Love

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The Curse of July 4th

Published July 4, 2017 by dividinguplife

I used to enjoy July 4th for a multitude of reasons. I love the summer, I love fireworks and how they light up the night sky in a beautiful display of color. As I got older, I loved that I had the day off of work to do nothing – which is exactly what I’m doing today. 

But last night, as I sat in the sunroom with the windows open, and listened to the crickets and cicada’s singing their nightly song, I realized just how cursed July 4th has become for me. Not all memories are bad, but the residual leftovers are sad.

 

July 4th, 2004

My daughter was a month old. My husband at the time (her father) and I were on a trial separation. Probably from the lack of sleep in a colic baby, probably because I was nineteen and had no business being married in the first place. Probably because neither of us had yet to grasp the idea that parenting meant we had to grow up.  The night before, my ex-husband had gone out with his friends while I sat at home with our daughter. This night would be my night to go out and do what I wanted. I was staying with my mother for this period of  time, while my ex-husband and I tried to figure out what our next steps would be. 

Naturally, I ended up at my current husbands house. My need to see Blue Eyes (Now, my brother-in-law) fueled my desire to reclaim some of my freedom. It was at a time that I still drank when I had a free weekend (and before the legal age to do so). Blue Eyes had just moved back to this state from his home state, and I hadn’t seen much of them for six years. I was convinced that he was the love of my life and that I would find a way to make him see me. I wasn’t a scared thirteen year old anymore. 

The party became a neighborhood party. Somewhere inside my mom was getting drunk off her ass, which would later having her clinging to the toilet, wishing for death. I stayed outside in eye-proximity to Blue Eyes, watching him with a fondness that I had always had for him, but staying aloof because I knew that being clingy would just push him away. Playing hard to get really was the answer to this puzzling game of men and women. The more he drank, the more his eyes found mine in a sea of people. I tried to act like I didn’t see him or notice him in the least, but my heart pounded in my chest every time I could feel him looking at me. 

tim

Eventually he pulled out a huge tarp that covered most of the backyard. He poured Dawn Dish Detergent all over it, sprayed it down with the water hose, and made a neighborhood slip-n-slide. Clothes were shed, there were naked drunk people running all over the yard. Blue Eyes launched himself down the slide, a free bird of balls and biceps. He threw himself on the tarp with so much speed that he kept going once the tarp ended, which resulted in a white ass in the air, face-first in the bushes that lined the woods. 

Meanwhile, my current husband had shut himself in his room to game on the computer with his friends. That is how he spent his time. Eventually it got late. The cops were called for disturbing the peace, and Blue Eyes walked around with a towel wrapped around his waste. The neighborhood dispersed and went to their respective houses. Blue Eyes and myself sat on the front porch, while he massaged my feet, and I half-slid out of the chair. We were both past the point of drunk, but I had his attention. At some point my current husband came outside and looked at me and told me that I needed to go home. Blue Eyes told him to take his ass back inside to his room and to mind his own business. This was back in the days of my not being able to really tolerate my husband very much. I never understood his hostility towards me. It kind of hurt my feelings that he wouldn’t want me around. 

Eventually, Blue Eyes and I crawled our way into the living room and made it to the couch where we collapsed and tried to keep the room from spinning. Some time passed, but I remember becoming coherent because his proximity had lessened. Then he was over me, and his mouth was on mine. His lean body was pressed into me. I told him that I wanted him and heard him groan under his breath. He told me he would take my ass into his bedroom if I didn’t watch what I said. I told him I dared him to.

I don’t remember getting to his room, but I remember clothes being shed, and his ceiling fan being on high, because as he approached me, the air was blowing my hair in my face. He brushed his hand across face to move the hair, and his mouth claimed mine again. 

I remember parts and bits of having sex. I remember falling asleep afterward to “Killing Me Softly” by The Fugees playing on his computer. I remember waking up at some ungodly hour of the morning and stumbling around to drive home. I remembering thinking that this was the start of something I’d always wanted. 

I wouldn’t see him again for another six years. 

 

July 4th, 2005

It took me an entire year to get over the fact that Blue Eyes and his family moved away again, without saying goodbye. This was the second time they had done this to me, and I was just as devastated at nineteen as I had been at thirteen. At the end of that July their house had caught fire, and they decided to return to their home state, ten hours away from me. 

My ex-husband and I had split up for good after we realized that we couldn’t make our marriage work, no matter how hard we tried. I was finally owning up to the fact that being a mother meant my kid came first. He hadn’t quite gotten there yet. I moved out and into my own place with our daughter. He got her every other weekend if he could manage, or if he didn’t have plans to go riding with friends on his motorcycle. (Now, he’s a fantastic father. It didn’t take him very long to get his shit together and figure it out.)

I signed up for match.com and put my profile picture out there. The night of July 3rd I received an e-mail that piqued my interest. This man was recently separated. His wife packed all of her things and moved out while he was at work, leaving him devastated. He liked my picture. I replied back explaining things about myself, and also told him that I was a bigger girl – to not be fooled by how photogenic I was in my picture. He said he didn’t care about that. We agreed to meet in the Circuit City parking lot the next day since we were both spending the 4th of July alone. I was still heart-broken over Blue Eyes leaving again, but I had a determination to move on from him hurting me again. 

I arrived first, and waited a short time for him. He looked angry and awkward. I could tell that when he pulled up, he wasn’t very impressed with what he saw. My heart deflated. I was going to have a difficult time finding someone to love me. Still, he got out of the car and we talked for a bit, then I got into his car and we went to Subway and had lunch. We went back to his house and sat there in awkward silence for a bit, and then he drove me to my car and that was it. I knew I would never see him again. That night while I was at the store, my phone rang, and it was him. He asked me if I wanted to come back over. He was lonely and he enjoyed talking to me. I agreed and thanked my lucky stars that someone was interested in me. This is the man that I refer to affectionately as The Abuser 

Today would have been our 12 year anniversary. I spent last night digging through old pictures on photobucket. His login crept into my mind – and I’m sure he hasn’t even used photobucket in ten years. But I tried logging in, and I was able to. Immediately I was overwhelmed with pictures of us. 

ChesChes1

There are days (like today) that it still hurts. I don’t miss his abuse, and I don’t miss him. I don’t regret my marriage to my husband in the least. But I will always feel like a failure with this one. I don’t know if it’s residual emotional abuse from him. I don’t know if it’s my overachieving ways that my ego is still bruised from not being enough for someone. I don’t know if maybe it’s because he was the first person I loved in my adult life that had such a pull over me, that I will always think about him. 

He beat the shit out of me for three years, and then he cheated on me and threw me out on the streets. He never loved me. He moved on to marry someone else and have a child with her. Someone that treats him exactly how he treated me. He had it good with me and didn’t realize it until he had thrown me away.

I find myself wondering if he even remembers what day this is. If I was enough to cause him to remember this day for the rest of his life, like I do. 

 

July 4th, 2015

On June 25th, 2015 I was sitting in my living room, scrolling through Facebook when a picture of my uncle popped up on my wall, from my Aunt’s boyfriend. All it said was “Please pray for Dennis, he has been in a serious accident.” My face paled and I immediately sent a text to my Aunt. I was confused as to why nobody had reached out to me. My aunt was in a daze when she answered the phone. They were up at the hospital. She apologized for not calling me, but said she couldn’t even think straight. I rushed up to the hospital that night to sit with the family.

I returned nearly every day for the next week. He was in critical condition. His brain was swelling, but he was responsive to commands. He could move his hands when asked, and make a peace sign when prompted. His eyes were still swollen shut, but he knew we were there. His fifteen year old daughter, my cousin, stayed glued to his side. She was about to be sixteen. She said she didn’t care if she had her sixteenth birthday party in the hospital as long as she could celebrate it with him. They were inseparable. 

My Uncle had a craniotomy done to allow his brain to swell comfortably. Shortly after that he was brain dead. I went in to see him one last time before they pulled the plug on his life support. His hands and legs were still doing involuntary twitching, giving us false hope that he would recover. The nurse explained that it was just his body’s response, but that there was nothing going on in his brain. When we pulled the plug, he would be dead. 

DennisDennis1Dennis2

His organs went on to save six people. Everything had changed the moment that seventeen year old didn’t check his blind-spot and sent my Uncle careening into a telephone pole. Our lives were affected. He left behind two kids, and a grandson that was a month away from birth. He was 45 years old. A survivor of cancer, a business owner, an incredible human being. 

That night, my husband and I took his kids downtown to see the fireworks. I stood there in awe and shock, wondering if any of this was actually real. I prayed that my Uncle had a better view of the fireworks from Heaven. I prayed that he would always be around us. I prayed that his children would recover from losing a man that was so incredible. 

 

Today, I’m staying home. I’m not going anywhere, I’m not doing anything. The memories of years past are enough to make me want to shut myself away from everything. My husband is working until five. I have no desire to celebrate this stupid day. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll Fall With Your Knife

Published June 12, 2017 by dividinguplife

 

When I was thirteen (1998), my husband and his brother moved back up north to their home state. I remember listening to this song and daydreaming about the day I would get on an airplane, and fly up there to see my brother-in-law. In my daydream this song would be playing, and I would be coming down the escalator in a cute skirt, with my hair straightened, and there he would be, with his beautiful blue eyes. It would be in that moment that he realized how much he loved me and needed me in his life. 

I made sure that I got my song and my boy in one fell swoop. In 2013 I jumped on a plane and flew my ass up north. As I was getting off the plane, I put my earbuds in and turned on Peter Murphy. I was wearing knee high black boots, a lacy black skirt, a lacy black tank top with a long gray pseudo-jacket-cotton-throw thing that went down past my knees. I came down the escalator and from across the room I could see the brightest blue eyes – eyes that haunted my dreams at night. 

It was the older brother of the boy I’d crushed on for fifteen years. The older brother of my first love, first kiss, first heartbreak. 

I’m sitting here typing this now, and I glance over to my left, and my heart still skips a beat when I see him. 

Andy

I’ve known him for twenty years, but it was only 4 1/2 years ago that I started to see him as something other than the older asshole brother of the guy I was obsessed with. Now? I’d move heaven and earth to keep him by my side. He’s the first man that has made everything I’ve been through, completely worth it. 

30 Years of Packing

Published June 2, 2017 by dividinguplife

For the past week I’ve been helping my grandpa pack up his house. A house I have grown up in. I spent almost every weekend at his house for fifteen plus years. This is the grandpa that isn’t my blood, but is more important than that. Not to mention he helped me out with an attorney when I had my surprise court date for shit I didn’t even know I was in trouble for.

He has three kids and countless grandchildren. Not one of them have offered to help him pack his house. We have three weeks left to get it done, though he hopes to be out sooner. It’s a house that has lived in for over thirty years. I’ve spent about eleven hours this week packing, and have gotten about fifty boxes done. What’s left? Everything that he has shoved into drawers, closets, and his attic. *sighs* …. but what can you do? He has nobody else that will help him. He’s in his mid-seventies, so our days consist of me pulling everything out and him telling me stories about all of it. Most of them I remember anyway, because I was a child when most of this stuff was bought. I know the stories, but I enjoy listening to them anyway. I’m enjoying spending time with him. 

Julie Grandpa

My grandpa and my daughter about five years ago. She’s taller than him, now. 

House

I used to stand at that kitchen sink on a step-stool beside my grandma and help her wash dishes. 

My grandma and my grandpa lived together for twenty-five years. They never married for whatever reason. But they were together before I was born. So, naturally when my own paternal grandfather flaked out of my life, it didn’t really matter to me because I already had this man. Clothes, diapers, formula … you name it. He was there. He always has been. Even when he decided ten years ago that he wanted to live alone, which meant my grandma had to move out, he has stuck by both of our sides. 

Now he’s moving away, about an hour and a half … which isn’t that far, but right now he’s only twenty minutes away. 

My daughter turns 13 on Sunday. I feel old as hell. I’ll be 32 next month, so I know I’m young. But I really can’t figure out where the time went. She was a baby. I don’t remember a lot about the past 13 years – they’ve gone by in a blur. She will have a learners permit in two years, a license in three. She will be a damn adult in five years. What in the hell is this?

kiddo

Julie2Julie3

Not many people will admit shit like this – but I do ….. I never wanted to have children. I don’t know if I was scared that I would give my kids the same life that I was given, or if it was just because I didn’t want to be responsible for another human life. Whatever the reason was, when I ended up pregnant at 18, I was excited and scared all at the same time. Admittedly, I could have been a much better mom than I was in the beginning. I never neglected her, I never beat her … but there were days that I would find myself so mad at my own damn self for having a child because God forbid I couldn’t sleep in. Or because daycare cost so much. My dreams of college went out the window. I had to work full-time because I had no family support to speak of. My own family was 50 shades of fucked up and neglect. 

But I tell you something – at this moment, having her was the best decision I ever made. She made me grow up, she has shown me what unconditional love really means. She makes me laugh, she makes me proud with her stellar grades. I love those rare moments when she opens up to me about a person she likes at school, or when one of the girls at her school is acting like a bitch and she wants to complain about it. I love when we are going somewhere and she takes over the radio and plays her crap music (though some of it isn’t half bad). I’m loving the parenting thing now that she’s more independent. But now that I’m older I wish I could go back and enjoy her baby years more than I did. I can’t get those back. They’re gone. And I don’t want anymore kids. 

Time is so fleeting. Life is so short. 

Almost Not Quite Perfect

Published April 19, 2017 by dividinguplife

I’ve been feeling kind of … wayward the past week or so. I don’t know if it’s the changing of the seasons (even though I love Spring and Summer), or if I’m just having one of those weeks, you know?

Two weekends ago my husband decided he was going to sit at home and do absolutely nothing but sleep all weekend. Which is cool, I guess. But I needed him to go to the Tractor Supply store to find these cedar shavings that I couldn’t locate. He poked around on Sunday and then told me he’d go after he got up from a nap. I told him to go take his nap and I would just go back and see if I could find them myself. I did, but I still miss having him go places with me. Even grocery shopping – he used to go with me and we had a lot of fun. I’m just missing him, I guess. We are so …. boring. I mean, we are broke as hell and I guess that has a lot to do with it. But even when we got our taxes in, we had all of these plans of places that we wanted to go, just to get away. And then we didn’t. We sat at home. Sometimes I feel like he just doesn’t want to do anything if he doesn’t have his children with him. He just wants to waste away in that damn chair in the living room. I don’t know if it’s the Percocet causing this or what. He’s still him, but at the same time … he isn’t.

On top of that, I stopped taking my blood pressure pills and my Adderall because something was causing heart palpitations and my entire left arm to tingle and feel numb. I need to get back into the doctors office, but that kind of shit costs money and I just don’t have it.

I came home last week from work, already exhausted because it was a super busy, shit day. My grams was up in her room sleeping, my husband was sitting in his chair listening to music. No dinner cooked. I sighed heavily and sat my purse down and changed real quick, and then came downstairs and cooked a full meal. By 9:30 I was so dizzy I felt nauseous, and I went to bed. Husbands remark? “You really need to get back to the doctor, you’ve been more tired than usual.” yeah buddy … I know. And I’m also busting my ass at work, doing all of the grocery shopping, and then coming home to cook. I’m tired. I think I deserve to be. It’s not always because I need a medication adjustment. I wish there were a magic pill for this shit. Though I do feel that at 31, I really shouldn’t feel this tired. 

My grams and I went to see my dad on Saturday. It’s the first time I’ve ever been to his house. His fireplace had pictures of my half-sister. There aren’t any of me. I guess I didn’t expect there to be, but it just kind of solidifies the way that I feel in that we are related by blood, but we share no bond. I did learn than my greasy hair comes from him. I was complaining about having to wash my hair every day of my life (Yes, I’ve tried all of the dry shampoo’s and home remedies) and he said that he does as well. We both use Tea Tree Oil Shampoo. I thanked him for the genetic pass-along. He told me I was welcome. His arms are twigs. You can tell the cancer is getting him. It’s eating away at his body. He has to have a catheter permanently now, or the tumors will cause another blockage on his bladder. 

So, it has been a rough couple of weeks. Just emotionally I’m having a hard time. I go back and forth between loving and hating myself – all physical appearance and stuff. It will just hit out of nowhere. And then I tell myself that if I made more money I’d be happier no matter what I looked like.  I mean, who can be sad when you have a couple of jet ski’s?

My husband is on this new kick that he wants a sailboat for the ocean in the next ten years. He has big dreams and low reality for what it would cost to maintain one of those things. I mean hey, if I hit the lottery I’d have no problem sailing around the world and living on the ocean. Works for me. But, both of us combined in our income make less than a 100k a year and between us we have four children. In the words of Aerosmith, Dream On. 

I’ve adjusted fairly well to how physically unaffectionate my husband is, but man there are still days that are so difficult. I just want to spoon and cuddle so badly and I end up going to bed alone and sad about it. I knew this about him years and years before we got married, and I can’t and won’t expect him to change. I just wish that he’d suck it up and do it for me sometimes, but it makes me really uncomfortable, and I can’t expect someone to do things that make them feel physically ill. Kind of like my aversion to clowns, spiders, and those giant wind fans you see out in the Midwest. They make me feel physically ill. That’s how he feels about being touched. That man is so close to perfect, it’s just a coincidence and a stroke of unluck that the one thing I love to do more than anything in the world, he can’t do. But it is what it is, and it’s something I will have to figure out. 

Way Down We Go

Published March 1, 2017 by dividinguplife

I find it funny – the last blog that I wrote and how it ties into something I discovered last night. 

I don’t know how many women keep tabs on their exes and the partners that they left them for. I’ve always done it. Ever since The Abuser threw me and my daughter out, I’ve always kept tabs on his life and the ups and downs of it. To say that he and his wife have had a tumultuous relationship would be an understatement. A year and a half ago, once he realized that I was getting married and not changing my mind, he went back to his wife and blocked me on Facebook. After this having happened for the hundredth time in our pseudo-friendship, it just made me laugh. I was the one that wanted to maintain a friendship with him once we split up and I had therapy to understand why he was an abusive dickhead. He wanted that friendship too. With our friendship came the jealousy from his wife, even though she always stated that she had no problem with us being friends. I guess when you are part of the reason a relationship is homewrecked, it must be difficult to sleep at night wondering if the relationship you helped destroy, may one day find its way back together. So, The Abuser and I could be friends, but only on her terms, and only when she wasn’t pissed off at him for something. 

Anyway. I’ve been blocked on Facebook for a year by The Abuser. Last night I was suddenly unblocked. Why? I don’t know. If I had to guess, it was because his wife was somewhere that wasn’t at home and he got curious as to how I was doing. He got to thinking about something. I know how his mind wanders. He’s never happy with what he has if he thinks he can have better. I would imagine they haven’t gotten their tax refunds yet if he is catching thoughts about me. When he has money, he is in his element. He’s never happier than when he’s spending money. 

I hope whatever he was looking for, he found. I hope that it was like a punch in the stomach to see that I’m still married, that I’m happy, and that I’m doing okay without him. I remember when he left me, then found out a few months later that I was dating someone else – he had to the nerve to tell me he was irreplaceable. He honestly believed that. But he has been replaced. And I am better off for it. I told my husband last night that I was suddenly unblocked. He found that interesting. But I told him just so that he would know. Just in case The Abuser tries to call me or messages me on Facebook, at least he’d know what was up.

Do I still think about him? Yeah. Do I remember good times with him? Of course I do. I carry a lot of memories with me on a daily basis. I would never want to part with them. Not even the bad ones. 

I saw a video last night that ripped me apart. It’s called “Hurt” by Johnny Cash. Trent Reznor wrote it, but Johnny Cash was born to sing it. 

Johnny Cash – Hurt

When I watched the video, and listened to the lyrics, it made me think of him. I have a feeling that when this life is said and done with The Abuser, he is going to have a life of regret that he can’t ever take back. I hate that for him. I hate that for anyone. 

It even made me want to hug Johnny Cash and tell him that everything was okay. That man was a grade-A asshole in his youth. But it seems as if it all caught up with him in the end. And the pain that’s in his eyes in this video? It’s enough to rip your soul out. 

What have I become? My sweetest friend. Everyone I know, goes away in the end. And you could have it all – my empire of dirt. I will let you down. I will make you hurt. If I could start again, a million miles away. I would keep myself, I would find a way.

An Ocean of Memories

Published February 24, 2017 by dividinguplife

Even though I’m uber happy in my marriage, and life is grand – I often find myself in a state of reflection, wondering if people from my past ever think about me. Do I cross their mind? Does it make their heart ache? The one’s that left me, or did me wrong, do they think about me and how good they had it? 

I wonder if it’s normal for me to wonder these things. My first boyfriend (I was 15, he was 20) sends me a message on my birthday every year. We don’t speak a lot beyond that since he lied to me a few years ago and told me he had marital problems, and then his wife went through his phone and let me know otherwise (while also telling me I should be ashamed of myself for messaging a married man) – uh, hello? His messages included things like “I’m sleeping on the couch. We just don’t have that connection. We are passing ships in the night.” Apparently that was all horseshit. He was telling me that he has always envisioned us growing old together and bitching at each other in the nursing home. But seeing as that he lied to me, I thought it better to just let that go. I didn’t want to be with him ever again anyway, because homeboy had a problem with lying. 

But still, I didn’t realize until that moment that he even thought of me. At that point, we had been apart for 12 years.

I wonder if The Abuser ever thinks about me, or misses me in any way. Not that I would ever wish us to be together again, but I find myself really curious about the imprint that we leave on peoples lives. 

I went over to my brother-in-law and mother-in-law’s house last weekend to drop off something and pick something up. It’s always a lot more relaxed over there when my husband doesn’t go, because the tension that ebbs and flows from my husband in regard to his drunk brother makes me want to haul ass away from that house. But when it’s just me over there? We have a great time. I can handle my BIL’s drunken silliness. It makes me sad for him, but it doesn’t bother me the way it does my husband. So, I sat over there and chatted with them for about an hour and a half, and my BIL wanted to do this silly game where he played music from YouTube off of the TV and I had to guess the song and artist. 

The very first song he played ….

The Dream

The first four counts of the song and tears sprang to my eyes. I looked at him with questioning eyes. He stared back at me silently, saying everything without saying it. I was thirteen again. Laying on my bed, listening to the Titanic Soundtrack, followed by Celine Dion’s “Let’s Talk About Love” Album. I’d hear the sliding glass door open, and rummaging in the kitchen. I would put down my Babysitters Club Book and walk down the hallway, a smile already on my face. He would be sitting on the floor, indian-style, bowl of fruity pebbles on his lap, watching MTV. It was usually around three in the morning that he would venture over. I was always awake, always waiting for him. Some nights he didn’t show. Some nights he would come over and borrow my bike so he could go see some girl in the next neighborhood over. Those nights broke my heart. But the nights he did come over ….. those were the best. 

It wasn’t just about the teenage making out. We didn’t always do that. It was about the bond we created. 

And what’s funny? Up until last weekend, I always thought he didn’t know shit about me. My BIL always seemed to be the unaware type. Unaware in things that didn’t involve him. I spent almost twenty years thinking I wasn’t anything to him other than what I could be in the single moment he needed me for something. 

And something so simple as playing this song last weekend, and looking right into my eyes? I think I died a hundred times. 

What’s ironic? My husband has not one clue the importance of a song like that. Or what a fangirl I am of Celine Dion and everything she sings. Why? Because he’s my future. My BIL was everything in my past. And somehow I managed to marry into the family, like I always wanted to – but with the brother I never paid attention to. That shit still baffles me. Like, how did this happen?

How did I spend my life hardly paying attention to my husband, and then in the space of one single day, my entire world tilted off of its axis and suddenly it was the most obvious of things standing right in front of me? I can’t even describe what happened to me. It was as if every single answer to every single question lied within my husband. It felt as if all of the bullshit I had ever been through, didn’t matter anymore. My mind cleared, the sadness lifted, and all I could see was his beautiful, handsome face. 

I still find it …… I don’t know ….. weird, I guess? How his brother is my past and he’s my future, and the two intermingle constantly. In the physical sense and in my mind. My first love and my last love. 

Rock Bottom Isn’t So Bad

Published February 15, 2017 by dividinguplife

I always feel like I have some profound shit to say, but when it comes time to write, there’s usually nothing there. Oh well. 

Work has been rather grueling this week. A lot of difficult patients with a lot of specific needs. I’ve been trying to anticipate what the doctor needs before he asks for it. It helps my critical thinking skills, and also saves me from stopping what I’m doing for one patient to run around like a chicken with my head cut off, for another patient that I thought I was finished with. So far this week and last week I have done a pretty decent job at figuring out what he is going to want before he asks for it. 

I was messing around with google maps tonight. I figured I’d take a trip through the old neighborhood my husband and I grew up in. It made me giggle that I could still see the same route I took when I would sneak out of my house at night and tear through the back yards to climb through my brother-in-laws window. 

The top right was my house. The bottom left, my husbands. 

map

I ran that same path a hundred times during the summer of ’98. 

In the summer, when the smell of wet, fresh cut grass finds its way to my nose, I’m instantly 13 again. The sound of the crickets on a muggy summer night, and I can hear my childhood laughter as I was tearing through the woods, bright-eyed and excited for the freedoms that I had while dreaming of a future that turned out so completely different than I thought it would. 

How much heartache and disappointment must one endure before they get their happy ending? I consider myself lucky to have found what I have at the age of 31. It is rather amazing to look back and think of the bullshit and hell I’ve been through with abuse and cheating and heartache in the last 13 years. 

Honestly, though. I wouldn’t change one bit of it. The emotional, physical, and mental abuse? It taught me how to and how to not treat other people. It wore down my self-esteem, yes. But, now I know what it feels like to be made to feel like you’re worthless. I could never intentionally say something to another human being to hurt them with regard to how they look, dress, or feel. 

Being cheated on multiple times? Another blow to my self-esteem. A lot of hours of therapy. But it taught me the pain of another persons selfish actions. It taught me that at the end of the day, every single one of these men always asked for me to come back to them; that they’d made a mistake. It taught me about the proverbial fence and the color of grass. It taught me to continue to be the person that I am, because someday someone would appreciate all of the positive things I bring to a relationship. 

13 years of weeding through the assholes, through the bullshit, through the pain. I’ve cried an ocean of tears. I’ve written more journal entry’s, spent more nights in deep thought and reflection, and lived mature lives well before I was supposed to be old enough to do it. I grew up poor. I became co-dependent on men. I’ve lost everything and been homeless. I’ve rebuilt my life and learned the hardest lessons. I’ve survived. 

I still live paycheck to paycheck. But I made it a goal of mine to make sure that my daughter never had to grow up in the environment that I did. I have busted my ass to ensure that she lives in a home that has a permanent foundation as apposed to the trailer I grew up in . She goes to a private school. I take her and her friend skating and to the movies on the weekends when we have the extra money. She even admitted the other night that I was “cooler than most parents” – which was a compliment of the highest regard coming from her almost-teenage self. 

So, if you find yourself careening towards rock bottom – allow yourself to fall. Allow yourself to learn from it. There are so many lessons to be learned if you turn the focus from you to everything else around you.