Thursday, May 1, 2014

My Life Story: I Never Gave Up & Neither Should You!

This may be the first time I have ever took the time to sit down and share with the world a portion of what I have been through in my life. Sometimes its because people tell you to keep your business to yourself out of fear that people will judge you for what you been through. You know we love to impress the world by giving them false impressions of who we really are. I'm 30 years old & I feel like everyone should know that life is not always peaches and cream. It does have hard times but you must never quit or give up on your dreams. I want this story to encourage someone to not give up on themselves or life.

I was placed in Foster care at the age of 4 years old along with my baby sister because at the time, my mother had three little girls at the time and she was struggling to make a better life for me and my sisters. I remember the day it happened, the day I was taken from my mom, she was trying to take some food from a store & I remember the cops coming and arresting her. Me and my little sister were placed in the back of a police car while they figured out what they were going to do with us. Later a lady who must have been a social worker came and took us with them. I remember my little sister squeezing my hand and i just stared as they put my mom in the car. We ended up being taken to some lady who lived out in the country it seemed to me. She had horses, cows & chickens and these black labs who always barked at me when I would walk by their kennel. I remember running around her huge yard and laying in the middle of the grass staring up at the sky. I would pretend that I saw angels in the clouds reaching down to take me away. Away from these people I did not know.

One day I was given the opportunity after what seemed to had been months to go visit my mom. The social worker put me on this huge bus and we rode it to the prison down a dirt road. I still remember sitting in the ladies lap and watching dust kick up from under the tires. When we reached the prison I was taken to what looked like a chapel. I sat their and they had some women singing a song...I never forget they were singing..."Wade in the water...God's going to trouble the water". My mom came running & picked me up and sat me on her lap and she cried & said how much she missed me. I guess this was some kind of special visiting day for children and their parents. There was balloons and even food. My mom introduced me to other inmates and people were everywhere as we got a hot dog and sat down on the grass. My mom gave me a doll she had gotten me. The doll was beautiful, I loved it. We ended the visit with them allowing us all to come together and release balloons into the air. That was a special day. When my worker came to get me...I waved my mom good-bey and before I got on the bus...I laid my doll on the ground. The worker told me i should go back and get my doll...but i knew my mom was there and I told the lady that my mom would watch over it until I come back. She grabbed the doll off the ground and I snuck off the bus to leave it there again. For some reason I felt it gave me a reason to be able to come back & see my mom.

A year later me & my baby sister were separated and I lived with this really nice lady who treated me like her own daughter. She was a true angel & gave me the best Christmas a child could wish for. The joy of that ended one day when the social worker came and told me they were moving me to another home where my baby sister was being kept. I was so angry and I told the lady not to take me away, but she grabbed me by the hand and there I was being snatched away again from someone I had loved.

The new foster home I was in with my baby sister was fine at first but I got a weird vibe from the lady. She was a thin lady who smoked cigarettes all the time. She had two boys who were mean to us and she supported their behavior. They were always right no matter what they did to us. One night the lady woke me & my little sister out of our sleep and told us we had been bad and deserved to be punished. We stared half sleep in confusion. She had two sheets of white paper laying on the floor in front of the fire place with rice on them. She made us kneel with our knees in the rice and she said every time we fell down from the kneeling position, she would hit us with the switch. We stayed there all night and our knees were in pain. I remember my baby sister fell asleep and soon as she fell down, the lady jumped up with the cigarette in one hand and the other hand she used to pop her across the back with the switch. Even at such a young age I learned to stand up for what was right, no matter what the consequences were. I told the lady not to hit my sister and that she was a baby and could not help falling asleep. She hit me with the switch and I felt anger grow on the inside of me and I told her that she better not hit my sister again. She stared at me and I stared back and then she finally shook her head and made us go to bed. This same lady would make us eat until our bellies were so full that we would throw up our food. Her sons would just laugh at us and she would swear how she was going to beat us for throwing up on her floors. I would hold my little sister and tell her as she was crying that everything would be alright and one day we would not have to be in that place no more. This same lady would make us sleep on the floors and she would say we were not allowed to sleep in her beds. When the social worker would come, she would make us hurry up and remove the blankets & pillows off the floor, so they never knew.

One day my old foster mother came by to visit us and I ran outside to her and whispered to her everything that was going on in the home.  So she must have contacted a social worker and told her because the social worker just popped up one day early in the morning unannounced and asked to see us. She found us sleeping on the floor and that same day, removed us from the home.

I always wondered during those times where the rest of my family was...I knew my mother was locked up but I just assumed she was all the family we had because no one came to rescue us from those foster homes.

When I was 6 years old I was reunited with my mom and that was an awesome day. I got out of the taxi with my mom in front of my great grandma house & I had forgot I had another sister out there because it had been so long & we were reunited.

To skip ahead...we all stayed with my mom and she went through another hard time while trying to take care of us the best way she knew how. She ended up using drugs and i honestly think that life was so difficult for her that it was her way to escape all of the hardships of life. Her condition with the usage got worse. We would have days where there was no food at all in the house and I would go to the neighbors house to ask for food.

One day we were left in the apartment alone while my mother went to work and one of the lamps sparked a fire because the wiring was bad on the lamp. We started seeing smoke and I grabbed my sisters and took them down stairs. I was always the life saver of the bunch but I had no choice, i was the oldest and they looked up to me. I began to beat on the walls trying to get the attention of the neighbors, yelling that the house was on fire and we were trapped inside because the door was locked and had a large piece of wood across it which was used to keep people from forcing their way into your house.  God spared us that day...the fire truck arrived and they got us out of the apartment and we lived.

I don't think my mother was ever a bad mom, I think she just did what she knew how to do because she was helpless at times. I believe that drugs just have a way of taking over your life & changing your thought process. Nothing outside of it seems important.

I went through a lot that year, our house got broken into by drug dealers and they beat up my step dad...I stood in the stairway and watched them and the only reason the man didn't kill him in front of me was because he suddenly looked up and saw me staring at him. That was the first time in my life I saw blood & I called 911 and it saved his life.
That same year a teenage boy attempted to rape me, so it was a horrible time for a child my age.

At age 8 I was placed back in Foster Care...someone reported my mother and we were taken just after getting home from school. I remember my baby sister crying and begging them not to take her sisters away. This time me & younger sister were taken. I was so used to it...that I never cried. I had just began to accept things for what they were. I was used to being taken away. I had learned to not get attached to anyone. Often times I think this is why I have always had a hard time letting go of people I love simply for fear of abandonment. Then as I got older it would be fear of attachment to anyone because I was use to people being snatched away that I loved.

When we got out of Foster Care after a year we ended up staying with a relative who was very strict and verbally abusive. We got hit for almost anything and we got accused for a lot of things they were not guilty of. I spent those years getting deeper into my books and involving myself in all types of after school activities including running track just to avoid being at home. I never liked going home because we simply were never allowed to do anything that kids did. We were always trapped in the house and never allowed to go play with other kids. It was a miserable time in my life. My level of self esteem was extremely low and I was sinking into a deep depression. I hated my life and one day i locked myself in my room closet and decided to end my life.

I thought about all that I went through in my life and I just sat on the closet floor with a knife crying and I looked up and said God if this is all you have for me in this life then I have nothing to look forward to. Relatives tried to get me to come out of the closet but I told them that if they opened the door then i would end it. I was tired...this 13 year old child whose mother was locked away in prison was finally tired.
I placed the knife to my neck and its like something spoke to me. Something told me not to do it and that I had a reason to live.

That day in the closet my whole view on life changed and I made a vow to myself to push myself make good grades so that I could excel in school and hopefully get a scholarship that would take me to college...far away from this current life I was experiencing. That's when my passion for reading and writing took over...I began to read book after book...educating myself on everything from short stories, to poetry to adventure...the books and my writings became my way to escape what was going on around me. I allowed words to simply not affect me.

I wanted to be the best person in life I could be because I did not want what I had been through to stop me from being successful.

At the age of 16 I had to run away from there to prevent another tragic experience from happening. I turned myself into DHR (Department of Human Resources). Another relative gained custody over me for a while but due to an illness had to give me up, so I ended back up in Foster care again with another family who kept me in the house all the time. I was not even allowed to walk on the sidewalks.

Later God blessed me to be moved from there to another family. This family believed in going to church and praying. I was taught to understand the scriptures and how to pray. Found out for the first time in my life that God did not hate me and that he was not a huge monster in the sky ready destroy me. I learned that God was love and that often times he lets us go through so much simply to make us strong in life. I got in the choir & soon discovered another hidden talent outside of my writing...i found out that I could sing and sing very well. This family helped me discover myself and helped me gain my self esteem back and supported me in everything I thought I wanted to be part of.

 I remember a therapist asked me how I maintained my sanity and why I had not lost my mind after she had read about my life. I simply told her that God had kept my mind.

Today I stand strong...through it all...I never gave up on myself even when there were times that I wanted to quit. Me and my mother and sisters & brother still are a growing work in progress because we grew up so distant from each other. After 28 years of searching, God allowed me to even find my biological father and I discovered I had another sister and brother out there. I even found my family on my dad side.

So life has taught me no matter what...not to give up because it does get better. I am blessed to have a beautiful daughter of my own now who is just as smart as I am. I love her to pieces. I will soon be graduating from college with a Bachelors degree in Criminal Justice and my dream is to get married & continue to build a them the life I always wanted and only received at a later time in my life. I want them to experience early on what love is & what it means to be a family.

I share a small portion of my story with you simply to say that your experiences do not have to break you...allow them to make you bigger, better & stronger than you ever been! People in life will always talk about you, treat you bad, may not even want to get to know you because they have no idea of why you fight so hard to be successful.... but never let it break you because they simply do not know what you been through.
I always meet people who think maybe I am to confident, or maybe I am arrogant but they have no idea how hard and long it took me to get to this level of feeling secure in myself.

If I can make it...then so can you! God can do great things if you just give him time to work on you & mold your life.

Love You All
I Hope I Inspired You...Life Does Get Better.
-Tanisha D. Davis