There is nothing I can't handle with strength, courage and determination.My life started on the floor. My mom was getting up onto the exam table and out I came with the cord breaking and all. As I grew older, I was constantly being compared to my older sister. She a straight A student while I pulled down C's. I was the one who had the "face of an angel and the disposition of the devil" in my mom's words. She was of the old school that having sex was a chore that the woman had to suffer. Many nights I heard her say, "come on now and let's get it over with." Was it any wonder my father drank himself under the table? With that drinking came other things. He first turned to my grandmother for sexual release. Later, when she was older, I was his next target. I endured sexual abuse from the time I was eight until I was in high school. When I finally put a stop to it, he moved on to my younger sister. That is not my story, so I have to leave it to her to talk about it if she sees fit. During my formative years, I was obese. I tend to think my subconscious thought if I was fat, he would leave me alone. I was wrong. Because of the abuse and weight, boys my age were out of my league. Yes, they teased me about stuffing my bra because I had large breasts, but that was all the attention they gave me. While the other girls flirted and had boyfriends, I didn't. We moved to Mississippi when I was just about to go to high school. We moved down ahead of my parents and younger sister to start school. We were to live with my Aunt. This was short lived. My Aunt's boyfriend tended to pay a lot of attention to me, once again because of my breasts, so we were asked to leave. There was talk of another Aunt, but she didn't want our interference in her liaisons with her men. She didn't say that, but it was common knowledge. (I also think my other Aunt told her of men's reactions to me). We ended up moving in yet another trailer with yet another Aunt and Uncle. They had three children and my sister and I made seven people in all. The boys were close to our age at the time. The attention they gave me was intoxicating since I hadn't had any from any other boys. Since my cousins were not seen very often(every summer), It was easy to delude myself they were just boys. My breasts tended to get me a lot of attention. I ended up having a sexual relationship with each of them as well. Time passed and I moved on with the occasional interlude with them just for the heck of it. Yes, I was stupid, but had a very poor self image. I started to confuse the sex with love. I moved away and went to nursing school. After graduation, I started to work at the local hospital. When I started working, again my breasts and sexuality oozed from me even though I remained ambibious to the effect it had on men. I then went to work in a nursing home. I thought it would be the perfect place to get away from all the attention. I was wrong. I met a very nice black man while at work, who showered me with attention without wanting anything in return. The thought he was married and in a "bad relationship". only made me want him more. Of course, true to form I bedded him as well. It wasn't long before the relationship was over. I moved back in with my parents and was introduced to a neighbors son. His mother and mine had worked together. After three months, I married him. I thought he would be the answer to my prayers. He wasn't. He used me and my money and then with the ultimate betrayal, slept with my younger sister not to mention others. I divorced him one day less than three years. In order to get away from gossip and bad memories, I started working somewhere else, another nursing home. I proceed to party frequently at local bars and had numerous partners. At that part of my life, I really didn't care. Drinking held appeal to forget many things of my past. I realized very soon, that I couldn't run away from my problems with alcohol. I pretty much stopped drinking and tried to immerse myself in my work. I met yet another black man that turned my head and showed me the attention I missed and slept with him. I had my daughter at twenty seven, on my own, with no help from him. I proceeded to raise her and things were going very well. I didn't need a man in my life. I was determined to take care of her and stand on my own. That dream crashed to an end when I met my last husband. True to form, at two and a half months, I married him. I thought he was the answer to my prayers for a good father for my daughter. He however was sent from the other direction to make my life a living hell. He also slept around with people in our neighborhood. He used me and my money until the were used up. He then started to steal from me and sell my stuff for drugs. He stole my car several times giving it to be used for security to drug dealers until he could pay them for the dope he bought. He never had any intention of getting it back. I even had the FBI come to my work because my car was connected with the passing of forged twenty dollar bills, at a local fast food place. One of the many people he gave my car to. He finally had a wreck with it and left it out in the middle of the road. I bought a van in which he did the exact same thing to. I had my car impounded and or towed by the police so often that I was practically on first name basis with all the police and tow truck drivers in my town. I finally decide he had to change. We talked about it and he went to rehab. While he was there, I had been under a lot of stress trying to pay so many people off from him. I found out I was pregnant and miscarried. Things didn't get any better. He made sure to alienate me from my family so I had no one. I found out I was pregnant and was so excited. I thought it was the perfect thing to get him right. I had just told him I was pregnant, when he said he had to tell his mother. He came back early the next morning. He proceeded to the den and turned the tv up loud. I told him to turn it down to no avail. He finally said, "If you want it turned down, do it yourself." I went to the den to do just that. He came up behind me and started to get rough. He said he wanted all my money. When I refused, he said he was going to break a plate over my head. I begged for my life and that of my daughters. He was determined to have it regardless what he had to do to get it. He then stabbed me fourteen times, two of them in my stomach. He must have had another one on standby, because he threw the one he had down and picked up another one. He must have had it set up all along. He tried to cut my throat, but thank God for dull knives and my presence of mind to hold my chin tight against my chest. I finally gave up some money and told him it was all I had. He dragged me to our bedroom to get it and once in hand, he left me bleeding. My daughter of twelve witnessed the whole thing. During the assault, I told her to run and she went next door to get help. After calling 911, I was taken to the hospital. He turned himself in and was sent to prison. I didn't even get a chance to confront him in court. He plea bargained and was sent off. The result of that attack stayed with me and my daughter for a long time. I later found out he had sexually abused her. Once we were so close, we would talk about anything. From that night on, I lost her and her respect. I also suffered from post traumatic stress disorder. I had a very difficult time. My son was born and I ended up having an infection. I went home and the next day I was back at the hospital. I ended up having surgery to remove a football sized mass in my abdomen. I stayed in the hospital over a month. The first month of my sons life I was absent. My daughter started to act out. At thirteen, I took her to the health department to get on birth control. I found out she was already pregnant. I was taking care of a new born, and planning for another at the same time. Our sons are one year and two weeks apart in age. I helped her with the care of her son and she helped with the care of her brother. She ended up dropping out, but later got her GED. Time passed and we moved from our apartment where the attack happened and found another one. She started to do much better and started to see a boy who was I thought was very nice. Soon, I found out she was pregnant again at sixteen. One month before she turned seventeen, she had another son. Now, I was a mother again at forty and a grandmother not long afterwards. My life was suddenly more hectic than anything I could imagine. I continued to work at the same nursing home until I fell and hurt my knee. I was unable to get around as well as I did before. The weight was really starting to give me problems not to mention all the money I made went to four kids up bringing. My daughter was working as well, but it wasn't enough. I tried working overtime to try to make ends meet, but it was hard. After my last grandson's birth, I was over whelmed. I lost my job, my daughter went down to Florida and Louisiana to help with clean up and restoration. The money was good, and we needed it. She left me with the three young kids. That I didn't need. It was really difficult to say the least but we made it. Barely. No car- it was in the shop. Laundry- I had to walk it around the corner to the laundromat with three kids in tow. Groceries- I had to go to our local food center in a cab because it was too far to walk. Then, I had to depend on a child in Kindergarten to push one cart for the groceries, while I pushed and watched after the other two in another cart. All business I had to attend to , I had to take the two smallest ones while my son was at school. My daughter came back only to have become all the more independent. She would leave the kids with me so she could go out. It became so overwhelming I finally went to the emergency room with my blood pressure dangerously high. I cried and begged them to admit me behavioral health because I didn't want to go back home. My niece took me to the hospital on one of the rare occasions My daughter took the kids with her. I left no note, message or anything else telling her where I was. They did admit me after I was near hysteria. I was over wroth with stress, anxiety and exhaustion. At that point in my life, suicide seemed like a virtual relief. I stayed in the hospital for the weekend and got my second wind. I went back to the same things, but decided to be stronger. I was made of tougher stuff than that. I would make it all work. I was determined! Things went fairly well until I heard that my husband had died in prison. I wasn't sorry, just relieved. It seemed he would have been out early, on good behavior, two weeks after that if he had not of passed. I finally got to put closure to that whole ugly part of my life. Two months later, my Mom passed away. With everything I was going through, I had not been there for her when she need me. I did go to see her a day before she passed so at least I did make some peace with that. My mother always loved Cardinals. After her death, all I saw were Cardinals flying close to me or landing where I could see them. Whenever I was down or upset, I would pray that she was there for me like she was when she lived. I would barely get it out of my mouth when a Cardinal would lite close by. I felt like she was there for me even in death. These days things are still hard at times. I continue to have my daughter and grand kids live with me. I've turned to writing as a sol-ice. I have met a truly wonderful man online that has made me come to life when I thought that part of my life was dead and gone. He lives in Chicago. Funny how things came full circle. We talk for hours on the phone or on the computer on my cam. He accepts me for me. He makes me laugh and happier than I have ever been in my life. He is everything I ever wanted in a man before I knew what it is I wanted. We are taking things slow. We plan to meet in a little over a year and see where we are at that time. Even if things don't work out, my life is better for having known him. What the rest of my life holds is anyone's guess. But one thing I'm sure of. There is nothing I can't handle with strength, courage and determination.