To Guard Against the Monsters in My Life, I Became a Monster Myself

A lifestyle of violence and addiction nearly destroyed me, but it brought me to the foot of the cross.

I grew up in Kansas City, Kansas, in a home filled with chaos. Home was an ever-changing address, with my parents’ fights the only constant. My dad enjoyed his plethora of drugs, and my mom enjoyed pushing his buttons and being the victim. They finally decided to call it quits when I was 11 years old, but not before I got some startling news: The man I had called my father wasn’t really my father.

My grandma revealed the truth to me in an angry, drunken stupor right before breaking the news of the divorce. It was absolutely crushing. I had grown up with two younger half-brothers from my mom and the man who I thought was my dad. But now I learned that I also had two younger half-sisters on my biological dad’s side. I couldn’t help taking this revelation as a message that I was unwanted and didn’t belong. This paved the way for a series of poor choices that led me to the foot of the cross.

My biological dad made minimal effort to see me before he died of cancer in 2008. After my parents’ divorce, I lived with my mom and two younger brothers. She continued to choose men who were prone to addiction and violence. When they turned those violent tendencies on me, I decided it was better to become a monster than to let myself be devoured by one.

I started beating girls up at school and being rewarded at home for my victories. I was eventually expelled, leaving me to complete my schooling that year in the mental health ward of a hospital. Once I returned home, I ran away repeatedly and would stay with friends until their parents turned me away. My mom, having had enough, sent me to live with my grandma in Fort Scott, where I started my freshman year of high school.

But I was kicked out soon enough …

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