Former competitive swimmer, abuse survivor, trying to make the world a better place-one day at a time.

16, going on 17.

The second semester of my Sophomore year in High School, my father remarried. While my father dated my step-mother, I enjoyed her company, and looked forward to having her join our family. Until they married, then she completely changed,  she apparently  had a different agenda, than what was originally presented to my brother and I. After they returned from their honeymoon, she sat me down and said to me, "Your father and I are going to have our own life, and you're going to have your own life". I took this as a challenge, but it still broke my heart. I was still mourning the loss of my mother, and looked forward to having another female in the house, with whom I could build a relationship with. Unfortunately, we were not on the same page, and within a year, I would be living with Scott MacFarland.

 I decided I needed to leave the intolerable situation, I found myself in. So I ran away from home. I packed up two huge suitcases, put them into my brothers car late one night, and fell asleep knowing that I would be somewhere else the next day. My plan was to fly out to California, and go and swim at Mission Viejo. My brother took me to the airport, we planned it so that my flight left, during the time that my swim practice was at. As the plane left the runway,  I felt a sigh of relief, I wouldn't have to deal with the never ending issues my step mother and I had. The calender's she made for my father, that listed the swim meets he was allowed to attend. She made sure that my father and I spent very little time with one another. She made sure that we almost never had time by ourselves, by inserting herself in everything we did. I never told my father about the things she did, or said to me. Like I said, they were having their own life, and i did everything I could to stay away from them both.

I flew out to L.A. and stayed at a hotel for a couple of days. Yes they allowed a 16 year old to check into a hotel all by themselves. Early one morning, while I was getting ready to go live my new life, swimming for Mission Viejo (more to come on why, this is ironic), away from the BS in Colorado. There was a knock at the door. I looked out of the peep hole, and  standing there were a couple of men. I started to shake, and thought If I just didn't answer the door, they would go away. They didn’t  go away. I opened the door, to find two police officers, and a hotel security guard. They asked my name, and I told them. They told me I needed to come with them, and I asked if I could pack up my things. They allowed me pack, and I left the hotel with the two officers. 

I spent the day with the two officers, they drove me around the L.A. area, because my flight didn't leave until later that evening. When it was time for them to take me to my flight, they walked me onto the plane, to make sure I got on, and that I made it back to Denver. I was sad to leave for many reasons, and i felt hopeless again. I would have to go back to the bullshit that my step mother pulled. The police officers were awesome, and I didn't want to go back! When I arrived at the airport in Denver, my dad and step mother were there. They were NOT happy, and I was scared shit-less. We did not retrieve my luggage, they said they would take care of it later. I asked my self- why did they have to take care of it later? Instead of getting my luggage, they took me to the hospital, to have me observed over night. So the staff there literally observed me, and asked me a ton of questions. I told them the truth, which apparently is not the best thing to do. 

My parents took me home the next day, and at some point told me that they decided to admit me to a place called, an adolescent stress center. They couldn't tell me how long I would be there, but there would be no swimming, until I was able to leave this stress center. I freaked out! Swimming was the ONLY thing that allowed me to be in a place, where I didn't have to deal with what was going on at home. I told my dad, that if I went there, things would be worse when I got out. He seemed to believe he could handle it. I was distraught and wanted to die! 

I was admitted to this stress center, and began my stay, very stressed out! We had groups during the day, as well as therapy, and family visits with our therapists. No swimming, all I could think about was how out of shape I was getting, and how much I hated my parents. Family therapy was an interesting adventure. My therapist would ask my parents things like, what issues do you have with Sarah? One of the things my step mother said was, she doesn't make her bed before she leaves for morning practice. Yes, I admit that the last thing I thought about at 4:00 a.m. was, whether or not my bed was made. I would look around the room at my father, at the therapist, and think-am I the only person who thinks this is crazy? That's what she brings up? She also brought up the fact that I had a towel of hers at a swim meet. I mean, I didn't know that there were specific towels I couldn't use. It was difficult to keep track of all the rules, and such. I thought I was living my own life? 

I spent a couple of months at the stress center, and I was very stressed when I got out. I was out of shape, and believed that I would never be able to get back into shape.  I gained weight while I was there as well, and that frighted me. My eating disorder started when I was thirteen and I was at least 125. I was obese in the eyes of coaches, and so I was obese in my mind as well. High School swim season was around the corner, and I was coming into the season as the reigning 100 breaststroke state champion. Id already psyched myself out of a good season, thinking I was fat, and out of shape. At the State meet, I qualified 4th in finals, and had such little confidence in my swimming at that point, i didn’t know how i was going swim any faster. That night in finals, as I swam my race I watched the swimmers ahead of me, I knew I could get 3rd or 4th. It wasn't good enough, so I made the decision to give up, and let everyone pass me, I ended up 6th. I proved to myself, what a piece of shit I was!

I felt hopeless, that anything would change with my circumstances at home. I was truly living my own life, except when I made a choice, in this life that I was told to lead by myself, that my parents didn't like.

Within a few months, I would be living with Scott MacFarland.