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Meet Yolander #Survivor

My story of my secret pain and shame... 

My secret shame and pain. The story that I've always been ashamed and afraid to tell. Throughout my 40 years...I've only told this story to a few. But I feel it's time to let go because it's eaten away at me. It's been on my heart to share for quite some time and some will judge me, but please don't pity me. The greatest gift you can give is your testimony. So, here goes. I grew up in a home of constant abuse and violence. As far back as headstart...i was a witness to my stepdad beating my mother. At one point...she was even pronounced dead. The doctor took one look at me and decided that i deserved my mother and worked on her until she was brought back from the brink of death. What they didn't know was that i too was a victim of his violent abuse. Often being beat and once even struck in the face with a belt buckle that caused a gash in my eyebrow. My mother was helpless to help me because she couldn't find the strength to help herself. She did leave after the death scare, but returned. The abuse continued and i just accepted it as my destiny. That wasn't the only abuse i suffered at the hands of my stepfather...he repeated raped and molested me until i was 8. It started when I was 2. I can remember it so vividly. If I cried out in pain...he hit me and told me to shut up. I never told because we lived in a state with no family and he threatened to kill my mother and sell me to the highest bidder. So...I endured it. I knew it was wrong, but i continued throughout my young years allowing others to abuse me. My godmother and godfather were the 2 people in the world i trusted and felt safe with, until she too sexually abused me as well. I was 5. I couldn't understand why no one loved me and didn't know how to love myself. My godfather never touched me and I'm sure if he knew...he would've stopped it...or at least that's what i believed. But i kept quiet. Eventually they separated and her new boyfriend decided that i was good for the taking. I believed that was my purpose in life so i laid there and took it. I thought it was the only way to receive love. I was always regarded to as the most beautiful child people had ever saw...but beneath that smile hid the most unbearable pain. I cried many nights praying that my real father would rescue me...but he never did. I took the abuse silently and often put myself in positions where i allowed young boys that i went to school with to take advantage of me as well. They never liked me and spoke bad of me. I struggled to find my place in a world where physical violence and abuse was the norm. Eventually, i reached out to a teacher in second grade...Miss. Twoey. She got my mother to safety before she could get home and that was the end of the abuse from my stepfather. However, i never loved myself. I would often lash out and fight. My mother, who was probably a victim herself as child did not know how to handle it. I felt like she blamed me. She often whipped me as any parent would to put me in check, sometimes going overboard. But amidst the pain...she showed me love the only way she knew. I was entered into the foster system after child welfare decided my mom did not know how to discipline me. Shifted from one home to another...never knowing where I'd lay my head that night...but still hiding my secret shame. I ran away more times than a little and eventually landed in juvenile halls and jails. Eventually my mom went thru the court systems and got custody of me...but my anger inside wouldn't let me rest. I often ran away from home and joined a gang. I would be gone for months...watching her as she roamed the streets of Homestead and Florida City, Florida looking for me. The truth was i was angry at her and wanted her to feel the pain that i felt. I knew deep down inside that she was ashamed of herself and felt she let me down...but i didn't know how to forgive her. I was a constant fighter...even beating my computer teacher badly because he challenged me. I was kicked out of public schools, only allowed to attend opportunity schools...made for the worst of the worst. I still carried my secrets. I was so ashamed of who i was that i would take pictures of other girls who lived what i believed was a charmed life and claim it as me. After getting into so much trouble...the state of Florida decided that i should be locked up until i was 21. My mother could not bear she brought me back to her home state of Mississippi. Mississippi didn't treat me any better and i often found myself mistreated because of my mixed race. I know my family loved me and i was so excited to finally be with them. At 14...i was feeling a new lease on life...but my anger and resentment was always present. I was often treated different and told i thought i was better than others because i was light skinned. It was hurtful. At a time when i just wanted to be loved...i was resented. Pushed around and made to feel ashamed of just being me. I began to run away again and fight whoever challenged me. Eventually...i was sent away again by the court systems. My mother cried...but she let go. I spent 4 months straight behind bars, but ultimately decided that i didn't want to be locked away. My mother...ever present...still sticking by me despite others telling her to give up on me. It was her constant presence that allowed me to process that she only did the best she could. It was time to forgive her and accept that she would always be there for me...good or bad. I went to job corps and got my GED, drivers license and a trade. I was always socially awkward and latched on to people. Eventually after graduating...i got involved in a relationship that mimicked the relationship of my mother and stepfather. My daughter's father violently abused me. But after my daughter was born...a change shifted in me. I didn't want her to grow up like i after being told that before i left he'd kill me...and struck me in the head with a trophy causing me to have to receive stitches in the front and back of my head...i decided to leave. I looked like the elephant woman and saw my past literally on my face. My eyes blackened and one swollen shut. Patches of hair gone and even bruises and bite marks down to my toes. I never knew someone could hate me so much. But he was a product of the same childhood i was...less the sexual abuse. But i didn't realize how much i hated myself. But God gave me a reason to pick myself up and live for the love of someone who needed me daughter! I pursued a music career because i loved singing. It didn't work out, so...i threw myself into work and school and earned a degree in business. I recently started counseling. My past started to unfold in my daily life. After confronting the pain that I've kept a secret for so long, i was told that my shame is not mine to carry. That it was not my fault and i have to let go of it. Anxiety is real and my secret shame was emerging and manifesting in my dreams causing me to feel like that little helpless 2 year old. I found myself unable to breathe and realized that my counselor is right. It's time! I love myself...more now than i ever have. My mother and i have learned to deal with the past and she even apologized for letting me down. Forgiveness is what i had to do...forgive myself. I'm not ashamed anymore. I still struggle to cope, but i value myself and the chance that God has continued to give me. I'm a survivor! You don't have to be a product of your environment, you can grow from it. I'm no millionaire, no superstar and not popular by any means. But if i can make can you. I pray my story helps someone. With that being told...God is a healer and i feel him loving me everyday...because i love myself. That's my story. My secret shame and pain for all to see. The end.  

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