The Day the World Didn't Know About: Michael Phelps

God has always been in my life since I was in first grade and went with the Moulton's to McGregor Baptist Church and went through the book of colors and accepted Jesus into my heart. Each year of my life since I ask God why so many times, over and over, about so many things.

Relationships have always been a struggle for me. There is a myriad of reason for this, so take your pick which one you want to attribute to this. I was molested for 10 years starting at 18 months old. Then I suffered incest by my eldest uncle. After leaving home at 15, emancipating at 16, I learned real quick the meaning of a dollar. Ironically enough the one thing that had always tortured me became my survival. Selling my body to men for money came with such ease. The control over seeing a man so weak for me was beyond thrilling. I took pleasure in seeing men weak and compromised. I always saw it as work and rarely crossed the line to romance. In my personal life I dated men that were married, lived somewhere other then me or were emotionally bankrupt. This made it easy to do what I did and not be swayed by love or emotions. Looking back I was fooling myself. The control I thought I had was merely an illusion. I was destroying what was left of my heart every day.

In 1998 after a horrible breakup with an NBA player, I was spiralling out of control. A feeling that runs in and out of my life often came back. I wanted to die. I discovered AOL Love and met what I consider my first husband, Leroy. He seemed perfect in every way and different than the men I usually dated who were athletes, affluent, arrogant, big ego. Leroy seemed like a breath of fresh air. We did a long distance relationship for 10 months. He came to my church. Met my church family and my pastor and his wife. Things seemed perfect except for what I did for a living. For the first time I wanted to be someone different, better, worthy of a man's love and marriage. I went to my pastor's wife and confessed what I did for a living. They had already known how I was born and all the struggles I went through being intersex. Alice and Kay came to my house and cleaned it out of all what I called "office supplies" and I revamped my resume and became a manager with Estee Lauder. I loved the feeling of having a normal life. Feeling like I was like every other girl out there. I made a lot of new friends as I had co-workers. I did ladies night with girlfriends. Life seemed perfect.

Leroy and I went back and forth between Fort Bragg and Orlando seeing each other. Often times we met in the middle in Richmond Hills, Georgia for a weekend. We did this for months. On Thanksgiving of 1999 I went to Fort Bragg to be with him for the holiday weekend. Something felt off. He got a phone call that made him talk akward. It was also my birthday weekend. It turned into a nightmare realizing he was cheating on me with this other woman. Of course he lied and I pretended I believed him and kept on. I think I feel obligated to accept this bullshit in a relationship because I feel broken, damaged, unworthy. I feel like because what I did for a living I didn't deserve happiness. I was raised by a grandmother who forgave and turned her cheek to affairs, hookers, mistresses and porn. I have a father that was famous for his womanizing ways. This was how it was supposed to be for a woman.

Christmas of 1999 Leroy and I were in Indiana with his family and on Christmas day he decided to confess to me that he had been having an affair with Jody since Septemeber. I felt ill in every way possible, but just like the good girl I was trained to be from a young age I put on a pretty smile and had Christmas with his family. I didn't want to ruin it for his young brothers and sisters. I did confide in his best friend's wife. That helped some, but I was so raw with emotion. The drive back was torture. Saying goodbye before I got on a plane back to Orlando was awful. Once again I felt to blame for all of this. What was wrong with me that he would do this. I made it clear we were over. The only lasted a few days. On New Years he had duty and I spent it in Orlando with friends. I later learned Jody was with him that night. He came down the following weekend. We argued, cried. He threw me up against a wall and slammed my head into a door frame and choked me. He loved me, he really loved me. That was my thinking. I should have ran, but instead I accepted a diamond engagement ring and my pastor against his better judgement, not knowing all this other stuff, married us on Martin Luther King's birthday and a month later we moved to Colorado Springs Colorado. This fairytale was short lived, but how could it not be considering I knew nothing about real love.

This same story replayed itself over and over with different boyfriends and husbands. A year ago today I put on a cute outfit to go and be with another man I was falling in love with, Michael Phelps. Love comes easy to me as I am so insecure and broken that when a man shows interest and we start building something I am practically picking out China patterns. The days that followed were the happiest of my life. Michael broke down my walls and made me feel a comfort I had never felt. The first time I gave myself to him I felt loved the right way. They way he kissed me and stayed engaged with everything we did. I will never forget putting his hands on my scars and metal in my face and head and telling him of the horrific accident I went through 13 years prior that left me for dead and then a two year recovery and endless reconstructive surgery. As tears fell down my cheeks he wiped them away while our bodies were intertwined. I never felt so perfect and accepted and loved. He didn't see what made me different, he saw me as whole.

September 21, 2014, the infamous day of football, Ravens against Browns took place. This is the first day that the press knew of after my phone being breached on public wifi at Plug Ugly's in the weeks to come. It was a magical day and everything was perfect. He wanted me to spend the night, but I had to pick up Shane and Kim at the airport in Virginia later that night. There were no red flags. I wasn't suppressing things I knew to be true. I accepted Michael the way he gave himself to me, nothing more nothing less.

The first time he didn't say goodnight to me was September 29th. I didn't think much of it. I was supposed to go see him, but I had to work on the Hill the next day and getting from Baltimore to DC is a nightmare that early in the morning. The last text I sent him was the little boy with the hashtag #winning and I went to sleep.

I learned about 11am what had happened the night before. I was stuck at work with no one to replace me. I finally talked with him and he said he was doing ok. I said I would come over after work. When I got there, Debbi, Hilary and Whitney were still there. He asked me to wait. Of course I was going to oblige, I cared about this man. The events from this point forward have been played out in the news and media to the point of exhaustion.

The days leading up to him leaving for rehab were torture. I finally asked him if whatever this was with us was ruined? He assured me it wasn't, that he would be without his phone for awhile. He gave me yet another email address and he got on an airplane to rehab to follow what the Olympic committee and USA Swimming wanted him to do.

I stuck by him and thought we were good. As each article appeared dragging my name through the mud and my career quickly dissolved before my eyes. I eventually learned about Nicole Johnson and many other women with blurred time lines. I confronted him and reached out to her and Hilary. Everyone quickly closed ranks. Then we got word that the tabloids were going to out my past. I was naive to think that I could tell the truth and they would report that. I told Michael all of my life. I braced my exes, friends and family for what was coming. On November 14th I told the world my story to take my power back, or so I thought, from the media. I told of my birth, childhood and how I got in trouble as a teenager. I put it all out there the good, the bad and the ugly. I found it comical when the media months later along with haters acted like I concealed any part of my past. It was all there date and time stamped by Facebook and can still be seen by all on my public Facebook profile.

Now here we are a year later. I have had many ups and downs. I've been promised so many things and seen so little come to fruition. I made a sex tape because I lost my career and was broke with limited options. Not my best decision, but certainly not my worst. Vivid did their best to make it a pleasant situation and treated me like a star. The set and everything involved with shooting was glamorous. Once again I adapted in life like I had always done and became a character. I became what they needed me to be. Inside I was dying reliving a relationship that once again left me broken wondering what I had done wrong. I am wearing the outfit I had on the night Of September 30th. It was so emtional. My costar wiped tears from my eyes man times during that shoot.

I am still not employable as an interpreter or a consultant in corporate America a year after all of this. I am putting my faith in my management to guide me through this new life of fame and notoriety. I have once again met a great guy and have all the hope a girl could have that he is the one. Just like a year ago things are new. The biggest difference is he knows everything about me and still loves me. He knows all my imperfections mentally and physically and accepts me. Everything that is different about me he loves the most.

I hope going forward into this new year and a better understanding of me and whats it's like to be famous and a public person that I can make good decisions. I hope I make the people around me proud and happy to be a part of my life. I hope Michael and Nicole are truly happy. I hope next year he shines in Rio. I will finish my third book and continue into this new genre of television and hopefully have the happiness, peace and stability that have escaped me my whole life.

Thank you to my family and friends that have stuck by me and the many fans and supporters I have now that make me smile everyday.



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