The hardest thing

2008: It was 3 in the afternoon in the beginning of November. Another college daze effort to adjust to a lot of shifts in the universe. I was lost more than lost could even know how to feel. I’m getting ahead of myself… let’s go back a few.

2006: A shy, short 5.2″ white girl walks into her orientation for college – Troy, Alabama (pre-Obama, pre-change). She was unaware of her identity in the world and clingy to the sidewalks and the attractive male who was leading the intro course that weekend. That was when I met Emily, who I mentioned in my post “Friday Feels.” She was the first person to open my eyes to the word “lesbian.” And, she would be the person to crash course me in what it looked like to date women, feel feels and walk the walk.

2007: I came out my sophomore year. A misfit sorority member in the most misfit sorority on campus. A title that makes me laugh to this day. When I slowly let it roll into the shadows that I was into women, I started to watch the ripple affect of closed minds for the beginning of the rest of my life. Good friends who we once called each other “sisters” accused me of liking them – cursed me out in group settings and told more about my identity before I was ready. I feared for the person inside me, the one I didn’t know yet, so I hid her.

2008: That was until my second girlfriend ever – my first true “I love you.” She was the goalkeeper for the school. And I was her ‘first.’ She was reckless – an on and off again ‘secret’ coke user  and a raging alcoholic in the making. Yet, I felt safe there – because for the first time I was feeling emotions my peers had felt since 15. Imagine.

We were wild. Obsessed with each other in the worst way. And, we destroyed one another. That’s when, for the first time in over 3 years, God spoke massively to me. He warned me. She was traveling at an away game and I chose to go to a praise and worship night on campus – an odd thing for me to do at this time. I wrestled with God chanting at me a billion times between lyrics – “leave her.”

For three weeks I was tortured over the lack of feeling I had to my girlfriend. I was afraid of my parents reaction more than ever if they knew and what was God stirring. I panicked and I left her.

A month into this, she started dating another woman and I lost my mind. I truly lost my damn mind. And, the small communication God had gained back with me – I shut off. I didn’t understand his message and so I ran. And, I ran right into the arms of alcohol and bad company.

October 2008: After a night of xanax and alcohol I drove home – I woke up the next day vividly remembering I didn’t care that day if I lived or died. No one wanted me. God didn’t want me. My ex didn’t want me. My parents, at this point knew, and were cutting me off. It was over. My life was over and I began to flirt with a thin line of existence.

So, at 3 in the afternoon I began drinking liquor. Then around 8 or so, while hanging out with my ex and her new girlfriend I decided to be defiant to God, life and her. I snorted, alongside her and her girl, hydrocodone. I barely remember the next 15 minutes.

A friend pulled me from the party and called the only two people in my life who truly knew me and my struggle. They got me and rushed me back to their dorm where I uttered one word “call.”

An ambulance arrived outside their dorm and tried desperately to get an IV into my loose veins full of coursing liquor and drugs. I was on the brink of the worst experience of my life without knowing – I was blacked out and on a thin line. I passed out in the ambulance as my blood flew into the medic holding me.

Five hours later I woke up to see my friend, Ashley, worried in a corner of an ER room. I was in and out for another two hours. This is the part where my faith becomes beyond words. This is the part where I can never run fully away from God again.

I OD. I didn’t know until the next day when my two friends sat me down to tell me – “you died. You’ve got to change.” I recanted to them that I first had no memory of this, but I did have memory of seeing a white light and hearing a voice comfort me. All I could remember was warm peace, grace and a resounding message – “you’re not finished here – go, change and be you.”

I wondered for a while if it was real. But, when I shared it with my friend Ashley – she told me I was in and out a lot talking and reaching for someone or something that wasn’t there.

That next day I went to my professors to gather work I had missed. At this point, my parents and I were not really speaking. They knew I was “gay,” “Troubled” and a “drunk.” None of those things do I think now in present day is actually true. I called to tell them of an ambulance bill coming their way – there were no questions… “just ok, are you ok? k.”

The next four years of my life would truly define me. I’d eventually shake the crippling crutch of alcohol – after feeling the cold feeling of handcuffs on my wrists. I still panic at the sight of blue and red. I would eventually find myself face flat on the floor begging God to take me home again. He did – as he already had done years ago when he saved my life.

The hardest thing is facing this story for what it is – a story worth sharing. It’s not a stain of shame or guilt. It’s a testimony of survival and ultimately God’s loving grace for us.

The week’s leading up to the binge evening of my death in October was full of prayers to God. “Take this from me.” “Make me not gay.”

I am sound that his message to me in that moment of white light – somewhere between heaven and earth – he did not say I’ve taken this from you or you’re going to hell or even it is wrong. He said “I have more for you. Now, go live.”

So, I ask you the reader to do just that – live. Be you. Shape you. Trust you. Love you. But, never give up on you. We have purpose here. Don’t waste it.

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