I felt like I was the only person in the world who had secrets. Dark secrets. It always seemed like everyone else was happy and I was completely miserable, as far back as I can remember.
Does this sound familiar to anyone else?
When I was in early elementary school, a girl who was 3 years older introduced me to soft and hardcore porn magazines. After that, we began looking at the magazines together, then acting out on each other what we saw in those magazines. I felt a deep sense of shame over that for many years. Looking back now, I realize that early porn exposure was very traumatic to me and it drove me to have a same-sex attraction for many years.
As I got older and as my sexual development began, older men began targeting me and sexually abusing me.
I also began doing drugs and drinking. The first time I got drunk was in middle school at a party. The first time I smoked pot was the summer before my 9th grade year. It was that same summer when I lost my virginity in a motel room to a 25 year old man passing through town to go skiing at a local resort. It was rape, but at the time I just thought I was a “slut.” My life continued to spiral downhill from there. My parents had put me in two different drug rehabs/mental institutions by the middle of my 9th grade year and I became ward of the court by the age of 15 for delinquent actions and behaviors.
I began self-mutilating my arms, feet and ankles, drinking or doing any drug that I had access to so I could “check out.” I even dabbled in Wicca to help satisfy my empty feelings.
I was date raped by a 23-year-old man at a party, then sexually assaulted by his best friend a couple months later. I really began to believe that I was worth nothing more than sex, so I become very promiscuous in an attempt to “make” someone love me. I just wanted them to stay with me. To love me. And although I had a couple serious boyfriends who were kind to me, they eventually left me too. And every time I gave myself away, or someone imposed themselves sexually on me, my soul died a little more. By my sophomore year I was a complete empty shell of a person. I didn’t even feel human. I felt ugly inside and out. I was flunking out of school, I was on drugs, juvenile probation, and very, very depressed.
Basically I felt like I had no hope.
Somewhere in the throes of my depression I managed to get a job at a fast food restaurant at 16. I met a guy who worked there, the Assistant Manager who was 19 at the time and also selling pot out of the drive thru window (and I couldn’t figure out why my parents didn’t like him). We fell in love with each other very quickly. He was different from other guys. He defended me. He loved me. He listened to me. We ended up running away together after only knowing each other for about a month. We went to Southern California where we lived in his car, stayed at various friends’ homes, and often times, stole our food and cigarettes from grocery stores and mini marts. We did this for about 4 months until we were finally caught. I was arrested, taken to juvenile hall and then deported back to my small hometown.
At this point, I was almost 17 and my parents convinced the judge to take me off of probation and allow me to get married!
Four days after I turned 17, Dwayne and I were married in Las Vegas, NV, and by the Grace of God, we are still married today.
Some people may be asking, “where were my parents during this time?” They were doing their best. As broken people themselves, they did what they could to raise a child that they didn’t understand. They adopted me when I was still a baby and we couldn’t have been anymore opposite of each other! They didn’t know about my sexual abuse. They didn’t know about my secret life of drugs, bisexual encounters and promiscuity. I shut them out early on. But I am certain that they loved me then, as much as they do now.
So when did God come into play?
I accepted Christ as my Savior somewhere around 13 – 14 years old (it wasn’t a real special occasion for me, but I knew that I had to accept Him in order to get my free “Stay Out of Hell Card”). I went to youth group for a little while. I even attended a bible camp, but I couldn’t relate with anyone there, nor did I feel that I could talk with the youth leaders there about who I REALLY was. I was “marked,” “tainted,” and “unworthy” to be loved, or cared for by this time.
Besides, if they knew who I REALLY was, they would probably tell me that I wasn’t “good enough” to be loved by God – or that I was even “un-savable.” So I pushed God away.
Thankfully, like a good Father, He continued to pursue me and never gave up on me.
In 2000 I re-committed myself to Christ. I felt God’s pursuit of my heart. I was lead to join a small, supportive church that eventually grew into my church family – and many of these people I am close friends with today. They loved my family and I unconditionally. They met me where I was at, and showed me Christ through their dedication to our friendship. I got baptized for the first time at Silver Falls, Oregon in 2002 which opened another chapter in my life.
It has not been easy. Dwayne and I have separated twice in over 21 years of marriage. We have recovered from many areas of outside sexual influences that we allowed in our marriage that ended up pulling us apart. We’ve recovered from doing various drugs together, including meth.
He’s also a two-time cancer survivor.
Overall, I would say that the first 10 years of our marriage was fairly horrible. The middle 5 were “good” and the last 6 + have been amazing! God has blessed me with a wonderful, fulfilling marriage. I am married to my best friend and we have two wonderful boys.
Looking back, I realize that God was always there. I was the one who was pushing Him away. He wanted me to have these blessings all along. Now I am in a position where I can LIVE God’s love through POLE Gems, by reaching out to men and women who work in the sex industry to help them live more fulfilling lives. God promises that not an ounce of our pain is wasted and He is fulfilling that promise to me every day through POLE Gems.
If you are interested in helping girls that feel trapped by the sex-trade industry, please visit:www.polegems.org