Finally I can speak about it… It’s time to Rise UP!!!

I can finally talk about something that is close to my heart, that has affected so many people. I am finally going to open up about a very sensitive subject. I will talk about my story then go from there. Buckle up buttercups.

Like so many young women in my age group, and maybe its still a thing, but I wanted to wait to have sex until marriage. At the age of thirteen that was stolen from me by a young man I was going to end up going to school with. I can tell you all the things that I lost that day, my virtue was taken from me, my friends turned there back on me, I was quickly isolated, and I lost my boyfriend at the time. I was made fun of a lot and I was isolated and forced to find different group of friends. That event that happened in my life doesn’t hurt me anymore, because I have been healed and restored from that time. God was able to turn that bad situation into a good one.

So lets fast forward to present day. I now have kids of my own, and the danger of predators is on a whole new level. The world that all kids live in is a fast moving one. There is social media that has brought on a whole different disconnect and connect to people. From my experience there are a lot of kids that are not really into the connection of face to face interaction with other people. Especially new people. It is easier to connect to someone in what they think is a safer place over social media or other media as long as its not face to face in the moment. Talking on the phone is also taboo to them unless its their friends. My teens think that I am “Old School,” and that all of those things are old people ways. No one talks on the phone anymore, no one does weird old people stuff like that anymore. Nevertheless, I have tried to get my kids to be smarter about this day and age of things. Like don’t send “Nudes,” ever because those will never go away. Don’t be forced to do things are not wanting or ready to do. Make safe choices when you are away from home, and don’t ever feel that you can’t reach out when things go bad. That’s just to name a few. Now keep in mind that I am a young mom, and the age difference between me and my oldest is 17 years. That isnt really anything. I am aware that kids will do whatever they want in the moment it happens. We all want to believe that our children are going to use the tools that we have given them and make good choices in the moment. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.

So I am one of those parents that goes through my kids phones and rooms and whatnot. One day some time ago I went through my daughters phone, upon going through her phone I discovered a very disturbing text on her phone. It was through Snapchat, I didnt want to confront her while we were celebrating a holiday with family. I wanted to wait until we got home to ask some very hard questions. Unfortunately, she opened the message right after I did and other family members saw that message as well. Which started a very hard discussion openly. I sent her away after giving her a hug and letting her know that we will be talking about this when we got home. From that moment on there was a changing in our lives.

A grown man asked my daughter to send nudes to let him know that she was safe, and a picture photo of a grown couple working out with a caption saying ” this could be us but I would get a boner.” Now ask yourself what would you do? Where would you start? What would you ask your child? How would you feel? I will tell you exactly what I did, and what I felt, what I asked, and what my journey has been since then.

This has been a journey I have been on for quite some time now. When I saw these, I was in shock. Composed on the outside but shocked. Like was I really seeing what I was in that moment. YES I was!! This was happening to my child. This is happening this is really happening. What am I going to do and say to her? There was a plethora of feelings and way more questions than answers at that moment. But the one thing that was constant that I have to do something. So after a very hard discussion with my daughter and reading all the messages for nearly two years, of grooming, my mind was firm on what I was going to do. I comforted my daughter as much I can. I asked her if she was ever going to say anything to anyone about this and she told me NO. I’m sure so many of you are asking yourself, ” Kristal you just said that you are a parent that goes through your Childrens things, and this has been happening for nearly two years.” Yes that is true 100% but my daughter wasn’t living with me at the time. She was living with her side of the family. To whom were very close to her abuser. The very same people who blamed her, called her a liar, and eventually kicked her out of the house, and she came to live with me. But that is getting ahead of the story.

She saved their conversation over Snapchat for that time, the only thing that isn’t saved are the videos that come through. In another words, the Snapchat video are meant to not be seen again once they have been played, there are times when you can see the video again, but its only once more. And That’s it folks. Now, to disclose another tidbit about this man. This man had been a part of her life for a long long long time. He was the best friends of her family on that side. He was also in law enforcement. I will say right here and now, That I support police and all law enforcement. One “bad apple,” doesn’t overshadow the great works that law enforcement does everyday. You don’t have to like my opinion and I respect that. So what he had done was use her bad living situation as his way in. He used his authority status to build a deeper relationship with her. Hence grooming her, he had her isolated in a relationship via social media. He would visit her and her family on that side, and even help them out by helping buy food and pay for their rent. He would counsel her when her home life on that side got physical or mentally overwhelming or abusive. As their “relationship” grew he would say things like ” Just ask your parents how good of a man I am, I will always be there for you.” Or He would say ” Just remember that I love you, and you do have a cute butt, have a great day” So things like that, it went on and on, he would send memes that were relatable to the things or characters that my daughter liked. Overall, he was waiting for her to give him permission to “Be” with her. I asked hard questions like, Is this consensual? How does this make you feel? Her response was this, Its doesn’t make me feel good, I feel awkward when he sends things like that Mom thats why I started saving the messages because it feels wrong, and I cant tell anyone at my house because they are close friends with him, they will take his side. And he is a cop mom. That’s why I changed the subject or not talk for a bit to him.” Talk about heartbreak. She was completely alone. Then she disclosed that he also befriended her friends. I later found out that he also befriended another family member of mine. They were the same age as my daughter at the time.

She trusted this man at first. She would consider him an Uncle to her. That is how she identified him. He had no familiar ties with her what so ever. But lets face it, that is what Sexual predators do. They become a part of their lives intimately, groom them, create a trust between them, isolate them in some fashion.

So here I am with this information, now what to do with it. Here’s what I knew then.

  • He is a police officer
  • He is grooming my daughter
  • He is sending inappropriate messages to my daughter
  • He lives in my area
  • He is extremely close to her family on that side
  • She is isolated and will not have support on that side of the family
  • He has no intentions of stopping
  • She needs help, needs a voice to help her, I need to be that voice.
  • I need a plan of action

The next steps had to very careful and delicate. I had to reach out to someone I trusted and I needed courage. I reached out to someone that I trust with my life. They reached out to someone they trusted, and I said nothing to no one else. I met with a Detective the next day, and told the whole story of all that I knew at that point. I then called the department where this man worked and talked to his boss’s boss. I went as high as I could to tell them what was happening. That day I had a State Policeman who specializes in this realm and his boss sitting in my kitchen. There was a point where, I saw the disbelief on his bosses face and what looked to be confusion. I was asked what my intentions were for speaking about this. My answer was this. If he isn’t doing anything wrong then the investigation would show that, but if he is then I am bringing awareness to the situation and bringing it out of the dark and into light. People like him are sick, but I am not doing this for him, I am doing this for my daughter, and her friend. If he is doing this to her he is doing it to others. This is much bigger than just my daughter. If he is doing something this is for the victims of his past, present and future. No matter what, it needed to bring awareness.

Someone needed to be the voice. I learned that some of the laws for such an event like this are very gray. There are a lot of loopholes. He would eventually would “resign,” from his job, which set off another set of events for my daughter and her departure from that side of the family to live with me. He was not to talk to her, and yet he still did and in a group message with her parents on that side of that family. The last thing he told my daughter was this. ” If you want to talk to me, you will have to say ‘In regards to the family,’ and when you turn 18 we will resume our relationship.” She didn’t respond. My blood boiled.

Nothing was done at that point in regards to the texts because there is a huge gray area pertaining to such things via media like that. Soon thereafter, someone else came forward about him and regarding physical touch. Molestation. My daughter came forward as well. He touched her too. Keep in mind that a lot of victims do not come forward or it takes a lot of time for them to come forward. There is a lot of work that has to happen in order for anyone to feel safe to open up about it.

So, he would soon be arrested very publicly. There was even a live fb feed of his arrest. I did all that I needed to do to ensure that my daughter wouldn’t see it, but her step mother called to let her know that he was just arrested. Now she falls a part even more. I will get to that in a moment. In the moment of watching this story, our story on the 6 o’ clock news was a tough pill to swallow. No one tells you what it feels and looks like on the other end of things. No one can tell you what to expect. No one. It was the talk of the town, and I cant tell you how many people I came across that just wanted to talk to me about this case and couldn’t say anything or even let on that I was involved. I had to put on a very convincing mask and learn to have none committal answers. Very few people knew what actually happened or was happening. There still is some misinformation that surrounds what actually happened.

Well now this is all happening, I called the school and got some resources in place for my daughter including a therapist. Keeping her involved in the community and building a life here. But lets face it. Once her school peers found out at her new school that was it. You have no idea what its like to watch your daughter, or child fall a part because she feels so much shame and guilt. She blamed herself. She was told by peers that she enjoyed being touched by older men and to just accept it. Kids can very cruel to someone at times. Hearing her cry over the phone because her peers said certain things. Or some of her family blaming her, that she should of kept her mouth shut or lie to make it all stop because this is all her fault. Now mind you, she didn’t say anything, she was going to live with this darkness the rest of her life. I said something initially, I made the choice to involve police, I made the choice to speak. Not her. She asked me point blank” Mom what did I do to deserve this? Do I dress in a way that makes me a target? Why did he do this to me?” I would build her back up. But it wouldn’t last because her self worth, self esteem, her hopes, her dreams, her life was torn down to nothing. To a point where she has selfed harmed, and even attempted suicide more times in the last 9 months, because there is a constant reminders all around her, there are triggers all around her. She will do good for a little bit then it comes crashing again. No one ever wants to talk about how things like this affect someone. I am not afraid to talk about it, this is a life sentence for those who are victimized. LIFE SENTENCE!!! This is something she will have to work through the rest of her life. Rest of herrrr life!! A sexual predator doesn’t care about how it hurts their victims, they are seeking their sick pleasures. They don’t have empathy for what they’ve done. NONE!! The impact this does to a victim is overwhelming. The hard work for the victim and their families is overwhelming. So why am I talking about it now?

His sentencing was yesterday, and he was facing 25 years in prison for what he did. He was sentenced to 5 years in prison, and 16 years of probation. Let that sink in a little bit. How does that make you feel? How does that sit with you? How does that sit on your heart? How would that sit with you if it were your child or children?

And with good time up to 85% means that he will spend less than that in prison. He will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. How does that make you feel about the protection of our children? A person who is in possession with a drug gets more time than someone who sexually assaulted your child. My fight for this didn’t end yesterday. The chapter of that event closed yesterday, but my fight has not stopped. Its just the beginning for me and as for my daughter, the fight is everyday. Everyday she will fight for her life. Everyday she will fight to have a happy, healthy life where she will know that she is loved, worth it, and enough. She will fight everyday to know she Who deserves great blessings and beautiful life and love. My heart broke yesterday but yesterday standing in front of the judge saying what I needed to say, and I almost felt that I stood alone in that moment. I know there were others who felt the same way I did, and would have said more than I did. I know I wasn’t alone in fighting for justice for not only my daughter but any others. I was empowered to say those things because I needed to be a voice. I will still be a voice and I will continue to make awareness to everyone I can. Its time we rise up.

If you are a parent reading this, I encourage you right now, to learn all that you can about social media and what your child is doing. This includes not only social media but gaming. I encourage you to ask those hard questions. I encourage you to get involved. I encourage you to speak out and up. If you are someone who has been victimized, I am so sorry, I know what you are going though, I will empower you to reach out and say something, your story matters. You don’t know how your story will reach others to help them and empower them to stand tall and keep fighting the good fight of healing and restoration. You are worth it and worthy of great things. I encourage everyone to read and research all that you can about this. Its real and it really happens. More than anything you’re not alone. You need to have support and you deserve it. We can turn victims into overcomers and survivors. We can make a difference. Feel free to reach out to me.

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Talk about it Tuesday

Well, things are just moving right along y’all. I feel like I am finally getting my groove in things. I knew the season would be winding down. It has been a crazy 6-8 months of life for me. Not that I am counting or anything, and not to say that things are roses and rainbows, but they do feel not so overwhelming. I don’t feel that the other shoe is about to drop. We all have those moments right?! Like what else could happen? When actually its not our job to really know what the future holds. Today has its own problems, can’t worry about tomorrow. (Matthew 6:24 NIV) And with a lot of practice of being mindful and being in the present moment helps a ton with being grounded.

I can recognize and accept the emotions that come with the situation, but not be consumed by them. Now for me unlike other healthy people, it still takes me a while to work through situations and the emotions that come with that. Sometimes even days and weeks, especially if its a big ordeal. It’s the one time I actually have to fight back the old ways of coping. Like full on OCD blowout to just cope. It’s like a frantic cleaning, freak out then go back to cleaning, setting rules and limitations for everyone, then back to over doing the rituals over and over. Now, I know doing those things don’t actually help me or benefit me as a person. It does however get all the cleaning and gets the things I need or want evened out, or the trash all out of the way at once. Or I will try to read and research a something until its almost tunnel vision when I am trying to cope. It’s really unhealthy. At least now I am in a place where its not so extreme at all, I really rely on Him first, then do things in moderation until I am able to calm down, and figure out what I need to do and feel better.

So, that isn’t what I wanted to talk about. My second year anniversary is coming up with my recovery. It’s a super emotionally filled mine field at times. This year is no exception, in fact more traumatic events happened in this part of the year. Let me back up … This is the hardest time of year because three years ago is when I was going through one of the toughest times in my life. I lost Granddaddy, I was over working myself in a job I loved, I was going through a tough time in my marriage, I was going through something with my kids that I still won’t really talk about, and then my boys moved out right before Christmas to their dads, and I couldn’t hold it anymore and finally attempted suicide. Twice! That’s why its a hard time this time of year for me in a nutshell.

So the first year of recovery at this time of year, I was basically living in bed, hopeless and full of sadness. I didn’t want to shower, I was only leaving my bed to get some food to bring back to my room, all activities stopped. I didn’t even know I was doing it until I was called out about it. Then I was like “Oh, what am I doing?!” I was able from that moment really SEE what I was doing and use the skills that I was learning and applying to get myself out of bed and live. This year, there have been new events that have added to this time of year, and I was internally freaking out a bit. Because I knew going into this time of year that I can’t live in bed, or not shower, among other things. Then other things started happening and it felt like chaos!!

So I needed to put all I knew into action and use this time to really put my weaker practices into action as well. More importantly I needed to stay as grounded as possible. GROUNDED!! I needed to be the deeply rooted tree in the storm. I needed to be able to sway in the storm but stay rooted. I knew I might lose some of my leaves and branches but I needed to see the joy and that maybe I needed some pruning. See what I did there. Haha So I stayed rooted in my faith, hope and the love He has for me. Seek direction in the Word of God, and get a lot of guidance and not be afraid. Another thing was to talk about it. I searched for a therapist that could help someone in my situation, and I couldn’t find one that could help me. I can’t always take up my support systems time, so I was able to call the suicide hotline ( 1-800-273-8255, https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ ) on those really bad nights. They were able to help me when I needed. Then I was able to talk with some friends about stuff, and it was nice to see things in a new fresh way. But no matter what I still needed to go through the emotional part of things and actually go through it all and at my pace. Which I am doing. I still get sad but I dont sit in the sadness all day. I recognize that I am feeling that emotion and express that and do what I need to do to cope. #SelfCare #SelfLove

So a friend of mine reached out to me a couple of weeks ago asking if I was okay, because there was a trend there where I wasn’t doing what I normally do. Once again, I was reminded in that moment to be aware of what I am doing or not doing in this time. Sometimes it takes someone from the outside to call me out, and she did. I confided in her on what was on my mind and what I was going through and that my anniversary was coming up; what she said to me impacted me. She told me to celebrate it. I never thought about it in that way. I thought about it like ” Just survive it Kristal once its past you’ll be fine.” But to celebrate it… whoa my mind was blown. God was telling me something and delivered the message through her. #PraiseGodandHisGoodWork #ThanksMelinda So I what did with that nugget of good ol LOVE, was really celebrate the days coming as that date approaches. By really loving myself. I am blessed to have such great friends in my life. They are an answered prayer. He keeps on giving. So for those of you who are in a place that is hard to cope in this time of year I have this to say.

I know what you may be feeling. I may not know your situation or what you are going through, but the emotional parts I hear you. They aren’t forever, they too move on to a different emotion and it keeps going. I encourage you to get out of bed, whatever small or big reason you give yourself to make that a action happen do it. If it means, that you need to eat breakfast and smell like a clean human, and thats your motivation to get out of bed, then do it. I encourage you to reach out to talk to someone. Sometimes we just need to unload all that baggage and need someone to listen. Trust in faith that someone in your life wants to listen and be there for you, let them and give yourself the permission to allow them to do it for you. If you dont have anyone or feel that you dont, call the hotline. I think they even have it to where you can text now. Do something to make yourself feel good, like getting flowers, draw, take a bath, make some cookies, watch a silly movie. Just to name a few. Find joy in the moments that you do for yourself. And if you’re in a place where you’ve lost someone too, celebrate all the great things this person has done or made you feel while they were here. When Granddaddy passed I mourned his loss for a long time. I still cry when I think of him not being here, but I also remember all the silliness and how loving he was. That man loved me and that is what I remember and hold on too. I don’t have all the answers but I know this time of year is hard on a lot of people all around the world. If you are reading this and you are one of those people, you are not alone. If you are reading this and know someone who is going through a hard time during this season, reach out to them, you never know what your presence means to them. You might be exactly what they needed in this time of their live. Love each other, be kind and be good to yourself and each other. Be light in the dark.

With that said have a great day and smile.

With love,

Kristal

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Broadening Horizons. 

Today’s post is a little different. It’s something that is on my heart right now. I feel inspired and must share. 
A year and some change ago I attempted suicide. Yes let that sink in a little bit. It happened. I finally hit that low. And I will say this. When that sharp object was slicing through my skin I was so calm and everything around me was quiet. Peaceful. 
So many people are curious as to why someone would want to commit suicide. Which is usually followed by harsh statements on how selfish it is and how much pain we would put our family through. I can only speak for myself but when I heard those things it was only solidifying why I was attempting suicide to begin with. 
Suicide ideation is such a crappy term. I learned about this term as a few others to add into my mental illness resume. I say that very facetiously. I was given a diagnosis shortly after I was put in a very nice treatment center. 
I was angry at first that I was put there. I agreed to go after I was already forced. Ha-ha. My condition got so bad that I couldn’t even talk on the phone or go outside. I couldn’t talk to people. All those things and so much caused me so much stress an anxiety that it would send me into a fit almost with just the thought. 
So what got me to that point you ask?
Well it was a few big things that happened in succession in a course of a year. All starting with the end of a job title and being promoted into another job title. To being away for three weeks away from my family for training. Then to been so busy at work that I am not home. Then my grandfather passed away. That was the beginning of the end for me. 
So many things that felt so unbelievable was happening all at once. I didn’t realize that I was experiencing PTSD. That every single thing that happened to me and my family that year was all recall of things I had suppressed. I thought I had a better handle on my life than that. I mean you all will know more of these things that triggered me soon enough. 
After I have attempted suicide I felt like a newborn and not knowing a F-being thing!! I didn’t know who I was anymore. Who am I? Every day since then is a new day and new way to see the world. To not deal of things of the past but to keep moving forward. 
But the question remains the same or the attitude that comes why I attempted suicide. How could I possibly do that to my family and my children. Well the answer is simple. For me anyway. It was because I believed so strongly that I was the problem and the cause of problems. In my mind if I am the problem I will get rid of the problem. 
Although I am super grateful that my family supporting me and still do from that moment but I still had to take the steps myself to get better. 
I had to make a real committed choice to get better and believe in myself in my journey that I can do this. After a fews days into treatment I had hope. That was until I got my real diagnosis then I was pissed off but it’s only taken a year to say that and accept it. Ha-ha I agreed with most of the diagnoses but not the big one. I won’t reveal that now but it’s still too fresh for me. 
But for now every day I make a choice to get out of bed, to eat, to developed my skills, to learn who I am, to take care of others, to get guidance, to ask for help, to make new friends without fear of rejection or abandonment, to approach life with new eyes, to pray and give my worries to God if I have worries. All those things are choices. Every day is a new fight for my life. This is not always an easy road of recovery but I am recovering. I have good days and bad moments of parts of the day. 
I am learning that I literally have the whole world to explore. I have life!!! Life to broaden my world. I have been given this life to live it as full and complete as possible. I have been given tools to use to do exactly that. 
Some things that try to hinder this process is other people. Other people who may not know me and people that do know me will discourage what I want to do. It sounds too unsafe and not traditional way of life. I am a writer. You know how long it has taken me to say that?!!! But when I would try it on other people would tell me discouraging things. ” That’s not going to pay the bills!” Well you know what neither is me being jobless because I don’t fit in. It’s not what I am meant to do. 
I may be really awesome at my job but that is not what I am supposed to do with my life. God has shown me a piece of my future. It just made my mustard seed of faith grow larger and even more since that moment. I trust that God knows exactly what I am to do with my life. It’s my job just to obey and do. Life makes sense to me now. 
God has told me to write. Just write Kristal. Every time I have talked to God about my worry of making money to live he reminds me to trust in him, that he will provide just write Kristal. Or if I ask him if I am good enough. The love that washes over me tells me that I am and just write. 

I haven’t been so secure in a choice that involved my career but this makes sense to me. It fits who I am. I don’t quite know who Kristal is yet all the way but I can tell you that my past doesn’t define who I am. My past is what I have gone through. And it’s my testimony that will help someone else. It’s my testimony that I didn’t get this far on my own. I was given a new beginning by allowing my old me to die that day that I attempted suicide. That person does that day and Kristal is emerging from that moment. Everyday I have learned so much about myself. 

I had so many people come into my life to help me get to God. I will explain that also on another day. But today I am just In Awe that I have a life to experience and experiences awaiting for me to arrive! And also that I have to guard my heart, discern, and do all things for the glory of God. 

I am sure that this sort of topic makes some people uncomfortable. But maybe just be open minded and see that He changed me and saved me. And look right now I have been adding to my growing bucket list. My world is expanding. Growth is great!!