Kayla W.

So life began with an abusive step father , who up until about age of about 10, I thought was my actual father. He was physically abusive to all of us. But he tended to single out my brother. Who had issues of his own, so he would antagonize him to be aggressive, then beat him around. He used every manipulative behavior I’ve ever encountered on all of us. He is the epitome of all the bad a person can be. I always was the protector for my brother and sister and really my mom too. I would try to defend her when he would beat on her. And I ended up in the middle of the rage. She would be black and blue. Her face swollen to the point she was almost unrecognizable. As aggressive as he was with my mom, I feel like it was 10 fold with my brother.

Memories as far back as 4-5 I can pin point sexual abuse by him. He would use me wanting to participate in UIL, buy gum at the grocery store, or play sports against me. He would tell me if I wanted to do those things, he wanted something in return. That lasted until I was 16-17 and moved out. I had told my mom what had been going on, she of course called him. She did the unthinkable….and told me to tell him what I’d told her and see if he would admit it. Well of course he didn’t. He told her I was angry at her and making things up. Subsequently I moved out, my step father apparently told his employer of the allegations, was fired and I was blamed for the family losing their home and having to move from place to place for the next several years until they ultimately landed in Colorado.

Years and years later I found out it was happening to my sister as well. Which really devastated me bc I had always hoped it was just me. And once I moved out she was the target. It was that many years later before my mom came to the realization. It was all true. Both of my parents would buy their weed before any of the bills got paid or food for that matter. I would eat less, so my brother and sister could have more. My mom would never work to help out financially. I started mowing yards at 14-15 so I could buy my own school supplies and clothes and lunches. From there I continued to use sports as my outlet and worked full time while in HS and playing sports. At 16 I would walk 4-5 miles to work (depended on which job) during the summer and walk to work after practice during the school year. Eventually I graduated Valedictorian. And went to college.

I worked several jobs at a time to make ends meet. Although I had a full scholarship, it didn’t cover living expenses or car payments etc. During my first or second year of college I had a terrible car accident that should have killed me. But just left me with back issues for the rest of my life. A guy fell asleep and hit me head on going 65+ miles per hour on 380 when it was 2 lanes. I had a severe concussion, torn muscles, nerve damage in both my wrists and a totaled car that was 3 months old. The concussion actually turned out to be worse than anticipated as I no longer had the ability to do upper level math (which I was really good at prior to that), and my brain could not remember spoken words. I almost lost my scholarship, but I talked to the dean and gave my medical records over. So they basically gave me a 1 semester “pass” on hours taken and GPA required. I worked hard and found ways around the disability until eventually most of the abilities came back. It completely changed my academic life.

Shortly after that I ended up being diagnosed with Wolfe Parkinson’s White Syndrome a heart disorder of sorts. I had heart surgery for that. Which was terrifying. I still wasn’t really speaking to my mom at this point. I did call her to let her know about the surgery.

The “upstanding” (sarcasm) boyfriend I had at the time took me in for my surgery at Baylor. Which by the grace of God, was paid for bc it was an experimental operation and the cardiac students would be observing. I awoke to find this “upstanding” gentleman was not at the hospital. As I came out of the anesthesia I felt like an elephant was on my chest, I couldn’t breathe, and as I stood up the stitches or lack there of in my leg (they entered through the femoral artery and carotid arteries for the surgery) came undone and blood covered the floor. Horrifying for a 21 or so year old all alone. The “upstanding” gentleman arrived several hours after I awoke to take me back home. As I questioned why he hadn’t picked up his phone when I called after surgery to let him know I actually made it. I figured out he had gone to a local strip club during my 4-5 hour surgery. quite the winner.

But life went on. I had amazing times in college. I worked really hard and was able to visit Ireland, Paris, and Greece and Rome while part of the honors program. I feel like I missed out on a lot in college bc of working multiple jobs all the time. But I can’t change that now.

2006 while still in college I had knee surgery also.

Then finally graduation!! I graduated from the Honors Program at TWU with a BBA cum laude.

It was a lot of work and a lot of strife. But somehow I never let it get me down. I just kept moving forward. Looking back now I would say I was fearless. I had an idea of what I wanted to do and I never thought I could fail. I never really had confidence in other people or trust and I didn’t depend on them. But I knew if I set my mind to it. I could accomplish anything.

Eventually the toxic/failed relationships ended up with me figuring out a whole lot of what I didn’t want in a man, a husband or potentially a future father of my children. It was a lot of really hard and all consuming lessons learned. But…I wouldn’t change any of it. Bc I ultimately found, ran into however you would say it. The man who is my husband now. I was in a very “interesting” place in life when he came along. He sorta saved me. The once ridiculously fearless girl who knew everything she wanted and always had a plan to get there was having all of the “boxed up” trials of her life falling off their proverbial shelves all at once. He was patient, kind, easy going, and understanding and strong…and for some reason loves me to the ends of the earth.

Those I think are the basics… I’m sure I’ve left out a lot.