Welcome to the first Tuesday of June and our first Tell All Tuesday.
This week our featured story comes from Bekah of Little Messy Hands. I am so honored to feature Bekah and her incredible story of pain, heartache, abuse, strength, courage, and in the end victory. It is my hope that Bekah’s story encourages someone reading to dig deep within and fight through your trials so that one day you too will be victorious.
Bekah, I thank you in advance for not only your transparency but your willingness to share some of the most difficult parts of your life with my audience in hopes to encourage someone else.
My life did not have the easiest start. I will not pretend that it was horrible though because my childhood had a lot of joy. For a portion of my life, I grew up unaware of the struggles that my parents faced, which is exactly how it should be. But that was short-lived. I figured out how rough things were before I got too much older and by the summer before my freshman year of high school, we were homeless. Getting kicked out of our apartment, no money for a house, and living in a tent in a campsite because my dad managed to find work at the campground to pay for our stay. Luckily, we were able to pull ourselves out of that situation. But that is not where my story ends, in fact, that isn’t even where my story begins.
In my 10th grade, I began dating a man who I thought I loved. But he turned into the person who would turn my life around completely. Within a few months of the start of our relationship, he began to be so mentally and emotionally abusive that it put me into such a deep depression, I wasn’t sure that I would ever get out.
By a year into our relationship, I was completely controlled by him. I had cut off all my friends, most of my family, and I was lashing out at everyone close to me. I was not allowed to see a doctor, I was not allowed to smile or say hello to anyone who spoke to me, the only reason I was allowed to work was so that he could take my money at the end of every week. Every step I took and every word I spoke was criticized and I was called names for asking questions or speaking out of turn. And despite my best efforts to be a “good” girlfriend, I was still accused of cheating and lying every day. I genuinely believed that the only way I would get away from him was if one of us died. And I didn’t care which.
We were together 3 years when I found out I was pregnant, and I spent the next 9 months in a relationship with a person who was becoming more and more abusive. I was working almost full time, coming home to a man who treated me like garbage, and trying to prepare for a child all on my own. I was in a relationship, but I was a single mom. During my pregnancy, I realized started using drugs, serious drugs. And It was causing him to not only act more abusive but also to take all of the money I was earning that was supposed to go to our child. He cleaned out my savings account 3 times and stole all the money I received back from taxes.
A few weeks after the birth of our daughter, we went out to eat to talk about how we would handle co-parenting. On the way home, we got into a fight because I finally opened my mouth and questioned him about his drug use, which resulted with him hitting me in the face with a large stack of newspapers and crashing the car we were in. He told me he was keeping the baby until he was “good and ready” to bring her back.
That was the last straw for me, and that was the day that I started turning my whole life around. My daughter gave me the strength to stand up to a man who ruined the person that I once was.
I got my daughter from him right away and told him to never speak to me again. The next day, I went to the courthouse, filed for sole custody and an emergency order or protection because I was terrified of what he would do when he found out what I had done. I found myself a lawyer that I paid for in what little cash I had left, and spend the next months keeping this man as far from our lives as possible. Luckily, my parents allowed my daughter and I to continue living there while I repaired myself. It has been 2 years since and I still struggle with what he has done.
Imagine having to learn how to walk and talk all over again. I spent months trying to figure out how to speak and laugh. I had to relearn basic skills like eating in front of people and walking up the stairs.
The ONLY thing I could do well, was be a mother. She was my strength and my reason to keep going. I had to be strong for her since she couldn’t do it for herself, and I refused to let my daughter endure the abuse that he would inflict on her if he ever became a part of her life.
I will not pretend that I have been continuously physically abused or had it worse than any other women out there that have been emotionally and mentally abused. But I am here to tell anyone that struggles with this, that you can get away. You can do it. You can get out, turn your life around, and you can get better! I will tell you how.
As I said, my daughter was the motivator that really pushed me to get out, who knows where I would be if I hadn’t. But once I was out, I have had a lot to work through.
I started treatment. Since then, I have received a diagnosis of Depression, Anxiety, and Post-traumatic stress disorder from the abuse. And that was my first step to taking care of myself. I take time out of my busy schedule to speak to a therapist to help start to work through the mental issues that it has caused.
To practice self-care, I also take a mental health day every once in a while. I dress up, find a babysitter, and have a night out.
I also have started up yoga again, and I am learning the art of meditation to help center my thoughts.
These things will not make you perfect overnight, if you are struggling through this, you will have to work at it every day of your life. But one day you will wake up and for a few minutes, you will feel better. For your sake, I hope that each day, that feeling stay a little longer until you are closer and closer to the person you once were.
I still struggle every day, and I know I always will, but things get easy with each day that passes. Loud noises still terrify me, when someone yells at me I have to leave the room and cry until I can regain my composure to enter the room again. But the most important thing to know when you are healing is that I will take time, and I know you have the strength to do it.
My life has turned around greatly. I went out of my comfort zone when a regular customer at my job asked me out and after a mental battle with myself, I finally agreed. I began dating a man who was not afraid of the fact that I was a mother and all of my baggage that comes with being a victim of abuse.
This ending up being one of the best decisions that I have ever made, he has helped me improve my life in so many ways and teaches me that I do not have to be afraid of every man I meet. And has stepped up to be an amazing father to my daughter.
After a few months into our relationship, my parents became ill and were unable to watch my daughter anymore so that I could work. Because of my boyfriend, I was able to become a stay at home mom and spend some of what would be my father’s last months with him. My dad passed away about 6 months later from cancer that we were unaware of. And it left our family shocked and unaware of what to do next.
But I continued to better myself by using the time I had to take off from work to continue my education by going to college, something I never thought I could do. Well, guess what? I’m doing it. And to help financially, I also take care of two little girls in our home about 3-4 days a week.
I went from being a woman who terrified of breathing, to a Full-time homemaker, Full-time student, babysitter, and a powerful mother who does not let anyone take advantage of me. We have plans to buy our own house and soon to grow our family from 3 to 4 or more! I also recently started a blog for parenting but to also begin speaking out about my life and I hope to reach out to women who are or have been in the situations that I have been in. If I can help at least ONE woman to become confident enough to start her life over, or get out of a dangerous situation, I will feel successful.
If you are a victim of any type of abuse, your life can change, and you can make it. I know what it is like to feel like you have no choice, but you do.
I believe in you.
Thank you, Bekah for opening up and sharing some of the most intimate details of your life with my audience.
If you or anyone you know are suffering abuse at the hands of a loved one, you can leave your situation. It won’t be easy and at times fearful, but you can escape just as Bekah did. Contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline for help.
You can read more from Bekah over at her blog, Little Messy Hands.
I’d love to have you tell your story for Tell All Tuesday. Contact me for details.
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Until Next Time,