Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Stupid Boy. (be prepared. it's a long story. but it's true.)

First I'd like to start off by saying that abuse is not something to be taken lightly, to joke about, or to ignore. If you know someone who is being abused in ANY way, talk to them right away and also tell someone else who can help. If you truly care about them, you won't just stand by and let it happen. If you don't know for sure if someone is being abused or not, mention the topic in conversation. It will be impossible for them to openly talk about the topic, and chances are, they'll probably even try to change the subject to something else. If they don't even realize what's happening, just talk to them. That's the first step. If you're not sure how to go about it, talk to one of your parents, or a teacher, or a counselor....anyone really. The most important thing is that you take action immediately. Before it gets worse. Before they get too far into the relationship.

I've never told anybody my entire story, so this is taking a LOT of courage for me to hands are shaking while I'm typing this... but here we go....

To put it in perspective of how much he damaged me, I'm 21 and will be 22 in June. He was my first real boyfriend. We started dating October 4, 2005 (I was a sophomore in HS). I broke up with him on March 28, 2008. The abuse continued until I filed a restraining order against him in July of 2008.... But it hurts just as much now as it did then.

His name was Matt. He was a year older than me. He played quarterback and tight end in football and was the star pitcher on our baseball team. He was popular and everyone loved him so when he asked me to the homecoming dance, I was excited, needless to say. We started dating during spirit week and had our first kiss at the dance. I wore his jersey at games, his sweatshirt to school....the whole sha-bang. From the beginning my parents felt uneasy about me dating him, but it was mostly because they thought I was too young to have a real boyfriend already.

After a few months, he started getting overly jealous about some of my guy friends. They were guys I'd known since I was in diapers. One guy is essentially my brother, our parents had a play date for us when we were only a couple months old. Matt said I needed to stop flirting with them and if I couldn't do that then I shouldn't be talking to them at all. I didn't even realize I was flirting with them, so I thought to myself, how can I stop flirting if I don't even know when I'm doing it? I guess I just have to stop talking to them as much. So I did....or I would only talk to them when I knew Matt wouldn't find out. He also started pulling me away from my friends by telling me they were bad influences, etc, etc.... He hardly ever had something nice to say about anyone.

Things really took a turn for the worse when I turned 16. My parents took me and a friend to Cedar Point for my birthday weekend and it was the most fun I had had in a long time. There were a few guys that we met there and my friend thought one of them was really cute so I was her "wing-woman." When we got home, the guys had added both of us on MySpace. Matt freaked out. He started asking me all these questions about who they were and accused me of hooking up with one of them (mind you, I was still a virgin at this point in time). He grabbed me and shook me, yelled at me to stop being a slut. After that, I wasn't allowed to have MySpace (or Facebook when the time came).

A week later he started bringing up sex a lot. He was already the first person I had ever made-out with and I just wasn't ready to have sex yet. But he was. I said 'no' a hundred times and he finally pressured me into it. I cried for weeks.

Over the next year, things progressively got worse. Honestly, I've blocked out most of it, so I hardly remember exact details. I do remember that I lost almost all of my friends. The ones that stayed with me are still two of my closest friends today. My parents hated Matt so if he was there then I was never allowed to stay the night at parties like everyone else, I always had to be home by midnight. Matt didn't want me hanging out with any of my friends, so I never got to have sleepovers. My social life consisted of him, his friends (but I had to be careful how I talked, etc, or he would say I was flirting), and my two friends (who were dating Matt's friends). I stopped wearing make-up to school because I would end up crying it off anyway. I cried almost every day of my junior year because of him. My parents spent $500 on my perfect prom dress....I spent the entire prom crying in the girls' bathroom because Matt didn't want to see my "pathetic face." The only time I came out was when I heard our song come on. We danced without talking and I went back to the bathroom. The reason he was mad was because I had gone to take pictures with some of my friends without telling him where I was going.

Before that prom, I had been isolated from most everyone (including my family), he had complete control over me. He abused me emotionally, mentally, and sexually. He would grab me when he got upset and it would leave bruises on my arms. But that night after prom, he shoved me against his car, slapped me across the face, punched several dents into his car, and punched his steering wheel so hard, the airbag came out. I didn't even think that was possible. But I swear to you, it happened. I was scared for my life on that drive home. He was driving like a maniac.

He graduated and nothing changed. He still lived at home and was just going to a community college. I know now that it was only so he could still have some sort of control over me. But things were different. Everyone knew what was going on by time school started in the fall. Because he wasn't there physically, he made me keep my phone on me throughout the school day so I could answer his texts. He knew when and what classes I would have access to a computer and would yell at me if I didn't email him.

In October of 2007, his friend's little brother (who's a year younger than me) admitted he liked me. The most I had ever said to him was 'Hi.' If I thought I was in hell before, I was wrong. My best friend saw the bruises the next day. She said she had a feeling Matt was physically abusive because she'd witnessed his anger problems when it came to such little things. I will never forget the look in her eye. She would have killed him had he been in the room at that moment.

I had drank for the first time ever in December at a friend's house (to this day he doesn't know about it.) It was a very liberating feeling. That was the first time I had felt somewhat free of him (even though he had been texting and calling throughout the entire night.) Finally, in January I told him I didn't want to do it anymore. I had only applied to two colleges because he told me I wouldn't survive in college and that I should stay home and go to the community college. I refused to go to a community college and then never leave that little town. So when I was accepted to both the schools I applied to, it gave me hope for something. He did everything in his power to keep it from happening. The main thing was keeping me from getting scholarships because he knew my family and I wouldn't be able to afford sending me to college without a few scholarships. In my high school career, I had only participated in a handful of things because he wouldn't allow me to, so my resume was limited. A couple teachers held a few scholarship workshops to help us fill them out, find all the ones we're eligible for, etc...I was only allowed to go to one of them because "I didn't need to do that" and he "could help me fill them out" himself.

When I sent in my acceptance letter to one of the schools, he applied there. My small glimmer of hope was taken away. I tried ending things with him from January through March. Each time he threatened to kill himself, would push me around, force himself on me, force me to perform "sexual favors," and diminish any strength I had had in me. My mom told me I had to go on this retreat with my youth group. It was a battle. I was looking forward to it, it meant an entire weekend without Matt. I would have to leave my phone at home and would have no way for him to contact me. Of course, he yelled at me and told me I wasn't trying hard enough to get out of going....The day before the retreat, I told him we were done. I told him he needed to stop abusing me. For the millionth time, he apologized, said he loved me, etc etc...I said I didn't love him anymore but that I would take the weekend to think about it. Something amazing happened that weekend.

One of the reasons I was so scared to end things was because he was all I ever knew. I didn't know that there was anyone better out there. And then God intervened. There was a cowboy from another youth group, Josh, at that retreat and in two short days, he showed me that I am so much better than Matt and that I deserved the world. When I got home Sunday, I had ten texts from Josh telling me not to go back to Matt, that I'm a beautiful, strong, confident, and care-free lady and not to let anyone make me feel otherwise. I hadn't heard those words used to define me in yearsss. The fact that he could see who I truly am through all the layers of pain, suffering, and damage, was astounding to me. Josh lived an hour and a half away from me, but he talked to me every day and helped keep me from returning to Matt. With the help of Josh, the song "Three Little Birds," my friends, my family, and of course, God, I got stronger and stronger each day.

In April, there were a few days that Matt tried sweeping me off my feet again, but my support system snapped me out of it. I cannot express how grateful I am that I was able to fully enjoy my last couple months of high school.

I went to prom with a good guy friend and a small group of people, bought a cute $50 dress (after what happened the year before, I only cared that I had fun, I could have gone in a brown paper bag for all I cared), went to an after prom party and got drunk for the second time. I reached out to all my old friends but kept in mind which ones were there for me when I needed them. I stopped loving Matt almost immediately; he had hurt me too much for me to have any good feelings toward him. Because of this, it was fairly easy for me to have feelings for another guy a few months later.

Whenever I feel as though I'm losing sight of who I am, I think back to those days and the summer of 2008. Obviously I'm a different person now than I was then because I have more responsibilities and I can't behave as though I'm 18 forever.....but who I was then is the core of who I am now.

Matt and I dated for two and a half years. For two years, I didn't go a day without crying. Even after I broke up with him he found ways to get to me. He stalked me as well as the guy I was hanging out with over summer. My dad actually went to Matt's house and threatened him, as well as his family (for not raising a better son and for not stopping him from stealing me). After that, Matt sent me a message on Facebook that was the most horrible thing he had ever said to me. I was fed up. People still loved him. People still hung out with him and laughed with him and thought he was a great guy while he was telling me to go kill myself..... I published the message he sent. I published it on Facebook and on MySpace. People needed to know. I still do not regret that decision. He called me saying he was going to hunt me down once I moved to college so my "daddy couldn't be there to stop him." I went to the police and filed a restraining order. I haven't talked to him since.

I guess a few months after that he started dating this girl whom he had always talked badly about to me while we were dating ("she's fat," "her make-up is awful," "she's so annoying!"). They're still together. My best friend (who is still dating one of Matt's old friends) says the girl gained about 50 pounds and he's gained about 30. The reason my best friend's boy is now an old friend of Matt's: Matt's girlfriend doesn't let him do anything and doesn't want him to be friends with those guys. Cherry on top: he still lives in that small little town. He didn't even finish college.

Here I am, at a Division 1 school. In a sorority. I have a truly wonderful boyfriend. My family and I have are closer than ever. I may be damaged, but I'm blessed.

"Be sure of this: the wicked will not go unpunished, but those who are righteous will go free."
~Proverbs 11:21

Sunday, January 8, 2012

For the whiskey lover...

Alright ladies, as you know, I surprised my beau yesterday by driving an hour away to pick him up from the airport with his friend. The surprise was somewhat successful: he knows me too well apparently and kind of thought I would do something like that. The cupcakes, though, were 100% successful. I knew that there was a possibility that we would be stopping by his friend's house for dinner and to say hi to his family and girlfriend, so I made sure to take enough for everyone (as every good guest should do! *hint hint*). We didn't stay for dinner, but everyone still took one and loved them!

A few people asked me if I have the recipe and the answer is YES! I found it on Pinterest (not surprising) and changed a few things to my own preference and I was also short on time. Here is the link for the original recipe: Chocolate Jack Daniel's Cupcakes. My recipe is below. If you make them, please comment and let me know how you liked them!!

Chocolate Jack Daniel's Cupcakes

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder (I used Hersey's Special Dark)
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup Jack Daniel's Whiskey
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt (all the dry ingredients).
  3. In a separate bowl (I swear by my 4 cup measuring bowl!) combine the eggs, coffee, whiskey, buttermilk, and oil.
  4. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and whisk until smooth.
  5. Spoon the mixture into prepared cupcake cups. I filled them up just over 3/4 of the way. (The batter rose up just enough to put frosting on without getting any on the cups.)
  6. Bake in preheated oven about 18-20 minutes until the tops spring back when lightly pressed.
  7. Cool completely.
*Note: you can experiment with the amounts of Jack Daniel's and buttermilk. Just make sure the two come out to equal 2 cups. The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup of Jack and 1/2 cup of very strong coffee....obviously I omitted the coffee and just used Jack.

Unfortunately, I was very short on time so had to buy frosting (clearly not as good) but next time I make them I'll definitely be making the buttercream and ganache listed on the original recipe - which both contain more Jack Daniel's. Despite store-bought frosting, the cupcakes were very delicious and rich!


xo @SrattyPearls

Saturday, January 7, 2012

New Year, New Surprises!

This past week has been ridiculously busy. In case you were wondering, I work at Victoria's Secret and since the semi-annual sale is going on, I've worked every day all day (except Wednesday because I was sick and actually had to call-in...which I hate doing.) On my spare time I've been trying to get organized for classes next week, which is hard since my Lilly planner hasn't arrived in the mail yet -- shame on me for not ordering it earlier.

New Year's Eve was an amazing night with my sisters and a few friends. Sunday was miserable. Although I love Starbuck's, I have to admit that Biggby is the place to go to help cure a hangover. They have these things called 'bragels' that are a toasted bagel (I love the asiago) with either turkey and havarti cheese or ham and cheddar (I love the turkey and havarti). Add some reduced fat cream cheese and that hangover will be gone in a half hour. Their coffee is fairly good, too, so it's definitely worth it.

I've been such a busy little bee so far today and it's not even noon! I was going to allow myself to sleep in, and, naturally, I end up waking up at 9:00 without an alarm and couldn't go back to bed. I finished all my errands and chores so now I can focus on what's really important....surprising my beau! He's flying in at an airport about an hour away. He left his car at a friend's house near to the airport and believes that friend is going to pick him up today, but I'm going to be there instead :) I'm also baking him some Jack Daniel's chocolate cupcakes (I'll post the recipe tomorrow or Monday!).

Surprises are a great way to show your beau (or anyone!) that you pay attention to what he likes and that you care about him. If he doesn't like surprises, then just forewarn him what you're doing - it'll still be a treat for him and fun for you! I don't know about you, but I always feel great after making someone else happy -- as long as I'm not sacrificing my own happiness or doing something that goes against what I believe in.

xo @SrattyPearls

"No matter what happens in life, be good to people. Being good to people is a wonderful legacy to leave behind." ~Taylor Swift

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Let the sassing begin!

Hello dears!!

I reached 109 followers on Christmas--a wonderful present! So as my gift back to you, I've started this blog :) If you are wondering why 109 was the special number, it's because Delta Zeta celebrated our 109th Founders' Day in October this year.

I'll try to blog a couple times a week, depending on how busy my schedule is. I'll talk about a variety of things: recipes I really like, sorority life, crafts, random events that occur, things that inspire me or upset me, etc, etc... If you have any requests, feel free to let me know and I'll do my best to respond to them!

Currently I'm brainstorming New Year's resolutions, so that will probably be my next post here in the next few days. I'll be bringing in the New Year with a group of my sisters at a bar town a couple hours away from me and could not be more excited about it! The only downside is that my boyfriend is home for break on Sanibel Island, and so I won't be getting a NYE first kiss of the new year will have to wait until he gets back on January 7.

I apologize for this post being a bit boring, I promise I have lots of ideas saved up that I'll be posting about in the future. I'll tweet every time I post something new so that you'll all know ASAP :)

xo @SrattyPearls

"Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence." ~George Washington