In every person’s life there comes a time, a crisis in their life that becomes a turning point that tests their soul, their heart, and character. At this turning point, you have to decide whether you will give in and let the challenges and evil defeat you or—rise above all of the darkness and fight, succeed. You don’t know how, you don’t know how long it’s going to take, but you know without a doubt that no one will stop you. You know that you can do it. You know you HAVE to, too much is at stake.
What you don’t know at this turning point is how it affects you for the rest of your life and at the moment you don’t care. Survival is the only thing that matters, you don’t care if you start building walls one brick at a time around your heart. You don’t care if you stop trusting people. You don’t care if others think you’re a bitch. You have a job to do, that is to live, that is to be a good mother, that is to raise them the best you can, that is to provide for them the best you can. That day was my turning point.
Teddy Bear knew it too, he saw the change in me over the weeks and winter, I concentrated on my job, I concentrated on my finances, little as they were. I moved out of that apartment, and got a little duplex, it is more like a home to my girls. I feel we are improving our life now, I have a babysitter that comes to the house while I am at work to watch the girls after school. We are attending the small church down the street. I want the girls to have all the experiences they can, that includes religion and bible school.
Teddy Bear keeps in touch with me on a regular, discrete basis and lets me know when the ex is on a rampage. He tells me when to watch out for the ex’s strange behavior, but I don’t need that warning. The ex came to pick up the children this Friday at the new place in a fury. I guess he didn’t like me leaving the apartment, out of his control. I don’t know. But he literally dragged the kids in the middle of the street and started yelling obscenities and calling me all kinds of names. I can’t let this happen, the children were crying and frantic, he grabbed them anyway and took off. This cannot continue! I’ve got to stop it.
Teddy Bear came over tonight, he knows Friday nights are my worse nights because of the visitation. I’m really upset tonight, more so than usual. I tell him the scenario that just happened. He takes me out to dinner and we discuss my options. His name for the ex is DickHead, I call him Ricardo Cabeza because I don’t want the kids repeating Teddy Bear’s name, but it fits the jerk. So anyway, Ricardo, I’ve got a plan now to deal with your temper and tantrums. YOU will NOT put my children through this again!
My weekend passes quickly, but I make a phone call to Ricardo. He is to drop the children off at the church on Sunday now, not at my house and from now on all visitation pickups will be made on the church steps. I talked to the pastor about this and he is willing to be my witness when the children’s father drops off and picks up the kids. No more scenes.
I work long hours. I need to be at work at 5 in the morning. I finally got a job in a railyard. I am the only woman working with 500 men. I am the chemist that analyzes the contents that are contained in rail tank cars. It’s a physically demanding job. I have to climb on top of the rail cars to obtain samples, I have to go out in below freezing weather to obtain samples from water lines to obtain water samples, my hands freeze and bleed. I have to wear a hard hat, but they don’t provide a lab coat, so my clothes are always getting destroyed by the acid in all these rail cars. You see these rail cars come from a munitions plant and contain the acid used to make ammunition. I have to make sure that the rail car is cleaned thoroughly so that the welders can go into the confined space and repair the cars. I am not only the only woman but the only chemist and the only thing keeping this rail cleaning facility in compliance with DOD and DOT. I have to wear jeans, flannel shirts, and layers. It’s so cold this winter.
My first day there was eye opening, a rail car came in and since the workers had not been used to having a chemist on site, they proceeded as usual. They poured water in the railcar without inspecting the contents first. What a disaster. And what an initiation for me! Suddenly a big red cloud erupted from the railcar. The workers ran for their lives and it was determined to evacuate the plant, except for two people. My boss and me. I was supposed to determine how to dispose of the disastrous contaminated water. If I could not get things contained we were going to have to evacuate the nearby town. My first real job, my first challenge of a working career. It took most of the evening, but I did it. I discovered the correct kind of neutralization steps I needed to take so it wouldn’t destroy the whole plant’s pipelines, I found the place to haul away the acidic water and the correct kind of tractor trailers that wouldn’t be harmed in the procedure. I discovered my strength. I discovered I can do this! I can overcome adversity. This was one of many I know, but my confidence in myself had started to build.