(continued from last nights blog)… I slept eyes wide open, but the mattress was too kind and after soaking half of my pillow with tears and flipping it to the other side, I must have drifted off because I woke up to the sun blaring in my eyes. Thinking what a bad nights sleep that was, I then instantly remembered. I remembered picking up the phone, so happy, no more than 24 hours ago, that summers afternoon, just getting home from work and taking a fresh shower and slipping into a sundress – I had just finished spritzing on my perfume, when I picked up the phone – and Joey told me that he wasn’t coming home – that he needed a break.

Sitting up and looking over at the clock, 6:25 AM. I had slept for less than three hours. My pillow was still wet and then I realized that what I thought had been a bad nights sleep, was reality. It was my reality. I had fallen asleep in my sundress. I didn’t want get out of bed and so I laid back down, feeling dizzy. I turned to the right and I grabbed the pillow that Joey would have been sleeping on and I embraced it so tightly. I was curled in a fetal position on my bed. I had just turned 30 years old and I knew that I had been through the ringer too many times. At that point, in that moment, I was damaged goods and I knew it. I knew that I was two steps away from selling my soul to the devil to get rid of the pain that I was feeling in that moment or that I was going to be on my way to sainthood by trying to get through this – because I could no longer take what God was dealing to me in my life. I couldn’t do it anymore and every time I would say I couldn’t do it – I knew that I was going to keep moving forward – but this time – this time – I was a different kind of tired. I thought about my kids and I thought about how I really probably wasn’t being the best kind of mother that I could’ve been because in reality, sometimes I felt like that little girl standing in front of my bed when I was seven trying to change the channel in my head to make everything stop. To make the screaming and yelling of my parents stop. To stop the sounds of the things being thrown in the kitchen, to wanting to hear and praying for tornadoes to go through because there was a cyclone in my life every day and there was never a time of peace and here I was 23 years later, I still had no peace. I was still struggling. I was still suffering. I was still waiting on that promise that God showed me when I was 17 years old. I wanted to call out to God in that moment, “Where are You? Are You really real? Have I been taken for? Are You a fantasy God? Are You someone that just makes people feel better, to get through a bad day like my bad day right now?” I wanted to ask Him all of those questions, but I didn’t want Him to answer me because I didn’t want to hear the truth. Because every time that I did pray for an answer, I got it and He was always right and I knew what He would tell me to do in that moment and I didn’t want to do it. I reasoned with myself that He lied to me again. He let me down again. I’m here again crouched, crying again God. Will it never stop God? It will never stop, right God? When is it ever going to stop? Because how much more God? How much more?! I was so angry with God. I was so angry with Him! I was alone again. I was alone. I was alone because I wanted to be alone and I cried so badly because the pain was too much. I could smell his aftershave on the pillow and I embraced it because I was so confused because I didn’t understand what was going on. The man that had just made love to me that morning and as we kissed each other goodbye he said that he would see me that afternoon for a dinner that we had planned while his mother was going to take the kids for us.

For 13 years, I awoke and fell asleep next to my husband. But this morning, this morning I was waking up to a new reality I did not think I would ever experience. When Joey and I first met, we spoke about our lives. He told me about his life and I told him very little about mine. The only thing I told him was about my father and mother, explaining to him that my fathers extramarital affair did irreversible damage to my mother, when what I wanted to really tell him was that while it did irreversible damage to her, it’s damage to me was beyond my own comprehension.

I would’ve rather my mother been suffocating me again, causing me to die than to have lived through an affair. You see I was that woman who just would make everything work. It didn’t matter what it was – give me a challenge and watch me rise to the top. I was the woman that would wear white gloves while putting Ketchup on a burger. I would just make it work, and I was truly flawless every time. As a child, when your innocence is taken away from you, again, and again, and again, in every kind of abuse that a child can endure, you learn construction in destruction, you learn to build your foundations out of tungsten. But this time, this morning, I didn’t have the welts from my mothers beating from the night before. No. I didn’t have anything to feel and that was the scariest thing to me in the world because I was left with my rawness. I was left with the truth that I gave a man 13 years of my life and during those 13 years of our life, there was more chaos than there was peace. Our first date did not work out as Joey had to work late that evening and no call to tell me that he could not make it. Our second date would not be because his parents had taken away his car from him and he wasn’t allowed out – no call and the third date, I believe that he knew that he was about to lose me and I believe I learned something about myself that day as well too.

I had just turned 17 years old. We were working together for several weeks but never spoke to each other. One of his friends came up to me one day and told me that there was a guy who was interested in me and was wondering if I was dating anyone.

I wanted to laugh and tell him to tell Joey that I was only steps away from entering into a Convent, but I didn’t say that, because I remembered sitting in that first pew and talking to God and understanding that I was going to marry and that I was going to have children and that I was not going to have what I wanted but I was going to have what He needed me to have. I also understood that the choice would be mine to either decide to walk with God or to go down my own path and while the rebellion in me walked away from God – it seems – 1000 times – down my own path …He would never leave me. I tried to run from Him. Every time I ran from Him, I ended up at the front door, to only open it – and to see Him standing in my doorway. I could never escape God. He was always Present. Always right there. I always felt His Presence. I could shun Him and He just would not leave me and I felt angry in that moment, lying in that bed, I felt angry that He was there because I didn’t understand how can you love someone so much and see them go through so much hurt and not try to stop it. It was nonsensical. God knows that I am His feisty daughter and He knows that I fight Him on everything and then He knows I love Him like anything and He knows I would go to each corner of the earth and slay every demon for Him, and we have always had that kind of a relationship. The broken girl in love with Jesus. The Love of her life, hanging on a Crucifix, just as bloodied and broken as she was. My Bloodied King with The Crown of Jewels, shining so brightly, reflecting what is to come, cover me, complete me.

Jesus is the only Man that can break me and hurt me so badly with a clear understanding that pain is part of breaking myself of my own will – to conform to His.

I got out of bed and went into the bathroom. Looking at myself in the mirror, the eyes that were in the mirror were reflecting a woman’s soul that was nonexistent.

I started having flashbacks when I was in high school and being judged by girls who didn’t even know me. I was being judged because of the way that I looked. Because of the way that God made me. I never understood that. How can another woman judge another woman by the way that she looks and they don’t even know who she is? Because she put some make up on and she dresses nice? When was that ever a crime? And so I suffered in every area of my life because when I tried to have friends all was well until their boyfriend would meet me and I was always respectful. I wasn’t stupid, I knew what I was dealing with. I grew up with a mother that lived it and dealt with the same exact thing but she took it to the extreme wrong while I took it to the other extreme trying to avoid any of my friends boyfriends and sometimes it would work out, and sometimes it would not. And when it would work out it would be great and when it was bad, it was bad. I was in high school one day, walking with my friend and I hear coming from behind me “You’re a disease, Brian.” I turned around to look and this girl was making a scene because her boyfriend was staring at me with his friends and he turned around and told her, “and she’s my cure.” So even though I did nothing to provoke – I couldn’t have friends because even that was tainted by who people thought I was.

At the age of 13, a man who was 21 took my innocence away while he held a butcher knife to my neck and I have to wonder if it was part of a generational curse because the same exact thing happened to my mother at the same age but she ended up pregnant and having a child and then giving the child up for adoption. I did not become pregnant, but what would follow for years to come would be difficult.  The person who did this to me was brought to justice.

My mother taught me about being a lady, but she never taught me how to protect myself, how to look out for certain signs and my father did not either. I was left alone to figure those things out on my own. I trusted too easily. This man who did this would tell me that he didn’t believe that I was that young because I was too beautiful to be only 13, but I was only 13 and I was always told since I was young that I looked older than I was as a teenager and as I’m older – looking younger than I am as an adult. The same thing that my mother dealt with. I couldn’t escape anything in life it seemed because I looked like my mother, I was abused by my mother, I was abused by my mother up until the day that she passed away. My mother taught me without telling me how a young girl was really supposed to be. And I learned it by watching every single thing that she did and I made sure to do the opposite of that. I was 11 years old, in the McDonald’s parking lot with my mother. We had just finished playing with the balls inside of the McDonald’s little gym area. I was so happy to have my happy meal cheeseburger and my favorite thing in the meal that day was A little pony and I knew I was going to be adding that pony to the corral with the rest of my other pony’s.

All of my Chapstick was taken off by my cheeseburger happy meal. And so before I got into the car with my mother, I took out my cherry Chapstick and my strawberry shortcake mirror and I began to put my Chapstick on as I was looking in the mirror. As I was done, I looked up and I saw my mother looking at me and she was smiling. I wasn’t too much shorter than my mother but she was still taller than me so she was looking into my eyes and smiling. And I knew that smile because that was an admiration smile that I would only see once in a while and that was when she was looking at something that she was happy with. “Honey, look over there. “Mom said. I raised my eyes to see what Mom was looking at and mom was looking at two men that were outside of a truck. I looked and they looked like my dad’s age. I looked back at my mom and was quizzical and she said, “Honey, they are looking at you because you’re putting on your Chapstick, they like that.” I was 11 and I knew that what she was saying was not right because those men looked the age of my dad and I looked at my mother with caring eyes because I was already in the stage of protecting her, as I had seen her go through several bipolar episodes and I understood at the age of 11 to not take account of what it is that she was saying.

From that moment on, something in me changed to be sure that I would always dress as conservatively as I could. I was in the fifth grade, Mrs. Netos class and I used to get to school early so I could help the teacher get the class work assignments ready. I absolutely loved being in the classroom and being with my teacher and helping her to get everything prepped for the day. And she was so kind to me and she had so much patience for me. And I remember the people in my life that had patience for me. I remember when times got hard with my mother she was one of the teachers that I was able to confide in and I remember she was the only teacher that I was able to cry in front of. For me to cry in front of somebody, it was a vulnerability to me and I either crucified myself afterwards for being vulnerable or I thanked God that He allowed me to be vulnerable in that moment but it was always black-and-white, there was no gray area. I either trusted or I didn’t.

As the students walked into the classroom, my back was turned and I was standing in front of the taupe tall steel cabinet. I was sorting the paperwork to get them stapled and I heard one of my friends say, “Is that a substitute teacher?” I was not a substitute teacher but they thought I was because of the way that I dressed. After that incident happened with my mother I made decisions to do everything to not be anything like her -especially when I knew that what she was doing was wrong. When I heard my friends say that, in my heart, I had already known that I wanted to be a teacher from a young age. To be able to teach somebody something they never knew before, whether that be a skill, or a poem, or if somebody just needed to know their worth, I was there, because I had a storehouse of love to give and I had a shipyards storage for everybody’s grievances so I would give and then take. I would give and then I would take and I would walk away always taking something from them and carrying it with me to lighten their load.

I could never lighten my own load in life. And I was faced with this reality.

I walked back into the bedroom and opened up Joey’s bureau drawer and under his socks I found a card for a divorce lawyer.

…. to be continued.

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