Getting My Footing Right

So, I may or may not have mentioned about my previous boyfriend in the past posts. I honestly wanted to leave him out of this blog for the most part but in further thinking, I realized that’s impossible. He’s a major part of my story. But don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a post about how much I miss him or how I’m glad that he’s gone. It’s solely about how he helped shape me into the person that I’d always wanted to be.

As I said in the previous post, my sophomore year of high school was a rough one to say the least. This was the time when my mother had really become someone described as anything but a mother figure. I began my bad eating habits again, eating less than a whole meal a day. I stopped talking to everyone at school. I slimmed my friend group down to a solid three people. I had two best friends, Anna and Maddie, and my boyfriend Carl. I built a wall, around my heart. I only let people who proved my importance to me in. These were the three people that did. Of them all, Carl had my back the most. Maybe because we were dating, but he wouldn’t have stuck around for four years if he didn’t care. Yeah, plot twist, we broke up after four years. Everyone, including myself thought we were going to make it because we were so close.

We started dating when I was 15 years old, he was 17. He had a rough time with his family as did I. We could connect. We needed each other to keep sane, to rationalize what was happening in our lives. We cut the world out. Didn’t need anyone else. Didn’t want anyone else.

Carl was the one there when I broke down crying, when we found out my mother tried to kill herself the first time, and the time after that. He was the one there at three in the morning driving like a maniac looking for my lost mom. He was there all those nights my mom was drunk out of her mind, slurring horrible comments, threatening to “go”. He was there when the panic attacks were too much to bare. He was the one there when I went through the second divorce, and the move, and when my mom left me. Yeah, my mom ended up leaving me. That’s another post to come. But the point is, he was the one who had my back, no matter what shit my life had to offer. I could never thank him enough for keeping me…alive. I was eternally grateful and I was set on him.

So we started dating when I was 15, a few months into our relationship he got kicked out of his house. My family, being “normal” at this point let him in. He had his own room, on the first floor, wasn’t allowed on the second floor of the house, nothing shady about it. We tried to keep it quiet at school in hopes that nothing would come of it. That didn’t last long though, soon the story around school was that I was preggo, both our parents kicked us out, we were living in a hotel, trying to make ends meet. To make it worse, one of my “close friends” was the one who started it. This is the beginning of the building of the wall around my heart. Soon after he fixed things with his parents and after a short month or two living with us he was back with his family. Immediately after that is when my mom went down hill.

Long story short he had become my support system. We stayed together through a lot. Three years into our relationship Carl joined the army. The most difficult part of my journey by far. He was gone from all civilization for four months, only getting three phone calls the whole time. Sound kinda silly saying that it’s the most difficult part of my journey but he was my support system. He’s all I had.

When he left for basic training is when my mother had begun the process of leaving me. I only saw her like 3 days a week and she never wanted to be around me when I did see her. When he came back from basic my mom left. Not because of him, she loved him. She knew how much he made me happy. She just wanted to do her own thing, and not have to worry about me. And that’s what she did.

Just after she left, Carl moved in again. We became a family. I was still only 18 and he was 20. Even through all the shit I was in, life was good.

It didn’t stay like that for long after that though. A few months after living together he turned 21. Our whole relationship we had agreed that drinking wasn’t for us. We both had our own separate reasons. Independent reasons, not a choice made together. On his birthday he started drinking again. Just like my mother it started as a beer here and there. Slowly progressing to partying every night, not coming home, not caring about anything anymore. I get it, we are young, that’s what he wants to do. I can’t do that, for my own reasons.

We started fighting a lot. He stopped caring. He became someone I didn’t know. He became angry and distant, not the person I fell in love with four years before. I’m not a person to easily give up though. I put my all in it all the way til the end and even there after it. In the months leading up to the break-up my panic attacks got worse and worse. He didn’t care though. My only support system was falling out from under me, and I knew it. I didn’t know what to do. I just tried to mend what was broken and make do with the horrible relationship that I had entered. I made myself happy, even though I wasn’t.

Carl started using me and I never wanted to admit it. It’s still hard to admit right now but I know he did. He went three months without a job, and I was okay with it. I got paid every other Thursday at midnight, by Friday at 3 pm I had $2.11 to my name. Every week for those three months. He let me do that. He convinced me that he had to pay some bill and needed money. I pulled every cent from my savings account to pay these “bills” just to find out that he spent the money on beer the night before and we still had those actual bills to pay. Shitty. And he let me do that. And I let him. And I was okay with it.

How could MY support system do that to me? how could someone who loved me do that? How could the person who saw every bad thing that’s happened in my life do that to me? I had a promise ring. We talked about getting married. Was it a lie? I don’t know, I don’t care. All I know is I started to put my foot down. I said no to giving him money, I said no to all the stupid stuff he wanted me to do for him but he wouldn’t do in return. I said no to the one sided relationship. And so the fighting began. We became a couple I never thought we’d be. I prayed to not be attached anymore because I knew we weren’t going to work anymore.

We broke up. We actually broke up about four months ago. I thought I was gonna die. I didn’t think that I would physically and emotionally make it.

Though, somehow I found myself. I found who I needed to be. The real thing that got me through was my job at Chipotle Mexican Grill. I never knew how much a job, must less a restaurant job, could help me through such a hard time. It showed me how to open my heart, to let people in, to give the world a chance. I met people who became my family, when I had none. I found people who made me feel more important than I have ever felt in my whole life.

So where am I going with this?

Carl was my platform, my rock, my ground, when everything was crumbling under my feet. He held me up. But he couldn’t do it for me my whole life. I had to learn to stand on my own, be my own person. And I did just that. He might have been a big part of my life, and at one point I thought he was my life, but I’ve realized that he was only there to help build me into the person I wanted to be. He was just helping me get my footing right for what great things were to come. Life’s good, and without him I wouldn’t have been prepared to make it this far.

 

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The Incline

So, we have briefly talked about who I am, now I am going to just start with all the side stories of what made me who I am. In the previous post I wrote about how if my life was a roller coaster the second divorce was where I was reaching my drop. Let’s back up and learn some more details about this roller coaster.

My mother and father divorced when I was two years old. After the divorce everything was normal, I thought. I didn’t find out until later in life how not normal my life is. But, that too is a different story for a different time. Anyways, my mom remarried when I was five years old. At first I was totally fine with it. Though, as I grew older I became uneasy about the whole thing, mainly because I didn’t understand. My sister had a much harder time dealing with it, thus making me eager to be against it. Growing up, I played it off as though I hated life with my step-dad, when in all honesty, he was my father. I looked up to him as much as my real father. And looking back I honestly get pissed because the way I acted and the things that I said did not match up, and no one ever saw it. I guess I’ve always been a people person, doing little tests on people around me, seeing how they would respond, seeing what they could notice. I loved my step-dad. I still do. I never wanted them to get a divorce. But, starting my sophomore year of high school, everything changed.

My mom has always struggled with anxiety and depression. I never knew how bad it was until this time in my life. I never knew what it could do to someone, and especially the damage that it could do to the people around them. On top of the anxiety my mom started drinking. At first it was just a beer here and there. Then it went to every night, soon a six pack in an hour. It just progressed from there. At first it just made me uneasy. Then it became a problem. She started telling me I was a horrible child, that I caused her to act this way, that my father was a horrible person. She started telling me stories that someone should never tell their child. Claiming my father hired a hit-man to “take care of all of us”. My father has always been a huge part of my life. He’s been the single most reliable role-model I’ve ever had in my life. He’s got his life figured out, and not in a cookie cutter way. My dad has had the shit of the shit from life thrown at him and he has done nothing but kept his life pure and the way everyone would want their life to be. So when my mom started telling me this stuff about my father is when my anger really came out. All growing up I was known as the angry one in the family. I’ll admit, I was an angry child. I put a few holes in walls, busted my knuckles a few times, hit my sister a little harder than I should’ve. I’m not perfect. But when my mother started to change into someone I didn’t know I knew there was one of two ways I could handle the situation. I could get mad, which I really wanted to do. Or I could kill two birds with one stone. Prove to the world I wasn’t THAT angry of a person and become the person I’d always wanted to be.

So, I took the blows. I took them for a year. It hurt me, but I was fine, I thought. I’ve always struggled with eating disorders and I had finally overcome it when I went into high school. I went from eating a few gold fish crackers a day to eating my full three meals a day. Something I had become proud of. A few comments from my drunk mother about my image and there went that. I was quickly back in my old routines. This time was different though. I ended up in Vanderbilt. This is what started to open my eyes a little bit to what my future would hold. I knew I couldn’t live like I was, with my mom, but I still knew who I wanted to be. I didn’t want to go backwards and be that angry person I used to be. I had to think through my every action.

I tried to explain to my mom how she was affecting me. I tried so hard to be nice, knowing she was depressed. Nothing got through to her. Finally, something set me over the edge. Set me back to that old angry person I used to be. I went to school one day, normal, nothing new. My neighbor that I’ve known since I was 4 years old came up to me. We were never close growing up, kinda just a pass in the halls our whole life kinda friends. I feel like we honestly hated each other more than we liked each other. The point is, it was weird that he came up to me. At first it was a normal smart ass remark. I happily said one back. Then he got me. “I partied with your mom last night.” At first I thought it was one of those your mom jokes so I blew it off. Then he assured me he had pictures. Don’t worry, I called his bluff. Except, he wasn’t bluffing. There the evidence was, right before my eyes. My mom drinking with a 16 year old boy I’ve known my whole life. I was speechless. I called my boyfriend at the time and I left school that day. Just walked out.

This is where I start to blame myself for the divorce. I flipped my shit. Everyday. I couldn’t deal with it anymore. I did the only thing that I felt was left to do. I went to my step-dad, whom had stayed out of the crossfire for the most part. I cried to him, saying I couldn’t handle it. That it had to stop or I’d go. This is where he put his foot down. Their fighting got worse and worse and soon the blame was turned to me again. Remember how I said my whole life I claimed I didn’t like my step dad? Well, you guessed it. That was my mom’s biggest reasoning for the divorce. I’m somehow always the center of the problem, yeah?

Summer of my senior year my mom separated from my step-dad. We moved to a little apartment on the top of some ladies house and that’s where my wild journey began. Crazy right? That’s already a lot in itself I feel like. But that’s enough for today.