I want to share a memory that is one that I will never forget. I forget a lot of things, some important, some not so much. I just don’t have a good memory. Some things stick in my mind vividly and some are amazing and some are, like, why do I even remember that?! Anyway, here is a memory I am going to share.
I have had many relationships. I had long relationships at a young age. For example, when I was 15 I had an on again, off again relationship for over a year with a boy that was 18 and he would break up with me to be with other girls that would give it up to him then he would come back to me because I was stupid and young and too nice. Then, when I was 16 I was with a guy for over a year and then he broke up with me just to begin stalking me by leaving chocolates in my mailbox and flowers on the seat of my car almost every day before school. Creepy. At 17 I dated a 21 year old just to find out two months later that I wasn’t his girlfriend after all, I was his chick on the side. His girlfriend found out about me, and so did I apparently, and she cussed me out on the phone talking about that is her man and stay away from him. I couldn’t care less. I didn’t want him after I found that out. At 18 I dated a 15 year old, which sounds gross and weird but at that time I guess it wasn’t. We dated for over a year until he got shipped off to juvenile hall because he threatened he was going to kill his mother.
When I was 19 I met a guy from an internet chat room, which was foreign in 1999, and we hit it off. We were from the same town and we dated on again, off again for 5 years. The first three years were a mixture of him cheating on me, us breaking up and getting back together, lots of traveling around, weed, alcohol, and partying. Three years into the relationship, while we were on a break and seeing other people, he got his third DUI at the age of 26. He went to jail for 6 months. Guess who he called? Guess who he wrote? Guess who visited him every weekend? Me. All the other girls he was talking to disappeared. I told him that I will be there for him, but I am not his girlfriend since he is just telling me what I want to hear right now since he is lonely in jail. We will see what happens when he gets out. After those 6 months were up he was transferred to a rehab facility two hours away from me. I continued to visit him every weekend and write to him. When he graduated from rehab, guess who let him move in? Me. After living together for about a year and a half I broke up with him. I realized that now that he was more grounded, he was rather boring for me. I was around 24 years old.
A few months later, I started hanging with a group of friends who would party all the time. We were taking trips to the Bay Area to run around having fun every weekend. I was introduced to a mutual friend and we hit it off. Mainly because he had really good weed and I was bored and he seemed interesting. After one month, he moved in with me. I really should have gotten to know him better, but alas. When he moved in it was fun for about a month, then he became very controlling, paranoid, and cruel. I had been in a physically abusive relationship before, but it was just once with the 15 year old when I was 18. He was more verbally abusive.
This new relationship started with small things like pinching my thighs while I was driving. I started to notice that I would always have bruises on my thighs. Before one could fade another one would appear and I do not bruise easily and I have a high tolerance for pain. Not only would he hurt me physically but he would also hurt me emotionally, spiritually, and any other way you can hurt someone. I was scared of him but I was also scared he would leave me. It sounds so stupid and embarrassing now, but then it made complete sense. He wanted me to spend all my time with him. I remember one time my sister showed up to hang out and go get some lunch together and he let my dog out two or three times so I couldn’t leave. I had to keep getting out of my sister’s car to get my dog back into the house.
Slowly, over the course of a year or so, he got it to where I wouldn’t do my makeup or brush my hair or shave my legs. If I did, he would say who are you doing that for? He would get paranoid and think I was cheating on him. He didn’t have a job. I worked all day. I decided to go to college at the age of 25. He didn’t believe that was what I was doing so he came with me when I signed up. Then, he decided to sign up as well. Two quarters into going to school together he dropped out and admitted to me that he only signed up because he thought I was going to cheat on him while I was going to school. His mother paid $9,000.00 for this. She always bailed him out and enabled his horrible behavior.
When I was 26, I found out that I was pregnant with his baby. We weren’t happy or sad. We were just not really thinking about it besides going to the prenatal appointments at the clinic. By now, I had switched jobs, but I was still going to school and we were still living in the same crappy place. Around 13 weeks, I had a miscarriage. Again, we weren’t happy or sad, just not really thinking about it. I have to say, at that time, I was a bit relieved and we went home right after my D&C procedure and smoked a joint.
Six months later, I was pregnant…with Abigail. This time, I was excited. I am not sure what happened in those six months, I really don’t remember, but something must’ve changed. Maybe this was when I started going to church again or spending time with family more. No idea. But something changed because I was excited to be pregnant. I was nervous I may miscarry again. I was scared I would do all this for nothing again. Miscarriages are painful because your body is in labor unexpectedly. He was not happy. He begged me to get an abortion, on more than one occasion. He even rallied our friends to try and talk me into aborting the baby. I told them all NO. I am not even thinking about it.
Okay, finally time for the initial memory that inspired me to write this blog, if you are still reading.
Around 3 months pregnant, my mom asked me to go to WEAVE with her. WEAVE is Women Escaping a Violent Environment. I remember we went out to eat breakfast first, then we went to WEAVE. I remember sitting and not speaking, just listening, which I rarely do. I listened to all these other women (and a couple men) speaking in turns about their personal experiences with violent and abusive relationships. I remember there was one woman who was in her fifties or sixties and she was with her abuser for years and years and years. They talked about how sometimes men keep a women pregnant and having many children since that keeps her from being able to leave. It makes it more difficult. Women feel like they can’t leave because who would want them with all these kids? How would they support all these kids? It was very sad listening to how many years these women lived like this. I felt motivated to possibly leave, but was still not 100% sure I wanted to, because I still saw a glimmer of hope and I thought I could change him. I kept focusing on the good in him, that little tiny bit of good.
I went back home to my abuser, the father of my child I was carrying. I told him that I was going to leave. I showed him the papers I had received and all the reasons why this would be best for both of us. I tried talking to him logically and letting him know what I learned about co-dependency and toxic relationships. I don’t remember what happened next, but I was thrown off the couch onto the floor. I got up slowly and he grabbed my rolling backpack and picked it up and swung it at me, hitting me. It broke the handle off the backpack so it was a long handle made of metal and plastic. He hovered over me and I really thought he was going to stab me with it. He said “Call me a pussy again!” See. I remember that, but I don’t remember saying that to him. Maybe I did. Either way, doesn’t mean it is okay to do what he did. Of all the times he hurt me over that year or two, this time was different. He was hurting my baby. That was the first time I felt the mama bear in me come out. I don’t remember fighting back or what happened next, but I do know that at 4 months pregnant I moved out. He wasn’t on my lease and he wasn’t going to be allowed at my next place.
My family helped me move, again. My mom let him know he isn’t allowed here. I made this big step from an abusive relationship to being alone, but with my baby. I had a lot of overwhelming feelings at that time, but I don’t remember feeling strong at all. I feel like I have so much more details and thoughts and feelings about what happened next and Abigail’s birth and everything was wonderful and where we are today and how far we have come and so much to say….but my thoughts are jumbled right now so I will end here.