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Refuse To Lose + Demetria Buie

As a child growing up in the small town of Rayville, Louisiana, I did not appear to have any worries. I stayed to myself and never really talked to anyone. I loved my mom and dad. I looked up to my sisters and other friends of the family. Some of my family members were so mean to me and I did not understand why, but what I did know was that it hurt me deeply. I held a lot inside of me then, but not anymore ... My father was weird. I never talked to him much, not until I became a teenager. He and my mom fought and argued all the time. When they separated, I blamed myself so much for it. Why? Because it seemed that everything was starting to go smoothly—no fighting or arguing—and then, one day when I was talking to a guy on the phone ... The house was so quiet and I did not want my parents to hear me talking to the guy so I tried to cover it up by asking my dad questions. I began to bring up old stuff like, “Dad, whydid you come in so late last night?” Then my mom got upset at my dad and they started to argue again. My motive was to have a private conversation on the phone and keep my parents from hearing it, but that day things went in another direction and to another level.

My parents began to fight and argue. My father hit my mother and she called the police then ran down the street. When the police finally came, my father was getting ready to shoot my mom and me, but the police stopped him. As he was being arrested, my father threatened to come back and burn our house down. I began to scream and my mom was so scared that she grabbed me as the police took him away. He was gone for good, or so we thought. After that, my mom and dad broke up. They were together for twenty-one years and never married. I always thought they were married but they weren’t. While I was in pre-school, I loved some of the things we did there. I really did not understand why I had to go to school.

No one ever told me the reason why. I was held back in the first and fourth grades. At that time I did not even understand why. I am not sure if I even cared. At that time in my house no one ever told me to do homework. I was only told, “When you get home there is sandwich meat (pressed ham) in the refrigerator and lock the door. Don’t answer the door if anyone knocks.” Basically, I would do whatever I wanted. No one ever told me to do homework or asked to review my assignments. My mom was always gone, playing cards ... oh boy. I used to play and smileand try to have fun with other kids. All I did was play outside. I had about three friends who lived across the street but we really did not get along. Sometimes we would talk about each other and fight, which at my house was nothing new. The house we lived in was not the perfect home. We barely had hot water. Like I said, it was not the perfect home, but I made it home.

I would sit and have visions of homes and I would always get magazines and look at the nice furniture, rugs, cabinets and the beautiful homes. I would say to myself, “We are going to have that.” I would show and tell my friends these things but they would only laugh at me. No one knew about my gifts and talents. I was in a lot of activities when I was a child, like gymnastics, cheer-leading, and I was a member of the Stingerettes dancers. At church, I sang in the choir. Often, I was asked to sing a solo part. I was so creative. I started writing at the age of nine. I loved to write, whether the words were spelled correctly or not, or if the handwriting was poor.

I would write songs and sing them, but I was not a very good singer. No one would take the time to get to know me and see who I really was. I had no one to talk to, so I would talk to this “man” and His name was GOD (LOL ... funny, huh? that’s what I said. He turned out to be so much more than just a man. I would just believe God for stuff even when I could not see it. I would still be excited like He had already given it to me. WOW! What a feeling! That belief did not stop. I stayed in trouble when I was younger ... all of the time. I never really had my sisters around. I was about 8 or 9 years old and they had already moved out of the house. In my house there was a lot of name calling and a lot of nasty things being said and watched. I got spankings a lot and stayed in trouble. I had to get it from someone, right? As a youth, I never really smiled at all. I had nothing to smile about. I did not feel any love at all, especially not from my mother. She fed me, clothed me, and gave me a roof over my head. But that is what she was supposed to do, right? I had no real relationship with her. I felt like she was not my mother, but just a stranger I lived with.

I could never really talk to her like a mother and daughter are supposed to do. I can remember in the second grade when I had a test at school. I studied for over a week. I never made good grades before this particular time. I said, “I can do this.” We finally had the test at school that morning. I got my test scores before school was outand I scored an A+ 100!!! I was on the bus and just could not wait to get home. I could not sit still on the bus seat. I got off the bus and ran home. I could not wait to show my mom that paper. I was so excited. When I got home to show her the paper I said, “Look, look!” but she never looked at the paper. She just ignored me and kept talking to her friends who were there. She was playing cards and gambling. There were always a lot of people in our house. When I finally saw that she was not going to pay attention, and after tapping on her leg so many times, I walked away sad.

I threw the paper in the trash and went outside and played in the mud with a stick. I did not care anymore about anything, especially school. My dad always told me, “I want you to remember one thing if you do not remember anything else: I will always love you.” We never had a relationship. He never showed love. He would read the Bible all of the time but he never lived it. My dad was always getting arrested. One time, when I was younger, I saw him at the prison but I could not hug him because I did not have proper identification. I saw him through a window.

He was chained from his hands to his feet. He could barely walk. He saw me and waved, and I waved back. I was so happy to see him. I was twelve years old when I had my first boyfriend. I met him at the skating rink. He was that young thug type of guy. He was older, two years older than me, but he always treated me good. He really liked me. I knew he did because one time he rode his bike a long way from his house to mine. To get to my house from his in a car takes about 30 to 40 minutes. When he showed up at my house, I was so shocked. Now, looking back, I was too young to have a boyfriend but I did not have anyone to tell me I was not doing the right thing. My mom liked him. Even his mom came and picked me up a couple of times to go to the movies and to their family reunion. He was always talking back to his mom. I guess I was used to all kinds of things like that happening. I tried to encourage him to not treat his

mother that way.

He had a mother who was trying to be there for him and tell him the right thing to do. She would take him to school and love him unconditionally. At that time, I was wishing I had that. He just did not know how it felt not to have that. At the age of 14, I moved to Virginia. My boyfriend did not want me to move, but I did. I wanted to get away from my mother so I stayed with my sisters and went to school there. I talked to him every single day until I started meeting other, more advanced, girls. I fell off with my boyfriend and started doing my own thing. There were cuter guys in Virginia and my boyfriend and I lived too far away from each other. He cried and was upset with me but I had to move on because other things started to excite me.

Living with my sisters was not so good. There were still no role models around me. I felt like I was just there to be there. I started getting in trouble at school. I found a new friend who knew the ropes. I was 14 and talking to guys who were 20 and 23 years old. The guys did not know how old my friend and I were because we lied about our ages. My sisters accused me of a lot of things that I was not doing. I guess they did a lot of things in their lifetime and they thought I was like them. WRONG. Shortly after living in Virginia for only one year, my sisters sent me back home and said that I could not come back until I turned 18 years old. I did not want to go initially, but I did not have much of a choice. Once I got on the bus going home I was glad but confused.

Inside of me, I did not know which way I was going. I was so young and I was faced with some hard decisions. Things were happening that I had no control over and I did not know how to fix them. I am telling all parents to leave that comfortable door open for your children to come and talk to you about anything ... sex, boys, school, or personal feelings. Never make them feel like an outsider because if you do, they will get what they are looking for outside of the house. I never talked to my dad or heard from him until months later, after I returned home. I did not think he even cared about me. I still did not do well in school. One morning, my sister came in and told my mom that I was not doing well and that I was not going to make it. She said it in such a sad way, like someone had died. From that point on, I began to think I was not going to make it.

I felt like I was nothing. I was 16 years old and going through life not understanding why no one ever believed in me. No one ever told me that I was somebody and that I was going to make it. Why didn’t I have the family that hugged me and told me that I was pretty? Why didn’t I get what I needed in life? Why didn’t anyone ever tell me that God really loved me? One dayI met a new friend and I told him the things that were going on in my life and he said, “Yeah, okay. Dee, do you remember what God said about that?” I said, “No.” I had gotten so caught up in my own problems, other people’s problems, and the things around me that I had forgotten all about God and what He was saying to me and what His word said in the Bible. “Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will take care of me” (Psalm 27:10). Wow! When my friend told me that, I said,

“Wow, I forgot about that.” He told me to look up the scripture for myself and re-read it. It all applied to my life. I remember when I was in Wal-Mart one day. I only had one thing to purchase and I was first in line. A woman came down the line and got right in front of me and did not say anything. She was in front of me and her husband was behind me and he was calling her names but she kept telling him, “Come on up here!” I just said to myself “Look at this!” I wanted to get out of the line and go to the other cashier but I was tired of people feeling like they could do me any kind of way, so I stayed there. I put my one thing on the counter and she looked at me and said, “I was here first!” She had one of those things that you talk with when you can’t talk. She was saying all kinds of nasty stuff to me. I wanted to take that machine and shove it down her throat, but I just said, “Whatever!” and walked off. As they were going out of the store, they were laughing. They thought the situation was funny but I didn’t. I had to remember who I was and that I had wrong thinking. That night, I had to repent and pray for her and myself.

Each time I thought about that situation, I told myself that God has been taking care of me my whole life. When people seem to forsake you, even your family, and they are not there to listen to you, remember that God is there. He said, “I’ll be the one who takes care of you.” He was the one who has taken care of me all along and He will still be the one who cares for me. Life really does get hard. Not having someone in your life can also be hard, especially for those who want to be married, especially when it seems like that right guy or girl just hasn’t come along yet. It is also hard when you have children and can barely pay your bills. It takes money to live ... but God, God promises to take care of you and supply all of your needs. You have to believe that.

Even though we may have to go through some things, and we may have tests, remember that ONLY THE STRONG WILL SURVIVE. So what if your mom, dad, husband, brother, neighbor, aunt, uncle, cousin, boyfriend, best friend, step-parent, or coworker has done you wrong? It is time to move on, even if you have to cry. I got to the point where I was all cried out. You have to look in the mirror and see that you are beautiful. No one can take that way. Remember, you have the power over your life. You have the power to make a difference in your life. I once read a book entitled Healed without Scars.

It is an awesome book by David Evans. In it, he said THE PAST HAS NO POWER OVER YOUR FUTURE. What a powerful word! The past ... your past, has no power over your future. Take that and run with it. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. What has happened in your past has nothing to do with where you are going. Wash it away, throw it in the trash. The past is old news. Move on, you have to. You cannot stay in the past. You are strong. Don’t lose what you believe in ... trials may come your way, but with the Lord, YOU will be in peace. You can’t change what has happened in the past, but you can change your future. WHAT COMES OUT OF YOUR MOUTH! Do you take the things you say seriously? Do you think before you speak? Really? Well, if you do not, you should. The tongue is a very powerful tool. TOOL? Yes, tool; and you have to know how to use it.

I can recall when I did not have a place to live and I was living from place to place. Not having your own space is a terrible thing. It is not a good feeling. Things did not look so great for me. Every morning, when I awoke, I would say that I was going to have my own place again, and in the evenings I would worship. When I worshipped, I began to speak those things that were not as though they were. At times, it may look like what you are speaking is not going to happen. But, it will in due time. The Bible says that life and death are in the power of the tongue. Be careful what you say to yourself and what you say to others. People know you by the words that come out of your mouth. I spoke so much and confessed loudly that I was going to have my own place again. Even though I did not see it right away, I believed it.

About five months later, I was in my own place. That night, I walked around my apartment (after three years of not having my own place to live). It was amazing to have my own place again, I could not believe it. I really took what I said more seriously than ever before. For example, when I was 18 years old, getting ready to leave my mom, I said I wanted a change in my life ... and I got it. Make sure that you think before you speak. Your words mean a lot. Make sure you speak life and think positively. It will make a difference in your life. FINDING THE REAL YOU.

We all endure pain. Even those who are rich and seem to have it all, go to the best schools, wear designer clothes, and drive the best cars still endure pain. When their parents have to work so that they and their children have nothing but the best of the best, they still endure pain. I met a lot of students at school who seemed to be one way but they really were another way. They acted as if they were better just because their parents had money. But, all along, they were unhappy. So, they had to treat other people a certain way to make themselves feel good about who they were. You should treat people as you want to be treated. But wait a second ... some people do not even know how they should be treated, so they do not know how to treat others. Many people do not value themselves. Instead, they cover up and pretend to be someone who they are not.

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