I started writing this the second week of August, things have progressed but before I fill you in on the progression I wanted to share this with you.
Today I write to you from my parents’ home, the home in which I grew up, the home that I have left and returned to too many times for my pride to survive, the home in which I told my parents that I was engaged. As I sit here on the bed that has been mine since I was a teenager there are also two other objects in the room staring me in the face; haunting me, mocking me, killing me. To my left is a crib. The crib is there for my niece; she is the first and only grandchild in our immediate family. She is almost 14 months and she is probably my favorite person in the entire world (my sister; a very close second). My niece being so wonderful is a blessing and curse for me; given my current state. Her crib; a constant reminder of what I do not have, what I want So Fucking Bad, and what I will not have anytime soon… a baby, it’s a baby that I want (if it was not clear). Why can’t I have a baby, you ask? That brings me to the second object in this room that is currently staring me in the face; haunting me, mocking me, killing me. It’s an obnoxiously pink Tommy Hilfiger suitcase in which I threw some clothes, make up, and hair products on this past Monday night when I finally decided that I had had enough. This suitcase was a gift that was given to me by my then boyfriend (turned fiancé, turned husband) on our first Christmas together when I was barely 6 months into being 21 and 6 months into our relationship. We went crazy that Christmas; spent obscene amounts of money on frivolous things for one another. The suitcase was for a vacation we were planning to take about 3 months later. This is the part where you expect me to say “sigh, those were the days when things were great… and then it went to shit.” But that is not the case here. It was shit. We fought ALL the fucking time. He was a drunk, irresponsible, inconsiderate, asshole. He would get beyond wasted almost every time we would “party” with friends which then entailed him embarrassing me in ways nobody should have to endure (example: telling me my hair looked bad loudly in front of friends and strangers, he didn’t like my shirt, hitting on other girls while I literally stood right next to him, and of course just being a drunk mess). This went on for about a year or maybe two. I would break up with him and go home and the next day he wouldn’t remember what had happened and I would be so worried about him I would just pretend nothing did happen. I never got one apology after one of these incidents… not a single fucking text message saying “M, I’m so sorry about embarrassing the fuck out of you in front of all of our friends, again, for the 1 millionth time. Thank you so much for putting up with my drunk-asshole-bullshit.” Let me clear this up – I never even got a simple “I’m sorry”. Finally, I had enough. I told him that I love him but the drinking needs to stop or I am gone. So, to my surprise, he stopped drinking. For a year. During The Year Of Sobriety we were wonderful, me and him. But, his friends fucking hated me with a passion. They thought I stole their friend away from them, broke up their group and they were horrible to me for the most part. All because he quit drinking. Assholes. (Eventually those assholes learned to love me, but during that time they were straight up assholes.)
Please keep in mind; while his friends were complete and utter assholes to me, he did not stick up for me. Not once. This should have been yet another red flag that this was not the right relationship for me. The thing was, at the time I was in my very early twenties which had followed a very tumultuous teenagerhood that left me weak, vulnerable, and with incredibly low self-esteem. I needed someone to love and more importantly someone who needed me. He certainly did. He had absolutely no one in his life that was stable enough to lean on. Although I was weak in some ways, I was strong in others. I am resilient, patient, and forgiving. These sound like positive qualities but sometimes they cause more damage than good. So, The Year Of Sobriety came and went and I was so in love with the man that quit drinking (for me? Possibly.) A few days after his sober anniversary his mother was getting remarried. During the wedding he gets up to make a speech; to everyone’s surprise. Next thing you know he is saying “I want to ask my girlfriend something… she’s put up with a lot of… crap from me…” and then he kneels down next to me. I go into full girl-getting-proposed-to-mode. Hands over my face, laughing, crying, hugging, putting that ring on my finger as fast as humanly possible. I even forgot to say “Yes”. When you’re a girl like me (or rather, the girl I was then) the second you get a ring on your finger is the second you feel that you are finally valid, you are loved, you are worth something. Before that, I felt that I was worth nothing. The proposal was not ideal, but it was nice… it always bothered me that he didn’t have anything better to say than “she put up with a lot of my crap”… like, really? Red flag #… I lost count.
So, I am 22 and engaged. I’m a hairdresser… at a fucking mall in New Hampshire. I’m working full time, and going to school at a community college 45 minutes away from home. I’m broke, he’s broke, we’re both still living with our parents and we’re planning a wedding. Smart. I look back at the girl I was then and it makes me sad. I’m sad for that girl and sad that I was that girl. I hated being a bride. And it’s not until now that I understand why. I hated it because I was not getting what I wanted deep down inside because I didn’t know myself enough at that time to even know what I wanted. Your wedding is supposed to scream – You. Like, you go to your friend’s wedding and you say “Oh, this is SO Jill!” or “Yeah, this is totally all Jack”… you know what I mean? My wedding had cool aspects but it did not come together the way I had dreamt it up in my head. If I were ever given the chance to do it over again, it would look very, very different. It was mediocre, fun, but mediocre. My life was mediocre and that began to weigh on me. I don’t fear a lot of things in life… I’ve made it a point not to be a person who is scared of things because I find it very unattractive and off putting in others. Like, when someone is like “Oh my god! There’s a spider in here?!?! Oh my God!! Oh MY God!!!”(queue the screaming and jumping.) It’s like, really? Get the fuck over it and move the fuck on. Anyway, the point is this: the thing I fear most in life is mediocrity. And as time went on from the moment we got engaged I started to change. I started to grow and learn and I really got to know myself and I started looking at my life and our relationship and realizing how unfulfilling, plain, and unbalanced it was. We did whatever HE wanted to do but when it came to the things I wanted to do it was “too much”. We were always hanging out with his friends, every holiday with his family, all our vacation time spent traveling to visit his family. Eventually, I got tired of it and asked if we could start spending more time with my people and doing my things. He said yes, he always says yes… but then it never actually happens. I have used the phrase “actions speak louder than words” on him more times than I can count. To this day it has not sunk in.
This past Thursday was our 4th wedding anniversary. He texted me in the morning and asked if it would be alright to call me that night, I said “yes, of course.” When he calls he wishes me a happy anniversary and I still am not quite sure how to take that or how I feel about that. We are separated, I am 90% sure that we are headed for the big ‘D’ and what? Wishing me a happy anniversary is going to fix it? I just don’t get what goes through his head. I know that he loves me but other than that I never understood that man. I tried but he never shares and he usually comes off as being aloof or rude. We continue to have a very awkward and meaningless conversation for a few minutes and then he asks if I will come over to our apartment and talk with him over the weekend; I agree. Now, when I told a couple people that I would be going over there they were sure that he was going to beg and plead for me to come back. I scoffed and said “Never.” I was right. We talked about a lot of things, I continued explaining why I think our marriage has failed and the reasons why we are not compatible. Then he says something that will always stick with me; this moment was profound; he said “Well, I just hope that you come back here after all of this”, he means that he hopes that I come back to our apartment and pick up our relationship where we left off. I was taken aback and told myself that this was my moment to be 100% honest with him, forget about his feelings and start to put my feelings and my well-being first. I asked him; “Why? Why would I come back here? What have you done that would make me come back?” and he just looked at me for a moment and then said “Well, I just hope you change your mind.” This sent me spinning in my mind; he still was not planning to do anything or say anything to try to get me to stay, he just fucking hoped that I would fucking change my mind on my own. Fuck that. That is not how a relationship works. It is two fucking sided, it takes work from both sides and it has NEVER fucking been that way with us. So, I looked at him, dead in the eyes, from across the room with my brand new tattoo on my back that I kept covered up so he couldn’t see it and I said “Just so you know I am applying for jobs in Chicago, North Carolina, Virginia, and Philadelphia. I am leaving here whether you come with me or not.” He looked a little shocked and then the subject changed and he was asking me what I wanted to take with me to my parents’ house and basically ushered me out the door.
It is over. I can’t even begin to tell you how many opportunities I had given this man to step up to the plate, how many second chances I have given, how many times I had forgiven him, how many times he had broken my heart. But, he did try. Once in a while he would really try and all though I usually had to throw a tantrum of some kind to get him to try I would hold on to that and he would always become a better person for trying and I would love him a little bit more but I would love myself a little bit less. I was always hiding myself from him. I hid that I wrote and that I wanted to go out and have fun, I hid my personality and my dreams because he didn’t like it when I showed these things, it irritated him. He loved me, loves me. I believe that but I know with everything in my mind, body, and soul that he will never love me the way I want and need to be loved. The big question now is will anybody love me that way?