As I sit here daily and think about what my next post will consist of, I struggle with the idea that it’s going to be dry, boring, and sound like a time line….and essentially that’s exactly what I’m coming up with these days. And I feel guilty, because I know my readers are expecting to read something interesting, and as time goes on, all I have to give them from here on out is a few years of my life that were boring and sad. Eventually we’ll get to my marriage, and that will entertain you for some time, that of course being what I’m willing to share, and then we’ll eventually just get to me, who I am today. And my life is most definitely not “exciting” anymore. Sure, this blog, my status as a survivor and my connections have all given the opportunity recently for some REALLY awesome things such as the magazine articles, but they aren’t what my whole life is about. I really am a mommy, a wife, a student, a friend, and soon, a working mommy.
It’s very recently that I’ve began discovering how my experiences of being exploited have affected me even now. I realized that my issues with looking people in the eye, most especially men, come from what I was taught on the track. I realize I have an issue looking at men and immediately wanting to put them in the category of “john” or “pimp”. And it really bothers me, because I know not every man I see in a business suit is going to have a history of paying girls for sex, but somewhere inside of me, I can’t help but wonder, and then feel very sick and “turned” off by them. And it’s not ALL men, which may be worse, because I find myself judging a man based entirely on how he’s dressed and how he carries himself. I never realized I had these issues until I started doing all these interviews and being asked these specific questions.
And those questions have led me to wonder other things about myself. Does or has my past, ever effected my sexual relationships since? I don’t think so, I think that sexually, I’m healthy and I don’t believe that the experiences I went through affected me in that way.
This also leads me to wonder how it’s affected my relationships as a whole. Until my marriage, I went through pretty shitty relationships, and even before that, I continued to happily sleep around without a conscience. I think what makes my marriage different from my previous relationships is that my husband was really and truly one of my two best friends at the time, and him knowing the truth about my past, and still loving me allowed me to open up to him and trust him completely. I don’t regret my prior relationships before my marriage. I do however regret how some of them ended, but knowing that it’s impossible to go back and change those makes me realize I can only endeavor to continue down the path of being honest and truthful, and believe Karma and/or goodwill will prevail and allow me to live a good, happy and whole life.
Now to back track in time, I’m going back to when I arrived back in New York from Maryland in 2006, after my four months spent in Maryland. It was February and it was, of course, very cold. As I stated in my last post, I almost immediately called Keith and told him I was home, and almost immediately, despite what we’d both done during the time we were separated, we pretty much picked up right where we’d left off.
We moved back into Keith’s grandparent’s home, and not the trailer we’d previously been in, mostly because it was so damn cold and there was no consistent or reliable heat source, and we were just too broke to provide any heat source. It was a major relief to know that for the rest of my life, I’d never be required to ever live with my mother again, and I hoped that this would be a turning point for us and that we’d finally be able to build a better relationship or if nothing else, a friendship.
On went life, and for some time, it went on quite boring and quietly. There were a few months I didn’t go to school or have a job, but once summer rolled around, that changed. The summer prior to me leaving, I had worked in a small hotel/restaurant that was inside what’s called the Chautauqua Institute and it had been hard work, but it was a job, and I actually enjoyed it more than not. And when the summer of 2006 came around, I continued to work there, and also at a real estate company that had its own housekeeping service. I worked hard, but I was also still very naive and without much work ethic. It was easy to not want to be there when I assumed I could always just find better, but I never accounted for the fact that I was essentially living rent free, eating for free, using gas for free, and only having to pay for my nicotine habits, which even then, I somehow managed to run out of money for. And then came the 4th of July. What I thought was a good life, a solid and maybe slightly routine relationship, turned out to be a load of shit. Keith came to me the morning of the 4th, just as his extended family members began to arrive for the annual BBQ and get-together, to inform me that he wanted me to pack all my shit, and get out. He told me that he was in love with someone else, someone I knew relatively well. I was shocked, and I was angry, but I wasn’t surprised. I wanted to hurt him, I wanted to beat the shit out of him for causing me pain and humiliation, but a part of me must’ve known there was someone else, and I was probably knew it was her all along. And for a little while, I didn’t even have the ability to cry. Looking back now, I realize that this was my VERY first real relationship, despite its flaws. I realize that this was my first adult experience of falling in love, becoming comfortable, and being betrayed. We may have made mistakes during our separation, but I truly believed that we’d worked through them, and we would be together “forever”. And sadly, probably the saddest part of all of it, is that I don’t remember “loving” him after all of it was over, and I stopped being so angry. I don’t even recall any genuine pain. I recall anger and humiliation. I remember feeling vindictive. And this leads me to wonder just how much of an adult I really was. And THEN, then I remember, I wasn’t an adult, I was 17 god damn years old. I was living a life as an adult, probably someone in their 20’s, and I was still a child. How the hell did that happen??? How the hell did that become acceptable??? I should have been looking towards graduation in a year, I should have been filling out college applications. But none of that was even in my head, I never even thought of those things. I just thought about tomorrow’s pack of cigarettes, how I’d get to work, how Keith and I would spend the weekend. I am so SO sad that I can never look back and think of some normal teenage experience before I actually became an adult…
I called my mother that day, and told her I needed her to come and pick me and bring me and my things back to her apartment. I spent that night at her place because she had been drinking and couldn’t drive me back to the fireworks. I spent that night in tears. But again, I don’t think it was because I truly loved him, I think it was because I felt like a failure. I swore to myself I’d never have to run home to her. Luckily, she still had an apartment in the town I was working in, and I took it over to be closer to work, but mainly to not have to live with her. And very soon after, I very adamantly asked her to co-sign on a different apartment so that I’d be 75% independent. And so another new chapter began, and it was ugly for a few weeks before I found myself in yet another relationship. I’ll talk about in the next post because that one is even more extensive than Keith. I think what I can take from my relationship with Keith and apply it to my life now, or even just my memories, is that I learned how to be an adult, a “responsible” adult to some extent. It really did show me how life could be. I feel this was the starting point for me to grow into a healthier person, and to humble myself. I don’t regret the relationship, and I haven’t been angry with him for many, many years. I don’t know what he got out of it, or how he feels, but I hope he knows that I can only wish him the best, in everything, and that at some point in our lives, I loved him. Without him, I may have never learned to love another more. He was important, and he made a difference.