Part of the RETRACED series

11″ x 13″ Giclee Acrylic Canvas Print (includes white bordering–not framed)

Item will be shipped in 1-2 weeks
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RETRACED is a story-telling art project where anonymous individuals submit a true story of overcoming to be illustrated and shared. Original art pieces are given to the author for free, and prints are sold to pay the difference. Each of the prints on this page were inspired by a true story from an anonymous author. This is the story behind this picture:

“I met [my future daughter’s] dad, who I will call E, in college. He was such a gentlemen, properly asked me on a date, and of course he was handsome so I said yes. . .I fell in love (so I thought.) . . . Then, it was summer, and he went home [across the country]. Anytime i would tell him I was going out with friends. . . He would instantly call me horrible things including a wh***, a s***, and tell me I’m not good enough. And I believed him.. . . I stopped going out, I stopped seeing my friends. . . I wanted to go home and visit my family during the school year and he started convincing me that my family was horrible. . .So I didn’t go. One night . . . We got into an argument. . . He pushed me on the bed, then jumped on top of me. My arm popped. I was in instant pain. He instantly turned into a caring man again. He helped me to the hospital. He took my phone. I was so scared that when the nurses asked what happened, I lied. The next few months I stayed with E the whole time because I needed his help. I had a full arm cast. No arguments, no fights. I was happy again. A month or so went by, and I started not feeling like myself. . . I was pregnant. . . A sophomore in college, in a kinda happy but not happy relationship, this isn’t what I wanted. . . One weekend E was gone for the whole weekend. . . I decided I wasn’t happy and didn’t want to raise a child in an unhealthy relationship. But I was scared to leave. . . He had already broken my arm, intentional or not. . . When he came back I told him how unhappy I was. He never cleaned his house, did his laundry, or paid his bills on time. I was the one doing all of that for him. . . He told me he would change and do better because he couldn’t live without me. . . I gave him another chance. A few weeks went by, and E was doing the things I asked. But it only lasted a few weeks. . . At that point, I knew he’d never change. But I was scared. My friends supported me and I even had the support from the college. The college put a no contact order so he would not be allowed to contact me. They had an officer respond to E’s house so I could get my things. I got everything packed up into my car and my friend’s car. . . and moved back into the dorms. That evening. . . E called me. I rejected it. He continued to call. So I answered it. He told me . . . he would kill himself . . . He manipulated my feelings by stating, “you don’t want your child to grow up without a dad like you did, do you?” He knew how to upset me. I was worried he would hurt himself. So I turned around. Then we packed up and left in his truck, leaving all of my stuff expect a suitcase of clothes, behind. We headed to [his home across the country]. He made me shut off my phone and take the SIM card out so no one knew where I was. . . It was a long 3 day drive. I was so scared the whole time. When we finally made it, he let me turn my phone back on and talk to my family. But he watched me like a hawk. I wasn’t allowed to get a job. I decided to start school again [online]. Then, I got a job working from home. . . until [my daughter] was born. . . [She] was a tough baby. She had colic. . . E NEVER got up in the night to take care of her . . . He barely agreed to watch her so I could shower. . . E still didn’t do the things I had asked him to do. Like clean up after himself, or anything in regards to [our daughter]. All he did was go to work and then come home and play video games. . . One day, we got in an argument . . . He. . .was yelling so loud, [our daughter] started crying. I went to pick her up and he pushed me onto the bed, and then he picked her up. He then grabbed me by my neck with his empty hand and pushed me up against a wall choking me out. All while holding [our] little one month old. Once I could barely breathe, he let go. Then he said I need to take a walk to cool off. He took my phone. I had no way to call the police or take pictures as proof. Once I got my phone back, I contacted my mom and told her that I needed a way out. She contacted an attorney. I found a day when no one in the house was home except [my daughter] and I. I packed everything up, loaded my car and headed directly to the courthouse. I filed for a temporary protection order. By this time, my mom had already flown out and was there for me. I continued to receive texts from E showing me receipts for an engagement ring he bought me. Trying to manipulate me into going back, by using [our daughter]. I ended up blocking him because I knew I would give in. My mom bought us all tickets back and we flew back. As soon as we landed [home], I had a voicemail on my phone from E’s attorney. It stated that if I did not return with [our daughter] I would be charged with kidnapping. With how terrifying that sounded, and not knowing the laws quite yet, we bought a ticket and flew back. This is when the court nightmare started. We were going through the courts for almost 2 years. It was determined that I had to live [in his state] the entire time the court process was going on. My parents couldn’t move out there…. And I knew I had to be strong and not go back to E. So no matter how much I wanted to go back sometimes because of how hard it was, I didn’t. I was homeless for a few days. We looked at battered woman shelters, and none had places. . . We lived in a hotel on the naval base for about 3 months or so. It was EXPENSIVE. We created a gofundme account to help. I moved several times within the time I lived [away from home]. I was completely on my own with a one month old until she was 1.5 years old. I was still full time in school. A lot of dumb stuff happened in court. I won’t go into too much detail, because it doesn’t really matter. Custody was fought and E was refusing to let me move home with [our daughter]. I was [eventually] granted full custody of [my daughter] and allowed to move back home. As soon as this was granted, E told the judge he would be moving to [where I was] two weeks after I move back. On a side note, E had a new girlfriend a month after I left him. . . He immediately introduced [our daughter] to this girl, and was trying to get [our daughter] to think this girl was her mother. It was frustrating. And at times. . . I wanted to go back to him so I didn’t have to deal with it. But, I knew I couldn’t. I was in therapy due to everything that happened and because I continued to have these thoughts of going back. I was so against therapy, yet . . it helped me tremendously. . . To this day, I still don’t know why I wanted back with E. In February of 2017, I moved back home and also completed my bachelor’s degree. I got a job serving at my old job. I applied for . . . WIC and childcare assistance, and it was approved. . .I was able to work nearly full time because I had free daycare. In March, E moved here with his girlfriend. We had 50/50 custody. . . I didn’t see [my daughter] for five days at a time sometimes and I didn’t like it. But I got used to it. I decided because I had so much free time and still received free childcare, I was going to sign up for police academy. I was accepted and began full time. . . [and] continued to work at [the restaurant] in the evenings. Having the assistance from the government helped me to achieve my goal, while also supporting my little family. I was able to make sure [my daughter] got the care and food she needed, while also not having to stress financially. I always thought government assistance was dumb and was for people who were lazy and didn’t want to work. But I soon learned that was not the case, it actually is there to help you, so you can better yourself. I finished police academy in 4 months. I graduated in January of 2018. . . I got a job at a police department in April of 2018. Everything I had worked so hard for, I had achieved. . . I just recently found the one whom I know I will spend the rest of my life with. He cares for [my daughter] so much, maybe even more than me, and it makes my heart so full. But E used hateful words toward my boyfriend and me . . . I know I will always have to deal with him because of [my daughter]. But, I know that I will do whatever it takes to give [her] the life she deserves and what’s best for her. I have goals for myself and things that I want to accomplish. I never had that while I was with E. I’m such a better person now. I was strong through it all because I constantly kept [my daughter] in mind. I’m so proud of what I’ve been through, and I’m so proud to still be here today. I’ve been so successful and without all the support I received from family, friends and the government, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I’ve always wanted to be able to tell my story to other women that are in the position I was in. Today, I am a police officer and have been for almost 2 years. I have successfully completed the DARE Instructor training and will have the chance to influence kids. I am truly blessed.”


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