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Growing up, my home was a very toxic place to live. My parents were abusive toward each other and also toward me and my brothers and sisters. I remember going to church a lot—it seemed like we went every day for hours at a time. But yet I remember going home after church and being whipped with an extension cord and the metal part of belts and hangers and feeling unloved, feeling unimportant, and thinking that I didn’t want anything to do with church if this is how people treated the ones they’re supposed to love when they returned home.My parents were constantly splitting up and getting back together. My dad stumbled back into a drug addiction and would beat up my mom so terribly that her face would be unrecognizable to us. Life was hard as a child growing up with so many siblings and so much turmoil. We were a poor family, and when my dad would leave we had even less income. I remember many nights going without dinner and being so hungry that we would climb over the neighbor’s fence to pick their oranges just to have something to eat.My father was out of the house most of that time, so my mother was struggling as a single mom with seven children and having to do everything on her own—many times without money or a car. My mind started going into very dark places thinking about ending it all. Around the age of 13, one day after being bullied all day at school, I came home to find my mom very angry and she whipped me for something as silly as not cleaning the kitchen right. So after the beating, I went to my room, closed the door, found a pair of scissors and stared at the scissors for quite a long time. I heard in my spirit, “Cut your wrists. End it all. It’s better for everyone if you just go away.” And then without hesitation I sliced at my wrist with the scissors until blood began to drip out and in some twisted way I felt at the time that what I did made living better.