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Jenny Nolan

Country of Birth:

United States

Year of birth: 1991

Places of Residence:


A Troubled Girl, A Woman Strong

My fiance and I
It may seem somewhat cliche, but as soon as I set my foot into the door of my first dorm room of my Freshman year at Lyndon State College in my native state Vermont, the only thing I could think of doing was not unpacking my mountain of boxes, not to meet my roommates, not flop on my bed like the girls in the movies. I could only sit on my bed and recall my entire life, wondering how in the world a girl like me, with a life like mine, managed to get to where I was. My thoughts at that moment in my life defined a girl defying the odds.
I was born in Burlington, Vermont to Sydney and Rodney Noland who were a young married couple in their early thirties living in a small apartment in Winooski.
The family film of my birth may have seemed like a happy family in the making, but it was simply a sugar-coated cover-up, like a new slip for a disgusting, old couch. The real story of my birth was not that my mother and father decided together out of love to have a child and live happily ever after. No, my birth was the result of an affair my mother was having with her co-worker- a married man named Riley Shepard.
He and his wife Diane had three children of their own named Billy, Rhonda and James. Until I was thirteen, I was convinced that despite a similar voice and appearance to Riley's children, I was a unique creation.

My life quickly turned from scandalous to tragic when I turned two. My father, Rodney was diagnosed with cancer and later died around a year later in 1993 in the same hospital I was born. My mother slipped into a deep depression, but with a small child and an apartment of memories she couldn't bear, she decided to move us in to the best fitting home she could think of at the time- Riley and Diane's home.
I remember little of our time there, but I do remember the nightmare's of living in the attic with mounds of dusty boxes and old trinkets, the early mornings of sneaking down stairs for a pack or two of gummies, and the hazardous, narrow stairwell the was strewn with barbies and other child's toys, none belonging to me of course. Not more than three months living in the house did my mother find herself pregnant once more. Not surprisingly, we were on our own again- all three of us.

In June of 1994, my pregnant mother and I found our current home- a small trailer in one of the smallest towns in Vermont. We settled quickly, but that would soon change when my sister Lucy was born in November. Some time afterward, Riley moved in with my mother, sister and me.
Things seemed fine until I began being restricted from making noise, playing, staying up later than sunset or having friends. Not only this, but through verbal and physical abuse by my new father, I became detached from everyone, especially my mother. I remember being completely alone until I was about six. This is when I could have friends and no one could say anything about it- making school my new favorite place. This all changed, of course, when my new found friends discovered a disease my entire family has, making our hair very thin at some times and our nails deformed, short and brittle. At that point, until the fifth grade, I had only two friends who were my neighbors at my home.

Throughout the years, from when I was six until I was eight, many things changed in my home life. Riley's children moved into our small trailer with us after Diane committed a murder. She had killed her ex-husband's ex-wife after a drunken night of cheating and confusion. She was convicted and was jailed for ten years. In late 1997, my mother, once again, became pregnant, but this time it was different. Not only did my mother have to work like a dog to earn enough money for five children, but also had to earn enough to pay for a new baby and became extremely ill throughout her entire pregnancy.
No food was held down for nine months and I saw the change that my mother had gone through- become more and more depressed and simply sick of the life she was living. Not more than a year after my brother Ethan was born in February of 1999, did my mother discover through the word of Riley's brother that Riley had been cheating on my mother with a woman named Anne and her two sons Jacob and Jordan.

My mother, being the type of person who cares only about the well-being of others, allowed Riley and his children to stay until the day after Christmas. After all, what type of Christmas would it be if you were forced out of your home with no gifts? I was lonely once again without Rhonda, who I had become quite fond of. With only Lucy and baby Ethan to keep me company, I adjusted to the life of only my mother and what siblings I had. That is until Riley wanted visitation of Lucy, Ethan and me.

We began visiting on weekends, sleeping on sheets that covered piles of dirty laundry and scrounging for left over dinner in the mornings. But the mornings didn't consist of scraps of rotten food; they also came with a side of rotten behavior. Anne's son Jordan took quite a liking to me, so much so that I was sexual abused for five years. It wasn't until Lucy realized she had to do something that I was saved and was never to return to the horrid place I had come to love, yet hate. If I wanted to see Rhonda or my other siblings, I had to endure terrible things that I dare not recall, even in this story.

Since then, I had entered high school, being not simply the shy girl, but the shy girl who dresses in black, chains and short skirts. I had already a few very close friends, which is why I had little trouble being sneered at by the rest of the school. Until my junior year when I had my excellent realization and personality detoxification, I was a straight F student. But, although my freshman year was terrible academically, it was amazing romantically. It was then when I met my first, real, true love. His name was John and he couldn't have been more perfect. Day and night, when I wasn't sitting alone and writing, I was talking on the phone, or chatting online with John. We simply fell and love and decided to date in May of 2006.

In the last two years of high school I began to turn my life around by applying myself, getting jobs and becoming an honor roll student through the encouragement of my mother and my John. I graduated in June of 2009 as an honor roll student with scholarships, grants and loans to Lyndon State College. Over the summer, my mother and I, maybe too late, became best friends, which is probably why we were both such a mess when I left for college.

After waking up at six in the morning, driving through rain and with a smoking car engine and worrying about the extreme financial difficulty my family had and would endure, I made it to my college dorm room. I, at the time, could only walk over to my bed, sit down and wonder how in the world a girl like me, with a life like mine, got to where I was.

I now am a sophomore at Lyndon State College majoring in Business Administration and earning my minor in Anthropology and Sociology. John and I continued to date and go steady until earlier this year in February when we became engaged.
We plan a May 2013 wedding, regardless of his family's disapproval and are celebrating out four year anniversary. I look forward to graduating as early as possible to begin to plan my wedding, the rest of my life and, if my poor health allows, start a family with my true love and the help of our families.
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