Monday, October 4, 2010

Mistakes...I've had a few

If you would have told me that this time of year{10 years ago} that would change my life forever, I would have thought you pecans, almonds, pistachios in other words NUTS!
I was in an awful place. How I got there were by mistakes I made. Lessons I had to learn, manure to prime the soil, some nasty stank manure y'all!
I had just come home from Boston, where I was a nanny. A nanny for a woman that was stealing my money, and using me has her step-in 24/7. I learned that I could make it by myself. I learned that I really was a tough cookie, all I needed was some boundaries.
Just before I came home I had a conversation with my Mother that went something like this:
"How would you feel if Sherri moved in with us?"
Sherri, my older and yet far more irresponsible sister, whom when the divorce went down chose to live with our Dad because she could get away with all her lying, and partying. Where in our two-bedroom town home did she think she'd put her?
"I don't think I'd like that Mom. She chose to live with dad. If she's having problems with her boyfriend then she should go back to living at dad's. Besides we don't have the room."
" Well, I just feel..."
I listened. I felt bad for my mom, the position Sherri was putting her in, feeding on my mom's guilt. But I also know that Sherri never lived with her choices, she was always looking for someone to bail her out, so she would never have to take responsibility for her actions.
This conversation went on and on, for a few weeks, until I got off the plane and went home to see that Sherri had indeed moved in and was now sharing a room, dorm style with my mom. I was so upset, and I felt invisible. Nobody cared what I thought, my feelings didn't matter, not even in my home. It wasn't long before stuff started, and by stuff I mean bullying. Mom started dating, and well, we cramped her style. She began working Sherri to move out, who then worked me to move in with her.
What was I thinking? We had never in our entire lives gotten a long. But here I was desperately wanting the freedom I had had and the only way I saw to get it was to be with her... I had given her some of my information (SS#) and the like to put on a lease. Then I had a dose of reality and changed my mind. I did not want to live with her. I could deal with mom and her boy-friend, I could not deal with Sherri. We had a fight, she got mad that I wasn't giving into her and she darn near choked me. (That's what she did, she bullied. And when words didn't work she got physical) I was no longer the weak little girl who let people push her around, so I punched her in the face to get away. When my Mother came home I got in trouble. I got the blame and she was done with us; we were told to move out. I had no place to go, except my Dad's. Sherri got pregnant and Mom let her stay.

Sherri later "stole" my identity before there was such a thing. (another time for another story)

Living with Howie was hell. He was constantly yelling at you for one thing or another. You ate too much, you were never home for dinner. You looked like a slut, you dressed like a nun. You use too much water, you don't keep things clean. You could never win with this man. NOTHING, met his approval. Nothing. If I went out, he called me a slut. If I stayed home he called me a b**ch because nobody liked me. The end of that came when he started yelling at me, I left the room and went into my room. He opened the door and started yelling, I told him to get out, he wouldn't; telling me this was HIS house...I kept telling him I paid rent, I bought my own groceries, my own cleaning supplies, that this was at least MY room; when I went to close the door he punched me in the face; calling me an grateful little f*ck. (yep, from the mouth of my own father to my ears; and broken heart)
I was put in a tough spot.
Instead of following through with a commitment I made and hurting HIS reputation, I skipped an appearance that hurt my chances of doing something I had wanted to do. (too long of a story)
I am not a liar.
If I had went, questions would have been asked: "What happened to your face?"
I could not give the answer "My dad hit me."
Nobody would have believed Howie could have done that. He is such a wonderful guy...

{side note: people always think my Dad is this wonderful guy. When my mom and I started talking, really talking she told me she used to refer to him as 'Mr. Wonderful'. Because he had this persona, that everyone liked and he was nothing close to it.}

My priorities switched from going after something I wanted, to going after something I REALLY wanted. A place of my own.
I found a studio apartment. It was small, but it was all MINE. I loved it.
Not long after that I had started dating. I was introduced to a sweet guy through a friend. He was still in college and we would take turns visiting each other. I was the first girlfriend for him, he was my second. We enjoyed each other. I did not enjoy how close he was to his mother. It became harder and harder to be in a relationship with a guy who called his mom twice a day: first to ask what he should wear for this interview or that party and then an end of day wrap up that lasted anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours!
My lease was coming up for renewal and he was now out of school, we spent a lot of time at my place.

June 1999, I left my studio apartment to move in with a guy that I might be "the right one".  Living together would bring us closer together, he would finally cut the ties and depend on me instead; right?

We'd had been dating for three years now and decided to move in together. BIG MISTAKE. Neither one of us was ready. My stuff was my stuff and his stuff was his stuff and our stuff, well there wasn't anything ours except the spilt rent. He was lazy, in my opinion. He would go out after work and come home late almost morning, then he would sleep in late, be late for work and it would start all over again. I would come home for lunch and he'd still be in bed. It drove me crazy, how could I count on this guy to make my dreams come true if he had no dreams of his own?
I was 25. I thought I'd at least be planning my wedding by now.
His family; it seemed were on pins and needles, I was on pins and needles: Will he ask me the question?
At Christmas, there was this feeling, something big was coming. I opened my gifts and was so thankful for all the thoughtful things he had chosen for me. There was this moment, where I felt every one's eyes on me. He had been sitting on the floor in front of me, I was in a chair. I noticed he was looking at me. I noticed everyone was looking at me. My heart began to race. He slid a tiny gray box closer to me. I hadn't noticed he'd put it there on my other boxes, that I'd just finished opening, I hadn't cleared my lap. I looked at the box and then at him, he had this smile. Something paused in me, telling me not to open the box; like, what was is there was going to hurt me, not make me happy. There was this weight, this knowing I guess. Again he nudged the box toward me. The room was buzzing. I opened the box, and his grin got bigger. While he grinned and the room ooh and awed. My heart sank, it was not a diamond ring. Instead, it was a pair of tiny diamond earrings. He was so excited to have given me such an extravagant gift, and in front of his entire family no less. What a BIG guy he was!
For me it felt like a slap in the face. I didn't want earrings, sure they were diamonds and what girl wouldn't want diamonds? But I wanted to promise, I wanted the future. I wanted his undying love for ever and ever...
This was...this was what? Duck tape to a broken window. Ivory soap when you wanted Bath and Body works. Lee jeans when you wanted Jordache. It didn't endear me to him, in fact it shined a light on all the flaws. He wasn't a person I wanted to marry, I wasn't going to settle for earrings when I wanted the ring instead.
As time passed, I began to wonder where he thought this was going?
There came a conversation between us; I don't remember how it started or who started it; what I do remember are the words he spoke, not in anger or frustration, just a pure thought; that happened to be spoken out loud.
"I don't ever see us getting married."
If he had said this even a week before I would have chalked it up to lack of sleep, or disappointment in his job, or a million other things, but no truer words have been spoken by him. I think it was the first time I didn't fight back, yell, argue. The words sunk in like I had been dropped into a frozen lake and the cold stillness took me under. I raged in my own mind:
You think you'll find someone to deal with your shit?
You think you are better without me?
You will spend the rest of your days tied to your mommy's apron strings...
I wasted years on this...
How could I be so stupid?
Of course he wouldn't marry you! Who would?

It was ugly; on the inside. On the outside I was an iceberg.
Every thing I did was careful, I was plotting, cunning to leave his "stupid ass" out in the cold like he left me.
I had gotten another job, I would need it to pay all the rent.
I had gotten a cat, which he was allergic too and a much needed source of comfort for me.
Then one night I started the end. I told him I thought he should move out. There was nearly a year left on the least and I was not going to spend it co-habituating with a guy who couldn't see us being together. There was no more "free milk".
He was livid, fiery, physical. I always knew it could happen with him, but I'd never given him the ammunition. Now he had it. He pushed, I cried, He screamed, I screamed back, he realized we had a cat and then he walked out the door.
He came back very late, I pretended to be asleep. He crawled into bed and snuggled up to me, whispering he was sorry, wanting to take harsh words back, apologizing for "loosing his temper" and pushing me.
I was an iceberg.
When I knew he was asleep, I got up and removed the apartment keys from his key chain.
He would not be coming back into this place. I would not spend one more night with him in my bed.
I went to work, he went to work and I came home at lunch "sick".
I packed up his things and minutes before I knew he was to get home, I placed his things outside the front door to the building with a note.
I have your keys, I am going to keep the apartment. Goodbye.
Someone let him in, he kicked in the locked door and started screaming at me.
I had the phone in my hand, I had called his mother. Out of respect for her I had called her to tell her my plans, she did not like it. I told her how he had said he never saw us getting married and that I was done playing house. I also told her about how he lost his temper when I tried to tell him we couldn't live together anymore. She assured me he wouldn't hurt me and that she'd talk to him, could I please wait for the weekend and we could all come over there and talk about it. I told her sure. My resolve was set  I needed my life to start over, I could not take one more day of pretending with him, the pretending had already lasted years too long. I told her he was home, just before he kicked in the door.
She could here him screaming at me, I lifted the phone very slowly, he laughed at me and told me to go ahead call the cops...
I held the phone up and said "It's your mom."
He grabbed the phone and turned away from me.
I have know idea what was said, but it was all from her end. After a few moments he threw the phone down and left. I took a deep breath and watched as he drove away.
She called me later that night to see if I was okay. I told her I did not want him back here and if he came I would call the police. She asked if she could come and see me. I told her sure, but only her, if she brought him they would not be let in.
I waited for her. She came, she embraced me, she looked at the door and was visually upset by it. We talked about what happened, she told me he was upset and hurt and remorseful.
I was an iceberg.
When things weren't turning his way, she politely asked for his half of the rent that was just paid the week before. I politely declined saying, I wouldn't receive my first check from my second job until the last week of the month and I would need that for the next month's rent.
Her lips pursed, she asked if he could just stay until the end of the month, so he could collect his things.
I again politely declined and told her I had already boxed up his things, the furniture, the bed, the dishes, everything was mine. I could tell she wasn't liking my attitude.
I reminded her that I was afraid of him now, that he kicked the door in, would she really want us together knowing that he could hurt me?
She denied that he would ever...of course.
She told me she was disappointed in me, for taking his money...that maybe we both should walk away from the lease...
I told her I looked into it already and we would both have to pay the remaining rent on the lease (9months) and that he would most certainly get help from them, and I would be stuck paying my share with no place to live and no money to get a new place; taking one months rent from him was small in comparison to 9 months worth. She knew I had a point.
She glanced at me, I hadn't known what the look was until she asked me:
"Will you give him back the earrings?"

I gave him my whole heart and all I got from him was a showy moment and some damn earrings that he now wanted back??? Do I get these pieces of my heart back? Do I get these wasted years back? If all I have that shines out of this are those stinkin' earrings, I'm sorry but he doesn't get that back. I'm taking the shine. For once I'm not taking the empty.
I literally didn't know what to say. Those earrings summed up our relationship, and she was asking for them back. He was asking for them back. He was wanting to strip all meaning, all worth away from me.
I politely declined. They were a gift. I would never ask for his fishing pole, or rollerblades or leather jacket back. (All gifts from me.)
She was unsettled by this, explained they were worth much more then those things and that he spent...
 I stopped her. I choked out words I never wanted to.
"Do I get my investment back too?"
I don't think she ever saw me as someone meant for her son, but in that moment I think she finally realized that I had already given her son everything I had and I would not be giving anymore.
She asked if there was anything she could do.
I said no.
She asked if there was any way we could all talk about this.
I said no.
She asked me if I ever wanted to speak to him again.
I cried, and said no.
She left. I cried. I was an iceberg.
I started doing things I would never have done before.
I went out drinking with "new" friends. I got a tattoo. I dated guys older, younger, everything in between just to date the wrong, because what I thought was right wasn't right and if I was going to be wrong, it was going to be obvious to me.
I dated a married guy, this is not a piece I am proud of and to my defense he told me they were divorcing. Brian, told me everything you'd want to hear. We woo~ed me. I had never been woo~ed before. It was the first time I ever felt adult; felt like relationships were more then a flutter or rush, there was planning involved, real things like rent and bills, that you were suppose to make plans together, not side by side. Then he got crazy. He would stop taking my calls, when two days prior he would call me four or five times a day. I caught him lying, when I confronted him about his "divorce" he said they were working these out. I stopped seeing him the moment I realized he had lied to me. This part of my history hurts, I was foolish, naive and sinful. And it all came from a place of loneliness. Not having Christ in my life.
I continued to date, the next one was a man, Chris, who talked about someday getting married, finding the right girl and having children. It was intoxicating, having someone looking for the exact same thing I was. Only, he wasn't the guy I was looking for. This began with him chasing me, I wasn't really interested. I knew he'd had a girlfriend. He was not one to take no for an answer. Friends began pitching for him. He sent flowers. (Nobody had done that before!) He woo~ed me with actions not words. Brian and my family taught me words can be lies. Actions however that match the words... I agreed to go on a date. He took me out on a lake jet skiing. He had a career, he had a house. He was a man, not a boy just becoming a man. I soon would learn that he wasn't much of a man, but more of a snake. Once he had me hooked, he kicked his girlfriend of 3 years out,( I had know idea she had still been in the picture, I was told it ended before the woo~ing started. By him and the "friends")  he worked and worked and worked to be intimate with me. I was determined not to jump in so quickly, surely if he was "right" then waiting wouldn't be a big deal. He told me that was fine, he respected me. Blah blah blah.
I found out he went out with several other girls, who would~yeah know.
There was a birthday party coming up, for on of those friends, he told me he would be out of town, but I should go anyway. I went, was having a good time, until he walked in with this other girl, whom he had known longer then just meeting her...everyone acted like they'd seen her before, I was the only one who thought it strange. And then I didn't. He had been cheating, and I was the last to know. My insides wanted to cause a seen, she was everything I was not: tall, blond, barbie~like. People laughed when she spoke...I thought if she wants to be with a guy like that, well who was I to stop her. I am thankful to certain friends that helped me through that day. They saw it unfold and even though they didn't agree, they weren't going to make a big deal.
I was once again all alone; left to deal with disappointment and cruelty. Disrespected, sad and stupid.
I always knew Chris wasn't my Mr. Right. Other wise I would have jumped all in. But what I learned from him was that I needed boundaries, expectations, qualities in a person that I would not settle less for. No matter how well they chased, or said the right things or how gorgeous the smile was.
I decided I wasn't going to date. I would work on finding what made me happy without that being a guy.
Somehow, somewhere the seed had started to take root...
My family life was spinning out of control. I had surgery on my foot and had moved in with my Mom. It was the last thing either of us wanted. She drove me crazy, with her rules. I was an adult now and if I didn't want to clean up my room, I wasn't going to. I tried to only come home to sleep. It was around this time I started questioning her desire to even have been a mother. We had an awful confrontation. I said some very hurtful things, but things that my soul needed to get out. I needed answers.
Though this is another area that I am not proud of, had we not had this fight I don't believe our relationship would be where it is today.
It is good. She talks to me, like an adult. She answers my questions and doesn't try to "protect" me from the answers. She shares some of her secrets with me, which I love. See; I could never really love her, I didn't know who she was. I only knew the way she acted around me. She was cold, distant. I now know that was her protection, not from me, but from the cruelness of her world. Mother does not know Christ's love first hand, I am working on that. Step by step. You could pray for her, that the seeds take root.
Our fight led to my decision to change my name. I didn't want to be a Register anymore. I wanted to be my own person. I hated the family I came from. None of them seemed to care about me, they were all too selfish in their own lives. I wanted to be made new...there is only one way to do that and I was on my way to learning exactly how that was done.
Change was coming, a big change.

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