inspiring

‘At 15, I became pregnant with my daughter. I had to raise a child while still growing up myself. I received hate and rumors spread.’ Teen mom beats the odds to graduate college and ‘reach success’

“Everyone recognized me by pregnant belly, rather than by my face. I dealt with dirty looks and whispers in the hallways. In college, I got pregnant with my son. It wasn’t easy. I have been in abusive relationships, been days away from planning a wedding, only to find out I was ‘only an option.’ I wanted to give up, on everything. But I was strong for my children.”

‘I knew from the moment I saw you, that I wanted you.’ I got scared, and rightly so. Then came the pressure for sex. I was a virgin.’: Woman’s survives narcissistic relationship with her ‘best friend’ despite him ‘tormenting’ her

“‘You don’t love me if you don’t do everything I want in bed,’ he claimed. He stormed out, pushing me away in the process. I came after him, as always. I had been conditioned. He was drinking in my parking lot. We argued, agreed to put it behind us, and went to bed. ‘Don’t tell anyone what happened, even your family,’ he told me.”

‘I want to live!,’ I was screaming. The cops were on their way. I was trying to get out of the bathroom, trying to get my boyfriend off me, trying to hide in the tub.’: Single mom’s empowering story of surviving domestic abuse with infant daughter

“I had 3 months to figure out my escape. I stopped fighting back with my daughter’s father and kept calm. He was losing control, and it drove him crazy. ‘You’re not gonna take her from me,’ he’d say. I’d wake up to him pacing the kitchen talking to himself. I stayed quiet and texted a friend who said, ‘Wait 10 minutes, and then you call the cops. He could be lying.’”

‘MOM YOU DID IT!’ I had gone from a married stay-at-home, homeschooling mother, to a single mom of 4 and nursing school graduate. And then it finally happened. I cried.’: Single mom’s empowering journey navigating ‘messy divorce’

“When my marriage imploded, I didn’t shed a tear. Up until the split, I had been a stay-at-home oilfield wife. I home-schooled the children. It started to hit me. Great big tears poured from my eyes as I walked across the stage. I turned to my kids in the crowd. We did it, together.”

‘Did you tell her about the drama at work?’ I noticed my husband get uncomfortable. ‘There is a rumor your husband is sleeping with a girl who works with us.’ He laughed.’

“The week after bringing my son home, I couldn’t get a hold of my husband. I had the urge to check his social media. There they were. Messages between him and a girl. He would tell her where to pick him up, where to meet. Most times were in the middle of the night when I had laid pregnant and asleep. ‘HE WAS LYING TO YOU!’”

‘I had to wear a wig on my wedding day. ‘What’s going on?!’ my mom asked. ‘I don’t know,’ I lied. It was my dirty little secret. I was a prisoner of my own body, and I put myself there.’

“I had anxiety about what people would say to my son about my hair. Would he be teased because of me? I just couldn’t do that to him. I bought a wig and started an 18-year game of hide-my-hair. I couldn’t believe what I was doing to myself. Each day, I hoped no one caught me.”

‘I held this dark secret. I remember thinking, ‘What the heck? Are people weird like me, too?’ Cruel kids would ask, ‘What are you doing? Why are you pulling out your hair?’ I’m done hiding.’

“When I was 8 years old, I vividly remember pulling out an eyelash as I sat in my mom’s car in the drive-thru. And you know what? I LIKED the feeling from it. It was oddly satisfying. I kept pulling them out until my eyelashes were bald. Then, my parents began to notice. They couldn’t accept I was doing this to myself.”

‘He went quiet. ‘You’re out with who?!’ he snarled. Surprised by his reaction, I laughed. His anger grew. ‘Tell him to go home. Tell him to leave. Now.’ This must be my mistake, I thought.’

“As an insecure 18-year-old, it felt great that this older, successful man liked me. When he asked me to be his girlfriend only two weeks later, I was all in. I was so charmed by him. When I went upstairs to gather my things, he followed, blocking the front door. ‘You’re not going anywhere.’ He wouldn’t move. He wouldn’t let me leave.”

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