After years of debauchery, addiction, bad choices, and confusion I found recovery.
I began a life consistent with someone considered a productive member of society and this was painfully weird for me.
In pursuit of a legal means to support my son, I went back to school and attained a few degrees. The most intense being a Masters Degree in Financial Economics. The idea of working was also painfully weird for me but by that time in my recovery I had seen it done by others.
One of my first interviews was with Sovereign Bank. They showed me the cube in which I would be working. It was a solitary dark space with high confining walls around it. I cried all the way home.
I did find work in a reputable investment company in a cube that was a little less dark with walls a little less high. It was, however, positioned down a back cold alleyway filled with stale air. I commenced assimilating into the corporate environment, working my tail off learning as much as I could as fast as I could, accomplishing a lot. My boss was a tall well-connected man. Before long his deep rooted, low opinion of woman was unmistakable.
A smart man, his detrimental belittling and minimizing of my abilities were subtle, never saying or doing anything that could be outwardly pinned as sexist. This wore on my spirit and had residual effects on how my all men colleagues treated me. This culminated in my boss deciding to demote me from a salary to hourly wage without reason. He said it came down from corporate but the other two men who were my equals were not affected and remained salary. I thought to myself, no matter how much money I make for this company, and I had made a lot, I’m never going to get anywhere under this man. So I began to write.
My story is one of addiction and survival of domestic violence and abuse.
Through pain I’ve grown and recovered with hope to clear a path in some small way for other women to come up behind me. This is why I choose to tell my story. While the escapades and criminal activity may be interesting to some, the real story is the little bits of awakening woven in here and there about the insidious devastation of abuse. My attempts to understand how a human being can so deeply hurt the one they say they love were both futile and revealing.
The other day a friend of mine who is stuck in the cycle of abuse referenced a part of my book where I made an attempt to break the cycle. She said this gave her strength to make an attempt to break the cycle in her life. That was it. That was all I had hoped for by writing this book. Just one person was enough for me. So anything else that happens with this book is icing on the cake!
Being in recovery I have had the opportunity to work on the situation with my boss and the resentments I’ve carried.
At first my thoughts led to questions like, how could this be happening to me? Hadn’t I been through enough? Didn’t I deserve to be treated equally and be judged on my merits? Later my thoughts turned towards things like, where could I have stuck up for myself more. I believe we attract what we have in our lives and there was something about me that attracted one more sexist man into my life. The process of writing my book has helped me get rid of that last little bit of victim I was holding on to.
Deep into my writing my boss was replaced with a women who, although only my boss for a short period of time, empowered me. The fact that she demoted my prior boss and took away all of his direct reports was nice too. Today I have a fair respectful male boss.
The truth is this: from my despair came the strength and determination to follow the dream of telling my story and empowering women who experience abuse.
Jen Smith is the author of SICK: a riveting memoir about drug dealing, addiction, and surviving abuse. Learn more about Jen Smith and her book SICK at her blog http://jensmithsick.com/. Social network with Jen on Facebook at JenSmithSICK and Twitter, @JenSmithSICK.
If you’ve read my book, stay tuned, I’m busy writing the rest of the story for you. You won’t believe what happens next…