Our motto here at Expression is to support and inspire girls who are into action sports and use such sports as a pathway to a better/more healthy lifestyle. We are always searching for unique people with stories to tell about how action sports have helped them. Maxine's story below touched our hearts and we hope it will help and inspire other girls to find their way through any tough times they may be experiencing. Thanks Maxine for sharing your story with us!
I grew up in a family that was abusive. My real father physically abused my mother and my step father then went onto physically abuse my sister and I and mistreat my mother, all in all it was a environment that was just not kind for a child, it seemed almost inevitable that I would end up in a abusive relationship myself, the cycle of abuse theory in my case sadly become something real and although i understood that what was happening was not right, I become immune and the abuse become somewhat acceptable to me.
I suppose I was always a little wild and as soon as I become a teenager I started to fight back with my stepfather in any way I could, I craved the attention that I did not get at home and eventually got expelled from school, 15 years of age with no education and a extremely unstable background my future was starting to look bleak, i went home packed a bag and left, neither my step father or mother tried to stop me. For my mother her priority was her abusive husband and the children she had with him, she was too weak to break the cycle. At this point I had just turned 16, I moved to he city and become a dancer, my attitude never portrayed that of a 16 year old so the club never doubted my age. The financial rewards were massive and they allowed me to live a lifestyle fuelled with clubbing late nights and drugs. I had nothing so I had nothing to lose, I didn't care what happened to me because no one else cared. Eventually the dancing stopped and I realized how massive my situation had become, I had less money and no where to live, some nights I didn’t know where I would end up sleeping! I’m sure I have racked up around 20 permanent addresses and who knows how many temporary.
With no home and ruined by drugs I felt the cracks start to appear when my friend died in a car crash. I decided to get my act together and chased a job with horses, I worked very long hours and was paid very little but my passion for these amazing animals helped me through, even now it’s only being alone with a horse that can make me feel completely calm and at ease. The adrenaline rush I got from working the somewhat crazy racehorses up the gallops made me feel alive.
After a few years traveling around the country I met my first real boyfriend, it was never right and the relationship ended as soon as my first son was born. I moved to stay temporarily with my father who re started the abusive cycle I could so clearly remember as a child, it was just not safe to be there with him so I moved on again. It’s not clear how many addresses I then had between that and finding a permanent home.
I found a job as a security officer working nights to provide for my son so I rarely had my little boy, of course I regret this deeply but I was 20 years of age with a baby and nothing and no one to help things were difficult but they picked up when I met my husband of course I didn't know at the time that his was he start of years of abuse that was so cruel I even attempted to take my own life. I can’t even describe how amazing he was at the start, I become infatuated with him, it was unhealthy, I thought it was love but it was just him manipulating me. I become pregnant and thought that it would make him change, but It seemed that he was unable to cope and he regularly abused me throughout my pregnancy, the police being at my door was something of the norm but I would normally drop the changes after he came home and told me how much he loved me and how sorry he was and how somehow what had happened was my fault. I started to doubt my own sanity. My poor little boy had been exposed to all of this and I hate myself for letting him witness the things he did. After one terrible incident the police were called and I was moved to a woman's refuge. I suppose this must have been one of the lowest points in my life and I become massively depressed but I was still not strong enough to make my “situation” stop, even after I was re homed I still took him back as I believed it was all my fault, I never told anyone because I was so ashamed!
When my second child was 9 months old I found the job that I am in now, its been the most permanent thing in my life, I had a opportunity to start show jumping and the freedom I felt of being able to get out there and compete and feel that adrenaline that I craved so much was amazing but short lived, my husband stopped it, a woman's job was to be at home looking after the children not out competing. I just decided to forget everything I loved and just stayed at home, I’m not sure who I become. My husband constant, drink, drugs, abuse cycle become something of a regular occurrence but I saw no way out, he had broken me, he would lavish me with expensive jewellery as a means to keep me quiet and it worked! I just let it work. I become a horrible money obsessed woman that looked down on people, it was all about the Gucci watch, the mulberry handbag and the expensive things, to everyone else I had it all but inside I was dying, I had expensive things but I never had my freedom, I had lost my identity, I didn’t know who I was anymore.
In November 2013 whilst I was in bed my husband came into the room and punched me in the head so many times he gave me concussion. I was never afraid of him, I was never afraid of any men but his time I had no fight in me I just coward on the bed with my hands over my head. That Gucci watch he bought me to say “sorry” got imprinted into wrist as I tried to protect his blows to my head, "look what you make me do" he said. I didn’t phone the police this time I just called my boss and trying to catch my breath I explained to her that I wouldn’t be in work the next day. All this happened whilst my little boy lay in his bed sleeping, it frightens me to think what would have happened had any of them witnessed that.
In January 2014 I had still not taken my husband back and decided to book a skiing holiday, as I sat there on the mountain taking in the scenery I felt free again and everything just melted away, that competitive spirit come back and I decided there and then I wanted a divorce. I told my husband before I even got the luggage through the door. I think everything then become a blur, there was this massive void in my life and the sense of freedom I now had overwhelmed me! I needed to do something with it; I needed a focus so I did everything I always wanted to do. I sold all my expensive jewellery and bought a snowboard, I booked up a white water kayaking course and have almost completely kitted myself out, I started competing on my friends horse, I bought my own surfboard and started surfing most weekends and I have even started up a all girls white water rafting team. Its all about the girls, there are so little women in most of the above sports but for me they are my tonic, being on the water or on the mountains makes me feel complete, sometimes I think I suck at things but I have taken on so much and achieved a lot since January. I never needed expensive things, I just needed my freedom and to be able to embrace my passions. I don’t come from a privileged background and I have a normal job and little help with childcare but theses sports have become part of my life. Sometimes I wonder if I have taken too much on but then I wonder what I would do with the time if I stopped one of them and that frightens me more. They keep me going, they keep me sane and they keep me real to myself. If I have childcare issues I get them involved and take them along, they love it. I want to be more than a mother to my boys I want to be a inspiration to them and for them to be proud of me and of course I want them to know that a woman’s job is most certainly not permanently behind the kitchen sink! I mean I’m 30 now and this has been the best but most challenging year of my life, I’m planning to enter some local wakeboarding competitions next year and take my kayaking to the next level, my winter is booked up with snowboarding holidays and the intention is to also start competing on horseback again. No one should have to go through what I went through but if I can come out the other side anyone can. If my story can give one woman light at the end of the tunnel then I’m happy.
Things are far from over for me, I’m still going through complicated and stressful divorce proceedings, I still don’t know if I will be in my home this time next year but I’ve let go of any bitterness and hate towards my husband and thrown all my efforts into myself my children and this amazing new action packed life I have found for myself and the friends that I have met and have supported me along the way.