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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Spreading My Wings...Part I

It is amazing the tolerances we allow ourselves to have when our self-esteem is low and/or null. Over the years, with those five little words echoing in my head, I have allowed myself to be taken advantage of, walked on, stabbed in the back, cheated on, lied to, and humiliated all because I thought I would get love and respect in return.

It started when I was in high school with baking cookies. My cookies actually became quite the commodity for the boys in the neighborhood. They would come by late at night when having their midnight cravings and I would get up and bake chocolate chip cookies...from scratch. I loved the feeling it gave me knowing it made them happy.

I was the girl who was always the biggest in class and was told that I had pretty eyes, a pretty face, or had a great personality. I knew I was big and I could not hide matter what I wore. I loved the attention I got from the boys when I made them cookies. It made me feel wanted and being a big girl, this meant a lot to me.

As time went by, I started offering more than just cookies. We got older and hormones started raging. I became quite promiscuous because I thought that was how I could get a boyfriend. As sad as it is, I felt that boys really liked me because of it. Even after I heard the heart crushing words "don't tell anyone" (because those words are the tell tale sign that he was embarrassed and did not want anything to do with me outside of sex), I continued to allow myself to be taken advantage of because I felt wanted.

This behavior continued and only became worse. I thought that if sex wasn't working then I could buy them things. I met my son's father when I was 19. He was not from my small town so he did not know anything about me. When he discovered that I worked, had my own car, had credit cards, etc. he became my buddy. I could drive him places and buy him things. He had been kicked out of his house and I felt sorry for him. He saw an opening of my weakness and took full advantage of it. I ran up my credit cards buying him clothes and shoes. We bought matching pagers (yes, pagers) and I let him use my car when I went to work. This guy was different. He did not just want sex from me so in my mind I thought he must really like me. We were good friends. Good friends…with benefits.

Just a month after I met him, I was kicked out of my dad's house because of him and we stayed in sleazy hotels for over a month. I liked him more than just a friend so I footed the entire bill for him and three of his friends. I became pregnant not too long after I was kicked out and I thought for sure he would all of a sudden grow up and become responsible but because I had this delusion and I had no more self-esteem, I tolerated it and continued to do so until after the birth of our son.

He was never violent with me but he was verbally abusive which for me is much harder to overcome. I could no longer be his friend so we parted ways and I tried to only speak to him when it came to anything related to our son. I knew he did not have much family in the area and because I still had a heart, I always tried to include him on holidays and family gatherings.

I would say he was a good lesson learned but I allowed myself to be involved with several more relationships that were just as destructive. I started thinking I could fix these boys. I could be their savior and they would love me for it. I tolerated drugs, alcohol, domestic violence, restraining orders, jail, prison, and a whole lot of heartache. All in the name of "love”, because I thought I could fix what was broken in them. Not even realizing that what was broken was within me.

Just before I met my husband I was getting out of a long relationship with a man who could have been my soul mate. He knew everything about me and could tell what I was thinking just by looking at my face. We enjoyed the same music, movies, games, and we both ate popcorn and strawberry soda together. He told me how beautiful I was and could carry on a conversation that was not about him. He was not ashamed of me and introduced me to his family and friends. I was so caught up in this new feeling that I allowed myself to overlook all of the horrible things about him. He was a criminal, was a drug dealer and liked to smoke a lot of weed, he spent five years in prison for pistol whipping another man (and I happily traveled across the state to visit him on a regular basis), and he had four kids with four different mothers.

I found out he was cheating on me when he ended up in jail again and his car (that I was the primary owner of) was left at her house. She wasn't going to give me the keys to it the primary owner, I took myself down to the Lexus dealership, gave them the VIN number of the car, showed them proof of ownership, and they ordered me a key to the car. Two days later, I went to this girls house, walked into her garage (which was left wide open with the car sticking out...shows how bright she was) and drove off (well ok, it wasn't that easy - very loud words were exchanged and fists were almost thrown). I took the darn thing back to the dealer, handed the sales guy the keys and told them to have it back. They laughed and happily took it off my hands. Who on God's green earth would tolerate that crap? THIS girl did. Why? Because I felt wanted.

Like I said, when I met my husband, I was just getting out of that relationship. We met at a concert I was photographing. I was backstage waiting for the artists to arrive. He and his friends wormed their way back there and acted as if they owned the place. I tried to be friendly but all he did was give me dirty looks. He was wearing a red suit and had a cockiness about him that caught my eye. I was wearing jeans, a hoodie, and tennis shoes. I smiled and complemented him on his suit. He did not even acknowledge me. He must not have noticed my multiple cameras around my neck because he really thought he was upstaging me. I laughed to myself because he had no clue that I was about to go onstage with the artists and I relished in the fact that I was going to upstage him.

After the show was over and I returned backstage he pulled me aside and we started talking. I shot a few pictures of him and his friends with one of the artists. We exchanged email addresses and I promised to email him the pictures I took.

I was going to be shooting another concert the following month so we decided to connect again. We became friends. We talked all night long when he was supposed to be working his graveyard security job. When he said he did not want sex from me, I thought he was gay. I did not think you could just be friends with a guy. As our friendship grew over the next few months, I thought that things were finally turning around for me. This guy was different than all the others. He had a job, went to church, he had his own car that I didn't pay for, he had his own place, and he got a kick out of watching me onstage taking pictures.

It wasn't until I let him move in with me four months later that I realized I was once again, wanting to fix what was broken within him. He was struggling to keep up his end of the bills with his roommate so I let him move in with me. His cell phone was going to get cut off so I added it to my plan. He had to give his car back to his friend so I let him drive mine while I was at work. I could take care of him and I felt wanted. If I knew then what I would have to endure over the next seven years, I would have ignored him backstage that first night.

The pain I endured, both physical and mental, over these last seven years was more than anyone should experience in a lifetime. How many people do you know who would tolerate being held at knifepoint because you refused to answer a question? How many people do you know who would tolerate being held at gunpoint with the tip of the gun digging into the back of your head so hard and because it was still hot from just having been fired you have a burn mark behind your ear all because you were talking to another man?

Or worse...being held at gunpoint in front of your child after they were told I was going to have my brains blown out in front of them? How many people do you know would then marry this person and allow this type of behavior to continue for three more years? If you are reading know at least one. Why did I tolerate this? Because I did not think I could do any better. I didn't think I was worthy enough. I thought he was the best I could do for myself so I stayed.

DISCLAIMER: I can't sit here and say all bad things though because we did have some great times together. You do not spend that many years with someone if you could not have something positive to reflect on. My posting here is not to bash him or cause harm to him. I did not write anything that is not a matter of public record either. It is to simply express the state of mind I was in and why I tolerated it for so long.

After losing 155 pounds, my self-esteem and self-confidence returned in full force. It took a two-week business trip for me to realize that I no longer needed to continue to endure the pain. I no longer needed to fix him. I needed to fix me. When I walked off that plane after being gone for two weeks and I looked into his eyes, I knew my marriage was over. I was done. I could no longer live in fear and I was not going to allow myself to be in a cocoon anymore. I filed for a divorce two days ago. I have taken pride in calling myself a butterfly in training for the past year and regardless of hitting my goal or not, it is time I spread my beautiful wings and fly on my own... here for Part II...


  1. Thanks for the post good read.

  2. soooo sorry you had to go through all that. Glad you are finding yourself now.

  3. Congratulations on making this first step. It couldn't have been easy. I agree with you that losing weight has increased my self confidence. I no longer have this negative self talk going on in my head all the time. I didn't even realize I had it until I lost weight and it went away too.

  4. Oh my goodness!! I am so glad I came and read this today. I have been swamped with work and missing out on my blogs but I felt God leading me here today and I am SO glad. BIG HUGS!! Thank you for sharing this. First off, what you have been through is just unreal. I want you to know that I relate to a ton of what you have written here especially about tolerating bad treatment from men because of your weight. Low self esteem. I can especially relate to wanting to "fix" them and being willing to fork out money to do it. I am a kindred spirit on this one. The abuse was so scary to read about and I think it takes MAJOR bravery for you to get out of that. I hope you have a safe place to go to with some protection during this time. I've been through divorce and it was hell. If you need to talk I'm here. Will be checking back for Part 2


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