Growing up I used to dream about getting married, having babies, being so disgustingly happy, but life doesn’t happen like that. Maybe I’m cynical because of the life I’ve led so far, but I really didn’t ask for any of it and I obviously couldn’t predict my future. I was in an abusive relationship (mentally, physically, emotionally and financially) for 14 years. I’ve had bruises that could tell stories, half my face black and blue, been bankrupt, and been called every name in the book, been told I’m worthless and no one would ever love a slob and disgusting person like me. I believed those words and still do to this day. The saying “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” is a lie. I’d rather get hit than be called names. So what finally ended that relationship was him cheating on me and leaving me for her. So if all that other abuse wasn’t enough, the final blow was quite the kick to the stomach. I’m so scarred from that I’m surprised I’m still here (seriously). It wasn’t just the fact he cheated on me, it was the horrific mind games he played with me. It got to the point that I totally believed I was worthless, a waste of space, and nobody would ever want me.
The only thing that made me feel ok with myself was alcohol. I delved heavily into that and neglected everything and I still to this day feel tremendous guilt over this. Another hurdle I’m trying to forgive myself for. I was a newly single mom of 3 young children, couldn’t work, eat, or sleep because of stress. I would sleep an average of 2 hours per night, lost approximately 80 pounds and basically became an alcoholic (whew! That was hard to say!).
I’ve also dealt with my daughter having body image issues, anxiety, and PTSD. I’m part of the cause of that. I neglected my kids when they needed me most. I absolutely hate myself for that. I was too busy trying to cope with my demons that I failed to see they needed me so much. I’ve been trying to turn my life around since, trying to do right for my own health and for my kids and have been sober for just over 3 years. For the last 3 years I lost my crutch though and have been dealing with virtually no coping skills.
To this day I suffer from PTSD and anxiety from that relationship and it rears its evil head quite a bit in my marriage. I know it’s not fair to my husband, I’m just always so scared of everything…I really think I’m scared of feeling and trusting someone wholeheartedly. There are a lot of things I’ve mentally blocked from that relationship. I also really lacked the support I needed (don’t get me wrong, there were a few people that were there for me, but they had no idea what I was going through). I didn’t know where to turn or what to do, I was an absolute wreck and still am. Some days I can’t stop the derogatory voice in the back of my head, I push people away from me, because I constantly think I’m just annoying them and they’ll just walk out of my life anyway so why put the effort in? I’m a work in progress….I also think people will say “why did you stay for so long?” Well what people don’t understand is I was torn down so low I thought that’s all I deserved. Its such an incredible struggle, it exhausts me most days. Some mornings it’s a struggle to get out of bed, put my face on and be a productive member of society. I struggle to love and accept myself for all my flaws. I hate that I allowed another person to do this to me.
I’m a nurturer by heart and want to help people in need, ones that understand my struggles because they have or are going through a similar situation. I want people to know they are not alone and there is help out there. I strongly believe in what we are trying to achieve will make a difference in people’s lives. The stories Mark lovingly creates on canvas puts smiles on people’s faces and interacts with people’s struggles in life, putting a positive spin on such a dismal world.