Paige Doster recalls growing up in a household where she battled an uncomfortable relationship with her biological father only to later face domestic violence in unstable relationships.
Those experiences have made her stronger, though, and today she works two jobs, attends school and is raising her four children on her own.
Doster, now 28, started life in a stable environment.
However, this quickly changed at a young age as her parents separated by the time she was four and finalized their divorce when Doster turned eight.
Doster and her mother made temporary living arrangements with her grandmother after her parents finalized their divorce.
As Doster began to reach her teen years she primarily lived with her mother and stayed with her father on the weekends.
“I always say that (my grandmother) more so raised me into the young lady that I am today. However, as I got older, going into teenage-hood my mom got remarried and as anybody knows, teenagers can be hormonal. Because of that I went to go live with my father,” said Doster.
The change in living situations was at first exciting.
Growing up Doster says she was “daddy’s little girl.”
At the time she was 12-years-old she remembers getting to experience daily adventures with her father who at the time worked as a truck driver.
“We went hunting, fishing and all of the above. He was a truck driver so in the summertime I would get up early in the mornings to go with him on his drives. It was a sight because I got to see so much,” said Doster.
Not long after having moved in with her father Doster began to notice changes.
Doster faced and endured changes that were difficult for any young child her age to understand.
She walked in on her father in private, adult situations — and those uncomfortable moments became disturbing.
Doster says she is a victim of domestic violence and part of the #MeToo movement.
According to Doster, coming out and telling something so personal was one of the hardest challenges anyone could face.
Telling the truth has had its repercussions but has also helped her embrace the hardships she has had to endure.
Opening up and confessing her experience to her mother and grandmother brought different results.
Her grandmother was furious whereas Doster’s mother was in a state of disbelief and accused her of lying.
Doster’s mother didn’t believe the things her daughter said, but the family decided some changes had to be made.
Temporary arrangements were made for Doster to live in a children’s home in Oxford.
“I was only there for 30 days but it felt like three years. It was like I was the problem,” said Doster.
The children at the children’s home were not welcoming. Being the new girl at the children’s home wasn’t easy and she remembers this as her first time being bullied.
The older girls would pull on her hair, pull her earrings out, taunt her and call her names.
“I went through a lot at a time where I was already going through a lot. That moment really toughened me up as a person,” said Doster.
Her mother and step-father ended up gaining full custody of Doster soon after. However, she said their relationship wasn’t the same.
She often wasn’t on speaking terms with her mother and step-father and she recalls times there was no food in the house.
In 2013, Doster and her mother met at a Ruby Tuesday for lunch where her mother asked Doster for forgiveness for not being there for her when she needed her the most.
“At the end of the day she was not there when I needed her the most,” said Doster.
From then to now...
Doster says as a mother of four she would never leave her children when they need her the most.
Some of the challenges she has faced have helped in building her into the strong woman that she is today.
A year after meeting with her mother, she was ticketed for driving under the influence, and shortly after for driving with a revoked license.
She said she had been in an argument with her brother in law and decided to leave the premise of their home.
Overcoming challenges such as these have been difficult but she says they’ve made her stronger.
There are times where she blames her childhood experience for having a harder time dealing with current relationships.
She and her boyfriend at the time had a rocky relationship that tended to always go back and forth.
In the hopes of mending their relationship for their children they have tried co-parenting and temporarily decided to move in back together. But that didn’t work either.
Now, Doster is a single mother of four – Neriah, 9; Cameron, 5; Mahogany; 17 months and MJ, 3 months.
She is currently enrolled in Durham Technical Community College’s nursing program and takes online classes through Stanly Community College.
Doster is set to graduate in the Fall of 2021.
In the meantime, her cousin helps in taking care of her four children while she attends work and school throughout the day.
Besides being a full-time mother and student she is an employee at UNC Hospital in Hillsborough and a part time employee at Duke Hospital.
“This has all made me stronger because it seems like it is always something. There has never been a calm period and you just learn to take everything with a grain of salt. Just keep pushing because it is going to get better,” said Doster.
Being a full time employee, student and single mother has at times been a challenge but her faith has helped her overcome it.
“When things have gotten rough I have always prayed and just left it alone,” said Doster.