lesbianspaghetti

My Big Fat Life – Surviving David

In Uncategorized on September 30, 2015 at 7:06 pm

Recently I read something that reminded me that I need to be a little more open on my blog. I tend to filter a lot of things, because .. well… I don’t know. I guess I don’t want to hurt people, and at times I don’t want to hurt myself. But today I decided to start writing this blog entry that will pull back the curtains for a view into a part of me that I tend to keep tucked away.

Years ago I was married to a man who was really abusive. It was because of this marriage, that I was able to find my strength to walk away much quicker from the relationship that birthed this blog. For the sake of this blog, I will call him David.

When I met David I was seeing someone. I immediately marked him off as a friend since I was very loyal to my relationship despite the fact my significant other lived in New Zealand at the time. David and I talked over the phone a few times, and I was really taken in by his charisma, humor and charm. When Mike and I broke up, this new friend and I had already lost touch and I really had no intention of ever contacting him again. Mostly because I really put off by how he liked to say incredibly hurtful things in the name of “teasing” or joking around. I’m not an easy person to offend, but I am human, and I don’t like being made fun of. I don’t think anyone really does.

Some time had passed before I got a phone message on my machine. David had called to apologize for the things he said to me months earlier. He said he didn’t expect me to talk to him again, but really wanted to reach out and let me know he was sorry. I was touched that he thought enough about me to realize that what he did was pretty hurtful, so I called him and immediately we started talking almost every day. Eventually we started going on dates and hanging out together. For the most part I was a bit smitten, but I was still pretty apprehensive in some ways. From time to time he would say hurtful things in the name of joking around, and often I was the brunt of his jokes in public so he could generate laughs from others. It felt less like a team, and more like I was the last chosen team-mate for a game of verbal dodge ball.

Looking back, I don’t know why I let it roll off of me. I guess I internalized it all and put it on myself. Instead of feeling safe to say something about it, I wrote it off as me being too sensitive about shit. I am not going to go on some rant about being female, but it’s a true thing to say that many women are taught to just smile and be accepting, even when it hurts.

I was raised primarily by my Grandmother so being outspoken isn’t something we were encouraged to do. She was pretty old school and we were taught to that women had a role to recognize as being under the head of the household. Men will be men, and women should always expect that. I know my Grandmother didn’t mean harm; she really wanted to teach us the best she could. But that lesson served me terribly growing up. Finding my voice for myself took years to do, but I learned to hear myself in being a voice for others. Through my advocacy for others, I could hear myself telling myself to stand up and rise above as well.

I remember the first time David hit me. I was pregnant with our first child together. He hit me across the face and the force backed by his strength behind that one blow, sent me to the floor. I remember being numb, unable to feel my face and really scared that falling had somehow hurt the baby. Looking back, I should have run. I should have run as fast as I could after I was able to stand up. I should have changed my number, moved away and never looked back. But I didn’t. Instead I did what I knew how to do best, and what so many of us do.. I blamed myself. I thought it was my fault. That maybe I spoke to sharply, maybe I if I had been more patient with him and more understanding of how scared he was to find out he was gong to be a father.. all those lame ass excuses that sound so weak to me today, were so damn powerful then.

I wasn’t in love with David. Even if I had been, thoughts of love were supressed by my hurt from being hit, and my sense of duty and guilt to make things work for the sake of our unborn child. At first he seemed like he wanted to work things out and seemed to take a holiday from his abrasive nature. At one point, he found God and wanted to try to be a Christian man. I thought I could at least live through it in some sort of quiet way despite my increasing unhappiness and depression taking hold. I stopped talking to people, family and friends. I spent a lot of time standing behind him in public and over time started becoming the brunt of his jokes again. Over time I slowly started to just “be”. The quick witted sharp remarks that served as stabs to my self worth were only increasing with time, and before too long I was often the subject of his verbal attacks. By the end of it all I had been called a bitch more times than he ever used my name, and it was an unusual day if he didn’t insult me in someway. You could hear a pin drop when he walked through the door after work, and I would wonder what part of me would be under his scrutiny that day. It was a shitty way to live, even though I had started to believe I deserved it all.

I started to sleep on the couch a lot and we stopped sharing a room. Sexual contact was rare, and when we did have it I seemed to get pregnant. I was pregnant with our second child together before too long, and in spirit of keeping this blog focused, you can read about the pregnancy with the twins here: https://lesbianspaghetti.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/3537/

The stress of carrying both a live child and a deceased one took me down to an even lower place in my life, and the less strong I became the more powerful his words seemed to be. By this time many arguments had taken their place in my mind. I had zero self-worth. The blame I carried around with myself for the first hit, the last argument, the death of my child were all burying me in a grave for those who were physically alive but emotionally dying.

Within 8 weeks of the birth of the twins we had a 10 minute excursion that led to the pregnancy of our youngest child together. Looking back I can’t even begin to wonder what the hell was going through my mind to still have any physical contact with him. My only thought is I was so deprived of any positive attention, even to myself, that any crumb of sexuality was someway to feed my need for something that made me feel alive.

We decided to marry during my pregnancy with our youngest. We married on the front lawn of our rental with a couple of witnesses who were his friends and I barely knew. I was 9 months pregnant, and the only thing missing to keep it from being a complete white trash wedding was the mullet and barefeet. I know.. I can hear it. “What the hell were you thinking, woman?” I have a shit load of reasons, and not a one of them make good sense now. The biggest being I needed medical insurance. The one clear memory of that day wasn’t what most brides look back on as one of the happiest days of their lives. Instead it was my witness finding me in the crying shortly after our three-minute ceremony. She thought it was pregnancy hormones, or being overcome with joy. When she asked me why I was crying, she was the first person I admitted to that I didn’t want to marry David. She just looked at me bewildered and asked me why I married him just moments before. I told her and I felt trapped in a bad situation, but I didn’t know what else to do. I felt I had no options. I didn’t tell her the level of emotional and physical abuse I had been living under. Instead I dismissed it as a case of jitters when I saw she had no response to me, and tried not to talk about it with her agian. Our youngest child together was born three days later.

It wasn’t long after the birth when another moment of physical abuse took place. By that time I was I unable to recognize the woman looking back at me in the mirror. I had dark circles under my eyes, and I was my heaviest at 290. I avoided the bathroom mirror as much as I could and was thankful for the forgiving steam that clouded the reflections after I stepped out of the shower. When I wasn’t trying to avoid the reflection in the mirror, I spent a lot of time hiding in the bathroom just to cry and just be alone.  There were times I thought my only out was to take my life, but the thought of leaving my children alone to defend themselves against him kept me from ever thinking this was the best option I had. Instead I resided myself to living a life I had come to believe I deserved. I believed made my bed, so I needed to sleep in it.

The  disagreement we had was over a scripture in the bible. He asked me if I believed “once saved always saved” and I disagreed with his interpretation of what that meant. I can’t tell you exactly how the conversation went, but when we started talking it was in the hallway. The argument somehow led me being cornered into my daughters room. I was crying and he stood in the doorway, daring me to pass. I am sure the argument had something to do with him accusing me of disagreeing with him because I wanted to argue. The idea that I could have a vaid opinion about anything escaped him, and to be honest by that time it escaped me as well. I just recall standing there terrified to pass him, as he stoof there staring me in the eyes with the look of anger and disgust on his face. It seemed like 30 minutes or more had passed until my fear turned into the reality of the situation. I believed if I didn’t somehow get past him to get to a phone, I was going to die right there in my daughters room. My fear gave me the courage to rush past him as quick as I could, and I immediately ran to the phone and grabbed it to call the police. As he struggled with me, he pinned me to the floor while trying to grab the phone away from my hands. Somehow I was able to dial 911 before he could, and I screamed for help. I will not forget the feeling of his hands forcibly pushing my shoulders down to the ground, and how helpless I felt in that moment. I don’t recall the exact series of events in that moment, just small flashes of how I felt. I remember the police coming to the house, I remember the marks on my chest, and I remember being so scared that I was going to die that day. Something inside me was shaken enough to dig through the numb, and make me realize that if I didn’t somehow get out, my physical self would eventually catch up with my emotional self and I would become another statistic. I was starting to wake up enough to feel and the feeling was fear that led to my primal need to survive.

I started to secretly look for a new rental for the children and I. I finally found a place after a month of looking and one day as he was walking through the front door, I was about to carry the last box out to the UHAUL. He sat on the hearth of the fireplace and just watched before he asked me if he would be allowed to come over and do laundry at my new place. My oldest son called him a bitch as we walked out of the house that had become nothing more than a shell of a home that was covered in holes he had punched into the walls that held residual sounds of all the arguments, the anguish and nothing but pain.

I wish I could say that day was the last of it all, but like so many women who went before me it wasn’t. There was a short period where we though counseling might be able to help, but it didn’t. I knew it was happening, but I was still seeing it through the eyes of a woman so torn down that I saw it with a weakened state of mind.  It was shortly after a counselor spoke to me and told me that the abuse she witnessed from him during our counseling sessions led her to decide to stop counseling us as a couple, that I filed for divorce.

Our story doesn’t end there. During the course of our divorce his abuse turned to our children during visitations. I spent nearly 2 years trying to protect my children against a system that gave him more of a voice than our children ever had. The short end of the story is after voluntarily submitting to a polygraph that he failed, he confessed his crimes agaisnt our children. He is currently serving almost 13 years in prison for these crimes.

I have spent years trying to hide the reality of the abuse I went through in that relationship. It’s not something I am proud of, and it’s not something I really enjoy talking about. I still struggle with the embarassment I feel when I share my story. I can’t get past the feeling I am being judged as a weak person as I share our story, and often it scares me to share with anyone who even considers being a part of our lives. It’s a very vulnerable and hard room to open, but it’s something I know I need to do. Not just because there is power in being open, but because there is also healing.

You might wonder why I am sharing all of this now after years of just talking about my life as it’s happening, rather than reflecting back on the past. Recently I realized that in hiding something that took place, I was in fact giving this part of my past power to keep me shamed. It’s something I have hidden away, dealing with in private. I went to counseling to deal with it, I made friends who never knew about it, and I resumed my life the best I could having changed because of it. I’ve been afraid of people judging me as a weak character, and a push over. I didn’t want people to see what I saw as a failure, for fear they would never be able to see the woman who emerged. I guess I never wanted people to truly know how bad it was, and how I had allowed someone to pull me down so far in the name of them gaining power.

It’s because of my time with David that I was able to find my voice and strength to walk away from the relationship I had with the woman who inspired this blog. I had walked that road before, and I knew that I couldn’t.. wouldn’t… allow it to happen again. My life long dream had been to find someone who made me feel safe, put their arm around me and I knew I could count on to be there. Once I realized she wasn’t it, and the hands I had hoped would hold me had became the very weapons her words had, I knew I needed to leave.

There is a level of embarrassment that comes with talking openly about all of this. Somewhere deep inside of me I know I shouldn’t be, but I am. I don’t know if the shame I connect with it will ever truly wash away the more I share openly about that time in my life. Hopefully it will, but I hope a part of me never forgets what it felt like to sit in the bathroom while I cried in fear and pain after being told I had no value to live because it keeps me so thankful for the kind touches, the soft spoken words and the reassuring hugs. It brings a deep appreciation for the hands and words that catch me, rather than pushing me over. It might seem like a pretty small victory to some, but I can say I haven’t walked into a bathroom to hide my hurt in years. Instead I have found the power in talking things over and while it still takes me a fair amount of courage to, it is something that I stand proud about being able to do. Maybe no one else will appreciate that empowering moment as much as I do, but it’s something that reminds me how far I have come in learning to stand still when it’s so much easier to hide.

I don’t expect everyone to understand, sympathize or even empathize. That isn’t what this blog entry is about. I guess my hope is that the more I speak, the less shame will have a chance to thrive. My hope is that through being open and transparent, I will find the ability to be as kind to myself as I long for others to be. Sometimes we have to love ourselves unconditionally in order to open it up so that others might have the chance to as well.

Lyrics:
Oh no, did I get too close?
Oh, did I almost see what’s really on the inside?
All your insecurities
All the dirty laundry
Never made me blink one time

Unconditional, unconditionally
I will love you unconditionally
There is no fear now
Let go and just be free
I will love you unconditionally

Come just as you are to me
Don’t need apologies
Know that you are worthy
I’ll take your bad days with your good
Walk through the storm I would
I do it all because I love you, I love you

Unconditional, unconditionally
I will love you unconditionally
There is no fear now
Let go and just be free
I will love you unconditionally

So open up your heart and just let it begin
Open up your heart and just let it begin
Open up your heart and just let it begin
Open up your heart

Acceptance is the key to be
To be truly free
Will you do the same for me?

Unconditional, unconditionally
I will love you unconditionally
And there is no fear now
Let go and just be free
‘Cause I will love you unconditionally (oh yeah)
I will love you (unconditionally)
I will love you
I will love you unconditionally

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  1. Learning to love ourselves, unconditionally, is probably the toughest thing as a human. Because, as humans, we have failings. I know my saying you have nothing to be ashamed of won’t change much, but it’s true. I hope this story helps, no only you, but others who may also need to hear this message. ❤

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