I'm Not Like Them (Female Body Image), Tattoo Stories

October 20, 2013

Being different is what is so great; it takes self-esteem and confidence to be you. There are times I feel like I should conform but then I take that leap of faith and just be me and it’s awesome! I will never be able to go back to the old person that I was nor would I want to.

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April 3, 1995, I was 15 years old and had given birth to my oldest daughter. I was young and single. Thank God I had my parents to help me raise her because the events that followed I would have been lost. My parents helped me with her while I went to school and that was it. I was not out partying with my peers; I was home being a mom. Five days after I had my daughter my grandmother who mostly raised me passed away. That’s when I believe I went numb to the world, just moving through the motions of life. July came and my great grandmother passed away, she was over 100 years old. Then October came and on the 15th I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia. On the 18th I went to see the specialist and he told us I had three options, one; I could go home and wait for the good Lord to take me which would have been within a week because my cancer was that far in advance, two; I could have gone to get a second opinion with an adult oncologist since I had a daughter already or three; I could begin treatment immediately. We chose to begin treatment; I was in the hospital for a week. The first night I was in the hospital I was there alone I had a very high temperature that they couldn’t break. I was under the belief that I was dying. The nurse asked if I wanted to call my mom and I told her no. Finally in the early hours of the morning it finally broke. They released me the day before my 16th birthday. I continued to get chemotherapy for the next two years. I endured injections, blood transfusions, bone marrow testing and spinal taps. I lost my hair twice. All while this was going on I was trying to raise my daughter and o to school, though I was on homebound and did my classes over the phone or the teachers came to my house. I was a Sophomore, as if dealing with all this and still mourning the loss of my grandmother I had to deal with the rude people who looked at me and made fun of me because I didn’t look normal with my face swollen, walking around skin and bones and wearing wigs. It was hard but I got through it, but I was still numb.

Senior year I finished my chemotherapy and received a clean bill of health and was looking forward to going to college and having some normalcy in my life. Then I got involved with him, the kids biological father. I thought him being controlling was him showing me affection, I look back now and see all the signs that should have sent me running away but I was young and wanted a relationship. That relationship led to my second pregnancy and getting married for all the wrong reasons. He was already hitting me but all I could think was, “what would the family say?” I was pregnant with my second child and I was only 18. I felt like I was a let down to the family. I was supposed to be the one that succeeded and made something of myself. I was with him for seven years and put up with the physical abuse of him and the ignorance of his family to put it nicely. In the seven years I had two more kids with him and received a broken nose a few black eyes and bruises everywhere. I hid it from my family as much as possible but when I did try to leave I was told that it was bad to be a single mother and I would not get help from them. Seriously how much time could I fall? It took for him to take my children on a 6-hour police chase and hold my kids hostage for everyone to realize the monster I was with. That day freed me I was able to divorce him and move on with my life, however I was still eating my emotions and just floating through life.

October 2006 I reconnected with an old friend from high school. A romance ensued and through our ups and downs was married on November 5, 2009. Soon after that, all the emotions and issues I was eating and holding down started to surface, I was so numb and because of that I was a horrible person, I was mean and heartless and did things because I had to or because it was expected of me. I felt like I was trapped in someone else’s body and life. My marriage was falling apart and it was either walk away and continue my path of destruction or get help. I got help in the fall of 2010 I started seeing a psychiatrist and a therapist. In order to get better I had to hit rock bottom and feel all my emotions I had been denying. I had to acknowledge them and deal with them. My husband encouraged me to quit work and focus on getting me healthy. So in March 2011 I walked away from my job and in October that year I started cosmetology school. This is when I came into my own, I had my “ah ha” moment. I was finally able to be the person I knew I was on the inside to match the outside. I was able to be different and it was ok. I finally was able appreciate my own personal beauty and also appreciate others for who they are and I actually look up to them because they are so comfortable in their own skin.

Fast forward to today October 2013, I am a licensed cosmetologist and I’m in school for Medical Assisting, and I love my life. I’m comfortable being me, I know where I came from, what I’ve endured, where I’m at now and where I am going. I treat people the way I want to be treated and I try to live peaceful and drama free. I’ve cut out all the bad whether it were people or other things. I stay away from them. I’ve noticed doing that I’ve brought great things and great people into my life, people I would have never thought I’d have any association. I’m a role model for my kids and mostly my girls. I want the best for all of them and I try to to set the examples so that they don’t have to go through what I did, so they can be better that what I was. I want them to love themselves always for the intelligent beautiful women they are becoming. I instill in my 14 year old that she does not need to worry about how she looks or the way she talks, she is beautiful and that the people who are positive in her life will accept her the way she is. I don’t ever want any of my kids, daughters or sons, to feel trapped or that they cannot ever be themselves. Being different is what is so great; it takes self-esteem and confidence to be you. There are times I feel like I should conform but then I take that leap of faith and just be me and it’s awesome! I will never be able to go back to the old person that I was nor would I want to.

Theresa

2 thoughts on “Being different is what is so great; it takes self-esteem and confidence to be you. There are times I feel like I should conform but then I take that leap of faith and just be me and it’s awesome! I will never be able to go back to the old person that I was nor would I want to.

  1. I am moved by your travails and your willingness to take the challenges on as the came. I’ve come to discover that many or most or all have had a brush with death. It is bad enough when it lasts for a moment or a few minutes. But to endure that ax at your neck for so long…just makes me almost cry for what you must have been feeling. You are obviously a very strong individual and you have my respect, for whatever that is worth, it is not something I give lightly.

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