Friday, November 1, 2013

It Is Not My Shame to Bear: My Story


It’s 10:08 am on a Friday morning. I’m sitting in bed, watching some mindless crap on TV, the kids are at daycare, and I’m still running a little high from the bottle of wine and entire batch of cookies I had for dinner 15 hours ago, which is almost exactly 47 hours since my life changed forever. Again. It was horrific. It was terrifying. It was torturous. It was all the horrors that little girl nightmare’s are made of.

I was raped. Again. But this time, this time, it’s different. This time, I was raped, and it was the best worst thing that has ever happened to me.

I’m a fairly private person in a really odd sense. I’m one of those weird people that shares too much, knows it, and doesn’t really care. That’s probably mostly in part because I know that whatever strange fact I am (over)sharing with you at the moment, is just the tip of the iceberg on what is really inside. I guess in some sort of psychological cover up, me being strange and over sharing is a subconscious way of weeding out the people that I don’t really need in my life. Like “Hey, I’m weird. Can you deal? Ok, we’re cool.” Because if you can deal with the abstract oddities that come out of my mouth, maybe, juuuuust maybe, one day, if I so find you privileged, you can deal with the “unbelievable-lifetime movie- this can’t be real” shit I have lived through.

Now I won’t bore you with the details of my past (ha, who am I kidding, I could get a job at lifetime and have enough scripts in my head to sustain the network for several years), but for the purpose of your understanding, I will privilege you with a seriously condensed version of how I have landed here, in bed, at 10:19 am, trying to decide between blackberry whiskey, xanax, or a really long run.




Ok, ready? Here we go. Baby is born to a really messed up mother. Mother doesn’t want said baby and reminds her nearly every day of her life. Baby somehow survives, growing from baby to child, locked away like a dirty little secret. Said child is abused and neglected yet continues to exist. Said child’s mother attempts suicide multiple times before being institutionalized and then running away. Said child’s father can’t deal and doesn’t come home very often, if at all. Said child is now 14 and spending many days tending to two younger brothers alone. Eventually said child is bounced from "home" to "home,"  always in the "care" of someone else. Said child has somehow morphed into an 18 year old with crazy wicked street skills and absolutely no knowledge of the real workings of the world. Said 18 year old meets 26 year old guy who takes her in, convinces her that she doesn’t know what unconditional love is (truth) and that he will show her (lie), and said 18 year old grows into a 21 year old naive adult that jumps head first into a horror that most couldn’t imagine.

Now I can imagine what you are picturing right now, that child, the one that shows up dirty for school, too small clothes, bruises covering her tiny body, why didn’t anyone notice her? Erase that. That is partly what is wrong with society these days, people expect to be able to recognize abuse, its dirty right? The kids smell? They are super skinny? Well here is a reality check for you. Be prepared, I am about to blow your mind. Sometimes, those abused kids, they are in ballet. They are on the swim team. They run track. They go on mission’s trips all over the country. Their family has money. They have no shortage of friends. Yey those same kids, they stand outside the school asking other parents to take them home. They get home after swim practice and collect their little brothers from the neighbors. They insist on going in the house first, because you never know when you might find mom near dead after another failed suicide attempt. They make dinner, digging through the bag of food the church has dropped off, looking for something they recognize. They do the laundry, help the little’s with their homework, give baths, and then at about midnight, they start their own homework. At 2am they get to climb into bed so that they can be up at 5am to take the little ones to the neighbors before they catch a ride to 5:45am swim team practice. But hey, everyone is cleaned, dressed, and fed, so they can’t be abused or neglected, right? Because they look fine. Maybe, just maybe, that oldest child is doing a freaking awesome job of keeping up the façade of a happy, functioning family.



In case you’re a little bit slow (and hey, no judgment here), that “said child,” was me. Yea, I know, there is probably something deeply psychologically wrong with referring to yourself and your past in the third person, but hell, at this point I’m a fully functioning adult who isn’t in a corner rocking and drooling, so I don’t really care to mess around too much with my mental schema at this point. Maybe next year.

And in case you are wondering, yes, I am still on topic. Stay with me, because all of that, all that garbage that I have lived through, it has been the foundation of how I got to my proud rape moment. “WHAT!?” you say? Like I said, be patient. Over the years I have developed some crazy awesome coping skills. I was damned from the second I popped out of my mother’s body and she realized that I was wearing a vagina. I have been told from the moment I was born that I was not loved. I was not worth loving. In the chaos and unknowns that were my childhood, the only thing I never doubted, the only constant I had, was the knowledge that I was not wanted.

I remember walking down the aisle on my wedding day, white dress flowing, thanking God that I had made it. I had survived. I was not a casualty of my upbringing, I had gotten out. For the first time in my life, I was loved. I was wanted. And I was thrilled.

The wedding night, I was a virgin. Shocker, I know. I can’t decide if I am the most egotistical person I have ever met, or completely delusional, but I remember, during a particular incident as a small child, consciously realizing that the only person who may ever love me, was going to be me. And I needed to decide right then and there if that was going to be enough, because if it wasn’t going to be enough, I didn’t need to fight to go on. And thankfully, I decided it was. Even if I was only ever enough for myself, I would love me. I was wanted. I wanted me. So I grew up with the utmost respect for myself. Sure, I obviously didn’t understand how to appropriately read other people, but I respected myself. I dated, quite a bit, but never let them cross the virginal line. I wanted to wait, save it all for my husband. Giving my body the same respect that I hoped my husband would have for my body. But it wasn’t meant to be.

The wedding night, I was scared. I was nervous, and for some reason, I really was not feeling good. It was 2am and the limo was coming in two hours to take us to the airport (what idiot books a 6am flight the morning after their wedding). I asked to wait. I wanted to get to our destination and make all the dreams come true that I had implanted in my mind, have the night of my life. What I got was “You have to be fucking kidding me. What about my dreams? It’s every man’s dream to rip the wedding dress off his bride and nail her to a wall.” Only one of us had our dream come true that night, and I’ll give you a little hint. It wasn’t me. It all happened so fast, to this day, I don’t even remember it. Any of it. He told me how terrible I was, and how I would need to learn to do a lot better if I wanted him to stay with me. It wasn’t rape though, right? I would remember if I had been raped, right?

Shaking, I managed to put on some clothes and off to the airport we went.  What proceeded turned into a trip straight out of a horror movie. It had all the makings of a Hollywood hit. A hurricane, police ordered “stay inside” ordinances, a 104 degree fever, and “sex.” A hell of a lot of it. In the beginning, I cried. I banged on the walls hoping the neighboring room would hear me, but the hurricane was so loud, all you could hear was banging and screaming wind anyways. I fought, until I quickly realized that with a hand around your throat, fighting, is fruitless. It only takes a second to not be able to breathe. When the hurricane was over and we were allowed to go out, I was destroyed, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I was sick. So sick. A combination of actual illness and stress. My husband threatened to fly home, leave me there, and tell everyone he didn’t want me. That killed me. No one had wanted me my entire life, and I couldn’t bear going home to my family and having them proved right, as my new husband walked away. So I did whatever he asked me too. The self respect that I had long held onto, it was gone. Surely, if my own mother didn’t want me, and my new husband didn’t want me, the problem was me. I was not good at pleasing my husband. I was not good at doing my job. This was not rape, this was failure.


We went home and life continued on as “normal.” My husband had me un enrolled from college, seeing as I “had no reason to be hanging around with people at school.” I went to work each day as a physical therapy technician, smiley and bubbly as always. The patients would tell my boss that they came in just to see my happy face, that I was never anything but smiling and joyous, that I was the sweetest girl they had ever met. And I would go home each night to my house of horrors. I would call my husband on my way home from work and be able to gauge just what kind of night I would have. Would today be a black eye night? Or would I be doing my “job,” as he called it? I stopped fighting completely. I felt numb. It was as if I would walk through the door each night and my brain would shut off. I was taught many “lessons” in those first few years. I was apparently a slow learner, but I exceeded expectations in one area. I learned how to take a hit like a man pretty damn fast. Most nights, to avoid any physical altercations, I would just get home, remove my clothes, and climb into bed. The word “breathe” written in permanent marker on my wrists became my focal point each night as I would brace my hands on the wall behind my head, so that my head wouldn’t slam into it with each thrust, the force that was my husband. I don’t really ever remember crying, but I know that I must have been because at least once a “session” I would catch a backhand while he screamed “do you have any idea how ugly and unattractive you look crying? I can’t even finish because my damn wife won’t do her job without crying like a baby and this is why it’s impossible to love you.” But I never said no. I said “I’m sorry. I’ll do better next time.” That’s not rape, right? I took off my own clothes. I didn’t say “no.” That’s not rape.

A year into the marriage, that little nagging bit of self respect that I had left, it screamed a little louder after a particularly rough and frightening experience. I went to the police, and through my humiliated and sobbing tears, recounted my story. They called my husband on the phone and he came down to the station. They put me in the lobby of the police station and took him into the back. To this day, I still have no idea what he told them, but when I was called back into the tiny little cinderblock room, the two male officers asked me if I was sure I wanted to press charges. That sometimes new brides are just nervous, that sex does hurt until you get used to it, that having him arrested would ruin his life. I said yes, I wanted to press charges. The two officers sat in chairs facing me, reminding me how much that would impact his life, and did I want to go home to think about it? Finally, after two hours, I realized what I had believed all along. I was wrong, I never should have come. This was not rape.

My husband was so angry at me, when he got home that night I will never forget the look in his eyes, seething with rage as he said between gritted teeth, “if that’s rape, you sure are an easy rape.” He was right. I didn’t fight. I had long since stopped saying no. This was not rape. And if it was, I probably deserved it.

Years went by. Two children were conceived, I stopped working. I spent my days parenting children, teaching Sunday school, attending toddler music classes and ballet, and doing everything in my will power not to let the outside world know what was going on in my home. Yet each night, the horror’s continued. I would spend my days fantasizing about how I could escape. Flee with my children, run away to a new life, but mostly, I thought about how I could do better. How I could be the wife and the person that I was supposed to be. How I could stop being such a failure. Then one day my infant son was the recipient of a black eye. I went to my “parents,” as I had many times before, and I told them I needed out. I was willing to move back into that hell of a home to save my children. My father told me that I would not shame the family by getting divorced. My mother told me that if I was doing a better job pleasing my husband, maybe he wouldn’t be so stressed. I didn’t know what to do. At this point, he was cheating on me with people he was finding off of craigslist, he was coming home high, and he wasn’t going to work. Then one day, he just never came home and that was that.

The legal process dragged on and it took a toll on me. I had a fantastic attorney that figuratively held my hand through the entire process, but it was rough. The morning of each court date I felt sick to my stomach. It didn’t help that it’s a several block walk from the parking garage to the courthouse. Do you know what kind of people hang around outside courthouses? Creepy ones. The second I would step out of the parking garage and onto the street it would start. “Hey pretty lady, why don’t you let me show you a good time?” “A girl like you shouldn’t be walking alone, let me walk with you.” And then of course there were the ones that just whistled at you, made animal noises, or walked by just close enough to grab your ass. Most times I would stand in the parking garage doorway until I saw another attorney walk by and then “stalk walk” directly behind him to the courthouse. For some reason just walking around with a dick gives you an invisible form of protection, and walking next to one makes you a little more off limits. But most days that didn’t happen and I would walk alone, feeling totally defeated by the time that I even got to the courthouse steps, already being reminded that in a lot of eyes, I was nothing more than a sex toy, an available body, and I hadn’t even gotten into court yet to face my soon to be ex. Several times I yelled back at the hecklers, many times amused by whatever witty comment I shot back. I would recount the story to friends later, and was never anything but amazed at their responses. “Why do you even talk to them? Just leave them alone.” Excuse me? I’m being chastised for defending my honor? This, THIS is what is wrong with society. Why am I being taught to just grin and bear it? Shove it down? Pretend that it doesn’t bother me? Why am I more of the issue then the person who is degrading me??? Most times I would leave the courthouse and walk back to the parking garage with my attorney, fearful my ex would be waiting for me. You know how many times I was cat called while with him? NONE. I was not blessed with the super power that is man junk. Totally ridiculous.



Now I’d love to end my story with, “and I got divorced, the community took care of us and got us back on our feet, and we lived happily ever after,” but while that is partly true, there have been some major setbacks. A day didn’t go by when I didn’t have at least one person tell me how amazing I was. Strong. “An inspiration.” That’s a lot to live up too! Somehow through all of this, I was happy. I have surprisingly always been a happy person. I can find the good in any situation, and it is rare to catch me without a smile. I believe that everything, even the bad, has a purpose, and I try to find a way to turn that into a positive. But my friends, they didn’t know the truth. I didn’t even know the truth. A year went by and I felt stronger than ever. I got my groove back so to speak. Or maybe, for the first time, I got my groove.

I threw myself into everything I did. I lost 60 pounds of post baby weight and worked out until my tiny 5’3  #105 body was stronger than ever. I became the parent I had always wanted to be, mixing goji berries and chia seeds into the kids organically pureed homemade yogurt and kale smoothies and washed their hair with expensive organic shampoo. We worked on flashcards at dinner and talked about life value lessons while snuggled up in bed. Because of our early wake up time, my kids went to bed at 6pm. By 6:30 the sitter would be there and I’d be off, whether it be to a comedy club with a friend or a concert with a date, for the first time in a while I had a raging social life, and I loved every minute of it. But deep down, I wondered, would anyone like me if they knew the truth? Did I even know the truth? Late nights were spent with friends sprawled out on my floor, wine in hand, long talks into the mornings, so deeply connected we all were, but never, NEVER, could I share THOSE secrets.



I did my best to heal myself, and in turn, help others. I volunteered to help abused and abandoned women get back on their feet, just as so many others had helped me. But I was shocked, that only after working with other abuse victims, did I realize that I was in fact, not just abused, but that I had been raped. I think the first time I ever uttered the word “rape” in relation to myself, my lunch came out with the word. I started taking pride in myself, the solidarity of the other women made me feel empowered. I realized, for the first time, that I was sexy. I have a sexy body. And I enjoy doing sexy things with it. Not with just anyone, only a select few, but hell, if I say pull the car over, lets pull the car over. And that is ok!! For the first time in my life, it was about me. ME. But the rape? That was my shame to bear alone. It had been my fault because I had done nothing to stop it. I had gotten myself raped. I had allowed it. And I just needed to get over it.

My ex? He didn’t go away. He broke into the house several times, he stalked me relentlessly, and after he got out of jail for not paying his child support, he got someone else involved to come after me. Who? I couldn’t tell you even if I wanted too, I truly don’t know. I can only assume it is someone involved in his drug circle. I went to the police multiple times. I called the state’s attorney and the domestic abuse hotlines. I needed help, and not one damn fucking person could help me. I’ll spare you the details because at this point they are irrelevant, but eventually I was assaulted by this unknown man. I didn’t even know what to do. I was so ashamed, and thanks to my past, I was so easily able to disconnect during the attack that I was unsure of what had actually happened, so much so that I didn’t even go to the police. If the police didn’t believe me when I had all the facts, they sure as hell wouldn’t believe me when I had none of them. I tried to convince myself that it wasn’t a big deal. People have sexual encounters every day. I’ll just chalk this up to a bad one and move on. Forget the total loss of control over your body, or the terror, fear, pain, and horror that accompany it, it’s just sex, right?

I decided to get an order of protection against my ex husband, hoping that it would make the police take the situation more seriously. The whole process was a nightmare from beginning to end, and at one point a note was left on my car while I was in my attorney’s office, threatening that if I didn’t stop talking to the police that “the next time I see you more than just me will be shoved down your pretty little whore’s throat.” I can only assume that it was the stranger guy. I sat in the attorney’s office with two male attorneys and a male police officer, and I couldn’t even bring myself to make eye contact with anyone. I was so filled with shame, and truthfully, I felt like a whore. What kind of girl lets guys do this to her and doesn’t do anything about it? A whore. A slut. Me.



The morning of the hearing, I sat in the back of the courtroom while my ex made kissing motions towards me. I ran to the bathroom sure I was going to throw up, and for a minute actually thought I was going to pass out before sitting on the bench in the hallway and nearly hyperventilating. I really didn’t think I could do it, but I knew that I owed it to myself to follow through, and so I walked back into the courtroom. For the first time in my entire life I admitted in public that I had been sexually abused. The order was granted and I left, wanting to feel victorious, but feeling scared for any repercussions that might come of it.
A few weeks went by, a few strange things happened, but mostly, I hoped that for once, it was over. I could put the horrors behind me and move on. Until that night.

That night. The night the doorbell rang and I opened the door. The night that stranger guy pushed his way into my house. The night I was raped. Now this, this is how a rape is supposed to happen, right? This is what us girls have been taught, and prepared for. A stranger enters your home, sexually assaults you, and then runs away into the night. This is rape, right? But is it still rape if you didn’t do anything? If you just froze while being pushed against a wall? If you didn’t scream for fear you would wake your children and have them witness such horror? Is it still rape if you didn’t do ONE. DAMN. THING. to stop it???? Is it still rape if you aren’t even really sure it happened?


And what do you do next, when your neighbors are banging on your door, asking if you are ok, and the only thing you want is for them to go away, because they can’t know the truth? What if you can’t open the door, you are too ashamed, too embarrassed, what if you don’t want your neighbors thinking of you vulnerable and scared, naked with a stranger's dick inside of you? What if you are now curled up in a ball on the floor, hiding under a blanket, and the only thing you can process is “did that really just happen?” What do you do if after an unknown amount of time you realize the police are outside, so you mindlessly put your shirt back on (inside out and ripped from collar to navel), open the door and are forcibly yanked outside, wanting to know if the perpetrator is in the house, all the whilst standing near topless in front of your neighbors while you literally cannot utter one single word? And what do you do if you are seated in a chair while six male officers demand to know what is going on, and while you hear what they are saying, all you see is guns and male genitalia? What do you do when they are asking you if you are sure it wasn’t consensual, like maybe, because you like sex, maybe you were ok with stranger sex?

What do you do when they are ransacking your home and asking you to remove your clothes, are trying to take pictures of your body, and telling you there are no female officers available? What if the only thing you can actually remember is the smell of stranger guy’s cigarette and gum breath as he whispers “he was right, you are an easy rape” into your ear? How can you possibly repeat that to a room full of men without looking like the slut that you are? What do you do when the only thing you want to do is take a shower, climb in bed, and shut out the horror of the day? When you hear yourself refusing to go to the hospital for a rape kit because every fiber of your being cannot imagine someone touching you?  When you feel like you may actually stop breathing. What do you do when the next day your neighbors refuse to talk to you because you scared them and you wouldn’t go to the hospital, I mean come on, there is a crazy rapist running around. Load your guns, hide your wives, the bitch next door didn’t go to the hospital and let you scrape invisible condom covered DNA out of her vagina so SHE MUST BE SHUNNED. What do you do when you realize that all the fears you have harbored your entire life about how people will react when they find out, have actually been true?

You start to wonder if you can go on. If by some freak force of the universe, you have survived when nature intended to weed you out. You start to think that maybe, you are, and always will be, fighting a losing battle. You can’t keep starting over. Everyday cannot be a new start to your life. You cannot possibly wake up every day and think “Ok, new life plan!” It sounds good in theory, but let me tell you, it’s exhausting.
I’ll tell you what you do. You reevaluate. Again. But this time, you have nothing left to hide. There are no more secrets in the closet, no more skeletons to hide. Everyone knows. Word spreads fast. There is no damage control to be done on this one. You have to make a decision. Own it, or give up and die. 

I chose die. I chose die, and then I saw the sweet little face of my precious five year old daughter. I was crying on the couch and she threw her arms around my neck and whispered into my ear the very same thing that I have whispered in her ear every night of her life since the day she was born. “You are amazing. You are precious. You are smart. You are beautiful. Don’t let anyone tell you differently, and don’t ever forget it, because YOU. ARE. LOVED.”
At that moment, I chose own it. I chose live. I chose life. I choose my life.
I drafted an email. I sent it to some of my friends. I explained my past, what had been going on, what had happened, the choice that I had made, and that I needed help. I was terrified. My whole life I have been a master of disguise, smiling on the outside, and screaming on the inside. The wall had crumbled, there was no holding it back. Within hours people started showing up. Hugs, wine, chocolate, diapers, money, and support. They coaxed me into the shower, cleaned my house, forced some food into me, and took my children to give me a break. They jumped into action setting up a safety check-in phone tree, and changing my locks. I went to the doctor and had emergency STD and HIV testing done (update, it was clean thank gosh). I went down to the police station, told my story over and over as asked, looked at mug shots, and let them once again look over my body. It was hard. So hard. It all took place in a cinderblock interrogation room. No sweet female officers, no social workers holding my hand, nothing like how it is portrayed on TV. Two male officers that asked me questions that would make nuns drop dead. But yet, it felt right to cooperate. And when it starts to not feel right, I will stop. And I will not be ashamed, and I will not feel bad. Because it’s about me. It’s my rape. It’s my body. I am not a whore. I did not choose this. I reacted in a way that allowed my brain to disengage from the human carnage that was taking place AND THAT’S OK.

And that little neighbor friend of mine who isn’t speaking to me because I didn’t go to the hospital? Fuck you.



I’m sorry that I didn’t handle it in the way that you would have. I’m sorry that I am not as smart and brave as you. I’m sorry that I have spent my time cleaning your house and watching your daughter for free so that maybe on the fourth try, you can actually pass the “care and compassion” part of your nursing exam boards. That irony is not lost on me. And yet, because you are not only a woman, but a human, I pray that you never have to find out how you would react in that situation.



So here I lay, it’s now 4:16 pm. I’ve been writing this entire time. It feels good. It’s about me. It’s the story of my rape. It’s the choices that I made, it’s the choices that I stand by, and I refuse to apologize to anyone for them. I am going to raise my daughter in a way that I wasn’t raised, to respect herself and her body, and to know that if anyone crosses that line, IT IS NOT HER FAULT.  If she doesn’t want to be heckled at, she has a right to defend her honor. If she wants to have sex at an appropriate age, no one has a right to pass judgment on what she does with her own personal body (please God, don’t ever let her want to have sex).  In a weird, twisted, disgusting way, I am thankful for that last rape. I am thankful for Tuesday night at 7:50pm. Because of that night, my secrets were exposed, my skeletons were pulled out of the closet, and there was no turning back. I was forced, once and for all, to look back at my sexual history and realize, I DID NOTHING WRONG. For the first time in my life, my friends know all of me. All about me and you know what? They love me anyways. For the first time in my life, I know that I am loved for who I am, not just for whom I want them to think I am, but who I really, truly, am. It’s just really sad that I had to get raped to figure that out, but hopefully, for all the women out there that have yet to realize what I should have realized a really, really, long time ago, this can be the wake-up call that it is not your fault. You are amazing. You are precious. You are smart. You are beautiful. Don’t let anyone tell you differently, and don’t ever forget it, because
                                                             
                                                  YOU. ARE. LOVED.



86 comments:

  1. You are amazing person, amazing and strong woman
    Greetings and best luck for you from Ukraine!

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    1. Aw thanks :) Wow, my first Ukrainian commenter. Awesome!! ((Hug))

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    2. I have a random question out of curiosity. was your ex husband abusive (at least verbally) and controlling before you got married or did he change on a dime once he "got you" so to speak?

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    3. He wasn't physically abusive before we got married, but there were some major red flags I should have seen, and I didn't. He was definitely manipulative and degrading, but I didn't think much, if anything, of myself back then. I thought I really was a terrible and unlovable person. My views on people, and how people should act were so messed up thanks to my parents, that I was just....stupid, to say the least. He changed quite drastically almost immediately after we got married.

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  2. I am so glad that I read your story. I've been sharing my story, bit by bit, changing the names and telling the story like it happened to someone else so it's not so embarrassing and less painful. I was abused by my husband for eleven years. That is a long time, and recovery won't come overnight. I have been free and relatively safe for over a year now. I'm building a life for me and my son where no abuse will ever happen again.

    We will survive. ♥

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    1. Aw hun, I'm so sorry that you had to go through that. It still feels like it isn't my story when I am talking to someone about it, but writing it down, its been cathartic. I think its hard for people to understand why we didn't just leave, and its hard to explain to them why we didn't. I'm sending you a GREAT BIG hug :)

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    2. Saw your IHTM on xojane, came back to the beginning of your blog. Bless you. You were a victim and all those people who made you feel otherwise, quite frankly, need really bad things to happen to them. You saw my earlier comment; I went from an abused kid to engaged to a rapist at age 19. There is not a feeling described that I cannot relate to. Keep posting girl. Keep speaking out. You are brave, strong, beautiful.

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    3. I'm happy and sad that you could relate. So sad that you truly understand, I would never wish these feelings on anyone. But since you can relate, I am happy to share this journey with you.

      Don't ever forget how awesome you are!!!

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  3. You're amazing, your story is amazing. Amazing isn't a good enough word, but that's all I got. The fact that someone can make it through that, and then recognize what happened, and be so strong, is stunning. This is why I love that we can share things like this, it's inspirational what we can survive. I almost cried. "You are amazing. You are precious. You are smart. You are beautiful. Don’t let anyone tell you differently, and don’t ever forget it, because YOU. ARE. LOVED." Mind if I keep that quote?

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    1. Aw, thanks :) Quote away! and don't forget, YOU ARE LOVED as well!!

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  4. An Amazing woman. Her circumstances would have killed most. Her children are very lucky to have such a strong mommy

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    1. Haha, I will remind them of that when they are teenagers

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  5. Just wow! So horrible but I am sure there are too many women out there that can relate to much of what you have been through. Your sharing can only help strengthen other.

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  6. Your story is heart breaking. I hope this helps you continue to be a warrior. Which is the only word I can come up with for someone who doesn't give up and keeps fighting

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  7. This is heartbreaking! Hang in there. I SO commend you for making so much of yourself and protecting your children!

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  8. That is a pretty intense read. I had no idea they treated rap victoms like that. I think if they publicly castrated the rapist two things would happen. 1- He would not do it again. 2- Others might think twice about doing it. Did they catch the jerk that did this?

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  9. Hey I just read all of your blog posts. I don't really comment or message very often, but I just wanted to tell you that you are awesome. It sucks that you had to go through all of that. I am going to subscribe to your blog and I for sure want to buy a copy of your book. Please update on here or by message when I can purchase !

    Best of luck, Dan.

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  10. Hello! I read your AMA and your blog, it moved me more than anything I've read on reddit, you are one amazing person. I would like to do something for you or for your kids, I know it sounds weird but I promise I'm a normal person and I don't have any hidden agenda, I just want to do something that would help or make you and your family a little happier this Christmas. You can ignore this message if you want to, I do understand since it sounds crazy...

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    1. Aw, thank you :) Just share the blog if you can, and send prayers!!

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  11. I see... Well, it would be inappropriate for me to pass any notions of how strong you are as a person or whatsoever without actually knowing you for long.

    However, your story is a very intriguing one. Ill look out for your book:)

    Being just a 20 year old spoilt lad with a decent childhood and a good parent i cannot hope to even pretend to understand your situation, however hang in there mate. I can only hope you'll do well in the future and continue your happy times now. You certainly seem to deserve a fair share of good times.

    Cheers to you :)

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  12. That's wonderful! I just spent the last hour reading your blog. You are an amazing writer!


    I chose die. I chose die, and then I saw the sweet little face of my precious five year old daughter. I was crying on the couch and she threw her arms around my neck and whispered into my ear the very same thing that I have whispered in her ear every night of her life since the day she was born. “You are amazing. You are precious. You are smart. You are beautiful. Don’t let anyone tell you differently, and don’t ever forget it, because YOU. ARE. LOVED.”

    I started crying in the middle of work on my lunch break.

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  13. hahahaha.... f*ing amazing,,,,,,, dark realities..........

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  14. I read it. I don't really know what to say other than to hope you find the strength to heal and find the love you deserve.

    To be honest I found your description of childhood more painful to read than the rest. I can't even imagine feeling (and being) unloved as a child.

    Don't get me wrong... I'm not suggesting that rape isn't incredibly traumatic, just that adults are generally better equipped to deal with trauma than children.

    Really, I'm talking out of my ass here... other than an attempted forcible abduction when I was 10, I had a pretty idyllic childhood. We were dirt poor at times, and went without quite often, but I never questioned whether or not I was loved and there was no physical or emotional abuse.

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  15. I never comment on articles.. specifically had to sign in and everything, so yeah this is a first.
    Loved it. Obviously not in an ice-cream way but an in-awe, inspired and unquestionably moved one.
    Relate in parts, but that just reaffirms to me how truly incredible you are.
    Merry Christmas and much love,
    Hunter

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    1. Aw, well thanks for your kind words Hunter. I appreciate you taking the time to read, and I hope to see you back here!

      Many hugs and Merry Christmas!

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  16. Speechless but inspired. We all have struggles, mine does not compare to yours! But I am inspired by how you can have such awful things happen to you and you can still find the strength to keep going. Your daughter is VERY lucky to have you and I am sorry that your own mother couldn't see how special you are!

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  17. I can relate to many, many of your experiences and some terrible ones of my own. Family abuse with no one protecting you, raped loss of virginity, abuse in marriage. I too chose life, and am now married to an amazing man and loving my children with all Ive got!! Keep fighting girl, you are worth it!!!

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    1. I'm so sorry you went through that :( I hope one day I meet my amazing man!!

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  18. Unbelievable story. You shed light on evil and overcame it with incredible bravery, strength, and LOVE. Thank you for sharing.

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  19. I know too well what you are going through! I wish there was a way to hug you in real life, but hopefully you can find a little peace knowing you are not alone in your struggles, estrangement and dedication to your new family!

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    1. Aw, I'll take your internet hug and I'll love it right up. Thank you!

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  20. I rarely comment on anything I read, but I couldn't help myself. I'm wiping tears from my eyes and I just want to come take you and adopt you into my family. Your writing is PROFOUND. I literally could feel what you were feeling from the core of my soul. You have talent young lady. I cannot wait to read your book.

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    1. I don't even know what to say. Thank you!!

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  21. Can you give us a guesstamite as to when your book is coming out? I followed you here from XOJane, read your entire blog, and I'm dying for more!!!

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    1. Aw, thank you!! I'm still working on it, I wish I could give you a better answer lol, but with my crazy life and two kids, I keep getting hung up! At this point, its looking like six months or so. :) Who knows, editors can tend to slow things down though, so fingers crossed!

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  22. what made you still keep in touch with your parents even after you had decided to run away?
    and this story of yours
    honestly re write in several other languages
    spread it across the middle east and asian countries where a countless no. of women are still suffering from what you had to go through( trust me i have seen it)
    maybe it might give them some courage , some hope

    *hearttouching*

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    1. Really!? Wow!! I would love to see what it looks like in a different language, send me a link if you have one :)

      Why did I keep in touch with my parents? Mostly I think it was because I truly thought I was a bad person. So many years of them telling me how horrible was, I honestly thought no one would ever want me. I think its human nature to want to be wanted, and I kept thinking eventually they would love me, so I kept going back. I kept trying to earn their approval. Society does not teach us that it is ok to give up on your parents. To walk away from your family. Society does not teach us that its ok to be alone. It doesn't show us that sometimes, being alone is healthier. So I repeatedly kept trying to fix things with them, to prove to them that I was a good person. I thought that having someone was better then having no one, and it took me a long time to realize that I never really had anyone that cared in the first place.

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  23. I'm crying. Well, not really crying; I'm just letting the tears roll down my cheek. I think you saved me today; not physically, but mentally. Our situations are vastly different, comparatively, but I can relate to the feelings; oh so deeply I can relate to the feelings. I know it won't make sense to you, and it can't make sense because you don't know my story, but I want you to be the first person to know that I'm not scared anymore. I don't know what I'm going to do, but I feel like there can be a next step because I don't feel so alone anymore; and maybe, just maybe, I'm not fighting a losing battle. My life may not be a lost battle. And I just realized I'm smiling, really smiling :) For all this, and so much more, thank you.

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    1. Aw, hun, I wish I could reach right through the computer and give you a huge hug. And some kleenex ;)

      You are never alone. Many women have gone before you, no matter what your struggle is, and many will follow behind you. I am glad that you found your way here, this is a safe place for you. You will never be alone here! I know the feeling of fear, of just being so unsure in which direction to move, your stomach churning so much you feel like you just want to fall into an abyss of nothingness, because surely, it will never get better.

      It will! It will get better. We are all here for you. Share your story if you want, or just read along. Whatever you are comfortable with.

      You will never be alone here. All are loved here. Welcome to the blog.

      You are amazing! You are precious! You are smart! You are beautiful! Don't let anyone tell you differently and don't ever forget it!

      The world needs you, you may not know exactly where it needs you, but it does. Give it time to show you.

      You wouldn't have found me, if I hadn't given it time.

      I love you :)

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  24. tl;dr
    Did someone FORCE you into marriage?

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    1. Up your game to play at this level, newb. All you're doing is embarrassing quality trolls. Go home, wet-behind-the-ears.

      Mods please delete this comment and the preceding as spurious and inept, it was not made in good faith.

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  25. I'm just going to say the obvious: you are a fucking hero. I mean that shit. 'nuf said.

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  26. You are brave and strong and as a mother, I wish I could go back in time and save that little baby girl. I'm so sorry this happened to you.
    You are a hero, and your children are incredibly blessed to have you.

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    1. Aw, thank you for that little soul hug of words :)

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  27. Hi you beautiful wonderful woman :)
    I'm in India, and today, I wish I could hug you as long as I could, so you could absorb the amount of respect, pure awe and love I have for you, and so I could absorb the insane amount of strength that you have.
    In India, a rape happens every 26 seconds, in the largest metros, in the tiniest villages. The victims are branded prostitutes by none other than the Chief Minister of the state. Google "16th December 2012 Delhi Rape", this is what happens. And I live in that city every day.
    I wish everyone had your mindset that it is not your shame to bear if someone has no control over themselves/ or has his "reasons" for doing so. It is never your shame to bear. It is not your shame to bear.
    Your parents, as much as I have been taught to respects elders, are the filthiest scum to walk this planet. In India too, daughters are killed before they are born (which is why prenatal sex determination is now "illegal"), daughters are killed when they are infants (by drowning them, burying a helpless infant alive, feeding them milk mixed with glass powder, etc), and their mothers are killed, beaten, raped, mutilated and what not.
    But no one talks about this.
    You are a wonderful and inhumanly strong human, and I love you so much!
    Sending hugs, support, laughter and lots of joy your way,
    A, from Delhi.

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    1. Oh my gosh, that just makes my heart drop to the floor. I can't even imagine living in an entire country where I was not wanted.

      Thank you for your kind words. I am sending you a great big hug!!! Don't ever lose your smile and your strength, you are a precious human being. ((hugs))

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  28. I came back to the start of your blog after reading your piece on xoJane, and I just want to cry and hug you. I have been raped by a couple different boyfriends, as well as verbally and emotionally abused, and I am always terrified to speak out about it. I love writing; it's my favorite way to express my feelings and it helps me to heal. But I'm always so scared that my family will see and ask questions I don't want to answer (my mom is verbally/emotionally manipulative) or that a future employer will see it and think I'm not someone they want to hire. I'm even scared that my attackers will come after me, which would not be surprising, unfortunately. It's wonderful women like you who make me brave.. and maybe soon I'll find the courage to tell my story. Thank you, thank you, thank you, and I hope you know that you have found a loyal reader, ally, and pseudo-internet-friend :)

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    1. I wish I could pull you through the screen and give you a great bit hug.

      I'm so sorry that you have gone through all of that. No one deserves that. Take your time, when you are ready, you can share. You are welcome to post your story here if you want to do it anonymously.

      I'm so glad that you have found your way here!!!

      hugs!

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    2. You are just the sweetest, I'm tearing up at your reply. Hugs to you as well! The work you are doing here is appreciated by so many people :)

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    3. Aw, hun. Thank you :) I appreciate all my readers and your sweet words :)

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  29. Dear survivor, No, it is not your fault. It never was your fault. Only the evil little boys are to blame and will hopefully be punished someday. The 'dicks' that raped you do not belong to real men. REAL MEN LOVE WOMEN and RESPECT WOMEN and WILL NEVER EVER HARM YOU. The evil done to you is by those who do not deserve forgiveness nor acceptance by society. Blessings in Jesus to you and your children, survivor. May your words give strength to more woman from now on. Signed, a man who cares

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    1. Thank you for that. Seriously, thank you. That means more to me than you can possible understand.

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  30. (Hard to see what I'm typing as my eyes have completely filled up, so excuse any typos...) That was breathtaking, in both the good and the bad way. I'm stunned by what you've endured, But equally as stunned by the goodness and strength that runs through your writing. Oh God that bit with your daughter: my heart actually aches.
    I will look out for your book!
    Blessings to you.

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  31. Aw hun, don't cry lol! Thank you for reading, and welcome to the blog!!!

    Hugs and love,

    Eden

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  32. Hi fellow survivor you story while different, is very similar to mine, most people don't believe my story either. My mother died 4 months ago and I have finally found myself telling people some of the secrets I have kept about my upbringing that I would never tell before so as not to hurt mums feelings or get her arrested. I know I have become a bit of an over sharer in the last 2-3 years but after finally leaving my long term defacto husband who was very abusive especially sexually I have felt this relief and I wont keep their secrets for them anymore. I dont tell people to hurt my ex or my mother and I dont tell others to get sympathy or to shock others, I tell because I am finally free they cant hurt me anymore and if I have to continue keeping their secrets it keeps me unempowered and bound by a shame that dosent belong to me! I cant help but feel a bit ashamed of myself because most people think I should stop over sharing (I dont carry on all the time and dont bring it up but if the conversation is related I figure why not?) I have been told to speak to a psychologist by my best friend but I dont feel the need for one now I am not messed up anymore quite the opposite actually I have finally let it go and I dont care about talking about it. But I am learning that others just cant deal with these sorts of stories very well or they think your lying, but if a group of friends are talking about our childhoods my stories are what they are and I wont make up lies. Once I learned to forgive mum and my ex, I became free; forgive does not mean forget but it brings peace.

    I left my ex nine years ago now and am pleased to say that I as a single mum of three went back to school and worked hard over the last 9 years to get a university degree in nursing which I was awarded dux of school for achieving the highest GPA and graduating in the top 5% Australia wide and I now work in a large hospital where I love to provide empathy and compassion to all my patients. Next up is my Masters degree and promotion to management in nursing, while my kids are doing apprenticeships and starting uni themselves - so proud of us. Thank you for sharing your story I love the words you use they resonate so much with me - Its not my shame to bear

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    1. Odd, I had written you a super long response, but I don't see it here anymore!!

      I am SO proud of you for how far you have come! You are an awesome person to have made it through everything and to come out on top, with an awesome education!! I'm giving you a big round of applause over here!!!

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  33. I can't even begin to describe how inspirational you are! I have been through a lot of shit in my days too but I am defiantly not nearly as strong as you are!! I hope some day I can be brave enough and tell my stories like you have and help and encourage as many people as you have by telling your story!! You are a true inspiration! You have helped me see that there is hope and things can be ok.... even for me. THANK YOU

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    1. Aw, thank you hun, how sweet of you too say :) There is always hope, and it will be ok!!

      Welcome to the blog!! I hope I see you around here again :)

      Hugs!!

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  34. Thank you for sharing your story. You are making an impact in this world, helping other women, by being yourself and "over sharing" your story. It's hard to be so open about something so personal and hurtful. Thank you.

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    1. Thank you for reading and for your kind words. It really helps me to know that its helping others. You are awesome :)

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  35. You probably cannot believe this but I've been crying for hours reading your blog. Thank you for sharing your amazingly brave life journey. Your self-belief is a source of empowerment for women who are going through abuse and life hardships. Reading about your childhood shine a light a number of things for me. I too came from an abusive family (my dad is a verbal and sometimes physical abuser towards my mom), only thing is I vaguely knew it was abuse until a couple months back (I'm in college and don't live with my parents anymore). The abuse wasn't on a daily basis and that's why it was so hard to discern it from "regular" family disagreements/fights. I have an older brother who, after watching my dad's abusive acts and being a victim himself, eventually became an abuser (his victims are his wife, mother-in-law and my mom). I'm okay now being away from my dad and my brother, but I'm gravely concerned about my mom. She's very dependent (doesn't know how to drive, unwilling to learn new things, internet, email etc.) and refuses to believe these 2 people are true abusive monsters. Anyways, my story could go on and on.
    I just want to let you know that you are inspirational, strong and kind human being. You deserve all the good and wonderful things in the world. Please know that you have my wish and prayer.

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    1. Welcome to the blog!! I'm sorry you are crying :(

      It sounds like you have had a rough road, I wish I could give you a big hug right now. I don't have any great advice, but just know that you can, and will, get through this. Things will get brighter and easier. A lot of us are on the same journey, know that you are not alone. I hope to "see" you around here often! Read the comments section and hopefully you feel comfortable enough to chat with the other readers, they are a wealth of great information. So happy you are here :)

      *Hugs*

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  36. Don't forget Lady friend, to tell yourself, what you tell your children, every night :) I know you've grown a lot since this post, I've lived though abuse - you, in my opinion, lived through cruelty. I watched my Mom be financially abused my dad, and so I chose men in my life to totally take advantage (ok let's be real - abuse) me financially. Why the F*** I attract these losers? I know why. Because it's what I know.
    At least one of them gave me two wonderful girls!

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    1. Thank you :) It is good to be reminded, isn't it?

      I'm sorry you have had your own trials. Yes, you are right, we are attracted to things that are familiar to us, no matter how unhealthy it is, its the only thing we understand. The first step is recognizing that so that we can change it!

      Hug your girls!

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    2. I wonder if we can find somebody on this globe who's experienced more and harsher trials than Eden.

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    3. Oh gosh yes. In comparison to the rest of the world there are DEFINITELY people who have it harder than me!!

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  37. I found this post by mistake I am glad I have. What you went through was evil know that you are loved. I don't know you, but I docare about. You are an amaziñg survivor.

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    1. Thank you very much Albert :) I'm glad you stumbled over here on accident, I'm happy to have you!

      *hugs*

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  38. "you are loved." Amen! You're amazing. As heartbreaking as it was, thank you for writing your story. I hope the rest is much better :)

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    1. Thank you for reading :) It gets better everyday!

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  39. I was raped too and I couldn't identify the assailant. I can also totally relate to starting over and over and over and wondering if my life is every not going to be a complete catastrophe.

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    1. Your life might feel like a catastrophe, but it's not :) You are too special to qualify your life as completely ruined. :) I'm so glad you found your way over here, I hope you are able to find a little healing in this blog, or at least a few friends in the comments section :)

      *hugs*

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  40. I'm kinda late to the blog, but I just want to say your really are awesome, I love you and I don't even know you. You are are all the good, strong things. (I was raped by my first husband "only" once; and psychologically and emotionally abused by my second). We are legion. And you are mighty. WE are mighty. And we will teach our daughters to be wise, and strong.

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    1. Aw!!! Well thank you very much! You are pretty darn awesome yourself there my dear :)

      I'm so glad that you found your way here and I hope you stick around! I'd love to have you :)

      **Hugs**

      Eden

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