I was 21 years old when I had my daughter. I had been in a relationship with her father for about 4 years before we got married and decided to have children. We were married for another 2 years before we got separated. The relationship wasn't great but it was steady, we had good moments and I felt like I could do this for the rest of my life. Naive, young, gullible, you name it, I was all of them. I was ready to endure any hardships because thats what I had signed up for. I vowed to be there through good times and bad times, sickness and health, the whole 9 yards. At the time, I was also finishing my Bachelors Degree. I was working a full time job while attending school full time, being a house wife in between, attending church weekly and being 100% involved in the music/dance ministries, and also pregnant. I was extremely happy with my life and the things I was doing and the people around me never told me I was doing too much, so I continued. I continued my life as it was because it was all I knew. I was 21.
21 was a year of great happiness but also great loss. My dad had been battling cancer for what it seemed like an eternity. He eventually moved back to Cuba and passed away not too long after. We didn't have a great relationship either but it was a good one filled with hilarious memories and exciting moments. He met my ex-husband and wasn't too fond of him; he used to say that I needed to date a guy that could defend me in a street fight instead of the other way around. I wasn't a fighter but I can hold my ground and my dad wasn't afraid that I wouldn't be able to take care of myself, he just wanted for someone else to be able to take care of me. For those reasons, he taught me where to hit boys so that it really hurt. He also taught me things like how to run away from cops, how to race in a motorcycle and how to change my car tires; you know, the normal father and daughter things. I miss him.
When I decided to go through with my divorce I was determined to be happy. I was strong, I was ready to move on and excited to start a new chapter. I was battling all this while trying to be the best parent to a 6 month old baby girl who had no idea what I was going through, and finishing my degree. Everyone around me began to notice how I only saw the light at the end of the tunnel, how I was pushing forth with my decisions and making plans for a better future, but no one noticed how I really felt. I felt like my life had been taken from me, like the rug beneath my feet had all of a sudden been pulled and I was falling 100 ft in the air, head first, into an empty black hole. I had to leave the church and the people I'd known since I was 14. No one wanted to help with my failures and I felt alone. I was also told that because of what I was going through, I couldn't be a part of the ministries any more and I was slowly spoken to less and less, until eventually I was alone. I was only 21.
In the mist of all that was bad, I finished my bachelors degree, moved to a new apartment and had a great job. Everything was thrown at me at once but I guess I was able to juggle it all and I didn't die. Falling 100ft in the air and landing in a black hole was not my destiny. I landed in a world filled with hope, love, change and growth. In a year I went from naive, young and gullible to strong, determined and grown up. All the things I experienced this year made me mature and become the woman I had always wanted to be. A woman who is admirable, whose scars made her a warrior and not a victim, whose decisions affected her but for better and not worse, and a woman who has a story to tell. Don't we all have one? Besides everything, I'm glad this is my story. It shows who I was and who I became, it also shows where I'm going.
Future Husband, you didn't marry a princess that needs to be saved, you married a woman who is willing to go to war standing right next to you. I don't have all the tools but I've learned that I'm capable of change and growth and I have a willing heart. Maybe what happened to me at such a young age was a terrible thing to experience but, it shaped me and I can proudly say I love who I have become.