Thursday Guest Blog – Laura Nichols

laura“Stinkin’ Thinkin’”

First off let me introduce myself, I’m LittleRedMinix or Laura as most of you know me. There are so many ways that I can describe myself. You see, I don’t fit into any one box; I am a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a veteran, a babygirl, a little, a submissive, a farie, a teacher, a friend, a daughter, a granddaughter, and I am polyamorous. I am the sum of all my parts, not just one or two of them. This unique individual combination is what makes me who I am, and it is of course also what makes all of you the wonderful, beautiful people who you are.

When I was asked to write a post for this blog I cannot tell you how honored I was that someone had taken notice of me or even considered what I had been doing to be of any interest. I had to really take a step back and rethink about what my internal dialogue was saying to me. We have all had those times in our lives when we have felt like we are not making a difference, when our efforts are not making an impact on our communities, our friends or our families.

It is really easy to feel this way, given that we live in a society where social media has such an influence and everything else is so disposable. It is not uncommon that we see relationships begin and end over social media in days, friendships to blow up over politics, or things too be taken out of context because we cannot or will not talk to a person face to face. It seems like we have come to a point where we avoid real social interaction, yet we have more “friends” than at any other time in recorded history. So what can I do about this? What can I change in my life and in the lives of those around me to make our world a better, a more social place? The first thing that I personally found that I had to change was my internal dialogue, or my “stinkin thinkin“. All of those negative thoughts that I had about myself everyday (you know the ones) I can’t do this, I’m not good enough, I’m not pretty enough, I’m too fat, I’m too skinny, I’m too short, I’m too tall, I’m just not good enough!!! All of these statements had to change to statements that are positive about myself and others; I can do this, I am good enough, I am pretty, I am “just right” for me, in my size, no matter what it is!!! I am perfect for wherever I am in this moment. This shift in my internal dialogue has changed how I look at things and how I perceive the people in my life. When I started to look at people as being beautiful instead of searching for their flaws I started to see past the superficial and started seeing their hearts. It was only at that point that people started to become less disposable and they became more of what and who I needed to be surrounded by in my life.

MY STORY

My parents married in their early twenties, they had me and then divorced when I was only three months old due to my mother’s infidelity in the relationship. When I was three, my mother literally kidnapped me and took me to away another state. She then married another man, changing my last name and took me away from absolutely everything that I had known to that point. During that time, my mother had two more children. It wasn’t until my mother had decided that she didn’t want to be tied down to her then husband any longer that I finally met my dad. Some five years later, at the age of eight, it was through my amazing grandparents, who through all that time where the only source of stability in my life, that I was able to meet him. To say that this was a traumatic experience for me would be an understatement. You see, my dad is what you might call larger than life, he is 6’5″ and well over 250 pounds and for a little kid that was HUGE. So after having been told for years that someone else was my father here was this guy trying to say that he was my dad. What is an eight-year-old supposed to think about that? My mother wasn’t any help whereas she was preoccupied with marrying husband number 4, as I later found out. She had left me in the hands of my grandparents and my dad to deal with the fallout of her actions. The very moment that my dad put in the paperwork to start the process of having custody transferred to him however, my mother showed back up with husband number 4, and my life was thrown into chaos yet again. Husband number 4 turned out to be horribly abusive to both my mother and us kids in so many ways. He was never able to hold a stable job, he was an alcoholic and, even worse, he was a pedophile. The worst part about this situation was that my own mother never believed me when I told her what was going on and never stood up to him even when he would beat us for no reason. This went on for several years, during which I got in trouble a number of times for trying to run away to get to a safer place. After years of custody battles between my mother and dad, I finally moved in with him and my first stepmother when I was 12. I still did not know much about this man, other than the fact that he was supposed to be my father. It was immediately obvious that my stepmother hated me. Although I didn’t know it at the time, it was because she was extremely jealous that I was his first child. Of course, my dad had several other children with her by then as well, so I was coming into a very full house that already had 5 other children in it. With me being child number 6 and being an extra burden on the household significantly contributed to my stepmother’s resentment. Needless to say, that living situation didn’t last long. Both my dad and I were kicked out onto the street within 6 months by her and her mother.

We were then taken in by a wonderful woman who later became my second stepmother who I refer to, still to this day, as my mom. She has been so very sweet and loving to both my dad and I.

My dad and I didn’t have the easiest of relationships as he has some very bigoted views on so many things including race, gender roles, and (homo)sexuality. Even though one of my best friends all through high school was gay, my dad still made horrible jokes about gays thinking that it was funny and trying to just laugh it off like it was no big deal. Although my dad and I had many talks about why those types of jokes where not okay, he just never seemed to get it. I ended up moving out of my childhood home at 17 because my dad and I had major differences of opinion when it came to integrity, we still to this day have these differences of opinion yet he is my dad and I can love him for who he is, this is not to say that I agree with him.

I ended up getting married on the day that I graduated high school. You see I was pregnant and I just could not, at that time, stand up for myself enough to say that I did not want to get married. I had other plans, I had a scholarship for collage but it specified that I wasn’t allowed to be married and he knew that. Telling my grandparents that we were getting married without asking me at a family gathering in front of everyone turned out to be a very effective way to get a young pregnant woman to stay quiet. Less than a year later, with this same man I had to have an abortion not three months after giving birth to our first child. Even though it was a medical necessity for me to have it done, it was one of the most horrific things that I have ever had to experience, and not for reasons you might imagine. Knowing that you have to have an abortion is one thing, but having to walk through lines of protesters, then to have someone do an ultrasound and force you to look at it, all the while knowing that if I didn’t have it done that I wouldn’t have survived to the end of the pregnancy. That knowledge didn’t take away any of the feelings that came along with it, I still felt all of the shame, the anger, the hurt, and a significant loss of self-esteem. Then, if that trauma hadn’t been enough, every time I would do something that my husband didn’t like, he would throw it in my face that I had killed our baby, taking away the one person that I had that I thought that I could be vulnerable with about this tragedy that had happened to the both of us. Once again, I was back to a place where I didn’t trust, I was lost, I was vulnerable, and I was broken. I was in a really bad place in my life and he knew it, I tried to get out unsuccessfully several times over the next couple of months always to threats and him going to my family saying anything that he could to make me look bad and make himself look better. I ended up getting pregnant again and having a second child with him through force. After that, I left for good. It was during our divorce that I found out how bad things really were for me. I had developed a very strong bond and friendship with a girlfriend that I had met and known all through high school. This girl was in fact my best friend through that time, someone that I could count on and confide in, but come to find out, my husband was sleeping with her behind both her husband and my backs. He actually got her pregnant at the same time that I was pregnant and our children were born just weeks apart. She didn’t tell him that the baby was his, nor did she tell her husband, she did ask me to be the godmother of this child though (how ironic). About 6 months after my divorce was final she ended up murdering this child just a week before I left to go into the Navy. I later found out that she had hung herself in the county jail with a cord off of a pay phone.

So here I was left thinking, these are the people that I chose to be in my life, they are abusers, murders, rapist, cheaters, and liars. How are they any good for me? How can I do better in future friendships and relationships? I had to change the way I was looking at myself for in order for people to start treating me better.

I did do better in a lot of ways after that in most of my relationships. My friendships were much better, I looked for people who were honest and open about themselves. That is not to say that I have not had my share of bad relationships since then, I have. People have thrown things back in my face that I had told them in a moment of vulnerability, yet it has not stopped me from trying to be more open with the people that come into my life.

The reason that I told all of that heart wrenching story is this, I had to change my internal dialogue about a lot of things when I left home, you see I was flawed, I had major trust issues, I had problems letting people in, I was letting the wrong people in when I was making friends or establishing relationships. I was brought up to believe that I was only supposed to find someone to marry and to have babies and that was it, there was to be no more to my life. I wasn’t supposed to go out and be a world changer, not that I think that I am now, but if I can help change just one life I am really good with that. How boring would my life have been if I would have just lived with the status quo? That anyone who was gay was bad, that anyone of another race was lower than me, that I was only supposed to be a wife and mother to the first guy willing to marry me? If I would not have been able to change this type of thinking I would not be where I am today with the wonderful beautiful chosen family and the amazing relationships that I have.

I have come a long way from the girl that I was all those years ago and grown so much in so many ways, now don’t get me wrong, there are still days when I still struggle with that internal dialogue trying to creep in and give me negative thoughts about myself or others. When that happens, I have to take time for myself to try to find something beautiful either in the other person or in myself and to remember that we are all beautiful in our own unique way and that we are not just one or two things, we are a sum total of things that makes us who we are as people.

Please take a few moments to think about your own internal dialogue and evaluate how you are talking to not only yourself but to and about those around you. Find something good in both yourself and others, it will change the way you look at things. This can be very powerful for you and potentially change your life as it did mine.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, I hope that my story has helped you in some way.

 

9 Comments

  1. Shannon Waites (Post author)

    Thank you Laura for sharing so much of your life and journey with us. You are a strong and amazing women who has overcome so much in your life. Finding the path to self love, and openness isn’t easy in the best circumstances. Your story reminds us all how important it is not to let life’s challenges harden us and draw us away from those who can lift us up and support us. Thank you for opening your heart and life to us.

    Reply
    1. Laura

      Thank you so much for all of your support and love without it and this platform this would not have been possible.

      Reply
  2. Eric

    I lived a jaded, yet somehow abused life (hard to explain)-so I see the results of my attitudes to this day. I hear my own voice inside my head saying “right,wrong and (of course my Dad’s voice saying “Dumbass”)”—and now I’m going to change the title of that to my continually running-internal blogging! COOL

    Reply
  3. Amy

    This is beautiful. I love you and the energy you share. Thank you for letting us have a glimpse of your journey. I know my internal dialogue still needs some work.

    Reply
  4. Sherry Strickland

    Laura, thank you for your willingness to share such a vulnerable slice of your person. Courageous.

    Reply
  5. Tia Edwards

    Laura, you write beautifully! In spite of all you’ve been through you are leaps and bounds ahead of so many in figuring out we are our own worst enemy. I admire your ability to make change happen even in the place change is hardest to make. Our own minds. You rock! IMHO

    Reply
  6. bina_JBXfg

    The road behind has lead you to where you are today.

    You are fantastic and so alive.
    Keep it up girlie your doing great!

    Reply
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  8. Jim

    I couldn’t refrain from commenting. Exceptionally well written!

    Reply

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