We are all broken. That is how the light gets in.
I was very confident growing up as a child. I was creative, strong willed, and had Incredible self esteem. Then middle school hit, I went through some awkward phases. Girls were viscous. Boys were even worse (maybe it was a tie). It completely broke me. I switched schools for high schools, found a great group of friends, felt a strong sense of community, and started really getting out of that awkward stage.
My freshman year my parents divorced, my dad started going farther down hill, my mom was working hard to complete her masters, I was trying to juggle school, sports, extra curricular, pageant responsibilities, and just the general things with being a teenager.
I struggled with anxiety and felt like a lot was out of my control most of the time. One thing I could control though was my appearance. I lost quite a bit of weight my sophomore/junior year. I loved it. I loved the compliments I received about how great I looked. I loved the attention. I loved that it was something I could control. Part of me felt like appearance mattered more than a lot of things. I guess it’s because It was so nice to finally be noticed. So that’s what I found my identity through.
My weight. I knew how to control this. My senior year I got my wisdom teeth out and I ended up getting all four dry sockets and an ear infection. I lost even more weight (I’m 5 6″ and was down to 115 lbs which is extremely small for my frame). I knew what to do to keep it off. I could control this.
Meanwhile I was involved in all these activities, on top of spending part of my summers away at art school, gaining college credits while still in high school, trying to figure out where exactly my place was in this world just like every other teenager. I had an awesome group of friends, good grades, and felt like I was truly starting to figure this whole thing called “life” out. But boy was I broken. Starving for control.
I graduated high school and ended up going to a local university that my mom graduated from as well. My first semester I was on cloud 9. My grades were stellar, I had a great group of friends I had met, I absolutely loved college. I was actually noticed too. I felt pretty. Once again placing my identity into this. I felt like I knew exactly what I wanted and where I was going.
Then he came along. The older jock. Pitcher for the baseball team at another local university, older than me, went to the same church, athletic, seemingly had his head on straight, going to school for engineering after getting out of the military. And he noticed me. We started dating in my first semester. I was finishing the semester strong, we were going to church together, do homework together, I loved his family, things were going well. So I thought. I thought I was going to marry this man. He didn’t drink, he was a Christian, our morals and beliefs aligned, I like that he was older and seemed more mature to me. He made me feel special. He was it.
The next semester I decided to take on 20 credits. I did really well the previous semester and I was approved to take more than the average 18 credits. I had a plan. I was going to take as many credits as possible. Graduate school. Start my career. My life was set. Every Wednesday night my boyfriend would go to lab for one of his classes and I would typically use that night to catch up on shows, hang out with friends, etc. we didn’t get to see each other a ton with lite busy schedules so I would try and be with him any chance I got. Things started off well and then it was like a 180. He started becoming very emotionally and mentally abusive. Extremely manipulative. Definitely not the person I had met in the beginning. But this was all I knew. This was my first serious relationship and I was b l i n d e d.
I let it go on way longer than it should have. To the point where he became sexually abusive as well. I became a different person during this time. I was no longer the confident, strong willed Kathleen anymore. I was broken. Completely broken down. I thought I needed him. He manipulated me in the worst ways possible. By the end of the relationship I was left feeling worthless and certainly not good enough. Oh yeah and those Wednesday night labs. He was out drinking and cheating on me with many different girls I had come to find out. Way to kick a girl while she’s down, right?
The following summer after the relationship ended I felt like I had officially lost all control. I lost faith in my decision making. I lost trust in myself and my instincts, I pushed away from God, my anxiety was through the roof. I was completely broken.
I ended up getting mixed up with the wrong people. I’m not saying they were bad people but they were bad people for me to be around at such a low point in my life. I was binge drinking, smoking weed daily (it is illegal here), distancing myself from my family, burning bridges left and right, making extremely poor decisions and not caring or thinking about the ramifications for myself or how they would effect others around me.
One night I was driving to a party and I had had a couple drinks that evening. One of my tail lights was out and I got pulled over. I was in the middle of campus area where there were a ton of parties going on. The officer asked me where I was headed (who knows what I said) and then next thing I know i was getting breathalyzed. At 19, I was charged with an OWI. My whole world fell apart. I was paranoid people would find out, what it would do to my reputation, how my family would respond, how this would effect jobs, school, everything.
I became extremely depressed. I gained weight, I distanced myself from everyone and completely isolated, not to mention was completely distanced from my faith. The next semester my grades completely plummeted and i was put on academic probation. I was a mess. I felt completely out of control and on top of everything, the one thing I always felt like I could control (my weight) was something I no longer felt I could hold onto either.
Something had to change. I want to say it took a good year until I started coming out of this. I finally started focusing on my health again, I was back in school after 2 semesters off. I was back in church and starting to cultivate better relationships. I wasn’t focused on anything trying to fulfill me (guys, appearance, my weight, etc.) I was solely focused on my mental and physical health and getting back on track. Of course I was still completely broken. Slowly picking up the pieces. Dealing with the ramifications of an abusive relationship, and OWI, and essentially losing myself in the process of all of this. Losing complete control and trying to gain some sense of it back.
I WAS SO BROKEN. Grace is an amazing thing. Through all the brokenness God totally had a plan. I was ready for some light to start coming in. I was ready for some healing….