The support I’ve received since starting this blog has been amazing and phenomenal. It’s been inspiring and it’s been encouraging. But it’s also led to painful discoveries. People’s stories I never expected to hear and apologies from those who knew me, but never KNEW me. All of these things are a blessing. It may hurt to know that some people did, indeed, judge me, but I know that they are amazing and compassionate people who love whole heartedly and who should never feel guilty for being human. I hurts to know that someone else was abused by someone who abused me and that I never knew. It hurts to know that I never did anything that would have stopped it from happening to someone else. It hurts to know that although I’ve gone through ALL of this bullshit, there are people who I hurt that didn’t deserve to be hurt; who were essentially paying for the abuse I had endured. My need to apologize to them is overwhelming. I love the support and the encouragement I hear daily, but I really really love knowing that my words are touching people. These amazing people are coming and telling raw stories, and opening themselves up to me. Thank you. I love you.
I never knew when we arrived in New York that there’d be people in my life that I would one day look back on and feel complete gratitude and love for. People who contributed to saving my life in many ways. When we got to New York I was so angry and so destroyed. The experience was new and raw because it had just happened. Not only the trauma I'd endured with Angelo, but I'd been ripped away from every bit of my family, friends and everything I'd ever known. I wanted to go back to the only place I’d ever lived, the only people that had loved me unconditionally. Yet here I was stuck in this god awful hick county and I knew NO ONE.
We arrived in Jamestown New York August 18th 2004, and it was cold in comparison to what Maryland feels like that time of year. There were hills and trees and it was magnificently quiet. Deafeningly quiet compared to DC. The people in the tiny little airport were sweet and hospitable. I stepped off the plane, walked out of the airport and sat on the curb outside and cried. I wanted to scream and stomp and throw a god awful fit. I wanted to just go home.
I was stuck and I was pissed.
We spent the first few days in a hotel in Jamestown and we were enchanted (I pretended not to be) by the small town beauty and the awesome Lucille Ball memorabilia everywhere (her birthplace!!) Within a few days a realtor got in touch with us and took us to a sweet little cottage on the lake that we’d rent for a few weeks until another house became available. It was a 2 bedroom house overlooking Lake Chautauqua and it was so cute. I’ve told my husband many years since that someday I want to buy it as our summer home. It’s situated right in front of the lake on a hill so when you look off the balcony you see right over the roof of the house across the street. Right in front of you is the water. The sunset was amazing, the orange glistening off the lake, the birds everywhere. The air smelt amazing. The little bar almost right next door and the park just a small walk.
And I HATED IT ALL!!!!
Not really, that’s a lie, I knew it then and I especially know it now. I was miserable and I wanted everyone to be miserable with me. I didn’t want to be there. I was terrified. I’d never been out of my element and I’d never not had control over my ability to meet people and make friends. Now I was alone with the one person in the world who made me feel unwanted and an inconvenience. To top it all off my siblings were there hating me and blaming me for taking them from their home, since leaving was 'to protect me.' In their simple childish eyes it was my fault. In my eyes it was my fault.
A few weeks after arriving and relocating to a different house it was time to start school. I don’t know if it has occurred to my readers or not, but in all the 9 months total that I was out on the track and the months before then that I was consistently doing drugs. I never attended school. I stopped going to school about half way through my 8th grade year. I didn't have to go, why would I? No one cared to make me go. It wasn't an issue to my mother or anyone else, why would I believe that it was so incredibly important? I didn't. I was starting at this new school in New York in what should have been my Sophomore year. There was a day a few weeks before school started that my mother and I had to go to the school to meet with the principal, the guidance counselor and a few others. We sat around a long oval table and discussed my absence from school, the “Swiss cheese” holes in my education and most importantly, how my behavior would NOT be tolerated at THEIR school. And they fucking wonder why I hated every adult I came in contact with. Seriously?? They also reminded me that my “behavior” would be known by all, because there are no secrets in a small town. It was clearly put that the Swiss cheese was my doing. There couldn't have been any OTHER underlying problems or perhaps no one to ensure that I had gotten that necessary education. Looking back all I can’t think is “Gee thanks bitch, as if I don’t feel like shit already, thank you for shoving in my face what a whore I am ;)”.
So, my freshman year began... and it was terrifying... and it was miserable… and then on my first day of school I met 2 of the greatest people I’ll ever know. My two best friends in this world: Andrew and Kristen. They both saved my life more times than I think either ever realized until now. I love them so much and it’s hard to imagine that on the day I met them both I had no idea who they’d become to me or how big they’d be in my life.
One became my best friend; she supported and loved me through all my years after. She brought me into her beautiful, loving compassionate family who loved me without judgement. She has been my rock and my hero for so many years that imagining life without her is impossible. Even when we’re thousands of miles apart and both invested in our families.
The other became my other best friend, he became my husband and the father to my children. He was my best friend through my bad relationships, my drunk nights and my crazy moments. And I was always too blind to see the love of my life standing right before me, patiently waiting for me to wake up. If I’d known then what I know now, I could have saved myself a lot of bullshit and pain in the years that followed. Wisdom tells me that it took all that for me to truly appreciate the amazing man my husband is and how much I love and adore him.