Clearly, there are countless individual answers to this question. But the answer you are about to read is not as unique as you might like to believe.
This is Connie’s story.
Warning: Connie’s story contains mature content.
I never remember my mother holding me, kissing me, tucking me into bed. I don’t know what her skin felt like. Her love seemed conditional. To be in the same room, without getting yelled at, you had to be doing something for her.
I ended up getting into the drug scene because I couldn’t measure up to the crimes that my family, up to their standards. I fell short into street crimes and drugs. I tried to compensate for everything with the drugs.
I was gang raped to get into gangs. I was at points, sold into human trafficking where I suffered tremendous abuse. I was beaten at one point, they knocked out all my teeth, my jaw was broken. You become numb to it. You think that they care about you.
”The last time I saw my mother I was committing a crime that she had me to do. And then she turned on me.Connieholding the most recent photo she has of her mother
I didn’t understand how to be a mom. My youngest daughter was born a pound and a half, addicted to methamphetamines. I was six and a half months pregnant when I had her. That was pretty traumatic. I didn’t bond with my children. I didn’t know how to. I didn’t know how to let them know that I loved them. It was a very difficult time of being a mom. I wasn’t good at it.
I was so afraid.
I was pretty young when I was in an abusive relationship. I finally got the strength to file an emergency protection order. I was living somewhat of a normal life. I was in emergency medical technician school and my daughter was very young. He violated the restraining order and when he came into my house, I shot and killed my husband. I received justifiable homicide. But is anything ever justified? To actually take someone’s life, that never leaves you. He was someone’s brother, someone’s son, regardless of what he had done. But I was so afraid. To be pushed to that limit… it’s hard to tell people what you feel, the fear, in that moment.
My daughter saw a lot in her life, through me, a lot of drug activity, a lot of gang activity. She was 5-years-old the first time I went to prison. Trying to teach a child her ABCs through prison letters… I’d make dot-to-dots and send them to her and she’d send them back.
Connie was incarcerated 5 different times, serving a total of over 20 years.
But (thank God) this is NOT the end of her story.
Learn more about Women in Transition
Stand in the Gap’s small group mentorship program for women like Connie.