inspiring

‘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.”

‘I couldn’t get hold of my husband. ‘That’s odd? I just had a baby.’ My instinct urged me to check his Facebook. Tears filled my eyes. There they were. Messages between him and girl.’ Woman escapes abusive relationship, marries ‘incredible man’

“He told her where to pick him up, where to meet. Most times were in the middle of the night when I laid pregnant and asleep. I suddenly remembered that rumor at work. Was it true? He walked in nonchalantly. ‘Are you having an affair?’ I should’ve known he was lying because of how calm he was. He was NEVER calm. ‘Of course not. I love you!’ I showed him the messages.”

‘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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