The positive 

The four walls bordered my innocence as I sat on the floor of my bathroom. I unwrapped the plastic from the bright pink box, quietly enough that it wouldn’t be heard from the top of the stairs. I placed the stick on the carpet beneath me and watched it sink between the fluff. My nerves scattered quicker than I could tame and my heart pounded loud enough to hear. I felt like I needed all the time in the world to process the result I was about to see, but the minutes rapidly disappeared. I demanded to know where my future was headed… and I had to be discreet. Out of all the things I’ve ever told my mom, this would not go over as well as I wished it would. 

Pregnant. 

I had never smiled so swiftly. While grabbing my phone to call my boyfriend, I had a million thoughts in my mind racing to be heard first. What was I to do now? 21 years old, working and going to school full time. Was I ready to put my needs behind me, once again? I had always dreamed about becoming a mom but I wasn’t prepared for it to happen so soon. As I anxiously waited to hear his voice on the other end, I rehearsed the way I wanted to break the news. I whispered my way into his mind as the echoes in the bathroom could’ve easily disclosed my secret. His reaction instantly warmed my heart. As the night grew darker, it was time to pick him up from work and I had never been so excited to do so. I put the test in my back pocket and hid the box under my dresser. It would be tucked away until further notice… or really until the morning so I could confirm my happiness. 

He welcomed me with a hug and lifted me far above the ground. We shared an excitement that almost didn’t even seem real. “We’re going to be parents. WE are going to be parents!”, he shouted. Before leaving the parking lot we sat in the car and let the news sink in. The distant crickets were the calm I needed. I drifted off into another dream… I was living the life of a mom. I was made to do this, I just knew I’d have no problem getting over this bump.

Cue the anxiety. 

I dreaded the reactions I’d receive but knew they were coming straight for me. I fastforwarded to the months my stomach would grow and watched the crowd stare at the failure before them. I already had a list of questions ready that my family would bombard us with when least expected. Age, money, time. I had it all covered. As much as I didn’t want to hear it, I knew they were right. But that didn’t overpower my want to bring a child into this world. I fell in love with the new life thrown into my hands. The seed inside me fueled my heart with endless love. I’m going to be a mother, a great one at that. 

As my wings settled and I neared the ground, reality came swinging by. We slowly began publicizing our growing child to those around us. We gained a support system that stood behind our plan from the start. But the future ahead of us was one that we didn’t prepare for… one that I couldn’t prepare for. 

I couldn’t help but stare at the positive on the screen as the days rolled by. I held on as tightly as I could, I didn’t want to lose this high. 

But the high faded, it teased me to no end. 

I’ll take this last test to relive my dream, my dream of becoming a mother. 

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Opening up

Was I ready to love again? Should I be letting my guard down so easily? I couldn’t contain my emotions any longer. The tears on my cheeks went unnoticed because of the rain falling from the darkness above. His body enfolded into mine leaving no crevasses or room to breath. In that moment, all we had were each other. He gave me the key to a vault that no one ever had access to. Only I knew of the past that shaped him into the man whom stood before me. I saw the hurt in his eyes, I felt his desire to start a new journey. We were no longer strangers tiptoeing around the obvious. This was happiness… this was what both of us hungered for. 

I told myself to run far away, but this time I wanted him to come with me. Hand in hand we would hurry toward the sun set and overlook those who tried to bring us down. I tried tuning out the bubble of negativity waiting to suck us in… but then the anxiety would strike. The support system I once had kept whispering ideas in my ear. “You’re moving on too fast. You JUST got out of a relationship. Take some time to heal.” But they were blind to what, to who was healing me. He was all I needed to force the numbness away. I was finally able to see clearly and realize I deserved better than the cards previously dealt to me. I was in possession of a better hand and became a winner. He was the band aid to my wounds, the roof over my head. 

He was my remedy. 

Although I had a hard time adding trust into the mix, my heart knew it was in gentle hands. A part of me couldn’t let go of the past that I was once so used to… the guilt, the bruises, the agony of making it into the next day. While I knew this was wrong on so many levels, it was a life that I chose to live. I became accustomed to what is known as a b u s e. The ONLY thing I have since then carried with me is the anxiety. I fear the unknown. I question if I’m headed down an identical road and setting myself up for disaster. This is an illness that I can’t just shake off and prepare for as a new day rolls around. The extremity of it varies and often hits me all at once. But finding love has moved me in ways I didn’t think would ever happen again. The anxiety is most definitely still there, but I have learned to take control of what used to control me. 

I am living proof that you can still be happy even when you don’t exactly have your mental health regulated. There is contentment out there for everyone, and it just so happens that mine showed up when I was in desperate need of it. As the weeks went by, months, I knew I couldn’t have been more fortunate for the life I was given. 

That key opened up a whole new world for me, one that I wouldn’t change… not even a little bit. There have been ups, there have been downs. But I will end by saying –

The story continues. 

With time, I fell. 

I will never love again, I told myself. I didn’t have room in my heart for someone else. I was supposed to be focusing on my own well-being. But the anxiety of being alone forever was a thought that explosively picked at my brain. We were meant to cross each others paths… well, that’s what I wanted to believe. He was the cure, the medication I needed to keep my mental health above water. He was everything I needed, and more, without even realizing it. 

In order for us to work I had to break open my shell that I thought would never open again. I pulled back one layer at a time, revealing a coating of skin that wanted to remain untouched. But each encounter we had became an uncontrollable addiction. I forgot about the times I’ve been hurt and taken advantage of. I saw the hint of light behind the curtain and allowed it to shed its warmth on my skin. This wasn’t like me… I wasn’t always so accepting. But the thought of trusting again was alarming. Was I really supposed to believe that he would never hurt me like the others have? This path that I so willingly chose, would it eventually turn into a dead end? Only time would tell, but letting that time pass was something I suspected to let me down fairly quickly. 

Anxiety at its finest. 

L o v e. A short yet powerful word. I doubted my ability in letting that word slide off of my tastebuds. But I was hungry for it. As the layers slowly fell to the floor I became more open to the opportunity. I knew that if I had looked back even once, everything would come crashing down. My eyes were out of control. They wanted so bad to look the other way and run for safety. Just look forward. Look at what you have… it’s right infront of you! It was so typical of me to let these anxieties gain authority. Turn left, they’re waiting. Turn right, and they are a l w a y s right. 

I was falling deeper for this person who gave up everything to make me feel special. He opened my door each time we approached my car, and closed it behind me once I was settled in. Something as little as this gesture took me such a long way. The sparkle in his eyes shined brighter than the moon hovering over us. His touch made the hairs on the back of my neck stand while the goosebumps traveled down my body. I was falling in… I was falling. 

Catch me… or don’t. 

I pulled up to his house and watched him walk around to my side. He signaled for me to come out and took hold of my hand to help me. As I rested my head against his chest, I felt an abundance of emotion streaming from his body. I looked into his eyes and felt no distractions. “What’s wrong, babe? Why are you upset?” I needed to know, I had to fix this. 

“I… I love you, Courtney. I’m in love with you.”

And there went another layer, anxiously falling to the cold, wet street. 

Hissing flame 

Even though I couldn’t write perfect as a quality on my resume, I wanted so bad to be runner up. My clothes had to be spread out for the next day regardless of how random our plans turned out. While both of us worked full time jobs, clocking out at night was our motivation to let time pass on its own. The longer I watched the minutes wind down, the slower the sun took to rest its shine. 

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. 

There was always one last step to end my shift. As I released the garbage bag from my hand, I anticipated the doors closing behind it. Each stride I took toward my car became longer so that I didn’t have to take as many steps. I wasn’t trying to waste any time. The curfew I had repeated itself persistently. But I’d be lying if I said pushing the limit wasn’t on our agenda. We wanted to make the most of our time together, even though we had created what seemed like a routine after our shifts ended. But that was never enough… for every inch of rope he threw at me I tugged a little harder. I was weightless around him. I didn’t feel the outside pressures of school, work, and family. The person he pulled out of me abruptly put an end to all my misery. There was no way I was letting this go. 

But there it was… that backburner hissing at me and shedding its light. My mental health was at risk and I tried with all I had to not make it evident. My body transformed into the witch that constantly played with my emotions. I disputed almost every detail he shared with me and released the rope until further notice. Was I the only girl on his mind? Did he truly believe that what we had was special? Pretty… could that word even be used in the same sentence as me? I had to fight away these nasty thoughts like a cold in the midst of winter. All I wished for was to enjoy the chilly nights we spent on the dock. Our bodies swayed closer together as the waves underneath us clashed. The smile on my face was actually r e a l. But my anxiety was soon going to take over the thrown. 

If I were to give a rundown of how this devil thrived off of the love I was surely growing, his face would never return. Our touch would no longer meet and the sparks would dim to nothing. He couldn’t… he would never meet the ME that I go to war with every day. 

I had to protect my conflicting identity even when the cargo added a weight that I couldn’t pull. We were slowly becoming obsessed with each other and the road ahead of me was finally one I could travel.

One wrong move, Courtney, it would be over. Protect him from the anxiety trying to command your life. 

Protect him from that hissing flame. 

The Versatile Blogger Award

versatile-blogger-award

As a fairly new blogger, it has been such an honor to meet and work with the great people of the blogging community. When I published my first piece, I had no idea it would bring me to where I am today. I have been nominated for The Versatile Blogger Award, which is a tag passed along by bloggers noticing others’ work for what it truly is. Knowing that I have brought something special to the table has kept my spirits high and untouchable. I want to thank my nominator, Nia, who blogs at https://wonderlandsangels.wordpress.com. She described me as an incredible writer and for that, I have worked extra hard to keep my readers happy. If you take the time to read through her blogs, you’ll have a true understanding of who she really is. Her page is fun and her honesty is admirable. Click the link and check her out!

The rules to follow after receiving this nomination are to –

  • Thank the person who nominated you
  • Share 7 facts about yourself
  • Nominate up to 10 other bloggers of your choice
  • Link your nominees and let them know they’ve been chosen

 

7 facts about me… how exciting! I love getting to know the writer behind the keyboard. If you’ve been following my story, I’m sure you have a list of things engraved in your brain that has been hard to forget. My writing technique has been the real deal… a raw, emotional upbringing meant to help find the voice to others’ struggling. It’s now my turn to use the keyboard as a way of re-introducing myself. What about me makes my life so interesting?

  1. The first thing I never fail to mention is my role as a mother. My daughter, she’s my world. She was born in January of 2016 and has grown into such a perfect human being. I’m also nine months pregnant with a little boy. He will be making his big debut in no time!
  2. I am a huge fan of sports. Football, baseball, and basketball. Over the years I have learned so much to fully understand them for what they are. I would be lying if I told you my face isn’t glued to the screen during Sunday Night Football!
  3. I can still watch cartoons regularly. There is nothing I love more than catching up on episodes that I remember seeing as a little girl. Full House (not a cartoon but a childhood show) is probably my all time favorite. I have watched and re-watched every episode countless times. Since the birth of my daughter, I have added Bubble Guppies to that list. What can I say… the songs are catchy and cut cleaning time for me in half!
  4. There are two things I’m obsessed with; Nutella and candy. I’ll admit, there have been numerous times I’ve taken the jar out of the cabinet just to sink my finger into the puddle of chocolate. I mean, of course, I licked it off. Who needs bread, anyway? Candy is always my go-to when I have nothing else to eat. I love anything sweet and sour… kind of like my personality.
  5. I love musicals! The first one I ever saw (well, remember seeing) was Rent. I remember feeling so lucky to be a member of that audience. Many people don’t know this, but singing is my second language. When I feel an abundance of emotions creeping up on me, I release that tension through song… and boy, do I let my heart out sometimes. Dancing is another passion of mine. I could never forget the times I used my double-mirrored closet as a dance studio and moved my body like there was no tomorrow.
  6. Spending time with my family is extremely important to me. I wasn’t a fan as a teenager but once I started my own family, I realized how much there is to miss when you aren’t around. Having a football team of supportive family members is something you’ll always be fortunate to have. Without them, I don’t know where I would be today. I can say, however, that each one of them has taught me something I can pass on to my kids one day.
  7. I’m pretty funny. Well, I like to think that I am. I’m awkward but I don’t mind putting that character to light. I’ll make it known when we first meet because that’s the corkiness in me. I used to be uncomfortably shy but the different stages of my life have helped my wings spread. I’ve since then learned to find the positive in almost everything… I’m still working on that!

 

There’s a little about me, beyond the Unfiltered Mama. I am now nominating the following to pass on this tag –

These bloggers are all talented in their own ways! I feel that by going through each site, I have learned a thing or two about them that has already made us closer. I hope all of you take full advantage of this nomination and know that you DESERVE it! I wish the best of luck to you as your blogging journey continues. I can’t wait to read your responses!

Thank you for taking the time in getting to know me! I will be taking a short break from the blogging world as I adjust to a new schedule ahead of me. Please don’t hesitate to keep in touch with me! I will be on social media, but my next blog post will be postponed temporarily!

Stay tuned!

 

Unsteady 

The breeze traveled through our fingertips as we intertwined our touch. I couldn’t help but fall for his gaze every time his eyes met with mine. We walked along the side of the waterfront, one that I had never been to before. As we passed by crowds of strangers, I imagined that we were the only ones there. Time seemed to have stopped for a moment… a moment that I prayed would never end. 

He hopped up on a ledge near the calming water. When he lifted me into his arms, I felt like I was the only person that mattered to him. We sat and let our feet dangle beneath us, as I worried that my flip flops would fall below. But he grabbed that thought away and threw it to the birds. His gentle eyes managed to control mine, once again, and drew me closer within each passing second. When our lips connected, a fresh piece of paper was displayed. I was willing to let him write my story. The fear of allowing my past to ruin what was next to come would be no more. But who was I kidding? I wasn’t nearly as ordinary as I made myself to be. 

The status of my mental health was unknown. I was well aware of it but I felt as if I was lying about who I really was. The anxiety and depression surfaced along side of me with no intentions of vacating. I was taking care of a persona that only I could handle. But even then, I found it grueling when in search for that strength. At times, I crumbled. When our plans for the night ended, I put myself in a dark place. I questioned every second we spent together. Did I do everything the way he wanted me to? Take more steps than I was asked? These thoughts continued to inch their way into my life even when I thought I had pushed them far away. The confidence I had built was steadily deteriorating. I didn’t want him to see me this way. The real me was not one to be badgered with. What would he think if he met me again, instead… I wasn’t who he thought I was?

I’d lose him forever. 

I needed a rewind button now more than ever before. A fresh start. If I clicked my heels together, would tomorrow be a better day? Would I wake up and not feel apprehensive about making a decision? I needed to feel secure so that my story would not be compromised. But my anxieties often swept me off of my feet. Once I was already on my knees, the weight of the world kept me down there. It was happening, again. I had to make it stop before it was too late. 
Would my transparent skin make it obvious that something was wrong with me? I couldn’t lie, not even to myself. He deserved a h e a l t h y partner, and I was willing to do anything to give that to him. 

But stay clear of the ledge, I wasn’t all that steady. 

Catch Me if You Can

There was always that fear that the past would come knocking on my door and refuse to leave. Living in such a small town made it easy to run into each other, but I wanted to avoid that at all costs. I only imagined that seeing him again would send me into a time that I tried so hard to steer clear of. Every time I hopped into my car, he was near. Each corner I turned was an instant reminder that he’d always be watching. When he said he wanted no one else to have me, he meant it. 

But this new guy… what a charm. I had only met him the one time he stopped by my work place. I didn’t have time to doubt his want in getting to know me. When I saved my number into his contact list, he texted me right away. We played a series of twenty questions, but it went on to be a lot more than that. He made sure I was comfortable with the pace of our relationship. While he knew that I had a burden weighing me down, trying to stop me in my tracks, he made me aware that what we had was like no other. I didn’t have any true reason to believe that yet another relationship would go sour. Each time I pulled back a little, he reeled me all the way in. When he displayed the bait, I couldn’t help but bite again. I was in for something amazing. 

Texts were sent back and forth within seconds of one another. His name instantly deserved a heart next to it. Each time my phone came to life I knew my world would be brightened. But there was always that one time that my ex’s name made its big debut. I had never read a longer apology in my life. Not for one second did I imagine myself back with him, but he always managed to question my mental health knowing I no longer wanted him around. The unsureness that settled within my body was agitating. I wasn’t convinced that I was capable of making my own decisions. But if I came across as someone who couldn’t handle herself, I was sure that this new guy would withdraw from the bond we had just started to build. My ex would then get what he wanted… just like he always had. 

I didn’t want him to get in the way of what I was trying to pursue with my new protector. He really did want to shield me from all the damaging memories that were packed into my brain. He made it crystal clear that I would never be abused again, not on his watch or ever. To my own surprise, I trusted him. I was far from suspicion… I knew that everything he said came straight from his heart into words. I watched each letter fall from his lips to rest easy into the palm of my hands. This was a huge turn around from the catastrophe previously at large. 

The first night we decided to meet with one another had my heart skipping beats. I had learned so much about him yet couldn’t help but feel nervous. I was going to be alone with someone who wanted nothing more than for me to be happy. This was new to me. I had to soak it all in because this time… I was meant to be here. 

And there I stayed in his arms, all night long. Moments like this were meant to last forever. 

Catch me, I’m falling. 

Singing Heart

Turn the page … I think we’re all ready for my happily ever after (the start of). 

I put my handful of distress on the back burner and tried to focus on my work. It was a slow night at the mall. As a retail employee, I didn’t have much expectation for my sales. I tried avoiding interaction with customers who wanted nothing to do with me and my usual speech. Before my boss left for the night, I begged to run and get a snack to hold me over. I had never walked slower in my life. I observed the other working teens and knew they had to feel the same as me… over it. Each clothing store drew me in one at a time, but I had to fight the urge. You’re getting food, that’s it. My walk continued, one foot after the other. 

I couldn’t help but notice the light escaping through my pocket. My phone hadn’t been too active so it came as a surprise that someone wanted to hear from me. It was the past yearning for my attention. He was so convinced that a constant plead for forgiveness would help alter my decision in moving on. But how many other times had I traveled down this road? We fought with words and hands, apologies were forced… that was all I needed to be set straight. Once the guilt fell through I was sucked back into a relationship that was no where near stable, or healthy, for that matter. But the past wasn’t going to eat me alive this time. I ran too far to turn around and start from the beginning. That’s why my phone felt better tucked away. Out of sight, out of mind. 

When I returned to my store there were three guys being drawn into a sale that they didn’t want in the first place. My boss was ready for her closing statement when I walked in. When my eyes connected with those of the man standing in front of me, there was no undoing it. Everything about him screamed he’s the one! But the voice in my head was telling me otherwise. I wasn’t fully healed from the shambles I had recently broke free from… was I ready for this? Was he worth taking the risk?

What scared me the most was how people would view me if I jumped into another relationship right away. I knew there was nothing wrong with getting to know him, but something told me it would go much further than that. When he asked me if I was seeing someone, my phone vibrated. “It’s….complicated.” I didn’t know what else to say. The chain tugging at my ankle reminded me of the baggage I was sold with. My hesitation scared him away and I thought the opportunity set in front of me was gone forever. He politely apologized and walked into the distance. The smell of his cologne wrapped itself in and out of my clothes. As I watched him walk off, I beat myself up for what had just happened. I wasn’t tied down anymore so I didn’t understand why I still acted like I was. Was this how it would be for the rest of my existence? 

As I started closing the store I heard his voice. In a matter of seconds he stood in front of me again, phone in hand. His demeanor carried an attitude like he needed to impress his boys. 

“If you want to give me your number then put it in.”

My heart sang love songs. I took a dive and for once, my head came above water. The waves didn’t drown my being. Instead, they gave me a push toward a new beginning. 

I had never been more ready for this. 

New Chapter

My patience grew thin and my energy had vanished. I couldn’t do it anymore, I didn’t want to. All of the memories we had established were being burned and forgotten. I didn’t want anything left behind that would remind me of the pain he created. He still contacted me daily and proved that his mood swings were in full effect. One minute he was hurt yet compassionate for my feelings, and then he grew angry in my decision to walk away. I refused any personal contact with him in fear for my life. But nothing stopped him from showing up to my job or my home, in hopes that we could work things out. I knew that saying all too well. We used it for comfort each time we wanted to go our separate ways. But I wasn’t falling for it this time… there was no turning back.

The two hands that weighed down my chest were finally released after all these years. Yet, I couldn’t help but walk with eyes behind my head and talk like there was a recorder attached to me. I still felt restrained even though the strings were no longer attached. He managed to guilt me into questioning whether I even made the right decision. Could I really live without him? Would I wake up tomorrow and still feel like I don’t need his instructions to start my day? I honestly didn’t know what would be best for me. I wasn’t sure if I would be capable of living a day without him telling me what to do. I was a child being tossed into the real world, not knowing what to expect or how to handle it. This was all new to me. All I had to do was grasp it and stop doubting myself. There was no room for that anymore.

His mother reached out to me when she noticed I stopped coming over. Her words inspired me to move on and do better, to BE better… because that’s what I deserved. She apologized for all that I had been through and for not being the support system that I needed. I looked up to her for having the strength to acknowledge that the relationship with her son wasn’t always peaches and cream. I couldn’t remember the last time I genuinely smiled without stressing that I was revealing the truth. The facts were out, and for once, I was okay with that.

My intentions in opening up about a partnership that went sour are far from what you believe. There are so many couples who are dealing with the same situation, right now. I truly wish that my words are able to push them toward the light. While abuse is not always physical, it often leads to just that. But sometimes the wounds of emotional abuse are deeper than what you’d expect. The lack of power over your own body and decisions is enough to feel worthless. No one deserves to be handled or convinced that they are worth nothing more than the dirt on the ground. It wasn’t a simple task that could be done over night. It took a lot of effort to see something other than how he saw it, and how he wanted me to see it. I finally had my own voice… my own life. I’d be damned if I let this happen to me again.

My life had made a complete turn around. The fresh air traveled through my body and did away with all weaknesses. I had refused any and all commitments thrown my way. I needed time for myself, to learn who I really was without the leash restraining me from taking my first step. But I couldn’t stop myself from falling head over heels for someone… a man who had walked into my life at the most perfect time. I kept reminding myself that I needed a break from the disasters unfolding right in front of me. But the temptation was too hard to resist. 

I fell in love, almost immediately, after saving myself from a time that took over my whole being. But a new chapter had been made, waiting to be read. 

Where was my life headed now?

 

Missing piece

The love we grew between us surely died. My mind constantly lost focus when all he wanted to do was continue to create memories. The many times I threatened to leave him were taken back because he begged me to stay. But why? What purpose was I serving in his life? I was a maid, a punching bag, a lover, a fighter. I expected an awful outcome when a sudden twist was thrown our way. The rollercoaster ride I was forced to stay on threw obstacles at me that I wasn’t so sure I could handle. But here I am… here I am telling you how I gained the strength to make it out alive. 

I was bullied into thinking that he was the only one who would ever want me. Because of this, I didn’t even feel the need to attempt my escape. I intimidated him often, but did I really mean what I said? I wanted so bad to be free of the neglect and discipline. I frequently grew angry with myself for the amount of time I wasted to be treated this way. I was at the bottom of the food chain with no possibility of gaining the respect I deserved. 

I don’t want to be with you anymore.” My heart dropped each time those words fell from my lips. How was I going to pull through without him? Was the impossible actually possible?

The attachment I felt toward him was unusual. Without his commands I felt apprehensive. There were many times I sat waiting to see his approval pop up on the screen. If I were on call at work and they needed me, I had to ask him if I could cover the shift. Study groups, lunch dates? Not allowed. Things that a normal teenager should not need permission for… they were all out of the question. Most of the time I already knew what his answer would be. But I just hoped that somehow he woke up a different person and saw the light trying to beam through the clouds. We both needed some sun. We needed closure that without one another, life would go on and we’d be just fine. 

I found my backbone hidden under a pile of rocks, something I had been psychotically searching for. The only thing I had left to do was to put it in place. Without it, it was difficult for me to stand up for myself. I could hardly look into his eyes long enough without feeling my head reaching for the floor. I had no confidence, no desire to put myself in a better situation. But when I found the missing piece to the puzzle, I finally started to feel whole again. It became certain that my future would not suffer from this tragedy. I was ready to be ME. 


When will it be your turn to walk away? Take the chance to see what’s behind door number two. Let me be the first to tell you that if you don’t leave now, it’ll only get harder to leave later. This tornado has sucked you in far enough… it’s time to find your path and live a better future. 

If you feel any inspiration, let it be because you know I survived. You can be in my shoes, too. That time starts now.