If I were to ever write a book, I suppose this might be how I would start it. This is actually one of the goals on my dream list… to write a book, but I figure this is as good as any place to start…
The truth is I thought I was normal. I thought I had finally achieved what I wanted and all I had left to do was sit back and ride the wave. How often do we go through life thinking we have everything we want? Oh, there are always those few things we’d like to be different, more money, a nice house, a better paying job, but for the most part, we are content. We like the monotony of our lives, the predictableness, the –“I know where I stand and it’s great with me” attitude.
My life was never easy for me growing up. I had a good family, a few good friends, a nice house, and I went to a decent school, but struggled socially. I was awkward… but who isn’t at that age. I struggled with anxiety, depression, and the overall idea that I was never quite good enough, never quite fit in anywhere. Whether that was due to how others made me feel or how I interpreted others impressions of me, I don’t know, nor will I ever probably. It doesn’t matter anymore anyway. I chose a bad boyfriend during the beginning of my first college career, yes I said first. I let him take advantage of me, and play on my emotions, and basically run rampant over me. And yes, it was all my doing. At any point I could have stopped and said, “No, I’m not doing this anymore.” But I didn’t.
I took a break shortly after the beginning of my second semester as a freshman in college. At least I was smart enough to realize I was headed nowhere fast. I worked, and got a taste of the real world, or what my life would be like without a college education. Then I went back to community college, put myself through school while living with my parents, and finally decided to finish with a Bachelor’s degree in Education. I had such childish dreams then, but the education field became very fickle shortly after I graduated, and I continued to struggle to find a full time teaching job. I work odd jobs and substituted in school districts around my home town, I moved in with my best friend, and life became heaven.
Those were the best days of my life, and whenever I think back to a time when things were easier, those are the days I wish would return. I moved too quickly back then, and now I wish I would have slowed down and savored those moments. But life moves on as it usually does. I met my husband working a summer job as director at a day camp. Sweet story, right? Hmmm. I realize now I thought my chances of finding many dates or guys that would find me interesting would be few and far between. Its strange how we sell ourselves short, when actually holding out for something better, more true, would be the best choice for ourselves. But we are fickle, us humans. Wanting what we want, when we want it, never mind a larger plan from a supernatural being. It’s a “my way or the highway” strain of thought we tend to live in these days, or maybe it always has been.
I thought I was happy. I was getting married. I had finally gotten a full time teaching job (which I was let go from after the first year due to declining enrollment). Then I got pregnant with our first child. I was so excited. I was born to be a mom with the 2.5 kids, minivan, the whole nine yards. It was all that I wanted. But it wasn’t. My husband was distant, always gone, or if he was home he was on the computer or talking on the phone. Then I developed high blood pressure that resulted in bed rest for the remainder of my pregnancy. My husband was non-existent, so bed rest meant I had to do everything for myself or my mom had to come over and help. I remember one day rearranging the furniture so I could sweep the carpet really well. Stupid I know, but I was just sick and tired of the house being a mess. At this point I just wanted to be done with the pregnancy. My husband was angry with me for being too needy and expecting more out of him which resulted in guilt for me and me lowering my expectations, thinking I was asking for more than any wife should. I felt alone and isolated, and the more I pushed the more he retreated, becoming angry and calling me narcissistic. It was all about me. If he was in a bad mood, I thought I made him angry and he resented this along with everything else that I expected out of him.
These were the worst days of my life. Amazing how quickly it can turn around. No more than two years ago I was safe in my two bedroom apartment with my best friend. Now I felt light years away from everyone. We were broke, I was out of a job. My car was repossessed and we ended up having to file for bankruptcy.
Six weeks before the baby’s due date I went into labor. It was a terrifying experience because we went to the hospital and they told me I was neither effaced nor dilated. Then they sent me home. I spent the rest of the night writhing in pain as my husband slept blissfully on the couch, then promptly got up to take a shower the next morning to get ready for work, while I called the ambulance because I began having the urge to push. He was a bit surprised when he got out of the shower and I told him the paramedics were on their way. He followed us to the hospital and sauntered in and lounged back on the couch, not realizing the baby actually WAS coming and I wasn’t making all of this up. That is until he heard the nurse on the phone with the doctor saying, “No you need to get here right now, she’s having this baby.” Then he all hopped up saying, “We’re having the baby today???” Yes, dumbass, I am. I’m not that good at faking it.
Twenty minutes after arriving at the hospital the baby arrived. She was having difficulty breathing and was admitted to the NICU. My husband went to work a couple hours later, shortly after a volatile argument between our parents that left things strained for quite a while. After I was released to go home I would drive myself back to the hospital every day to spend with the baby while my husband went back to work. We were going to counseling, but things still were extremely strained and I felt ashamed for feeling alone and isolated because I thought it was all my fault we were having problems anyway. One night he went out to “have a beer with his brother” (one of the first of many lies that would be told…or at least I think it was. No, wait, not the first, but the first I fully understand now…) and I tried to get a hold of him to come home, but he wouldn’t answer his phone. I called to tell him the baby and I were leaving to go to my parents. He finally showed up all, “put the baby down, Liz. It’s all fine.”
Shortly after the baby came his grandmother died and we were going to be moving into her old house which then belonged to his dad. We moved from a home we were renting to my parent’s house until his grandma’s house was ready for us. On my birthday he went to “help his parents and family with a bathroom project” and completely missed my birthday dinner. I was so angry I couldn’t see straight. He came home later and packed his stuff to go to his parent’s house. I really don’t remember much after that. But shortly after we moved to his grandma’s house and things settled down.
I got pregnant again, he got a new job, I got a new job, and things were “normal”. I thought we were happy. I loved our lives. He became better at helping around the house and with the kids. We said I love you, held hands, had a fairly healthy love life, if you know what I mean. Then a couple of years later he got a dream promotion as one of the vice presidents of his office. He was working later hours, going on trips, and overworked. He was supposed to get a major raise, but every time he told me when the raise should begin, it never did. Things seemed weird, off, but I didn’t notice it at the time. I was busy with the girls and work, and I thought things would settle down after we all got back into a routine with the new school year and his new job and all.
And then came the day my life abruptly changed before my eyes. After coming home from the first day of school where I taught and my oldest daughter was going to school, my husband told me in the dark of our room as I was getting ready to fall asleep that he was having an affair and had been for about two years. He had no plans of working anything out for the sake of our family, and as a matter of fact, this was not the first affair he had, and as long as he was with me he would continue to cheat on me. It was “him” but let’s face it, it was me. I wasn’t good enough. He was never in love with me. I had made a MAJOR mistake. A HUGE mistake.
At this point you’re probably thinking, “Seriously woman!? How could you NOT see this coming!!! Are you dense?” But everyone who knew us thought we were in love and doing great, and he wasn’t capable of this kind of behavior. He was a good guy. And I thought he was. Some things seems shady, but he was always a bubble off, too scatter-brained to think clearly, and maybe even a little ADD. I mean he could be driving down a road and be daydreaming and completely miss his turn. We would still be driving and I would say,”Um, where are we going?” and he would be all, “Shit! I completely wasn’t even paying attention! Sorry!”
Nonetheless, I was shocked. Crushed. I couldn’t believe the reality of it. I’m pretty sure I went a little bit crazy. I couldn’t go to work the next day, but I had to keep it together enough to take my oldest to school. When I came in I was met with all of my fellow teachers who grieved with me, held me, and let me know I was not alone.
Nothing can prepare you for the raw emotion that follows this kind of trauma however. Unfortunately, it was too much for some to take. And nothing ever ends up like you think it will in the end.