Archive | September 2013

A Glimmer of Hope

So here I am.  I go about my daily routine hoping each day will go smoothly with no issue.  Some days do and some…not so much.  A few years have passed so I’m used to it all.  My daughter is almost two and it is what it is.  My head is just counting down to getting out.

One day, as I’m walking home from my in-laws, Just as I finish crossing the street and get the carriage on to the sidewalk, I hear someone call my name.  As I turned and focused on who it was (sigh) my breath was taken away.  It was him.  My Ex.  In previous posts (Here Goes Nothing, Fork In the Road and Choice and Consequence) he was referred to as Guy #2 but from here on out will be referred to as…My Love.  Just writing about him brings a smile to my face.  Okay, where was I…oh yes, so I bump into My Love.  I haven’t seen him in the last three years.  I don’t think I purposely avoided bumping into him although I never went on his block anymore and my parents and in-laws lived across the street so I’m sure I visited when I knew he’d be working so as not to bump into him.  After all, if I bumped into him I’d probably lose it – or so I thought.  Apparently, not the case.  When I turned and saw it was him, I couldn’t stop smiling.  He came over to say hello and to see the baby.  I know he was hurting.  After all, the man he feared would break us up did – and I had his baby.  So he said how cute she was and how I had gotten everything I wanted (out of my house at 18, wife, mother, etc.) and I remember thinking to myself…not everything.  After all, I didn’t get him.  I hadn’t stopped thinking of him over the past three years.  Ever.  I didn’t say much, after all I felt so guilty standing there, horribly sad at the fucked up choice I made.  He asked how I was and I said…I’m okay.  I didn’t elude to the horror my life had become.  I didn’t know how he felt.  If he still thought about me.  So I wasn’t about to put myself out there and make an idiot of myself.  We said our goodbyes and went our separate ways.  My God…I love this man.

We knew when we first started dating there was something special…bigger than us.  Soul mates.  It was as if we had always been together.  From the beginning, it was deep, I can’t recall –when we fell in love– we just did.  We just were.  That was that.  No questions, no discussions.  It was always and forever, the present and the future, for life.  I never once questioned that.  It was my reality.  It was his reality.  I never doubted that it wouldn’t be and I had no reason to ever doubt it.  I never once imagined not being with him for the rest of my life.  Even though I was a teenager (to some that is to young to feel this way) it was as if we were already together, internally, eternally, intertwined souls.  The chemistry was amazing.  The sex was outstanding.  The laughter, the tears, the silence…always mutual.  We were literally one.  The only cloud that lingered…more so for him than me…was this question of what happens if?  I could not ever fathom anything coming between us.  When the topic came up I soothed the heart and calmed the mind.  Nothing like that was ever going to happen.

Then.  It happened.

All of the sneaking around, secrets, plans, hopes, dreams, everything…gone.  With one decision.  And in my defense, never at one moment an easy decision.  Never a happy decision.  Never a clear cut no questions asked decision.  Just a stupid, naive, self gratifying, insensitive, shockingly mind blowing – wrong decision.  Everything I had, everything I wanted, everything I needed, everything I looked forward to…gone.  Just…gone.  It tore at my soul.  The day my parents told us (My Love and I) we couldn’t date – changed me.  My heart was different.  Broken.  I pushed them out and made more room for him.  The day I made the worst decision of my life – changed me.  My soul was lost.  And so now…my heart and my soul were shattered and unfixable.  I would go on for years not knowing if it was only me.

Until now.

After seeing him, I was determined to right my wrong.  I will find my way back…even if it takes 16 more years…I will make it back to him.

I’m not sure how long it was until I finally remembered his job number but it finally came to me and I started to call.  We started to catch up.  How broken he was without me.  He had been fixed up with a girl right after I left to get his mind off of me and she turned out to be crazy.  Literally.  She had issues.  So they broke up.  He then started dating someone who had just had a baby but was not with the father.  He told me how he never stopped thinking about me and how hurt he was.  And still is.  We spoke often.  Eventually, I asked him to meet me before work.  I had worked about 45 minutes from where I lived so I was hoping he’d give me a ride if I asked.

So this one day, he met me.  I got in the car and we spoke in person.  It was so weird.  I mean, we could both feel the tension.  I know he wanted to be mad at me but now in person seeing me in an enclosed space – just the two of us – he couldn’t.  I was very cautious of my words.  I didn’t want to bring up my husband or the baby.  I just wanted it to be mellow and relaxed.  I asked him if he would drive me to work.  He did.  I knew he would.  He wouldn’t if his feelings were completely gone.  So now, I knew were I stood.

I started asking him to meet me once a week to give me a lift to work.  Of course, he did.  On one of these days it started snowing.  It started off light when we left but barely half way you could hardly see in front of you.  I felt bad knowing once he dropped me off he’d have to drive back, as it would be worse by then.  I told him he could drop me off by a bus stop but he refused.  At one point, I asked him to pull over.  I said let’s wait a couple of minutes maybe it will slow down.  As he pulled over, I also said…and I want to speak to you.  We parked and I started to say…I still love you…as I swooped in and gently kissed him.  Then I whispered I miss you so much.  As he grabbed me and kissed me back…he said, I miss you too.  I almost forgot how good his lips, tongue and mouth felt.  In those few minutes…I was home.  Where I should be.

When the love fest was over, he asked, why did you do that?  I said I needed to tell you and I didn’t want to say it over the phone.  He said you know I love you.  Always have.  Always will.  But now everything is complicated.  I sadly agreed but in my heart I knew now that there was…a glimmer of hope.

Threats and Wires and Hangers…Oh My!

So I guess it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty.  I can tip toe around the meat and potatoes of the story but that would be leaving out the entire point of why I am doing this.  I’ve been holding this life of madness in for so long I’m hoping that by putting it out there in the universe – I don’t know – maybe God will finally lead me out of this nightmare.

This has been a 25 year roller coaster ride. I’ve been dizzy and nauseous for most of it.  When I started out I thought I was so great I could take this broken man and fix him.  Help him to see this was not the answer.  That I was not his enemy.  To the outside world he was this former bad boy turned upstanding guy, with a wife and child.  Everyone saw a change.  I saw a change too…from the quiet guy I had a crush on to a controlling maniac that used abusive words, threats, weapons and fists against his own wife.  What a piece of shit.

At the root of most of it was trust.  He always seemed not to trust me.  If I was working he questioned who I was interacting with.  If I was home he wondered if I was talking to people on the phone.  Did I let anyone in the house.  When we got into arguments he’d start over nonsense.  Maybe (to him) I had an attitude when I answered him.  Or I jumbled my words which meant I was lying.  Who was I on the phone with?  Then it turned to why isn’t the house clean?  Why was I late from work?  Always, always something.

It started out with a slap, maybe shaking my body, pushing, cursing….always cursing.  I’m a stupid bitch, dumb whore, fucking slut, etc.  The name calling I could take.  It bothered me but my mind was strong.  I always knew it was him and not me.  I knew I didn’t do anything wrong so for sure it wasn’t me.  Early on in the marriage, sometimes when he would really go at me I’d argue back…that never worked out.  But you know, sometimes I had to say what I had to say…sometimes it was worth the fist.  He hated to hear me speak.  He still does.  And as time went on I knew how to push his buttons.  The less i argued back the more it drove him crazy.  It meant that all of his yelling and screaming was a waste of time.  I wasn’t listening.  I didn’t care.  And I loved that it pissed him off.  Sometimes I’d look at him all interested like he was telling me an amazing story.  I’d shake my head and widen my eyes and even through in a… “Really? Wow.”  Eventually he’d shut up.

After he saw that arguing didn’t phase me and a slap in the face or a punch in my head didn’t deter me from doing whatever caused him to snap….he’d start looking around the apartment and would grab items to hit me with.  Sometimes it was a boot or a hanger.  After a while it was extension cords.  He’d grab it and whack my leg or back with it.  Then as it would start to bruise and welt up almost immediately … he’d gently say “see what you made me do…go run that under cold water” and I’d refuse.  I don’t want lessen the way this bruise is going to look tomorrow so you feel better.  I’ll take the punishment but so will you when you go to hold me in the middle of the night and I flinch and scream out in pain.  Believe it or not…that fucked with his head.  Sometimes I’d pretend to be sleeping and he’d rub my head and say sorry in a very quiet voice before rolling over and going to sleep comfortably….while I lay awake in massive pain.

One day, he hit me with an extension cord and the bruise ran from my shoulder to my wrist.  And because he had the wire folded over the bruise was a double line so it took up the entire front and side of my arm.  It bruised immediately.  My entire arm was black and blue.  When he went to work that day, I took my daughter and went back to my mother’s house.  My daughter was about a year and a half at that point.  I went home and told my mother….not in it’s entirety…but that he hit me.  I didn’t show her my arm.  I thought she’d understand because….YES…she too was abused, by my father.  However, not to excuse the act, but in no way did she suffer at the hand of my father the way I was getting beat by my husband.  My father was more of a cheater and when he’d get caught or she accused him then he might lash out with a slap.  It was never as intense as the shit I landed in.

Of course when my husband came home from work and couldn’t find me he went straight to my mother’s house.  I stayed in the back room with my daughter.  If I recall properly, I believe I sat in the closet so if she spoke too loud he wouldn’t hear her.  He pleaded with my mother to let him see his daughter and how he was sorry for hurting me and such.  I remember my mother saying something to the effect…”she’s not ready to see you right now, give her a day or two, I’ll speak to her.  The baby is fine.”   My brain is like…she’s sending me back to him.  Why would she do that?  Is she saying it’s okay that he hit me?  Is she saying if I went through it so can you?  Or so SHOULD you?  I don’t know.  I ended up going home the same day.

Here comes the apology.  He’s so sorry.  He’ll never do it again.  But then with the flip of a switch something triggers the monster and now he starts to threaten me.  “If you ever leave and take my daughter again I will quit my job and hunt you down.  I will not stop until I find you.  When I find you, I’m not going to kill you…that would be too easy.  Instead of killing you I am going to slice up your entire face so that when you look in the mirror you won’t be able to recognize yourself.  And every time you look in the mirror you will remember me and what I did to you.”  Imagine all of that in such a mellow tone of voice as if we were sitting having a normal conversation at the dinner table.

What people who are not the victims of abuse don’t understand is the power of the words.  Why would I stay?  Yes, I was afraid but it wasn’t only that.  I knew him.  I knew what he was capable of.  I knew what he’d be willing to do and far he would go.  In essence…I believed him.  With 100% faith in my heart and mind, I believed he would do what he said.

That day, the cold hard slap of reality opened my eyes.  What the hell did I get myself into?

Teenage Bride aka Punching Bag

There.  I said it.  It’s out there.  Yes.  My husband beat me.

Damn.  That is so hard to read.  I mean, I’ve lived through it – to a certain degree still do – but seeing it in print, knowing people will read these words maybe one day even people who know me.  It’s rough.  They’ll know my business.  The secret I’ve tried to hide all these years.  What a loser.  No, not him.  I mean he IS a loser…and a coward but yes, I mean me.  And not in the sense where I blame myself for what has happened.  Believe me, I am far from a television talk show episode where the girlfriend/wife tells her story and says…I stayed because I love him.  I never understood those women.  What the hell is wrong with you?  You stayed because you LOVE him???  Whatever love I may have had for this man – which to this day I refuse to believe there ever was “true” love – was gone the first time he touched me.  Maybe not in it’s entirety, not at first, but each strike tore down that … in like, in lust, in love … gone completely never to return again.

So what’s your question? Why did I stay. If this is the first time reading my blog here is a quick recap.  Met my husband when I was 15 (he was 5 years older), had a total crush on him, he was the resident bad boy who eventually left the neighborhood due to said trouble.  Met my ex and fell madly in love, dated for a year and a half, perfectly happy, content, and looking forward to the future.  Bad boy returns, proclaims I am the one for him, uneasily broke up with ex, now dating bad boy (at 17), hit for the first time within 2 months of dating and by 7 months dating….18 and pregnant.

On to the wonderful wedding.  City hall.  Pregnant teenage bride-to-be accompanied by parents and future mother in law.  Married to a man that says he loves me.  He says it so meaningfully.  Convincingly.  I kind of still believe.  Even after being hit for the past several months, I believe there is a possibility for change.  Maybe he didn’t mean it, maybe it was because he was drinking, maybe I did do something to bring it on.  Yeah, I did.  I stayed.  That may not have been what started it but it’s what kept it coming.

We were married almost three months after living together.  In that time, broken camera, broken stereo, broken telephones (yep, the ones that plugged into the wall – and yes, plural), broken jewelry and of course broken spirit.  My view at 18.  How can I turn around, after I praised him to my parents that he was not as bad as they thought, got pregnant, etc. etc., and now run back home because he’s beating me?  I had too much pride.  I was not going to tell.  Yes, I know some people around the neighborhood may have seen us fight, they may have even seen him hit me, or maybe even a covered up bruise, but back then people turned the other way.  It wasn’t their business.  Plus, because my husband had a bad reputation there was no one that was going to challenge him.  I was the sucker for going with him…whatever happens, happens.

Four months after getting married my daughter is born.  For as many bad times there were in that first year and a half – there were good times.  We had a nice apartment.  Had friends/family over.  His mother would cook delicious meals for me.  We both had decent paying jobs.  Overall, my pregnancy was not bad.  I mean it was good as it could be for a teenager.  After a while age wasn’t a factor.  Another close friend of mine had a baby a couple of months before me.  Another friend would have one a couple of years later.  In the 80’s it was worse to be single and pregnant then it was to be young and pregnant.  We were both happy with this new bundle.  It changed us both just a little.  We definitely matured, quickly.

Of course, I thought he would mellow but that wasn’t the case.  Hindsight…20/20.  Ain’t that some shit.  I’ve failed to mention that over the course of this relationship…jealousy abounds.  I’d get calls at work, do I work with any guys?  Does anyone come meet me for lunch?  Have I met anyone new in the neighborhood (where I worked) – and the list goes on.  He’d also talk about my ex, other guys he knew I had crushes on, guys I dated before I even knew him.  There was one incident in the early stage of dating where he wanted to know about a guy I messed around with…how many times did I go to his house, how many times did we do it, did I like it, do I still want the guy (all of which I blocked out of my mind when I was happily dating my ex) but he wasn’t having that “I don’t know” bullshit.  So he tried choking the answers out of me.  His hands around my throat, in the schoolyard of my junior high school.  I remember thinking…how the hell did I get here.  How did I get out of that moment? By pledging my unwavering love.  What is that called these days?  Oh yeah…enabling.

There were so many more times after that.  It becomes sort of a blur.  I can remember incidents that made an impact on me – no pun intended.  For instance, there was a time when we got into it and somehow I ended up on the grass and he was on top of me hitting me and when it was over my double name plate (necklace) was actually bent.  It looked like a warped record.  And it was pretty thick.  A nice piece of gold.  I couldn’t even figure out how that happened.  There was another time in our apartment that he hit me in the face.  He RARELY hit me in the face.  This may have been the first time (since the initial slap) and I tend to think where his fist actually connected was accidental.  He was very calculating to hit me where no one could see the bruises.  It was either the way I turned my head or maybe I flinched too fast but he hit me in my nose and blood literally gushed all over the place.  It was out of control.  I thought for sure my nose was broken.  It wasn’t but something with the cartilage in my nose got torn or something to that effect because it was never the same after that.

Subsequently, after being married, he started to threaten me about if I ever decided to leave.  It was first and foremost murder.  He’d kill me.  And not for nothing…I believed him.  When he hit me there was a rage – something that wasn’t there when he was in a normal mood – it was almost like witnessing a blackout but he was still awake and beating me.  Not only that but now that I had a baby, where was I going?  It was clear my parents weren’t going to take me back otherwise they would have let me stay in the first place.  I couldn’t run back to my ex because now I had a baby by the man he feared would break us up.  So….I stayed.  And I made a promise to myself.  I will leave when this baby turns 18.  I have 18 years to bring her up and to teach her how to become a responsible, self reliant woman by the age of 18.  If I could handle the responsibilities of being a wife and mother, have a job and an apartment without a problem (aside from the beatings) at the age of 18…then I will bring my child up to be able to handle the responsibilities of adulthood – minus the wife and mother part.

That was it.  I settled in to stay and keep things as calm as I could.  Be a great mother and a good wife.  If I have to change my personality when he is around so he doesn’t think I’m being abrupt or nasty with him then so be it.  I am still my normal self on the outside.  No one notices a difference.

I got this.  I can do this.  And I did.  Like my life depended on it….because it did.

No Turning Back Now

Let me start off by specifying that all of this is going on in my life at 17 years old. For those of us with children – most especially those of us with daughters – we cannot begin to imagine them going through these types of things 1) without us knowing about it, and 2) at such an age where choosing a college should be the most drama filled decision. In some respect, I’d love to be so deluded as to believe that this kind of thing was just a phase of decades past but that would be more ignorant a thought than the action of staying put.

When thinking back on these early days, the first six months was the make or break for me. I was still in high school, lived at home with my parents, had a job, good friends and a boyfriend. Of course, the latter was already becoming tumultuous but with every apology I believed I could help him change. My goal remained…move out at 18.

Seven months into this relationship…I turned 18. I also became pregnant. Not on purpose. By accident. But I wasn’t really that upset. After all, what could my parents say? My mother was 17 when she had me. Her parents threw her out. She lied to me and my sister growing up always maintaining that she was 18 when she had me. Truth be told she was pregnant at 16 and had me 10 days after her 17th birthday. So my being 18 and pregnant was actually a milestone. How awesome that I was of legal age.

Unsurprisingly, my parents WERE NOT HAPPY. My father threw around the word adoption. He asked me if there was a pill I could take to bring on my period. He punched my boyfriend in the face. After all, they already disliked him because he was a street thug and now he has taken away my future. Before I knew it, my mother found us an apartment and within weeks I moved out. No one in my family or in my parents’ circle of friends knew of my “problem”. It was never a straight out question but more of a looming elephant in the room…am I getting married?

Two months after moving out my boyfriend proposed. I said yes and we were married the following month – on our one year anniversary. In one short year I set my life on a course I would never have anticipated. At 18 years old, I was an expectant mother and battered wife. Kudos.

(I should make note that after I was married my parents told friends and family.)

Anyone who knew me would never have anticipated the life I ended up with and would to this day never believe I became such a victim. I’ve always had and still have a very strong personality. I’m very opinionated and am usually lovingly referred to as a bitch who tells it like it is. Everyone I know tells me how much they love and respect me for that quality. Everyone…except my husband.

Choice and Consequence

There you have it.  I decided.  Broke up with my boyfriend (or should I say devastatingly ripped the rug out from under him), and decided to give Guy #1 a chance.  So exciting, right?  Yeah….no, not really.

We started dating, movies, dinner, hanging out at his house, getting to know his family.  They all loved me.  Very welcoming.  There was no pressure to have sex because I had come to find out that he was a virgin.  And even though I was not it was nice not to have that added pressure.  However, two months later, we finally did it.  Now that the first time was out of the way, it became a little more of a part of our routine.  Don’t forget this is still early on – honeymoon phase – so everything seems fine although I start to notice a few things that really bother me.

He decides to walk with me past the building where my ex lived.  Don’t forget, I knew everyone in the building and so I felt the daggers from everyone.  We walked through and I remember pleading…I do not want to go on the block.  He really wasn’t hearing it.  Didn’t see anything wrong with walking by there.  Almost like parading his new trophy.  To make matters worse, he wanted to sit in the park that was directly under my ex’s bedroom window.  My heart was breaking.  I knew he would see us.  I felt horrible.  I just wanted to run out of the park as fast as possible.  Thankfully, we didn’t stay long.  This was the first time I started to question my decision.

Not long after, my new boyfriend (Guy #1) received a letter in the mail.  This is when I started to learn a little bit about what went on while he was gone for a year and a half.  Some of the trouble he had gotten into resulted in this letter regarding a Grand Jury indictment.  What did I know about this world?  To me this meant…he’s going to jail.  It was also the first and one of the very few times I saw him cry.  He cried because he didn’t want to lose me.  He had just gotten back and now he had me and he wanted to get on the right path – now this.  I don’t really remember what led up to the change in mood but I am sure – as would become the usual excuse – I did something to provoke it.

I remember standing in his room and after something I said he reached out and slapped me in the face.  It was the last thing I expected so of course I was not prepared and with the impact of his hand to my face, my entire body spun around.  A complete 360.  My body and his mood.  WTF?  I was stunned.  I can’t even remember what the hell ran through my mind at that moment.  I just remember my cheek was burning and I said a few curses and went for the door.  He grabbed me – lovingly – and apologized profusely.  Blamed it on his fear of possibly going to jail.  Okay.  That’s plausible.  Again, what do I know.  I’m 17 years old – just left the love of my life for a guy that just hit me.  Now what?

Who do I tell? Do I tell anyone?  I can’t go back to my ex because he is devastated and would probably never forgive me anyway.  Do I go to my parents? Well, my father kind of hit my mother over the years so I’m not exactly sure how that would go.  They didn’t like him anyway, as they also didn’t like my ex.  Guy #1 was too old for me and Guy #2 was black.  They forget that we’re a biracial family…my father being Puerto Rican and my mother Italian – but I digress.  Long story short…I kept it to myself.

He promised it wouldn’t happen again.  I believed he was upset about the possibility of prison.  So we started working on getting a lawyer and figuring out what was going to be happening with this case.  Plus, I still had school and was about to graduate in a few months.  So we went on with our daily routines.

As I’ve already mentioned….I thought I knew it all.  Ha!  Don’t we all.  In the mornings he would wait for me to walk to school, already drinking his morning beer.  (Don’t forget he is 5 years older than me).  I quickly got annoyed by the smell of beer and the drunk – but not really drunk – state.  It was annoying and embarrassing.  He was super jealous and was always questioning me.  Who was I with before him, does anyone talk to me, have I seen my ex.  It became overbearing and scary.

Then arguments in public started.  More hitting.  More excuses.  As I look back now I can clearly realize how the manipulation worked.  There was always a reason.  Always.

Fork in the Road

As I was saying, Guy #2 and I had dated for a year and a half.  We were very happy and very much in love.  We discussed future plans once I turned 18 and it didn’t look like there was anything that would come in the way of our happiness.  Except Guy #1.

One day, I’m at work and Guy #1 shows up and surprises me.  Out of nowhere.  Remember, hadn’t seen or heard from him in a year and a half.  So as a typical 17 year old would, I got all giddy and excited.  Especially since when I was kind of pursuing him he wasn’t really letting on that he liked me all that much.  Now he was back and he came looking for me.

He waited until I got out of work and walked me home.  I was excited but at the same time apprehensive because, after all, I had a boyfriend and was happy and in love.  Last thing I wanted was to be seen with Guy #1 and have people run and tell my boyfriend.  As we were walking, he was making his plea to me.  How he had gotten into trouble and went to live with his grandmother.  But now that he is back and has some perspective he wants to get back on the right track and wants me to be his girl.

Let me just say at 17 years old…all of us (speaking for the ladies) are fragile and want someone that likes us and wants to be with us.  Now I have the love of my life counting down the days until I’m 18 so that we can live happily ever after .. and here comes the guy I was crushing on looking for me telling me I’m the one for him.  WHAT???!!!

Who the hell can handle this?  Of course, that’s what my brain says as an adult.  It took me a long time to understand that I was thinking with a child’s mind and it’s no wonder I chose the way I did.  But back then…what a rush.  I was wanted.  By two men.  Who both said they loved me.  Now I had to decide – or did I?

I didn’t jump into a decision ( I thought about it all week).  I was really contemplating this.  Why was there a decision to be made anyway?  If I was happy where I was then why stray?  I guess to fulfill some teenage hormonal crush induced imaginary love.  If I stayed with my boyfriend would I always wonder if I made the right decision?  If I broke up with him I am going to crush him. After all, I have no valid reason.  There is nothing wrong in our relationship.  He always feared that Guy #1 would come back and split us up and no matter how many times I talked him out of that (because I didn’t believe it was true) here it was…happening.  My chest hurt and I was so sad knowing the pain I was going to cause.  At the same time, if I stayed I was scared I may be unfaithful.  I didn’t want that to be the case.  Just in writing this I can vividly recall the turmoil I was in.  What should I do?

Long story short…as you may have already realized, I broke up with Guy #2 and started dating Guy #1.  Somehow, even at the tender age of 17, I already knew this decision was going to shape the rest of my life.  Good or bad is what remained to be seen.

Here Goes Nothing

To those of you that decide to read this, let me start off by saying I am not literally “seeking”.  I mean…I am for all intents and purposes but not like “Desperately Seeking Susan” nor am I putting out a classified ad…asking anyone of you to provide me with a better life.  Although, maybe that shouldn’t be entirely off the table. 🙂

My purpose in blogging my story is because I have mentally and physically become so exhausted maybe this is the only way left for me to release my demons and get up the courage to move on.  With that being said – Here Goes Nothing…

As of today, I am 42 years old.  I have been married for 24 of those years.  That’s right, I was married at the beautifully young age of 18 years old.  Why?  Wait for it….yes, I was pregnant.  I mean back then…in the olden days of the 1980’s…it’s kinda what people did.  Somehow it was a better deal than being a single mother, labeled a slut, and being whispered about as you passed the older folk sitting on the benches.  Plus my parents weren’t extremely happy about my predicament so it really didn’t leave me much of a choice.  I got pregnant, moved out, and a few months later got married.

Let me back track for a minute.  Prior to getting pregnant, I had known my husband to be since 1985.  (Sorry, I have to do this in timeline fashion…keeps me on track.  For the younger readers, I know it seems like a life time ago but if you’re reading this you’re most likely going through the same situation and as you can see…times haven’t changed.)  As I was saying…I met this guy in 1985.  He was part of the neighborhood crowd that I associated with.  He was new to the neighborhood and I thought he was cute.  He also happened to be a “bad boy” which I didn’t fully understand at the time.  Didn’t even cross my mind to be honest.  Just happened to find out as time went on just how much of a bad boy he actually was.  For someone who thought they knew it all….boy, was I naive.

Back then, I had a decent figure and so I received quite a lot of attention.  When I met this guy he was somewhat shy and didn’t approach me in the same way and I think that’s pretty much what got me.  I thought, he really likes me.  As time went on, I noticed the more I pursued him and showed that I liked him the more he pushed me away and acted like he wasn’t interested.  So I left it alone.  In the meantime, in his world, he was getting into all sorts of trouble.  Being as he was 5 years older than me I knew his crowd but didn’t hang out with them due to the age difference.  Plus I was not allowed to be out past 9 o’clock at night.  Eventually, he got into enough trouble he had to leave the neighborhood.  I don’t think I fully understood what went on, I just knew he was not around anymore and wouldn’t be for the indefinite future.

I continued on with my 15 year old life.  School, friends, work, dating.  I lived in a close knit neighborhood and most all of the kids my age went to school together.  And everyone knew each other.  Even the older crowd knew the younger.  My father grew up in the same neighborhood so even the adults knew who I was and it was same for most of the adults that had lived there for years…they all knew each others kids and had no problem reprimanding you if they saw you were doing something that would get you into trouble.

The following summer (1986), I started hanging out a lot across the street from my building with the same group of kids I had been in school with since elementary.  One of the guys that lived in my friend’s building came over to me and we started talking.  His family knew my family but I didn’t really know him because he was 3 years older and I really hung with the kids my age.  Every time I’d be on the block he’d come over and talk to me.  We became friends.  He was great to talk to and a really good listener.  We ended up talking a lot about the husband to be (let’s call him Guy #1).  As the summer progressed, me and my new friend (we’ll call him Guy #2) started having feelings towards each other.  It was pretty noticeable and he was also pretty shy.  I kind of had to make the first move and drag it out of him that he liked me.  We kissed and a week later (after two months of talking) we were dating.  I will get back to Guy #2 in future blogs…but for now long story short…we dated for a year and a half.  We broke up because Guy #1 came back to the neighborhood.  Major fork in the road decision occurred.

To be continued…