This brave little miss shares how a dear friend and the power of inspiring music can heal, even during what may seem to be the impossible… At the end of the day, it’ll be alright again!
My “Little Miss” story:
My parents are both alcoholics and while I was growing up my father, especially, would become very angry, bitter, and violent. He told me over and over again that I was a nobody, beating into my head that I was worthless, that nobody loved me, and that I would never amount to anything.
I am now almost a junior at the United States Air Force Academy. Opening that acceptance letter was one of the happiest memories I have – I felt like in spite of everything I had been living with for the past eighteen years, there was still hope for me. One thing I’ve learned is that we don’t really have control over anything in our lives – we don’t choose our parents or where or how we grow up. We have total control, though, over how we choose to respond to the circumstances we are in. Nobody can make me give up except for me.
And I almost did. Last year my father, in one of his drunken rages, crossed a line he had never crossed before while I was home for a few days on emergency leave. I flew back to USAFA the next day with a severe concussion, a collection of about seven fractures to my ribs, collar, and wrists, and although I didn’t know it for a few weeks afterwards, I was also pregnant (I later miscarried). I was angry, ashamed, hurt and scared, and I had absolutely no idea what to do with all the pain I was in. I stopped eating, sleeping, and talking to people. I struggled with suicidal thoughts. Getting out of bed and leaving the room became difficult and terrifying tasks. I locked myself away from people and threw myself into studying to escape from the world I was in. Physically, I eventually healed. Psychologically, I was a total wreck and in spite of the constant stream of support from my friends, squadron, and commanders I started off my sophomore year in a new squadron struggling with nightmares, depression, and a growing feeling of despair that it would never get any better.
I wasn’t really sure what to think of my new roommate at first. She was (and still is!) loud, crazy, happy to be alive, and she listened to country music. I tried to cover it but I think she picked up pretty quickly that there was something wrong with me and although she never asked me any questions, I started to find candy and small fluffy animals on my desk whenever I was having a bad day. She would turn on Disney movies at night when I’d wake up. She loved Sugarland and would play it constantly whenever she was in the room. It didn’t take me long to become a Sugarland convert – the encouraging messages of hope and love were intoxicating to me after six months in my fog. One night, we stayed up together to watch the Amex concert in New York City on youtube, and I heard “Little Miss” for the first time. I was deeply moved – it felt like she was singing directly to me. I’ve always believed that music has an incredible power to speak to people when words by themselves sometimes can’t, but I’d never experienced it for myself in such a big way before. I let myself cry for the first time since it happened. With every nightmare, every panic attack, and every bad day, Sugarland has been there, singing of love and hope and promising me that someday it’ll be okay again.
It’s been a long road, but I’m getting better every day. My roommate has become the best friend I have ever had and I am grateful every day for her love, support, and sense of humor. Unfortunately, the physical and psychological ramifications of this attack were big enough to cost me my pilot qualification, and I’m still in counseling to help me with the nightmares and the panic attacks. My situation at home has continued to deteriorate and I’m still struggling to adjust to my new reality. The difference is now, though, that I know I am strong enough to heal. I know that God has a plan for me even if I don’t always understand why things happened the way they did or why they are the way they are. Today, I can smile and really mean it. I still have bad days, but more and more of them are good ones. It’s not easy and it takes time but I have faith in a better tomorrow. It’ll be all right again!