Updated: May 20, 2020
This one may be a little longer than my last LONG one... but it's worth the read. Trust me!
When I started on this blogging journey, I never knew where it would take me. I've met some of the most AWESOME people ever in just a short bit of time. It's also led me to other opportunities, such as working a little in investigative journalism, and writing for Halsey News Network. Something I originally went to school for (it was cut short due to focus issues after my dad's death), so it's kind of like my dreams from yesteryear are fulfilling themselves a bit. LOL! To be honest, though, I never wanted the attention- personally. I never wanted my name or 'face' to become the focus, but more so, my words and what they represent. I'm a bumbling idiot on air and on camera, and I, personally, do not have some fascinating back story... unless you count me helping my parents acquire lots of debt for sending me back and forth to school. I'm no saint, but compared to many with detailed pasts, I've actually lived a very simple, straight and narrow life. Growing up the daughter of a Law Enforcement Professional, you learn to pick and choose your battles wisely, especially when your LEO Father scares the "Bajeezus" out of you with his stories. He did teach me one thing, though, and I carry it on me more than I do my pistol...
"There are bad people in this world, who only look to do bad, for selfish reasons. BUT! There are GOOD people in this world, who get caught up in bad situations, because of those bad people. You have to learn the difference, and show compassion to those who need direction, Jill."
I think I have for the most part, and because of this discernment, I look to help to expose those that DO BAD, as well as give a voice to those who WANT TO DO GOOD. Recently, I was in an interview with my Halsey Publisher (The Halsey, himself), with my new friend, Alexis Moore. Alexis is a Domestic Violence Survivor and Hero. Since coming face to face with Death, because of a BAD Person in her life, Alexis has dedicated much of her professional self to raising awareness, and helping give survivors of Domestic Violence a voice- in a non-PC way. LOL! (My kinda lady! Look out for my interview on Halsey News Network with Alexis. Coming soon!)
During that entire interview, I choked back tears. Here I am, some chick without a real life backstory to give some sort of basis for those who need it. I'm just a small town, farm girl, who tinkered and took advantage of what life has had to offer her. I'm not complaining or trying to brag, but there are actual people in this world that NEED help and NEED someone to listen. That interview opened my mind up to a whole new perspective of why my Right To Bear Arms... my RIGHT TO SELF DEFENSE... is so important. So many people in this world, especially women, are taken advantage of, due to our psychological makeup.
Sorry ladies... but it's true. We are the "fairer sex" because our physical build and EMOTIONAL selves are way more complex than a mans. It's science. Even with lifting, squatting, and training on the regular, for many years- to make sure I keep a strong physicality... as well as being desensitized to many horrible things in life... put a newborn baby in front of me or a cuddly puppy and I turn to MUSH. Don't get me started on makeup and shoes!
So, for the proverbial Man Card that I carry because my Toxic Femininity says I can... I'm actually just a pile of emotions waiting for snugs, tacos and all the shiny things. We all are, ladies. Even if ya change yo cooter to a pecker. Suck it up!
DAMN THE ESTROGEN!
Point being, we need to look into our personal safety and well being way more than anyone else. Doesn't matter your color, religion or upbringing... FACTS is FACTS.
On June 4th, 2019, former Arkansas Senator, Linda Collins- Smith died, in her home, due to a gunshot wound. Linda not only had a high tech security system, but was also a concealed carry/ 2A supporter. Linda knew that her overall safety was very important. Unfortunately, a BAD PERSON did harm, and Linda is gone from this world. (Investigations are still ongoing to bring light to her murder). With my connections to Alexis Moore and Linda Collins-Smith, their activism for Domestic Violence Victims (Women & Children, alike) I have had many people reach out to me for guidance, education and even just for an "ear." I am so happy and humbled to be that "ear," which brings me to my new friend, Mandy.
At 18 months, Mandy was given up to her Great Aunt and Uncle to be raised. Her aunt and uncle, never truly adopting her, Mandy had to go through life- titled in obits and news links- as a stepdaughter, in the only home she ever knew. Growing up, she didn't hurt for much financially, because her "parents" were well off, but never being fully adopted after their passing, Mandy was left with nothing but scarred memories of abuse and torment.
You read that correctly. Mandy was an abused child, but because of her parents' social status, of being part of the "well off, white, middle class," culture, Mandy's physical and emotional scars, were hidden by only what society perceived at face value. Because it started at such a young age, Mandy thought this was a normal life, and she built her goals and dreams around such. There was a glimmer of hope within her, though. As most youth do, she dreamed and aspired to be something great when she grew up. The idea of becoming a surgeon later in life, really called to her, because of her passion for wanting to help people. Though her lifestyle and the abuse she endured daily, was all she was used to, she knew deep down, there were better opportunities in the world.
When the daily atmosphere of your home life is filled with hate and negativity, the feeling of any form of love, is very intoxicating. As Mandy got older and was left on her own, she met a man that showed her affection that she had never felt before. Mike was loving and Mandy craved it. Evil can disguise itself as Love, though, and this union between Mike and Mandy became a very dangerous one.
Like most love affairs, in the beginning, all seemed great, and they married. As time went on, the mental and physical abuses that Mandy was so used to while growing up, she fearfully started to face with Mike, as well. Mandy found herself in situations, that most would recognize as unhealthy and unlawful. Again, Mandy didn't know any better, and what she did, she was frightened to the core. Mike was using his knowledge of Mandy's past abuse, to torture her into doing things she didn't want to do. Mandy's past wasn't the only one Mike used to manipulate her, and others, to get his way. Turns out, Mike was also a victim of an abuse filled childhood. Where Mandy was unsure of her experiences, and tried daily to reason and rectify, Mike knew exactly how to use his to get his way.
Over time, they broke many laws and ruined many lives together- each day, Mandy praying it would end. She was so afraid to wake up in the mornings because of what the day ahead would hold, but she was also even more afraid to leave, because loneliness seemed even more scary. She endured and prayed as best she knew how. Children became part of their lives, but only momentarily. Due to the lifestyle Mike inflicted on Mandy, Child Protective Services stepped in. At the time, Mandy felt it to be a relief. She didn't want her children to go through the life she felt stuck in. She was grateful and prayed that her littles would be given the best life possible. It became a trend, though. One child after another, Mandy had to say goodbye as she gave them up to the system. Because of Mike's upbringing within the system, himself, he treated it as if it were no big deal, so Mandy, again, endured. Years went by, and after a state-to-state stint of pushing forgeries, Mike and Mandy were caught.
Time in jail slows down, and Mandy had to pull 300 days for her crimes. Because there is NO crying in jail, the days would go by, and she was left to face her guilt and regret all alone and in secret. This time, it was her that was doing the abuse (to herself). She pulled her time and walked out of the jail, got on a bus to "Anywhere, Texas" and as she stepped back off found herself homeless and all alone. She spent her first night out on the streets, but the next day, she woke up with that little glimmer of hope in her core, igniting. Something told her deep down, it was time to reshape her life... and since that day, she has been fighting for her voice.
You see, Mandy realized something. Mandy realized that even through all of her atrocities, she too, was a victim. A life of abuses, it took time to reflect, and a night alone to really wake her up to what life was all about... Chances... Opportunities... Happiness. Mandy never felt true happiness, but she yearned for it. This was her time to finally get on course to have it. She, first, wanted to do right by the children she gave up for adoption.
Mandy reached out to her local CPS to fight for some sort of communications with her kids. Unfortunately, due to the circumstances, her attempts were done to no avail. Two of her children do not even know who she is, while her oldest two are limited any communications with her. All of her children are being raised in loving homes, from what she knows, but something didn't set right with Mandy as she questioned why the system would not let her reach out. She found that information wasn't adding up on the reasons behind the decision to keep her so closed off from her children. Sure, it could've been a closed adoption cycle, but Mandy was left with many questions as to WHY!
Mandy began to research and dig into the life she was leaving behind. With so many questions, she felt that her new opportunities meant that she needed to find closure through revelation. She started with her, now, ex... Mike. Knowing bits and pieces of his past already, Mandy was able to narrow down a few more. Mike was definitely NOT the man he presented himself to be, having made shady deals in real estate ventures and more. Mandy knew from the forgery charges she had to face because of Mike's manipulations, that the deals within his real estate expenditures were more than likely, even more costly. As she investigated more, while feeling remorse and guilt for having played part to such a horrendous lifestyle, the papers of Mike's dirty deals stacked up and she realized, Mike was incapable of remorse.
Her intuition set in. Mandy realized that Mike was reliving his past abuses by taking them out on other people. Then it hit her as to why CPS wouldn't give her any information, not on her children, but on the processes to which they were taken... Mike also acted out his past abuses on their children.
Mandy had woke up.
Mandy has gone for far too long to have her story heard. Over the years, as Mandy has tried to reach out to people to listen, she has been left with nothing but false promises and cold shoulders. She reached out to me recently to help promote her voice. I am honored to do so.
Mandy is like MANY women within the world, especially in the US, that have been manipulated through Domestic Violence situations and lost so much in the process. Upon reading Mandy's words, I found myself being sucked into her life through my imagination. It was scary and degrading to me, even through my empathy. I feel like Mandy is a fighter. She has given me her entire life story out of desperation to make sure that NO OTHER WOMAN or being is ever in the same situation she found herself in. Mandy, has left the unlawful lifestyle behind her- rebuilding herself from the ground up. She has found REAL Love, but is being pulled to play a part in helping other women, realize that they do not have to live in such horrible conditions. There is HOPE! Mandy, considered a felon in the eyes of the law, is unable to own a firearm for a long time to protect herself, and she is left to the possibility of what most Domestic Violence Survivors, face... becoming a statistic. As days go by and she gets word of her ex- Mike's social attempts at defaming her, Mandy advocates to other women in her situation, to never give up and look into alternative methods of self defense. Take a class. Educate yourself. Be aware.
She also has another message, I will be helping her pass along...
"I will never truly have my children back, even if I were to take custody of them now, so for me that's not realistic. I can only encourage them to want me in their life and be the person who said I was meant to be from the beginning... and prove to them, and only them, I am not the rumors that they were told.
I have never stopped loving my children and I am an intelligent woman. I was supposed to be a surgeon, but now, living through my past, I am supposed to be a voice for those who are going through something similar. Healing comes through surviving."
Please stay tuned for more of Mandy's story as she and I work to piece it together to help her find peace and closure. She sits on the edge of what many DV victims find themselves facing daily. I, as well as she, prays that these words touch someone and encourages them to find help.