A Little Bit About MeIn my seventeen years of being on this planet I’ve been called many things. Kindhearted, loving, intelligent, sweet, sincere, compassionate, and unique are the positives. Of course there are a few negatives,(or a lot) such as troubled, anxious, worrisome, push-over, and weird. In truth, I’m not entirely sure which one of these things is right, but I have to appreciate the honesty.
My childhood was not a conventional one. I don’t like to dwell on negative things, however to fully understand me you have to understand this story.
Life is sometimes painful, but sometimes that pain brings strength. I think I heard that in a movie once. Wherever I heard it I always remembered it, because that phrase defined a time in my life.
I was aware of the drugs, sure. I saw the white snowy stuff on plates, I saw mommy and daddy change, but they were mommy and daddy. Why would I question them? My mother and I were always close. She was indeed the closest person to my heart and I was never going to see the evil behind closed doors. She would never hurt me.
Things changed when Nanny died. Nanny was my mom’s mom. She supplied us with income, I wasn’t oblivious to that even at age 8. I had trained myself to keep daddy a secret. She thought he was gone. I didn’t know why, but I just never asked.
When Nanny died she left her home to mommy and uncle Charles. That would have been ok, but we had to hide daddy in the closet for a month.
I shut it all out. My dad in the closet, Charles’ bi-polar rants, even discovering my mom with a needle in her arm. When my dad was discovered, I remember screaming, threats, police, but I had learned to ignore. Survival instincts never failed me. My parents soon became passed out a lot. I did my own thing, I knew they would wake up eventually.
One day my dad took me to Henderson to go to a park for the day. I remembered this park from when I was really young. At this time I was 12, but looked older. My dad took a few pills before the trip. I knew this, but somehow it didn’t register. He swerved the car the entire way there. The rest is a bit of a blur. Police, searches, my mom picking us up 5 hours later when I finally got to talk to her. I never called my father daddy after that. It was just dad.
Hepatics C can be caught by sharing needles. That’s how my parents got it. It didn’t phase my dad a lot but it did my mom. Her liver began to swell and she appeared overweight.
On my 12th September she was admitted to ICU (Intensive Care Unit). I remember dad’s words, “Momma is asleep and she might not wake up”
After being unconscious for a few days, she was stable enough to return home. That was just the start.
One night, I discovered my mom passed out on the floor. It wasn’t any thing too new. Since being back from the hospital she had had this problem. Except this was different. She had a black eye now.
My father, as far as I had known, had never hit my mom. I became furious when my mother told me. I needed help. Someone to make sense of this. So I did what I did all the time…I walked to Super 1 (local grocery store in Longview).
It may seem silly, but we didn’t have a working phone and the grocery store was a few blocks away. But walking alone in the dark is scary. I called a long time family friend Amanda to be the moderator. I needed her to help me make sense of the chaos. I didn’t intend for her to want me to spend the night. I also didn’t intend for CPS to be called. I remember my mom’s words as I packed my things, “You expect me to live without my daughter?” Maybe she couldn’t live without me. A month later, on December 20, 2006, my mom passed away.
The pain of losing a mom is unlike anything anyone should ever feel. I haven’t ever cried as much. I went to view my mom’s body, because everyone said it would be better for my closure. I got a bit of her black hair. I have it now in a locket.
The funeral wasn’t horrible. Everyone was surprised on how strong I was. Compared to my father, I appeared to be wonder woman. I knew now that I wouldn’t go back to my old life. My mom was the battery that kept us going as long as we did.
The next day I found myself looking at photos of my mom, and I was crying. “If you are going to do that, you can go into the other room.” Amanda said. The sympathy was gone from her voice.
It wasn’t long before the abuse began, and Amanda began to tell me that I was nothing. I’m not entirely sure which hurt more, the pain of her slapping me across the face almost everyday or the words she spoke. “You are a moron. You will never be anything, and the only reason you are anything now is because of me saving you from your drug den of a home.” That was only some of the things she said. This went on for almost five years, until my seventeenth birthday in January. The October prior, I had found my siblings on Facebook. I had four siblings on my father’s side; Heather, Tiffany, Brandi, and Jonathan. I had always known who they were, and that they were all several years older than me. They were grown with their own children, but I didn’t know where they were or ever really had much of a relationship with them. Come to find out upon my message and friend request reply, that they had always wanted me in their life.
The rejoicing of a united family began, but with difficulty. I knew Amanda would never approve of any ties to my family, especially since they were blood to my father. My siblings had disowned Johnny Ray Sullivan a long time before I was even born. That wasn’t a problem, but Amanda wouldn’t understand that.
As I had surreptitious conversations with my siblings, Amanda’s abuse only got worse. I’m not sure what made her so unhappy, or why she had to knock me down to feel superior, but that was the way it was. Until January 28, 2011, two days before my seventeenth birthday, when I walked out of the door. I literally ran away, ran as fast as I could, to the CVS pharmacy that I knew had a phone. I dialed my sister Tiffany’s number and told her that i couldn’t live in dysfunction anymore.
The rest of the night was not pleasant. When Amanda realized I had left she called the police to find me. Police, arguments, even psychologists were involved in the days following that. But I wasn’t afraid anymore because Tiffany, Heather, Brandi, and Jonathan told me they would do anything they had to to get custody of me.
The situation put me in a CPS (child protective service) shelter for six months. After a lot of litigation and court, I was able to move here with my sister Heather and her family in June.
I am sublimely happy here. I finally have the family I have always wanted! I live here in Beaumont with my sister Heather, her husband Dean, and my three nieces; Grace, Ally and Emily (the ladder two are twins!) My brother lives here in Beaumont as well, and I see him often. My sister Tiffany currently lives in Beaumont with international reporter aspirations. Brandi lives in Washington with her fiance and her 3 year old son Hunter.
Today is a new day in my new life. Everyday is an opportunity, and everyday is a gift. I learned that in all that I’ve seen. I feel very blessed for all that I have. One thing that I want to do someday is write a book telling the detailed version of my story. Simply because in this day and age a lot of youth goes through things like I have. I want them to know there is a light at the end of it all.
My dreams have always been extraordinary, and this time of my life is absolutely no exception. You have to dream big to win big. And all these lessons have made me a better person. This is my story....and I’m sticking to it. :)