When I read Candace's story I couldn't help but feel an eerie sence of familiarity. Much of what had happened to her happened to me, just not to the same harsh extent.Growing up I had never been to church (beyond the occasional wedding) and my family never really spoke much of God or religion. We were a happy family and maybe that's why we never talked about God or questioned his existence. We never had anything bad happen to make us ask "why?". Then I became a teenager.
I don't know why I was attracted to the rebellious side of being a teen. I wasn't doing it on purpose, it's just what I really wanted to be like. My "crowd" wasn't a bad one, at least we didn't think so, but we got into trouble now and then. I started smoking, ciggerattes and marijuana,drinking and staying out all night and lying to my Mother. I was having sex at 13 and pregnancy scares at 14. I didn't care, I was having fun. Then it all went downhill.
I had broken up with my boyfriend of 5 years, and I was only 16. I started to do anything for any guy who would give me the time of day. Then I did get pregnant, and I thought maybe I had found love again, but it wasn't so. He never beat me but the verbal abuse I put up with threw me into a deep depresion. I tried so hard to be a good mother and house wife (even though we were not married) and nothing was ever good enough. He called me a slut and a whore. He refused to claim his daughter when he knew I was with no one else. He called me fat and lazy while I was pregnant. Sometimes I wished he would have beaten me. It probably would have hurt less. When I thought I could not take it anymore and was on the verge of suicide I happened upon something that would change my life.
I was watching an afternoon talk show one day. The subject was a new religion called Wicca. I heard them talk of thier love and worship of nature and all living creatures and the spiritual force of the earth and I was hooked. I went out and found everything I could on wicca. I trained and practiced and finally I proclaimed myself a bonafide witch. Wicca had opened up a whole new world for me. It gave me hope, it helped me with struggles, and it made me friends. It was a community where I belonged. For once I was happy. I found the courage to take my 3 year old daughter and leave her father, and it was the best choice I had ever made. I moved into my own apartment and I was in total bliss. No more complaining if something wasn't cleaned right or put away in the right place. I was finally on my own. But on your own can be a very lonely place.
I started to pray to my God and Goddess for someone to love me the way I needed to be loved. Someone that understood me. And it happened. He was perfect in every way and we really got along great. We saw each other for a couple of weeks and then we slept together and I never heard from him again. I found out a while later that he was a virgin and that he had only used me to "get it over with" so to speak. I was crushed. What self-esteem I had rebuilt was gone and I went wild. I started sneaking into bars and taking guys home I didn't even know for meaningless sex. Sometimes these guys were 30 or 40 years old and I was only 19 going on 20. I had gone from having had slept with nine people to twenty seven people in two months. I had given up all hope of ever finding someone to love. Then I met Jeff.
I met him while I was working at one of my twelve jobs that I had had in that year. I had never seen him before but I just couldn't get him out of my head. Well he kept coming back and it turned out that his ex-girlfriend was my co-worker and he had her ask me out. I said yes and we went to the only place I knew how to talk to guys at, the bar. We hit it off instantly and I could tell that he wasn't like other guys. At the end of the night he asked for my phone number but I knew as I handed it to him that he would never call. Much to my surprise the phone rang the next day and it was him asking me out on a second date. I twas the start of a long and beautiful relationship. But there was one problem. My beliefs were a conflict to his.
He was a strict christian and I was a witch. He never said anything but I could tell it bothered him. So finally one night we sat down and talked about it. I explained to him that it was what I had chosen because I knew of no other choice. He would talk to me about God and the Bible and I had no idea of anything that he said. So he taught me. I resented it at first but then I started to see so many things falling in to place that I had given dumb luck and Wicca credit for. He explained to me that Christianity was not a religion, it was a relationship. He never got frustrated, even when I did and was patient.
Almost a year into our relationship I accepted Jesus Christ and became a Christian. I have never been happier. I realize now that my ultimate unhappiness came from not knowing where I was going. I know now.Kimberly S.