Prologue

“You’ll never amount to anything.”  That’s what everyone kept on telling me while I was growing up.  That and the fact that for most of my life, I was never wanted, but I’m getting ahead of myself here.  My name is Alexandra Mae Covington.  I’m 26 years old, and this is my story.

—–

My life was a complicated mess when I was growing up.  To outsiders I led a normal life, but no one knew what happened behind the closed doors of my home.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved my family, but they didn’t love me.  I always heard them arguing about me and they always said that I was a mistake.  I guess hearing them say that shaped who I am today.

I wasn’t a popular kid growing up.  Never had any friends and I was always the brunt of jokes.  Home life wasn’t much better than school.  My parents never physically abused me, but to me it felt like they did since they either never spoke to me or they made snide remarks about me, and it seemed that things only got worse as time went on.

Because of everything that had happened, I just gave up.  I stopped caring about anything and everything and my schoolwork started to suffer.  I guess everything that people had said about me was beginning to be true.  I dropped out of school the minute I was able to and a few months after that, I ran away from home, somehow managing to get several states away.  I was 16 then…

I never was suited for life on the streets.  More than once I had been taken advantage of and I slipped into depression after awhile, as well as getting into things I shouldn’t have.  I was even beginning to want to go home, but as the years passed, that desire started to slowly slip away until all that was left was a shell of who I used to be.  It got so bad that I wanted to die, but I could never bring myself to actually do it.  I just forced myself to keep on going no matter what had happened.

The day of my salvation happened when I was 20.  The leader for a nearby church organization saw me begging on a street corner and offered to buy me lunch in exchange for a conversation.  Of course, I was leery of his offer because of previous bad experiences but eventually my hunger won out and I reluctantly agreed to go with him.  Luckily my fears proved to be unfounded as the man took me to a nearby café and told me to order whatever I wanted.  While I ate, the man told me more about himself.  His name was Jethro McCallum and he worked with a local Assemblies of God church.  He had told me that the organization he was with specifically helped people like me to better their lives.  They didn’t care about our past, only our future.  Even at that time, it was sounding appealing, but I wanted to be sure about things first.  So I had told him that I’d think about it.  Apparently that was the answer he was looking for because he nodded and pulled out a business card and handed it to me.

Even though that happened 6 years ago, I can still remember what he had told me like it was yesterday.  “Young lady, I don’t know the circumstances that led you here, but it’s not too late to change your future.  Don’t throw everything away because of a few bad experiences.  Understand?”  I remember nodding in reply as Mr. McCallum patted my hand and left, leaving me alone to finish my lunch in peace.  I remember just staring down at that business card, debating with myself on whether or not to go.  I knew that I didn’t want to stay in that life forever, but I didn’t know if I was strong enough to break away from it and try to move forward.  I don’t know how long I debated with myself, but I finally came to the decision that I at least wanted to find out more.  I promised myself that I would go first thing in the morning to see what he could do to help.

True to my word, I went to the address on the card the following morning and then just stood outside as doubts once again started to plague my mind.  Pushing those doubts to the back of my mind, I took a deep breath and released it slowly before finally getting the nerve to enter.  Mr. McCallum was in the entryway speaking with someone else when I entered, but he genuinely smiled at me when he saw me and he immediately helped to get me settled.  Now that I think about things, that was the best decision I had ever made.  Mr. McCallum helped me get my GED and then gave me recommendations when I decided that I wanted to go to college.  I don’t know how, but I was able to obtain an academic scholarship to a big name college in New York and I knew that the only person I could thank was Mr. McCallum for helping me.

After going on to college, I majored in literature and journalism and graduated with honors last year, when I was 25.  I was then able to get a job at a literary magazine doing reviews for books.  It was a dream come true for me.  For so long I had been in despondency, but things were finally turning around.  I knew that I still had issues to overcome, and that’s the reason why I had started seeing a counselor as well while I was in college.  It was my counselor who suggested that I keep a journal, and I did just that for years.  I’ve finally come to terms with things and my counselor thinks it’s time for me to take the next step in this journey.  I battled with this decision for quite some time before finally seeing that my counselor was right.  It is time for me to face my past.  It’s time for me to start the long journey home…

~Excerpt from the journal of Alexandra Mae Covington

 

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