I am going to start when I was around 13, that was the start of my super, over religious stage in life and truthfully, I was at my lowest during this point. I was looking for something, anything. I wanted to belong somewhere in life and I found that in a tiny church in Charlotte. This church was filled with amazing people and a fantastic youth group. It was that youth group that completely sucked me in. Around 14-15 years of age, I was a complete emotional roller coaster. I felt like a lonely outcast that didn't belong anywhere. I was really good at being a chameleon because I had no clue who I was. It was the church that got me started on the journey to finding myself.
First off, the families in the church seemed perfect to me. I wanted to be that so bad. I thought that if I got in good with them, I would in some way be adopted into this life changing family and all of my prayers would be answered and POOF! Life would be perfect. Not the case.! It didn't matter how much I prayed, how much I gave or how much I pretended not to be myself, I still hated me when I looked in the mirror. I also found that many of the adults in the church (not all, but many) were extremely judgmental. No matter how hard I tried, I was still not good enough in any area of my life. I hated school and failed or nearly failed everything, I was disgusted by who I saw when I looked in the mirror and became an anorexic, or ate next to nothing just to shut people up. I was just miserable.
Around 17-18, I was head over heals “in love” with this guy from the church. We were a complete disaster for each other and things got real bad. Between my home life, the way I felt about me, the over bearing judgement of the adults in the church and the demise of this relationship, I had had it. As I stated before, I was a christian.! I took that stuff to heart and in church they teach that if you turn to God, your life will be great. Pray and it will be fixed, you are never alone and you are loved. Just turn to God. The thing is, for four years, I did just that. I prayed, I thanked, I pleaded and begged and nothing changed. It just got worse. So I walked.
Sure, I still had a transition faze that took place and I popped in and out of church every now and again, but the feeling was gone. At this point I was almost 20 and considered myself atheist. In my mind, everything that I was taught was a lie. I found myself feuding with others about the lies and all of the “why would's.” You know, why would God do this, allow this and let all of this go IF he existed. This was a very weird part of my life. I still went out looking for something that I could only find in a relationship, no matter how traumatic or abusive it was. I place no blame for that abuse on anyone other than myself. I was just as bad when it came to verbal abuse. In my mind, I was going to get someone else before they got me. I was hurt, frustrated and in search of love that did not seem to exist.
Finally, I met the man of my dreams. His mom and dad were big members of that same church and they absolutely despised me from the get go. They had money, I grew up in a trailer, my parents were divorced, they were happily married. Truthfully looking back at the whole situation, we were doomed to failure from the start. I will not get into the full story of that time in my life, but I will say that that family was extremely hypocritical. I will leave it at that, I will however say, that how they treated us only stamped a seal of approval on my disconnect from that church.
The man of my dreams turned out not to be the answers to my prayers after all, shocker right? We were together for almost 10 years. During that time my life was in complete shambles. Anything that could happen or go wrong did. He was very mentally, physically and verbally abusive to me and my son. We dealt with a custody battle for his daughter, many medical issues for myself and my son, me being jobless and numerous other things. To say that I hated life was a complete understatement. I had no faith in anything, not even myself. I questioned everything and I expected the world to give me handouts. During this time is when I started opening to spirit again, so I was trying to fight everything in life.
On August 29th, 2009 I left my ex husband for good. I had nothing, I left everything behind except for my sons stuff, clothes, a dresser and my bed. I went back to live with my mom and I still felt completely useless. I went through major life extremes from 2009 to 2010 and that is when I met Adam, my current husband. A headstrong Catholic that has one of the best families I have ever met. Also, keep in mind that at this point I am still an atheist. A Catholic and an Atheist sounds like the start of a really bad joke and that's what we were. Like oil and water we rarely saw eye to eye on anything, the fact that we are still married today and made it this far, is by the grace of God. Yes, God.
As we moved further into our relationship, Adam started to re-open my eyes and by 2012, I was contacting Pat Longo because I needed spiritual help. Yep I said it, an atheist was pushed by spirit to get spiritual help because the medical assistant in me knew that I did not need mental help. At that moment, regardless of whether or not I wanted to swallow my ego to say so, I was finally spoken to by something that I could not explain. My entire life I saw spirit, that was nothing new and even though I thought I was crazy for it, spirit was normal to me. I can in no way explain what happened to me at the Jackson prison, I can only say that I was guided to get help.
I had no clue what to expect from my healing with Pat. There were no immediate bells and whistles. The whistles didn't happen until I decided based on the tools that she provided, that I was finally done being the Crystal I was. I needed answers, I needed something different, I needed the love that I longed for my whole life. The moment that I looked at myself in the mirror it clicked. The love that I needed was with me all along, I just couldn't see it because I hated myself so much. I spent 32 years of my life pushing away this magnificent energy known as God because I really didn't feel worthy of getting love. There was the POOF.!
Once that happened, I was seriously never the same. I was determined to find the love and happiness that I was born with, that we are all born with. It isn't until life happens and we listen to the mean comments from others, or the horrible things that we say to ourselves that we push that love away. It's our human self that pushes away that love and guidance because we search for proof and when we don't get it, we place doubts in our own head. We seek to find this biblical miracle like water being turned to wine, or the parting of the seas. When we don't see this, we shut it down. We focus on wars, crime and torture as our excuse not to believe. After all, if God existed, why would he allow those horrible things, right.?
It doesn't work like that. We were given free will and with that, people are people. They make stupid, horrible mistakes. They place themselves before others and treat people how they feel about themselves. You cannot see “God” until you open your eyes to love because THAT is what God is. There is no hate, no ridicule and no punishment. There is only love. If you constantly close yourself off to love, you will close yourself off to the universal energy that is God. Call this energy what you will because there is no right or wrong, there is only acceptance.
What I learned that day is that God helps those who help themselves. That once you stop making excuses and face life for what it is, you will get what you are looking for. It does not matter if you sit in the front pew every Sunday, or read every book imaginable searching for answers because the answers lie within you. Once you open yourself up by tearing down the walls that you built yourself, you will get all of your answers.
I started this journey to loving myself in 2012. In that time I have had to look back on every moment in my life starting back to my childhood. I have been happy, sad, mad and downright despised myself for what I looked back on, but today I am the happiest I have ever been. I have let go and forgiven all of the people that mistreated me and asked forgiveness from those that I mistreated. My marriage has been rocky and not easy at times because I am learning that I need to let things go and lighten up. I have learned to let go of the past and all of the things that serve no purpose in my life and I know without a doubt that I am worth the love that I currently have in my life. I no longer seek answers because I do not need them. I just know that there is something more to life and because of that, I am where I am today and for that, I thank God.