However, I was born with no enamel on my teeth, and so it was just the brown dentin. So as my teeth came in as a little girl, they were brown, and kids would make fun of me. I was bullied a lot growing up in school. I wore big thick glasses. My vision was not good, and so I was bullied a lot growing up in school. So, it looked as if they were rotted, or they were just brown and jagged. They looked like rocks. Kids would call me “rock muncher” and things like that. “Four eyes” or “you can see into the future with those glasses.” “Who am I going to marry?” “How many kids am I going to have?” Things like that.
You know as a little girl, you dream of getting married and having kids, having a family and a white picket fence and all of that good stuff. That was my dream as a little girl. Growing up I remember the boys didn’t like me, and that just confirmed rejection.
My kindergarten picture I smiled. I think I was so innocent that I didn’t know anything was wrong or anything was different with me than the other kids. I smiled in that picture, but then immediately in my first-grade picture I smiled with my mouth closed. Then every picture from then on, I never smiled with my mouth open.
About middle school, my parents had gained enough money financially to help get some work done to my teeth. When I got to high school, I got contacts and my teeth were beginning to be fixed so boys started to notice me. The first time that a boy noticed me, I ran with that. I ended up being in a relationship with this guy for about nine years. He wasn’t faithful to me and didn’t treat me right, but I held on to that because I thought that was my only chance for this family that I wanted. So I just kept looking, looking for a man, thinking that that’s what was going to fix me and make me feel accepted. So I got into another relationship. The first time that this guy cheated on me, I remember feeling the overwhelming rejection again and not being worthy, not being lovable. I recalled how the pain medication made me feel when I would be in that dental chair having surgery. I would relax and go to sleep. I remembered how that made me feel, and that’s when I began to take the pain medication to numb the hurt on the inside. That started a ten-year warfare with pain medication addiction.
I told my parents that I needed help, so I looked for a place. I knew what I needed. I needed Jesus Christ to come in and make me whole, so that’s when I found Women at the Well in Athens, Tennessee. God has used that place to restore my relationship with Him. He has actually filled a void in my life that I searched for a man to fill. He is now my husband. He is my Father. He is my friend. I know that He’s all that I need. I knew that in my brain but to feel that in your heart is a completely different thing.
We do a semi-annual fashion show at Women at the Well to benefit the ministry. I had never been in a fashion show. I never thought I was a fashion show type, so I didn’t think about it. One of the staff members asked for me to be in the fashion show. On that day of the fashion show when I got dressed up, makeup on and my hair done, I literally sat in that dressing room and just wept because I felt pretty that day. It wasn’t an outward pretty. It was an inward clean, whole, who God created me to be. I felt like that girl that day.