“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”
1 Peter 4:8
I am 23, married with a three year old daughter and in the process of purchasing my very first home. I never imagined this life for myself. Growing up, I was the push over. Hell, I would even consider myself to be the black sheep of the family in a sense. I was afraid of letting people down. No was never in my vocabulary. I was a giver, and of course, people just took, took, and took. Eventually, that started to take a toll on me mentally, emotionally, and especially physically. Imagine me, 19 years old, 6 feet tall weighing barely 120. My hair was falling out. I was miserable and stressed out.
I had to endure my mother fighting cancer in her small intestine. One day I went to the hospital to visit her, and she asked me, "If you are giving all of this to everyone, baby what are receiving in return. Better yet, what are you giving yourself?" For once, I didn't have an answer. We sat and talked and she ended our conversation by saying, "Courtney Shaw you better stop stressing and start living, especially with a baby on the way." I found that hilarious. There is no way possible, I could be bringing a life into this world. Until three weeks later, April 29, 2013, I found out I was five weeks pregnant. That was the first day I vowed to work on loving myself and putting myself first.
My boyfriend was there, but he was not as supportive as I felt he could have been, especially with me being high risk, working, and trying not to self-harm. While I was trying to find myself, he was doing the same. Our relationship became very toxic. From infidelities, mental abuse, even physical abuse (mostly on my behalf), our relationship was destroying us. All I kept thinking was, ‘how are we going to bring a daughter into this chaos that we call a life.’ It took us two years, but with God, a lot of prayers, counseling and hard work we are still together. My counselor helped me realize that I can’t love my boyfriend and my daughter the way they deserve if I don't love myself. I started off small. I made a list of all the things I love about myself. I started spending time by myself. Truly getting to know Courtney. As I grew to love myself, I started falling back in love with my child's father and loving my life. Then December 2016 my whole life changed.
I passed out at work one day. My husband (my boyfriend at the time) took me to the hospital where they couldn't find a thing wrong with me. However, I knew my body, and I knew something wasn't right. We went to the clinic two weeks later, where I was informed that my blood count was 6.3. When a woman's blood count should be at least 12. I was admitted into the hospital that day and received two pints of blood and was told to follow up with my primary doctor. My primary doctor informed me that they found two nodules in my throat which may be cancerous. Here I am, 22 at the time, dealing with the possibility of having cancer in my throat. That was the hardest time in my life thus far. I started to lose hope in my life and in myself. Then I remembered, God will see me through this. This is will not end me. My boyfriend and I decided to take control of our lives. We went and got married and put God at the fore front of our lives, our relationship, and our family.
Here I am ten months later, married, loving myself more than I ever have. I received results that one of the nodules is benign. The other is yet to be determined. So every day I continue to fight. Loving like I've never loved before. Smiling as if I’ll never smile again.
Every day I wake up, I live.
I live for family.
I live for my marriage.
Most importantly I live for MYSELF!