Walking on Eggshells: Discovering Strength and Courage Amid Chaos

BOOK: Walking on Eggshells: Discovering Strength and Courage Amid Chaos
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Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction

One
  A Fairy Tale

Two
  New Identity, New Life

Three
  Family Ties

Four
  Molester or Friend?

Five
  Another Move . . . and Several Others

Six
  The Quiet Haven of Alaska

Seven
  Actions and Consequences

Eight
  No Cease-Fire in Sight

Nine
  Following Mom and Barbara

Ten
  True Love

Eleven
  Babyhood

Twelve
  Sweet Dreams Are Not Always as They Seem

Thirteen
  Legal Troubles

Fourteen
  Swallowing My Pride

Fifteen
  The Reality of Reality Television

Sixteen
  Hitting Rock Bottom

Seventeen
  New Life, New Identity

Eighteen
  Love and Loss

Nineteen
  A Baby and a Good-Bye

Twenty
  Moving Forward

Photographs

About Lyssa Chapman and Lisa Wysocky

To all my brothers and sisters here on earth and in heaven.

I love you all.

No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.

J
OHN
3:9

Acknowledgments

Lyssa Chapman:

F
irst and foremost I
thank God for all I have been given. Many thanks also to my coauthor, Lisa Wysocky. You have become my voice in the dark and I’m so thankful for all you have done for me. To my literary agent, Sharlene Martin, I give my deepest gratitude. I am now her “daughter from another mother.”

Huge thanks also to the many people who and organizations that helped me in so many important ways along my journey. These include, but are not limited to: Kerri Frazier, my councilor from school; Family Focus housing; Alysin, Aryn, and Nila Hauptner; Delorese Greigoir; Winners Camp, Hawai’i Leadership Academy; and Verna White.

Photographer Casandra Campeas, Anthony (her assistant), and Kokeeta Douglas, makeup artist, made my cover shoot fun. Thanks also to all my friends at Hybrid Films and D&D
Productions, Kimber Eastwood, Michele Maytum, Karen McKay Hennessy, Brenna Thiessen, and to Dad, Mom, and Beth.

Finally, thanks to everyone at Howard Books. I am very so excited to be working with you.

Lisa Wysocky:

L
yssa Chapman has lived
one of the most incredible stories of resilience that I have ever known. Even more amazing, she dug deep within to pull herself out of truly dire circumstances and made a better life for herself and her children. She is a remarkable young woman and is a bright, witty, compassionate, and totally fun writing partner. I am extremely honored to have written this book with her.

Many thanks to Lyssa’s family for confirming dates and details of her childhood (and for providing photos), including Duane Chapman, Beth Chapman, Lyssa Greene, Tucker Chapman, Paula Hammond, Grace Katie Worthington, Leland Chapman, and Duane Lee Chapman.

I’d also like to thank the “world’s best literary agent,” Sharlene Martin of Martin Literary Management, and the entire team at Simon & Schuster/Howard Books, including Jonathan Merkh, Becky Nesbitt, Bruce Gore, Jennifer Smith, Felice Javit, and Amanda Demastus. This book obviously wouldn’t “be” without any of you.

Finally, I’d like to thank you, the reader. Thank you for picking up this book. I hope that after reading Lyssa’s story you will all look at life a little differently.

Introduction

W
hen most little girls
play house, they might imagine two happy parents with several well-behaved children, pretty rooms, flowers in the yard, and a white picket fence near the sidewalk. Me? I just wanted parents who could stand to be in the same room with each other.

You’ve probably seen me on television on the A&E hit reality program
Dog the Bounty Hunter
. I am Dog’s daughter, Baby Lyssa. A lot of people think that Beth Chapman, Dad’s wife, is my mom, but my dad and biological mother divorced before I entered kindergarten.

My life since then has been a roller coaster of highs and lows. Drugs and gang rape were interspersed with fun-filled trips to the beach with my family. Neglect, poverty, and teen pregnancy were balanced with my love for school. Racial hate crimes and
sexual abuse were the norm one day, while joy and laughter filled the next.

As you may have seen on TV, my family is a complicated one. We often have strong differences of opinion and find ourselves at odds with one another. In particular I find that my relationship with my stepmother, Beth, is especially challenging. We are two very different people, but we make it work because the relationship is important to both of us.

In recent years I have also been able to see my dad as a person separate from him being my father. That’s a perspective I think most grown children find eye-opening, and I am no exception here. My dad is not perfect, but no dad, no person, is. Dad has his own challenges, but I also know that he does the best he can—which usually is pretty darn good.

I hit rock bottom at the tender age of seventeen, an age when the biggest concern of most girls is the color of their prom dress. Instead, I was living in the cold Alaska climate in a car with my toddler daughter. I point no fingers here; that’s just how life was. As a child, I so desperately wanted to grow up that I made many adult choices far before I was ready. Getting my life back together was a tremendous challenge, but it is by far the best thing I have ever done for myself and for my girls.

But I found that getting clean and sober, becoming a responsible parent, and pursuing a job that I love did not necessarily mean that life was all sunny. My beloved older sister, Barbara, was my best friend but she died tragically, far too young, in a car crash, and her
death sent my world spinning. At twenty-one I married the man I thought was the love of my life only to find myself in an abusive situation. During all this I had been a regular on the show for several seasons and my life was an open book, open enough that I gave birth to my second daughter on camera in front of millions of people.

You might say that when I was young I was a kid who was out of control, and in many ways I was. I do take responsibility for all of my choices, good and bad. But I was also a child of neglect, a little girl with few boundaries or adults to guide me. Interestingly enough, from my youngest days I always knew that God had something better in store for me, that He had a better life waiting for me. And you know what? I was right!

Despite my challenges I look upon my life as a love story, for when all is said and done, I know that my mother and dad both love me and I love them. I love my daughters, my brothers and sisters, and the rest of my family, but I also love who I have become.

I have found the popular saying “If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it” so true, for I could not have gotten this far without His love and guidance. I can now proudly say that I embrace my life, all of it, and I look forward to helping guide other young women through their own troubled times. Keep reading and you’ll learn all about it.

L
YSSA
C
HAPMAN

January 2013

One


A Fairy Tale

F
riday, February 20, 2009,
was the most perfect day of my life. Not everyone gets to be married on national television on a beach in front of a beautiful Hawai’ian sunset. But I did. I was head over heels in love with my new husband, Brahman (Bo) Galanti, and more than two hundred friends and members of my extended family were there to support me.

On that day my family showered me with all the love I ever could have wished for. More than two hundred people showed up to celebrate as Bo and I exchanged the vows we had written. My wedding gown felt like something a princess would wear, and I was as giddy with excitement as any bride could be. When our family
pastor, Tim Storey, pronounced us man and wife I was probably the happiest girl in the world.

Nothing could dampen my exuberant mood on my wedding day, not even the fact that I had made none of the decisions a bride usually makes. Choosing the flowers, invitations, and color scheme, even deciding on the kind of cake that was served—all of those decisions were made by my stepmother, Beth, and the production crew of my dad’s reality TV series,
Dog the Bounty Hunter
. Normally I would have strong opinions about the details of my own wedding, but I was just so happy to marry the love of my life that I allowed Beth and A&E to make all of the decisions. They arranged for the wedding to be at Lanikohonua, a historical beachfront site in Ko Olina on the Hawai’ian island of Oahu.

My bouquet was a large fragrant mix of calla lilies and cascading blue flowers, and my dress was a gorgeous ivory silk by Demetrios with a plunging V-neck. Viewers of the show were probably unaware that I was fourteen weeks pregnant with my second child, as my dress was so well designed that it hid my small baby bump. I have made many mistakes in my life, and unmarried and unprotected sex were just two of them.

On my wedding day, however, I was thrilled about the idea of Bo and me parenting our new child together. All in all, I felt like I was in a fairy tale.

Fairy tales, however, are not all sweetness and light. They are riddled with darkness, just as my life has been. Snow White had to outsmart the evil queen. Little Red Riding Hood had to stand
up to the big bad wolf, and Cinderella lived her formative years submitting to her oh so wicked stepsisters.


I was born Lyssa Rae Chapman II at General Hospital in Denver, Colorado, on June 10, 1987, a petite, blond-haired, green-eyed girl. I arrived at four forty-one
A.M.
and was named after my mother, Lyssa Rae Worthington Chapman. Lyssa, by the way, is pronounced as if it were spelled “Lisa.” In her youth, my mother looked very much like a curly-haired Barbra Streisand. When she met Dad, she had graduated from Rama Bible College and was newly separated from her husband, who was a preacher. Apparently she and my dad fell in love immediately. They were married after my mother’s first divorce was final in Estes Park, Colorado, on June 22, 1982, by an Indian chief who was also a judge.

BOOK: Walking on Eggshells: Discovering Strength and Courage Amid Chaos
2.41Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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