In honor of our upcoming Gala, (have you gotten your tickets yet?) We are counting down our most popular Lovely Like Me stories of all time that highlight some of the work we do here at TLP.These are real girls, real stories.
Every little girl wants a daddy to protect & treasure her. In my eyes, my daddy could do no wrong.
…Our special time was ‘our little secret.’
For the first 7 years of my life, I was led to believe that daddy touching my private parts during nap time was normal… But I also knew I couldn’t tell my mom or sister or anybody.
Part of me wanted to protect my dad (or at least the idea of him), and the other part was tugging me to save my sister. My sister, at the age of 16, told my mom that he had abused her for 10 years! My mom, in turn, divorced him. She also took him to court; but because of a lack of evidence, and because it was argued that she was acting as an ‘irrational mother’ (who was said to have ‘fed these lies to her child to get out of an unhappy marriage’) – my dad was granted partial custody of me.
When anyone asked if he was doing to me what he did to my sister, I lied incessantly.
My dad would say ‘I’ll kill your sister’ – if either of us spoke out. I reached my breaking point at age 7, knowing my sister was living with a safe family friend at the age of 17. I knew things weren’t ‘normal’ anymore, but I didn’t know how to make it stop. I had a fearful view of all men as my male cousin also began molesting me at the age of 9 while I visited my dad on the weekends.
I felt dirty, scared and angry.
I would scream at the top of my lungs when my dad was on his way to pick me up, or I would hold my breath until I passed out. My mom knew that she had to take me away from this monster I called my father – so she did just that. But even after she took me out of his care, I still had a fear of men. When left alone with them, I felt like my chest was caving in & this went on for years. My mom remarried soon after, and 4 years later that man also left us.
My experiences told me: dads are abusive – or they leave you – or both!
Years of therapy & antidepressants couldn’t heal my heart or my past. As I got older, I tried to fix the pain through drugs, drinking and more men. I was desperately trying to find a way out of the hell that was my life. The choices I made led me to more heartache, depression & bad consequences. I grew up without a voice, I didn’t know how to speak up or say no. I was timid, lonely and in search for real love – and I had no idea what that looked like.
It wasn’t until a group of lovely girls showed me the way they overcame & let go, that I found out what that looked like.
They walked with me on that journey of inner healing. In a mentor group, I found love & acceptance. It’s been 11 years since I met that group of lovely girls and a lot has changed since then.
I no longer struggle with my past or depression. I’m not afraid of men and I have healthy friendships with men & a great marriage. I have a wonderful, loving husband & a beautiful baby boy who brings us such joy. It has taken many years, but I am able to say that telling my story does not come with the sting of pain or anger.
I’ve forgiven my father (what he did was not right, but forgiving him broke the hold that both he and my anger had on my own life). I remember that powerful day when I forgave him: as tears fell down my face, my heart felt free, and from that day forward I began to have a voice.
I now also have an amazing ‘Pops’ – a man who stepped into the role of my dad and welcomed me into his beautiful family. He protects and treasures me, and has shown me what a good dad truly is. I feel really blessed to call him my Pops.
Thank you, lovely girls, for supporting me, showing me a better way and helping me to live without fear!
I hope that my story inspires you to live life freely and to shine as the lovely girl that you truly are.
I’d like to encourage you to find a mentor group, come to a lovely event or talk with someone if you are or have been abused.
Don’t keep a secret, use your voice!
I was once my Daddy’s dirty little secret.
Now, I’m lovely.
Click here to find more Lovely Like Me stories – True Stories of girls who have overcome tragic situations to become Lovely!