After the long daily response yesterday, this one will be short and to the point.
I have always loved music, and I was attached to my Walkman and all of the cassette tapes that everyone bought me to use with it. I still have a whole double-sided case of the cassettes I used to play sitting out in the garage that I would borrow from my sister (or steal from her rather…until I felt guilty and put them back).
The Walkman played its last tape when I was 15, and I had used it since I was about 10 or 11. I think that was a long life for as much as I used it.
What about you? Did you have an item you were attached to in your youth or even now in adulthood?
I am not sure when it happened, but I became comfortable being Amy. I learned that I was a pretty cool person with a heart and goals that shaped me to who I am today because of the woes and woos of the past. That is why this #dailyprompt has me writing to all of you today about my mission. It’s not just a paragraph or two of my opinion. It’s me…in print form.
As a young girl, I was congenial and social, which is actually the opposite of who I am today. While I still love to take a good selfie, my social game is much different now. I have social anxiety, and I always say that I am socially unacceptable because I lack a filter. Public speaking is scary, but I do it when it has to be done.
I suppose we could start with my legs and my uphill battles that molded me. I was not afraid of taking steps because I literally had to learn to walk the hard way. I think I was 9-10 months old or so when the doctor had to reset my legs to prevent me from walking “bow-legged”. I only know this because of pictures that my grandmother had of me with a cast upon each of my legs. Honestly, I am guessing about the age I was when I sported the casts, but if my sister was sitting here, she could probably tell you exactly.
It took me a very long time to find myself and what I wanted to do with my life. I lacked the life skills to get up, take myself to work, and come home in my younger years. I was 20 years old when I had my first child, and I was 29 when I had my last child. From 1996 until 2012, I was a parent. I was a single parent from 1996 until 2003 when I met “the monster” of my life, and we had a son together in 2005. This is where everything went wrong…not because of having a son, but for who I chose to have him with. That choice led me here.
When you live with the devil, you have to learn to find the light. From my teenage years (age 14 and up) until 2017, my light would go from bright to dim to dark to light to dim over and over again. The first devil was my mom’s boyfriend, and the second time I found the devil…I married him. Twice. (God was trying to tell me something when the marriage did not “take” the first time…and of course, I did not see it.)
In April of 2013, my first suicide attempt happened, and my best friend at the time heard my breath escape me over the phone. I had said my goodbyes, and I was okay with dying. I had nothing left to lose because my choices cost me the only thing that mattered in my life, which is my children. I had been told that I would never get them back no matter what I did, and I had honestly ran out of money to continue fighting. Everyone stopped helping me, and eventually…I gave up too. When I did not die, which I damn well should have after taking a whole bottle of Prozac (28 pills) and a 12-pack of Strawber-ritas, I was a different person. I did not have to go to the hospital and get my stomach pumped, and I did not have any effects of taking all of the pills besides an overwhelming sleepiness. A few cups of strong coffee and the support of good friends, and I was back on my two feet.
There were other ups and downs in the next few years of finding myself all over again. I had to learn how to be a mother that does not have any children that want her. (The story about my kids is a whole other post, or a novel, that is still too hard to write. Those that know me and love me in life know my story, what happened, and why I am here today.)
The reason why all of that is important when telling you about my mission is because my mission also became my purpose.
Mission 1: Finding Amy
Over the years 2007 and beyond, I figured out that there was still life outside of Ash Flat, Arkansas. From 2007 until 2012, I secluded myself in online MMORPG games and SecondLife. Finally, it happened…he found new prey. He found other women.
This was my chance to get free, and this is where I had to leave it all in the past. If I kept looking backward, I would never be able to go forward. I had to make a plan to get well, and then I had to find a way to get away from the abuse. That took me four years.
When I moved to California, my freedom came slowly, but I was on the right path. Everything they said to me, I remembered. In the back of my mind, that became my fuel, but I didn’t realize that I found another version of me. I found an Amy…just not the one that is writing this post, which leads me to Mission #2.
Mission 2: Say Goodbye to What Was Holding Me Back
Even though I was no longer his concubine, it was hard to break free of him without the life skills I needed to make my own money. I had been completely dependent on him bringing home the bacon, so to say. We still talked every single day, and I knew that I was holding on to something that was toxic. It was hard to say “goodbye” to my old life. We both had moved on, but my mindset was still in submissive mode. I relapsed into my old ways, and I tried to die again.
It was like the day in 2013, except this time I did not take a whole bottle of pills…I took stronger ones, and I drank stronger alcohol. No dice. I still woke up again. It made me see that I had some purpose on this planet beyond loving a man or hiding from a broken life. I literally woke up better than the day before; however, I was still chasing the light.
(It’s important to take note that I thought love was that light, and I had been chasing it for far too long. I was looking for it long before any monster in my bed. Love was lacking in my upbringing, so I found it in bad ways.)
Mission 3: Prove Them Wrong
Them…one was my now ex-husband, and the other was my mother. When I made the choice to leave Arkansas permanently and stay with my sister and her family, they uttered the words that drove me to find a way to prove them wrong.
They said, “We’ll see how well you survive out there without me”, and “You’ll be back in no time because you cannot make it on your own”. The main phrase I remember was when he said, “You’ll be nothing without me…you just wait and see”.
In 2018, I met a guy that would show me the world through different eyes. We were together for 2 years, and now we are really great friends. The best part about him was that he had a story, and I got to see how the world really looked instead of looking at it through rose-colored glasses.
When I was fighting for my babies, I did all of the legal research on my case for my lawyer, so when I met Steph…I put those skills to work again. This made me see MY light. I thought he was the light, but what I was doing for him was actually the light I had been looking for.
((Skip bad break-up here in 2020))
In May of 2021, I graduated with two degrees because I met him and figured out that wrongful convictions mattered to me. Civil rights mattered to me. His story led me to my new story. Until my mental health got in the way…
Mission 4: Get Right
No man. No depression. No anxiety. No stress. No worries. Sounds good, right? Pfft…cue next breakdown.
How the hell would I accomplish that? As I sat there looking at my degrees hanging on the wall, I couldn’t help but wonder how to get to the next phase of my life. It was like, “Now what the hell am I going to do with myself?”
For the longest time, I would say, “I don’t want to take a pill to be normal”. As of today, I take several pills to be normal. The truth was that I was scared that I would take the pills and finish what I started in the darkest time of my life.
Getting right began at the end of 2021 and is still happening. I found a psychiatrist that helps me work through my diagnosis, which was Bipolar II Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder. The symptoms of the two overlap, but the diagnoses made the most sense than anything else in my life.
I finally knew why I felt like I was weird or socially awkward. I finally knew why I couldn’t look at myself and love myself. The smallest thing when I was unmedicated was HUGE. When my medications began working, life became less dire and much bigger. I had accomplished my mission of getting right with myself.
Mission 5: Pathway to Law School
This is where we are now. That is my mission and my purpose. I want to be a lawyer and help people like me in family courts. I want to help people like Steph that have been thrown into a broken system without any proof. (You will hear his story soon on my first podcast that we are working on.)
When I graduated from West Hills, my daughter bought me a water bottle that says, “Change the World”. When she gave it to me, she said, “Because, Momma, you are going to change the world…I believe that about you!”
I better not let her down.
Now, there is a lot of information in between all of this information that I did not post. As I read through the stories…my story…I realized that I have a lot to share. One of these days, I may write my memoir. Until then, my mission is to help as many people as possible before I die. A higher power wouldn’t let me die, so here I am.
Every week, Fandango asks a question or collection of questions for us to answer provocatively. Usually I participate in this challenge on my other blog, but it felt like questions that could take our minds to another plane for a moment or two. Maybe you can consider your tv habits while reading mine and participate in Fandango’s challenge.
Here we go!
What country do you live in?
The United States (California)
How many televisions do you have in your home?
On average, how many hours a day do you watch TV?
6+ during the week
More on the weekends
What kinds of programs do you typically watch (e.g., news, sports, movies, dramas, sitcoms, reality shows)?
I watch all the above, but my top three would be news, movies, and sports. I would add series to the list, since not all of them are sitcoms. I do watch a few reality shows as well. I am kind of a TV junkie when not working on school work or working on my career.
Do you watch programs as they are aired or do you record them and watch them at other times?
I don’t record any, but I hate to watch them as they are aired unless it’s football games. I cannot stand commercials, so I wait for them to show up on streaming channels, commercial-free, of course. My sister and I have every streaming network known to man, damn near.
Do you mostly watch “network” TV? Premium cable channels (e.g., HBO, Showtime)? Streaming channels (e.g., Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, Disney+, Apple+)? The only thing I really watch on network television is CNN or whatever other news station that is not Fox News. We spend a lot of time on Paramount+, HBOMax, Hulu, Netflix, Vudu, and Discovery+.
How often, if at all, do you use other devices than television (e.g., computers, smartphones) to watch programs? The only time I watch shows on different devices is if the internet is down or if I am not at home, like vacations or waiting in the car.
I could write a list of the shows I watch on another post to see if we all have any in common. I am a true crime nerd too, so I watch many of those shows like The First 48 and Cold Case Files, etc.
If you want to join in the fun and answer questions about your tv habits, be sure to pingback to Fandango’s questions.
The house sat miles away from the closest house, and the nearest town was nearly an hour away. The house had all the amenities that you would expect of an old country house. It was very pastoral all around, and the fields of sheep defined it as an old shepherd’s living quarters. It was nestled into the mountain, and the hills of the country flowed affluently with the cohesive nature of the area.
“Emma Jean! Come take the wash outside and put it on the line before it starts to smell in that dirty water!”
Emma heard her mother calling out to her and rolled her eyes. She turned the music up louder on the old antique radio that sat on her dresser and plopped back down on her bed.
Needless to say, the radio ended up in the field with a pastoral speech from her mother on why she was grounded for two weeks. She couldn’t turn up the music anymore.