“The Story of Lisa Marie”
// Shut The Front Door (STFD)
I was born In Melrose Park Illinois. My parents were miserably married and I had an older sister of 9 years awaiting my arrival.
I don’t have very many childhood memories of my Mom, she worked every moment and our bond was stolen for that reason first and then others later. My sister’s new role in life was raising me…She wasn’t ready for that, didn’t want that and who could blame her? Our age difference, anger towards each other and lack of supervision drove a wedge between our bond as well.
Work obsessed, angry, mean and abusive were the traits of my best friend…my Dad. He drank a lot (always outside of the house) He was hysterical, smart, quick witted and could make you feel like the world revolved around you. I remember him the most. I went everywhere I could with him. He would put me on top of this pedestal and tell me why I was the Queen. He pushed me to limits I never would have gone on my own, he spoke to me like an adult my entire life and told me to never let anyone set or give me the option of what goals I would or could accomplish. I was in control, I was the keeper of my visions and nothing could break me…except him. He could pull me down whenever he wanted and remind me that the only reason I was on that pedestal was because of him. His words would rip me apart as he pushed me into a corner, he was the only person that could scare me with such intensity that I would pray not to wake up the next day. I wanted to die. I would start to fantasize about it more and more.
The emotional roller coaster that I endured with my father confused and angered me. Each time I would write about it. The diaries started to fill my closet. Notebooks filled with poems, daily entries and grand escapes through suicide and the thought that maybe he would just get up and leave one day. I hate that I felt that way. I could not wait to get out, get away from him and my family but there was this connection I had with him that was impossible to break. Just when I thought I could not handle anymore he would begin to put me back together again, build me stronger and smarter, always on a very fragile base that could shatter at any moment. He would buy me anything I wanted…praying on my forgiveness with each new pair of jeans. He became very successful at battling in the business world and it consumed him to the point that his happiness was not with us anymore. I woke up one day and saw that he had finally gone. He left me with my mom and moved to a different state, to a new house with a new wife. I was 16, stopped talking to my friends, stopped going to school found a boyfriend, moved out, got pregnant and then married. I continued to keep in contact with my father off and on, needing to rely on him at times well into my 30's.
I loved my husband, he had a daughter 3 months old and she had no mother…she was left behind, we were perfect for each other. Marriage was rough, we had no money, he wasn’t faithful but he was hands down, my best friend. We had three children together and four in all. Money got more and more unavailable and I had to finally see if I could put some of the skills my father taught me to use. I was a natural. As soon as I started to work I became addicted to it, I couldn’t stop, I had this strange love for it and I bent every direction I could to see how I could make it work for me. I was needed. I could make things happen. I was smart, secure and strong. I started to turn into my father. Nothing was more important than work, I couldn’t balance my life and family with my insatiable need for climbing the ladder. My marriage failed after 11 years and our relationship and that with my children became very difficult because we needed to live 800 miles apart to benefit him physically and financially. I became diagnosed with Bipolar, General Anxiety, Depression and ADHD. I was able to continue building mountains with my work but the problem became that nobody could climb over them to get to me. I fell into extreme depression…I was losing these battles that I was creating and it was exhausting. I was tired, so I stopped. I gave up everything…my house, my cars, my clothes and job and I didn’t move for five months. I met my current husband and watched his family eat dinner together, talk about current events and go to softball games. This was very different to me. It felt like I could breath. Not too long after that we moved in together and I was able to let go of all the demons that were at my surface. There were still obstacles but I was finally learning about myself. I continued to work for a very high-profile corporation and within 2 years reached as high as I could within in the company. I got married, and we have had two children. With mine, his and ours it makes 7 wonderful uniquely amazing children (noodles). So the question comes up all of the time “What made you start Shut The Front Door?” …this is basically how it all began.
Shut The Front Door (STFD) was initially started because I was blogging about all of these ideas that I had (basically a journal) just someone to talk to. I wasn’t getting any followers and that’s okay but I wanted to get noticed because I wanted feedback (conversation really). So, I started STFD on Facebook. I got a few followers and the communication became more than just one-sided. STFD began to grow and I thought to myself “this is great!” I was getting noticed for my writing and people liked it. There were quite a few activities that I was involved in but most of them revolved around children, I was always a professional outside of the home and when my last was born, I didn’t want to go back…I had missed so much with the other kids that I was scared. Not to mention that I had lost interest, I was on top of the game but I didn’t like the one I was playing. So, I decided to stay home and do a home daycare for children with mental disabilities, mostly children with ADHD or Anxiety…these parents I could relate to, not to mention they were so frustrated with finding good care for their children. They needed someone who was patient, loving and understanding to their child’s needs. Parents that have children with mental disabilities search for someone who will understand, not get angry, and know how to deal with a true melt down for other reasons than just not getting their way. So, I took on the roll and loved it…oh, it was hard and frustrating but I was able to keep my cool and love other’s children like my own and I thought that was way too much patience to waste. I became certified to foster children on emergency basis and started becoming more involved. As time went on I saw abuse or signs of abuse and I was angry, so angry I couldn’t think of anything but fighting back…but how? It was then that I came to realize the next level of my purpose; Take any ears I had listening to me and make them hear me enough to open their eyes and help. It was low key at first and then as STFD continued to grow I saw more opportunity…to help raise money, to gather donations and to offer my time…All the kids that I cared for grew up and went to school. That gave me the time to start really doing something with STFD. Promotions, giveaways, sponsorships and games, selling T-Shirts and other merchandise that we offer or will offer soon is able to create a small ability to help. We have taken all of our funds and re-circulated them back into STFD for whatever purpose we have and that changes based on need. Our projects so far have been producing legal fees for a brilliant Foster Family, giving Feel Good Baskets to our fans that are in need of a pick me up, Baby Baskets for mothers that were expecting and in need due to circumstances that they could not control and of course children that are in abusive homes and are relocated to foster homes…these children are given bags when they are picked up in an emergency situation and each bag contains items that are their own; Crayons, Toothbrush, Toy, and of course the main item is a blankie…something to hold on to when they are scared, something to cover them when they need to feel protected. STFD works with many agencies on several levels, some of them are not for profit while some of the work that we do is strictly based on community need. In an effort to give back to our readers, we also work within our own community of fans to help secure any help we might be able to give.
So, that brings us to today…STFD is evolving into a force with great strength. I want and will build something so independent of one person but needed by hundreds of thousands. I remember how wonderful it was to be put on a pedestal, to have been created with such strength and support and alhtough my first love is writing and Shut The Front Door should first and foremost be considered a blog, my intention is to make a great impact with your help.
So I stand up, stand strong and I stand united with all of the fans, followers, friends and family of STFD and I say thank you for allowing me to be the person I am, all of your gratious gifts are appreciated and I hope that in some small way I help you become who you want to be as well.
~Shut The Front Door