This is my first article and since it is pretty much your introduction to myself I want it to mean something.

I'm Mandy. Thats not a stage name or alias, I am Mandy. My entire world changed this past year. I was in a routine and knew who I was. I knew who I thought I was.. Everything was okay.

I had a boyfriend. Some would call him a fiancé and certain states would even call him a husband. I knew he was the one, my forever. This isnt about my relationship so I will fast forward.

I had a good job and a 4 bedroom house in the high-plains desert. I had several cats and a couple dogs.

The drugs came. I didnt realize it would happen so fast. They grabbed him and held him tighter than I ever could. It took me too long to realize that he was never going to be the same and I had to escape. I was no longer okay.

My love for him died very quickly, replaced with nausea and pain. He clung for dear life as he lost his job and feared being alone. It was too late for sorry. I was in too much pain. Nothing was okay.

He started keeping me awake at night. Habitually. As my sleep dwindled so did my patience. It became harder and harder to hide his addiction from our teenage daughter. Maybe I shouldn't have but I couldn't bear to see her in the same pain as me. It would never be okay.

As they do in drugged relationships, things got worse. Fast-coming was my precious baby girl's epiphany. I knew it was coming and sent my daughter away. My parents were overjoyed. It wasn't okay.

He said he was sorry more often than ever. I didnt hear him. I was alone now and in even more pain. Ten years I had given him. My twenties were gone and it wasn't okay.

It took three months yet for my escape. Drugs have a way or grabbing the weak minded around them. One by one my "friends" became his. I moved in with a friend who wanted to be more. He never would. Okay..

I did my laundry at a laundromat. I had been out for two weeks when I received a text from him. Pictures of me at the laundromat taken by a stranger. I panicked and followed my daughter. I was not okay.

I broke another heart full of high-hopes. Only my Mother was overjoyed. My job and everything I know is still back there.. I knew this was better. Right?

The depression was powerful. No job and no purpose. My daughter was 17 and well cared for. My pets left behind, I was still alone. My studio apartment offered little comfort. I was far from okay...

Adding to my misery was the cold. No more flip-flops and 95 degrees. The rain was drenching and the cold relentless. It matched my heart. All of me was cold and clouded. I so wasn't okay.

Anything was still better than the home I ran from. Right? Right!?

boy, freckles, and ginger image

I dove into a children's game to save myself and there he was. Lost and cold I saw him on a screen. His hair shined like new pennies and his eyes like the sky I missed so much. Too bad no one wants used Mothers in their 30s. I stared and stared. He had it together and when he sang my heart sang with him. I could never tell him but still I had found some relief. Maybe someday I could be okay..

For four months things stayed the same. For a few hours each night I felt important. We bacame friends. When I watched him my depression got a little better. I still wasnt okay.

Then he cried. Not like me.. He didn't sob but he cried just the same and I found my courage. I wanted to be okay.

"I love you"
"I love you too"

... four months later...

This place is colder still but his arms are warm. He loves a used mother in her mid-30's. His hair shines like pennies and his eyes like the desert sky that I miss so much. He sings every day and so does my heart.. My daughter is in college and my parents are overjoyed. Im homesick but Im not lonely. Its taken so long and its been so hard but its MY story and no one else can have it. I love you all. Im not okay yet but I finally realize... That's okay.