church experience: Summer and winter.

In the beginning I found church to be this magical land where everybody smiling and happy all the time. Love flowed over rivers of grace and mercy. Literally it was Eden to me. The more I got involved and the more I learned of the Lord, the more invested I became. I never had a church or religious experience growing up. I’d attended here and there with friends when I was a kid, but nothing real. I didn’t know such a place with such a people could be real. I bloomed. I dived so deep into my Bible and into prayer at times, I felt like I was having an affair. I would sneak away to pray, read the Bible every chance I got. Jesus was the best thing that ever happened to me, still is. However, to understand where I’m going, you first must understand where I’ve been…

 

“Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”
-Jesus

sea of Galilee Israel
Sea of Galilee | Israel 2018 | Photo Credit: Jordyn Baze