It’s sometimes strange how life’s struggles often bring you to a place of strength, hope and determination. The funniest part is when you realize that the strength, hope and determination were there all the time they’d just never had the opportunity to shine.
I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan where like most large urban cities life is what you make it. My mother was a single parent and I her only child. I remember my Mom graduating from Nursing school as a Registered Nurse I was proud of her even then. My Mom was the best and she gave me the best I never knew a day of lack. All I knew is that I wanted to be strong like my Mommy because I adored her.
July 2002 I was engaged and had just found out that I was pregnant for the first time ever. We were happy we’d planned this so it was a really exciting time for me and Terry (my fiancée). I was about to have a family of my own.
My fiancé was a very intelligent, handsome, strong man. He worked two jobs and was a real stand up guy. Terry relocated from Memphis, TN about a year prior to our engagement.
I loved him and I loved the thought of carrying this mans child. I was 5 weeks pregnant when I found out and all was well.
Suddenly things changed when I was in my 7th week Terry began to act differently he would rant and rave constantly. We would argue for hours on end. The love I once saw in his eyes wasn’t there anymore but a blank, empty look made me nervous and defensive. As the days and weeks passed women would call our house, he would stay out all night. I was stressed and decided I would not allow such disrespect, I made him leave.
While in my 9th week of pregnancy I miscarried it was one of the most heartbreaking things I’d ever experienced.
Maybe I was angry or depressed but I no longer felt the need to continue our soured relationship. So I let it go. Unfortunately he didn’t.
My life became something from a Lifetime channel movie. Terry began to do crazy things call me 25 -30 times a day stand on my front porch at 3:00 in the morning yelling “Let me in, I know you’re in there, why won’t you give me another chance, I should burn this house down while you’re in it” Just crazy things he would leave lingerie on my door send dozens of roses to my job then call on the phone and say things like “If you keep rejecting me I’m going to kill you” he would tap on my bedroom window at all hours of the night it was just unimaginable. These things happened literally every single day. It was crazy.
One December morning I was going to work, before I left I did my usual look around before closing my front door (due to the fact that Terry cornered me that way before) I closed the door and proceeded down the porch steps when suddenly Terry jumps from the side of my house stood in front of me with a knife to my throat, he spoke softly and said “Hey baby, you look nice this morning but do you realize that I could cut your throat right now and you would die right here, do you realize that?” I was in shock seeing him and hearing him do and say these things just crushed me. I did however realize that I could not let him see fear in me or else he would have completely dominated the situation. I then without thought or mental planning suddenly became offended and angry and I felt strong, I was determined that I would get out of this situation safely.
I responded by looking him in the eye and saying “I cannot believe you would dare come to me like this Terry, you owe me more, but if you came here to kill me then do it, If not move because I am not going to be late for work because of you!” He grabbed my arm pulling back toward the house and said “C’mon open the door we are going in side so I can do what I want with you.” I snatched away from him and said “I told you before you are no longer welcome in my house, do whatever you need to do right here.” I then stepped past him and calmly walked to my car. I got in and closed the door, he tapped on my window with the knife saying “I’m letting you get away this time, but next time there won’t be a warning”
(Don’t get me wrong my responses were not necessarily smart but it was unscripted it was me raw, I didn’t know I had that in me.) I pulled off and by the time I reached Interstate 75 the reality of what had just happened hit me like a ton of bricks, I had to pull to the shoulder and I couldn’t stop crying and shaking.
The next day I went to the county and got a Restraining Order (that Terry constantly ignored) I also met with Detroit’s District Attorney to press charges. There was an immediate warrant out for his arrest the charges were Aggravated Stalking and Felonious Assault. That same evening I packed several of my belongings and went to stay with my best friend and her son.
Terry didn’t know where she lived so this was a good means to clear my head and get some much needed rest.
I spent Christmas away from home but on New Years Eve I went to church, and I prayed with every thing in me that God would move on my behalf. I only knew that if God didn’t something horrific would happen because I was at the end of my rope.
That night after church service I went home, no more running, no more fear I prayed and I had to trust that God would answer my cry.
New Years Day 2003 he was captured just down the street from my home. They took him to the local precinct; once there they searched further they found a box cutter then eventually found a single bullet. The arresting officer came back to where they’d picked him up and searched the area and found a gun in some bushes.
Three months later I moved to Georgia. I found out about WADT and all the awesome things the program does in the community and specifically for women of color. I wanted so much to experience “Women Are Dreamers Too” because when I moved here I began to dream bigger, to aim higher and to set goals that I knew I had to accomplish. I just didn’t know exactly how to put the wheels in motion. Now because of Dr. Cindy William and WADT I am well on my way Coney Café will be up and running by the 2nd quarter of 2007. I am so blessed and so grateful to have been chosen to be apart of such an amazing group of women who have all experienced life’s hiccups but through it all we know that it’s the dreams the strength, the hope and determination that’s within us that makes us know that troubles don’t last always.