Dannie MaddoxBecause of You

I was raised around alcoholics, druggies, and violence. I was taught how to become violent when someone tries to control me or walk over me. I was raised around gang members and criminals. From the time I was six, they were teaching me how to defend and to protect myself at all times. My family lived by this motto: “The streets don’t make or break you, they show you the real & the fake.” I have love ones in jail because they thought the streets could make them and loved ones who the street broke because of the fake ones.

My family believes in honesty, loyalty, and respect. Ever since I was eight, I was the biggest crybaby in the family because I didn’t want to do things that everyone else was doing. I didn’t want to fight or steal. They called me scary, crybaby, and momma’s baby. I allowed them to call me that because I was afraid to defend myself.

My older cousins realized I wasn’t living up to my family’s motto: “Honestly, loyalty and respect,” so they put through a lot of challenges. They bullied me at home, and I was getting bullied at school. I was afraid to go to school or family gatherings. All I wanted to do was stay in my room, locked up. My mom noticed that I was gaining weight, coming home unhappy, and that I wasn’t talking about my day or the times I spent with my “friends” because I didn’t really have any.

In my sixth grade year, my mom sat me down for a talk. She asked me why was distancing myself from school and family. I hung out with just two of my cousins; I didn’t like the rest of them. My mom signed me into Audubon Middle School where I got into fights. She threatened to kick me out of the house and send me to Vegas if I didn’t change my attitude. I was living in my family’s motto.

So I decided to change my attitude and my personality. I changed schools because I felt that would help me start a positive future. I joined softball so I wouldn’t have to think about the negative aspects of my life. I met Michaela Richards and felt like she was the only one who could relate to my pain. I built a friendship with her in and out of school. I wanted to have a real friendship with her because she wasn’t fake.
In eighth grade I stopped playing softball because I felt like I had someone to hang out with and have fun with. I felt like I wasn’t alone, like I could actually be myself around Michaela and a few others. I wasn’t afraid to defend myself or talk to others or to have a big group of friends. I felt like I was different person until I found out who my read friends were and who my fake ones were.

I started school with ten friends at the beginning of my eighth grade year, and I left with just two. I didn’t understand what had happened, but I knew things happened for a reason, and I thought of my family’s motto: “The streets don’t make or break you, they just show you the real & the fake.” I finally understood what that meant.

My ninth grade year I was alone. I started a new school and wanted to find new friends. I felt like Michaela and I weren’t going to be friends anymore, but I still want to find a new best friend. I wanted to join softball, but my mom wanted me to join cheer. I was kind of hurt when the cheer coach told me I couldn’t do two sports at a time. It was either cheerleading or nothing, so I became a cheerleader for my mother’s sake and because I hoped I would enjoy it the way I had enjoyed softball.

When I moved to Manual Arts High School in tenth grade, I quit cheer and joined the softball team. I started as Centerfielder, even though I was in junior varsity. It felt good to play the game again. The girls I played with were more than just other females. They became family. We spent hours on the field, laughing, crying, hurting, being frustrated, yelling at each other and being happy. I had never felt so complete until I became varsity catcher. Never before had I felt so complete and happy as I did when I reconnected with this sport.

Yes I have friends, yes I have family, but there is nothing better than playing the sport I love.
And when I am on the softball field, I am home.

Our History

17. My dad is back with his other family, but it’s okay.
16. My dad came home HOME and we connected like he never left.
15. I went to prom and my dad wasn’t there to tell me I am BEAUTIFUL.
14. My dad went back to jail, but this time I witnessed him getting arrested.
13. I was a jealous little brat because I didn’t feel like Daddy’s little princess anymore, thanks to Tiana.
12. I hated my dad.
11. My dad left me and my mom, AGAIN, but this time it wasn’t for a jail cell. It was for a different family.
10. I finally got to see my dad for my fifth grade graduation.
9. My dad explained why he was in jail for a long period of time.
8. I finally asked my mom why my dad went on vacation without us. She told me the real reason. “Baby, because Daddy is in jail.”
7. I started receiving letters from my dad because he “lost his phone.”
6. I finally talked to my dad (even though it was for a short period of time).
5. I started school without my dad.
4. My mom was lying to me, saying that my dad was on “vacation.”
3. My dad went missing.
2. I always went on “business trips” with my dad—because that’s what he called them.
1. Dannie Girl was my daddy’s little princess!
0. An angel was brought into the Maddox family.

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