Girl in a Cafe


Growing up, as a young girl, as far back as I ca remember; I hated myself. I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin and had an inherent sense that deep down something was “wrong” with me. My mother had me when she was very young and loved me very much; however, she was truly a child herself when I was born.

For the first 18 years of my life the story I was told regarding my birth father was that he never wanted me. I would instead grow up with a step- father with unrealistically high expectations of me. The constant message I internalized being that I wasn’t good enough; I should try harder, I must be perfect. I remember being so worried that if I didn’t do things ‘right’ in life that I would never be loved.  I made good grades and I followed the rules and I did all the things that I was ‘supposed to’ do. But I was always deeply unhappy, desperate to win the affection or praise of those around me. I became obsessive about my weight and physical appearance. In high school, my first relationship was emotionally and psychologically abusive and my first sexual encounter with him was date rape. I stayed in that relationship for just shy of 2 years. On the day I graduated high school a man came and tapped me on my shoulder, and told me he was my biological father. I learned that he had been waiting for me to turn 18 so he could meet me and be a part of my life. This knowledge sent me reeling. I was livid; my whole worldview had been demolished. It sent me on a path of self-destruction that would take me over 18 years and 7 separate rehab facilities and institutions to begin to recover from.

            I began using hard drugs and very quickly became addicted to crystal meth. The countless life-threatening situations I encountered over the next decade did nothing to prepare me for a man I would not meet until my late 20’s. By this time, I was a full fledge, transient, jaded, self-deprecating addict. He was a sociopathic master manipulator who was very gifted in the art of pin pointing factors that made me a prime target. He was a smooth-talking drug dealer who showed up in my life right about the time I felt like everything was falling apart and I couldn’t continue on my own anymore. He made me feel chosen, valued, important, and special; at a time and in a way I had never felt before. Then he moved me far away from anyone I knew and we began to live in hotels. He restricted who I knew and what I knew; who I talked to, what about, and when I could talk to them. I couldn’t talk to anyone alone; I couldn’t go anywhere alone. During this time my mother and I became estranged. She was my closest person. Once that tie was broken, I felt very little connection to reality. Soon after, this man began to invite couples over to our hotel room, then reveal that they had paid for the night with me. Sometimes He would stay sometimes he wouldn’t. He sold me to the cartel, he used me as collateral for his drug runs and to pay his debts when it suited him. Although I had been an active participant in the party scene for many years prior; I was very un-familiar with this abrupt paradigm shift in my life. Suddenly things like choice, and freewill and personal safety became so foreign to me that they almost faded from memory. Survival, and struggle, and duplicity moment to moment became the norm. I lived this way for 4 ½ years . Constantly in fear, running away, going back hiding out.  I pretending to be whoever needed to be to survive. I wish I could accurately explain Stockholm syndrome. How it feels inside your mind to keep returning to the person you are fully aware is wrecking your mind and body and life, and then still doing it. It’s a madness that returned to over and over again and was very much an addiction of its own.

            I might have kept this toxic cycle going until my death had God himself not intervened. One day I was picked up on a routine traffic stop as a passenger in a car with expired tags. I had a warrant in another county so they arrested me. First, they sent me back to my hometown. I had run to the state’s capitol, renegading and attempting to find independence in the first place; but unable to outrun my demons, I choose rehab over prison. This may seem like an easy choice for some, but the state of mind I was in was still corrupted and distorted.  On some level, I was afraid that no matter what I did, I would never be able to change, and there was no use in trying. I had tried it all before; so many times. I had a lot of long hard conversations with God in Harris County jail; and I decided that I would give it one more try. This time doing EVERYTHING DIFFERENTLY than I had before. I went to rehab and I paid close attention to the things that the councilors were saying. I did my homework and while I had free- time I read my Bible. I talked to God about the ways I wanted my life to be different and He showed me areas I needed to work on right then. He opened doors for me I never would have thought to knock on. I left rehab and was admitted to a Residential safe house for women recovering from Human trafficking; where I was given the tools and resources to continue to overcome. 

I have experienced healing and freedom that once seemed unreachable. I hope to one day help others overcome similar circumstances and bring hope to the hopeless by being an example of the restoration power of Jesus. I feel a calling on my life to pursue a career in suicide prevention because I  struggled with suicidal ideations ever since I was a young child.   I want to be able to walk with anyone who has been through the things I have been through; to be able to show the power of God’s amazing Grace in my life. I believe that I am here today because of the power of intercessory prayer from my mother and my grandmother.  I want to close encouraging anyone reading this who had identified with any part of this story. There is no situation that you might be in that is too far gone for God to redeem you from. There is nothing you have done that you can't be forgiven from.  God loves to use imperfect people to show his mighty power.