Dedication: I would like to dedicate this story to my husband. May our marriage grow and blossom the way we want it to.
I wanted to write this story because maybe somewhere out in the world is a girl like me. A girl that grew up in a place that can only be compared to hell. A girl who got pregnant at 16 and just maybe got married at 18. When I was a little girl I had so many dreams of being beautiful, wanted, and loved. But as I got older the dreams faded and my imagination faltered. I started pushing through every day with one goal. Survive. My mom hated me. She beat me constantly, and when she wasn’t she was too checked out on her computer to notice me. My dad loved me too much, enough that I was the only one whose room he didn’t sneak into at night. That made my siblings hate me. I wasn’t old enough to understand that. On my 9th birthday I had a rude awakening. My mom never acknowledged me on my birthday and my siblings gave me birthday punches every year. I decided to go on a bike ride to cheer myself up. There was a bayou on the other side of the neighborhood that would grow flowers all through summer. I ended spending the whole day there drawing flowers and celebrating my birthday by myself. I stayed out until the sun started going down. I remember crossing the bridge going towards the neighborhood and feeling this hole in my stomach. Like I knew something wasn’t right. I ignored it and just walked alongside my bike. I was about 5 minutes away from being home when a man walked up to me. He asked me if I could help him with something in his garage. I told him no and I kept walking. He followed and said that he needed someone with small hands because his were too big. I told him no again, this time climbing on my bike to get away from him faster. That’s when he hit me in the head. I remember waking up dizzy and in pain. I was face down and could see my own blood in a small puddle on the concrete. I fought with everything I had and I got away. I ran home. I don’t remember what time it was when I got back. I know my mom was still awake with a single lamp illuminating her desk. When I walked inside she didn’t even notice me. I took a shower and went to bed and that was that. My siblings never knew, my parents never knew. But I knew from that day on that I was alone. Me, myself, and I against the entire world. And I was okay with that. As I got older I made bad decision after bad decision. I got addicted to cocaine, I struggled with an eating disorder and depression since that birthday. I had abusive boyfriends, bad influences for friends, and a family that didn’t notice me. The only person who did was this girl named Sophie. I made friends with Sophie when I was 8. Sophie was this weird, crazy, sweet, funny, girl that walked up to me one day at church and said that she wanted to be my friend. So we became friends. That Sunday I went over to her house. I met her two brothers. David and Michael. David was the oldest and I think when we met I was 8 and he was 12. And I thought he was the cutest guy I had ever seen. A couple years passed with me and Sophie being the best of friends, and me turning into a drugged out party girl. In 2016 she invited me over for a whole weekend while her parents were away and David took this time to make his move on me. We played truth or dare and the entire time we were flirting with each other. But David was different than the other guys that I had pursued or that had pursued me. He was almost too shy to really flirt with me. So after that weekend we would text in secret and meet up for nighttime walks together. That went on from the spring of 2016 until the fall of the same year. I had just been released from the second behavioral hospital I was admitted into. It was thanksgiving and Sophie had already invited me to dinner with her family and a sleepover after. We went to her aunt and uncles house. Her, David, and I were in the guest room just talking and hanging out with each other. David and I were sneaking glances and blushing cheeks and touches the entire time. At some point after dinner me and David were alone in the guest room and he kissed me for the first time. I remember I completely froze and my entire face turned bright red. After that we started hanging out in secret more and more. At this point I had lost my virginity willingly a long time ago and I was expecting David to want me in that way. But he never pushed for it. He showed me love. I can’t say that I had ever seen or felt it before because David gave me the purest kind of love that I think exists. He told me that he loved me, I didn’t say it back. Not until he proposed. That night that he got down on one knee I said it back and I’ve never seen someone look so happy. He ignited my imagination and gave me the ability to dream again. We dreamt of driving all around the USA and seeing everything there is to see. And then I got pregnant. Everything turned upside down but he stood by me. He told me that we would get married as soon as I turned 18 and that he would always be there for me. 2018 came around and I had just given birth to our beautiful son. Then my grandma kicked us out. We ran to the only place we could. David’s parents. Something to know about his parents is that David and Sophie’s mom never liked me. Even when I was still young and playing with Sophie. They took us in and told us they would help us and that they would let us grow. Everything seemed ok. Then things started unraveling. They started taking everything they could from us. Money for rent made sense but the food that we bought would end up in their bellies, the “fancy” soap bar that cost 2 dollars more than the generic ended up cleaning their bodies. When I confronted them they claimed it was “their fault for telling us to be comfortable.” Resentment grew. I started working two jobs to be able to get my family out. Nothing worked. Price of living is too high and we had no credit or rental history. No one would let us move in anywhere. At this point David and I were already married and our son was a year old. I was tired, frustrated, and my hope started draining. When I found out that my in laws were asking my family where me and David were at or what our plan was I was infuriated. David begged me not to confront them but I did. I asked them to stop texting and calling my dad to find things out about us. My father in law said no and that the fact I would ask that showed how naive and immature I am. I told him that asking my dad these questions was a waste of time because my dad doesn’t know anything. My father in law asked why not. I told him that I didn’t believe that he or my in laws needed to know anything. My father in law responded with a simple “you have a lot of growing up to do.” At this point I was crying and fuming at work. I had thrown my phone down in anger and walked away from the text conversation. My mother in law chimed in saying that me and David don’t know how to accept someone else’s wisdom and that we needed to grow up and listen. So I responded with thank you for your concern. In hindsight that was the wrong thing to say. But I honestly didn’t think anything of it. I saw it as a way to end the conversation. My mother in law took it as an F you. Now my mother in law in my opinion is abusive. I’ve seen her hit her other son Michael, refuse to feed her children what was in the fridge or pantry because she needed it for some recipe that she never made, tell her children that they couldn’t achieve anything whenever they brought up something about what they wanted for the future, and make her husband get rid of all the things for his hobbies because she didn’t think she was getting enough attention. On top of that, whenever she or my father in law would care for my son he would always end up with bruises or cuts or extremely dirty and exhausted because someone had dropped him, they weren’t paying attention to where he was, and refused to follow our schedule for him because she thought she knew what was best for my son. Anyway, when I got home after the text conversation my in laws told me and the rest of the family (David, Michael and our son) to sit down for a family meeting. As soon as I sat down my mother in law started beating on me telling me that I didn’t know how to accept love, that she was mortified by my behavior, that I wasn’t doing anything to push my family forward. I got frustrated because she wouldn’t let me speak so I told her to stop talking so that I could. My father in law who is 6 foot 11 stood over me and started yelling at me. I was launched into an anxiety attack, I sat there silently as they told me that I’ve failed and that I need to grow up and that I need to stop making people feel sorry for me and that all they were doing was treating me like an adult. That wasn’t the worst part though. What hurt even more was watching David sit there. His head down refusing to make eye contact with me. He could hear everything they were saying, see what they were doing and he did nothing to help me. At one point my mother in law said that because I married David I had to change myself to work with his family. I was enraged I took my wedding ring off and threw it at David. I stormed out and as I opened the door my mother in law told me that if I walked out then I couldn’t come back. I slammed the door behind me and started trying to compose myself. David ran after me. I screamed at him trying to understand how he could let them do that to me. He told me that there wasn’t anything he could’ve done and that he didn’t know what to do. I sat on the curb while he went to get our car and an overnight bag. My dad took us in and now we live in a dining room. There were a couple of weeks that I thought of leaving my husband, because how can someone like me who has been beaten down her entire life be with someone who promised to protect her and then break that promise? We’re doing better now. I have a good job, David’s gonna go to school, and our son is healthy and smart. I just want everyone, girls and boys, to know that yeah your life can be completely awful. You can think that you won’t make it past the age of 16. But if you keep going, if you fight for your slice of paradise you’ll find it. I found mine in a baby and a wonderful man who takes care of me. Don’t let people tell you to change. No one can change you. You are your own person, grow in your own way. Love yourself, because you deserve to be cherished no matter what anyone says. You’re beautiful and I love you.