She Broke My Heart And The System Made It Worse

She Broke My Heart And The System Made It Worse

The cross I was bearing, I built.

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SNA
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I was so young. Naive and oblivious to this whole other world. My comprehension of foster care was bunk beds lined up across a room and "Annie." So my understanding of me going into the system was based on ignorance and the belief that I "didn't belong."

I was 12 turning 13, and my mother had told the judge she didn't want me to come home because of my toxic behavior. I was defiant, disrespectful, and had anger towards her specifically, inexplicably. I spent my first year away from home. Crying every single day, my thin pillow saturated with tears left from kids from years past, but once again I felt I was "different," so I knew I'd be going home.

Waiting for phone calls that never came, letters never opened and visitation board that never had my name on it.

The confusion turned into sadness, sadness into anger, anger into pain and finally pain to understanding. Realizing that there was no savior to this story. That I was looking for a way out, instead of a way through. Uprooting me from my home school, friends, isolating me from my family, I felt true abandonment. Accustomed to being left, I didn't grow attachments. Separated myself from feeling because I knew I could never survive that type of heartbreak again.

My first heartbreak on this earth, my mother.

Birthdays never celebrated, existence never validated. I was left to be a ward of the state. How did I get here? To this point. I had a choice to make. I leave the shattered glass on the floor, my life fragmented by my own hands from displaced anger. The cross I was bearing, I built. No one's fault or no concise place to put the blame. So here I am devastated and broken. Shattered heart and a hardened soul.

Forced to make grown-up decisions but being told to stay in a child's place. Having others make choices about my life while sitting there bound by silence. No one caring to hear my side or understand my pain. I was a dollar sign. Another by-product of a broken system. Falling through the cracks, people missing the obvious signs. I spent two more years being taken care of by people who work shifts. Inside of houses that were not homes, surrounded by faces that were not family. Crowded but isolated.

Then one day in late August, I got a call from the social worker, that she wanted me back.

Confusion coupled with resentment. I had spent years cultivating my peace but not ever confronting my chaos. She was my storm, my 9/11, my tornado. When I saw her, I saw red. Like a bull in a ring, ready to fight without direction. Because just talking feels like a battlefield when you're used to surviving instead of living. I, always ready for a fight. She, always ready to defend. Both leaving with our guns smoking, not remembering who fired the first shot but bleeding from the bullet of the words.

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The Truth About Young Marriage

Different doesn't mean wrong.
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When I was a kid, I had an exact picture in my mind of what my life was going to look like. I was definitely not the kind of girl who would get married young, before the age of 25, at least.

And let me tell you, I was just as judgmental as that sentence sounds.

I could not wrap my head around people making life-long commitments before they even had an established life. It’s not my fault that I thought this way, because the majority opinion about young marriage in today’s society is not a supportive one. Over the years, it has become the norm to put off marriage until you have an education and an established career. Basically, this means you put off marriage until you learn how to be an adult, instead of using marriage as a foundation to launch into adulthood.

When young couples get married, people will assume that you are having a baby, and they will say that you’re throwing your life away — it’s inevitable.

It’s safe to say that my perspective changed once I signed my marriage certificate at the age of 18. Although marriage is not always easy and getting married at such a young age definitely sets you up for some extra challenges, there is something to be said about entering into marriage and adulthood at the same time.

SEE ALSO: Finding A Husband In College

Getting married young does not mean giving up your dreams. It means having someone dream your dreams with you. When you get lost along the way, and your dreams and goals seem out of reach, it’s having someone there to point you in the right direction and show you the way back. Despite what people are going to tell you, it definitely doesn’t mean that you are going to miss out on all the experiences life has to offer. It simply means that you get to share all of these great adventures with the person you love most in the world.

And trust me, there is nothing better than that. It doesn’t mean that you are already grown up, it means that you have someone to grow with.

You have someone to stick with you through anything from college classes and changing bodies to negative bank account balances.

You have someone to sit on your used furniture with and talk about what you want to do and who you want to be someday.

Then, when someday comes, you get to look back on all of that and realize what a blessing it is to watch someone grow. Even after just one year of marriage, I look back and I am incredibly proud of my husband. I’m proud of the person he has become, and I’m proud of what we have accomplished together. I can’t wait to see what the rest of our lives have in store for us.

“You can drive at 16, go to war at 18, drink at 21, and retire at 65. So who can say what age you have to be to find your one true love?" — One Tree Hill
Cover Image Credit: Sara Donnelli Photography

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If Shonda Can Do A Year Of Yes, Then So Can I

Yes.

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A few years ago, Shonda Rimes decided to do a year of saying yes, after her sister told her she says "No" to everything. It ended up changing her life.

So, I've decided to embark on my own year of yes.

Sure, it may be easy to say yes to everything when you're a millionaire with a bunch of record-setting televisions shows, but the rest of us can do it too.

Say yes to treating yourself.

Say yes to taking care of yourself.

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Say yes to new opportunities

The year of yes is about taking better care of yourself.

My year of yes starts right now.

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