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We never see the changes as they're happening; it's when we look back that we notice how different things are. A year doesn't seem like a lot of time, but when things are happening, whether they're good or bad, so much can change. Unfortunately for me, my change happened because of the tragedy I had all within a year.
I thought I had life figured out. I managed to escape my awful marriage, I found a good job and got my own place all while raising my three kids by myself. I had good friends, I got back in touch with my family, and life was great, so great I never once thought it would all come crumbling down.
It started with my ex fighting me for custody of my children I had been raising without him. He came in guns blazing and I wasn't prepared. It was one battle I never imagined I'd lose, but I did just that; I lost and then I lost myself.
Being a mom is all I've ever known. I never had a reason to live until the day I gave birth to my first son. He made life worth living. Having the only thing that mattered to me taken from me broke me in ways I didn't know were possible. But this was just the beginning.
A few months after my kids were taken, I quit my job and moved in to take care of my mother, who had become my best friend. Not too long after moving in with her she died. Tragedy #2 struck, and it hit so hard I didn't think I'd ever be able to get up and survive life again. I let my life go, and I hated being alive.
I became somebody I couldn't even recognize in the mirror, I was someone unknown, I was lost. I drowned my pain in alcohol, drugs and sex. I just didn't care about anyone or anything, myself included. I was saved by a tiny little human, my fourth child. I ended up pregnant, but the thought of being his mother and putting him through the same torture my other children when through killed me, so I found him the most amazing parents in the world. I gave him a better chance at life, and although it was the best decision, it hurt like hell.
That year of losing so much has made me who I am today. Sometimes I wonder what happened to the girl I used to be. I wonder if I'd still be kind and caring and more open if I hadn't lost everything. Don't get me wrong, I love the woman I am, but sometimes I miss the kind, sweet, innocent girl I was. There used to be a light within me that would shine so bright you'd think the world had blessed me with it all. Now it's just gone. It's been flooded with death and pain and so much suffering, and it has turned into hate and an ice cold heart.
It only took a year to strip away 25 years of life. One long year of pain to turn one person into an entirely different one. If you met me before the tragedy, you knew the sweet girl, but to know me after the change, you know a very dark and twisted person.
They say you can be anything you want, so I'm capable of being the old me, but if I were to be her again, I'd have to relive all that hurt, I'd have to put my guard down and take chances. I'd have to be okay not knowing if more pain is around the corner to come strip my light away again.
After a tragic year, I don't know anyone who would want to go back to who they were before it happened. I think the suffering and pain is what keeps us afloat. It keeps us here to tell our stories and to let people know tragedy happens and sometimes you can't come back from it. Not everyone's story is a good one, and we don't all get a happy ending after a tragic life. Sometimes that's all life gives us: tragedy.