“Sensitive people usually love deeply and hate deeply. They don’t know any other way to live than by extremes because their emotional thermostat is broken.”
Shannon L. Alder
My Secret Weapon
“You are so pretty”….
Words I have heard my entire life. Most people love to receive compliments on their appearance. Who wouldn’t? Flattery, even just a smile or a second glance, can be a great self-esteem booster. There are people who claim not to care about appearances, but I believe a certain level of vanity lies within each one of us. But what happens to the unhealthy mind when this happens? In my experience, beauty can be a dangerous weapon. Being beautiful does not guarantee you will get everything you want, but the odds are definitely in your favor. A sick mind is not equipped to handle such a powerful weapon.
I am no stranger to relationships. Ever since my elementary days, I have been obsessed with love. Though it was just hand holding and playground hangouts back in those days, “going out” was a big deal. I was drawn towards adventurous types, so my boyfriends were usually popular and attractive. This behavior followed me all through school. I cannot tell you how many boyfriends I had up until the age of fifteen because I went through so many of them. I always felt the need to have a boyfriend, so when I was bored with one, I dumped them and moved on to the next. I can count on one hand the number of times I was actually dumped. I used to think that if I had been broken up with more, I would not have continued down the path of destroying others…. but I do not have that same perspective anymore. I think that I would have continued to do it anyway, because that is who I was. By high school, I began dating and getting involved in much more serious relationships. My sexual desires at this point were high and finally being fulfilled. I was completely out of control.
My first high school beau was a senior. I was a freshman, so the idea of dating an attractive, popular senior was a dream come true. I felt like I was capable of anything. It did not occur to me that I was playing with emotions I was not mature enough to handle yet. I also did not realize how powerful my level of passion was during this relationship. This guy fell in love with me, in an extremely unhealthy way. Once he graduated, things changed quickly. I was no longer interested in keeping him around because what was once a booming relationship of convenience (popularity) was now verging onto creepy grounds. He became very possessive of me and jealous of my time if ever it was spent with others. My days were consumed by other people though because I was quite the social butterfly. I was in high school and was not ready for “forever”. I eventually wanted to start seeing other guys. I should have done the right thing by simply breaking up with this guy, but it was never in my nature to keep things “simple”. Instead, I decided to hurt him so he would hate me and leave me instead. How did I do that? I slept with one of my new friends, someone he was jealous of and hated. Not only did I cheat on him cold-heartedly, but my accomplice and I decided to pay him a visit right after our little excursion to tell him about it. How I did not wind up slaughtered in a ditch somewhere, is beyond me. I was stalked, however, for a while after this unfortunate event, and it traumatized me and my family. I could hear the high pitched sound his muffler used to make, driving up and down my road every day and night. I could also hear it buzzing around the school when I was there. The sound of that muffler still haunts me to this day. Was I scared enough to take a break from relationships for a while? Not me…
I went through another round of boyfriends, again, before I fell head over heals for my next big romance. He was everything I wanted in a boyfriend, and he was crazy about me. My parents were more accepting of this relationship because he was only a year older than me and he was kind and respectful. My dad enjoyed his visits when he would come over, and my mom loved how he meshed perfectly with our family. He was going to be my “forever”, I felt it in my heart. My faith in this relationship was destroyed quickly though when he decided to get together with one of my best friends during a drunken race weekend. I did not break up with him after the discovery of his unfaithfulness, though I should have because I could not get over the pain it caused me. Instead, I held it over his head for the remainder of our relationship, which lasted another two years after his little indiscretion. Why did I hang on to something I could not make peace with?
We continued to make wonderful memories together over the next two years, but we also made very bad ones as well, mostly driven by me. I was so obsessed with the love we had for one another and the passion we shared, but the scar he left on me destroyed me beyond repair. Why did he stay with me? I will never truly know the answer to that question. I made this guy miserable almost every day because I could not let go of my jealousy and resentment over what he had done to me. He had a song for us, We Bury the Hatchet by Garth Brooks. As I am writing this, I can still hear him singing it to me. He was never untrue to me again, and we tried to pull through the madness together. Even when he graduated, he made plans to stay around while I finished up my last year of school so we could start our life together. One night, while out riding around together, he stopped his truck and proposed to me. I accepted his proposal, so happy in that moment because I loved him and I wanted to marry him, but that elephant in the room continued to linger.
Why could I not move on past my bitterness? Why did I not leave him?
One day, I finally lost control of my emotions. An opportunity presented itself to me, a chance to sleep with one of his best friends. I welcomed the affair with legs wide open. After confessing my infidelity to my fiancé, he was still willing to stay with me and get through the hard times together. As happy and willing as I should have been to make up and get past all of the bitterness, especially because he was willing to work it out with me, I could not bring myself to do it. So, I slept with his friend one more time, broke his heart again, and forced a breakup. It was not until six months later, after missing him tremendously and battling with myself over my poor decisions, that I attempted to get back together with him. What I discovered though, quickly shattered my heart. He was involved with another woman and she was pregnant with his baby. I could not believe that some other woman had taken my place in his life. He informed me that he was going to marry her because it was the right thing to do. There was nothing more I could do, at least nothing civil. It was really over.
Typically, in most scenarios, there is a rebound or two after a big break up. For me, it was more like a rebound odyssey. I dated different people, back to back and simultaneously. I also began dating men outside of my home state. I traveled to New Orleans a good bit to visit family, and during these trips, I would go out to bars and mingle with the locals. I met a few interesting characters on my trips and loved them all. Everything about that lifestyle was appealing to me, so I fell hard into the bar scene while I was there. I had a couple of rendezvous with one man I really liked, which led to an unexpected pregnancy. While I was fully prepared to take on motherhood, at the bold age of eighteen, the chance was taken away from me when I lost the baby three months into my pregnancy. Some people say it was a blessing, but I was not convinced. I had been on a wild roller coaster ride for a while and the idea of settling down and calming down began to sound like the right thing for me. After losing the baby, I continued down the path of self-destruction. I continued to make trips to New Orleans, and met my next big relationship soon after. Little did I know that this relationship would completely change my life, again.
He was not the kind of guy I would typically go for. In fact, the night we met, I was interested in pursuing his cousin, who was more my type. After returning to my barstool from my bathroom run at the bar one Saturday night, the bartender informed me that there was someone interested in me and scoping me out. She introduced us and I wound up going home with him that night, of course. What I expected to be a one night stand, slowly blossomed into summer love. I loved how this man was so connected to the New Orleans life. He was also a family man and enjoyed hanging around our families. My family, however, was not accepting of him. They continuously told me that he was not right for me. I was stubborn though, and always willing to prove everyone wrong. Even though I came back to Alabama to begin college, I dropped out after my first semester so that I could move to New Orleans. I left without letting anyone know my plans. How typical of me, right?
New Orleans was where I was meant to be. I moved in with my boyfriend and his mother, after trying out a few different living arrangements with family and friends. The insanity I endured while living with his mother forced me to look for another place to live, so I found an apartment of my own to move into. I was working full time at that point, had just been promoted, and was registered to begin college by the fall of 2005. Things could not have been better…. until Hurricane Katrina hit. The hurricane destroyed everything, including my apartment. I was forced to move back to Alabama, and I brought my boyfriend with me. We moved into a small rental house back in my little hometown, and slowly began falling apart as a couple. He was not happy living with me in Alabama, and I began to resent him over every little thing. He had lost the spark in his eyes, and was beginning to encourage me to spend time apart. The timing could not have been worse though, because I got pregnant. During my pregnancy, we continued to grow further and further apart. Maybe my family was right, maybe we were not as compatible as I originally thought. He eventually left me, after I caught him sneaking around with another woman. He did not leave me in a civil way. When he realized I knew about his affair, he aggressively pushed me down while trying to retrieve his cellphone from my hands, causing me to go into pre-term labor. Yes, I was a victim of domestic violence. I wound up alone and seven months pregnant. I had to move in with my parents because I could not support myself. This was one of the lowest times in my life. Little did I know, this would not be the last of my adventures with this guy.
Marriage of Convenience
I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, with my mother in the delivery room. My ex did not even know I was giving birth. I sent him a picture of her after she was born and he eventually showed up to see her. His hospital visit was short-lived because my mother ran him off. My mother was a bit controlling and was not going to have him popping in and out of our lives. I did not appreciate that kind of love then, but I understand it a lot better now. Against my mother’s wishes, I eventually went back to my ex, three months after our daughter was born. Living with my mother, while trying to be a mother myself, was rather difficult. It was either leave her, or destroy our relationship for life. I moved into a duplex with my ex and we got married a month later. The marriage was more of a living arrangement rather than a union of two people who actually loved one another. I resented everything this man did and he hated everything about me. Our marriage came to an end just a few years later, after I found out about his third affair. Yes, he had a thing for other women. At this point, we had two daughters, ages three and one. I separated from him and we agreed that would be the best thing for us. We continued living in the same house until we could come up with separate living arrangements.
Then, there he was….
Wes was not someone new to me. I knew him from high school. He was that kid that never came to school, but when he did, you noticed his presence… at least I did. He was mysterious and shy. He was also a musician, a guitarist. I knew he liked me when we were younger. He used to look at me and smile when he would run into me in the mall, which was quite often because I was big in the mall scene. I worked at our local supermarket and he used to come in every time I worked. No matter how long the line at my register was, he would always wait in it just to talk to me. I was so into him. One night, after getting off of work, Wes met me out in the parking lot by my car. We did not say much, we just moved in really close to one another and began kissing. Then we parted. I never saw him again after that. He moved to Nashville and fell into the music scene. Six years later, and here he is asking me how I am doing on my Facebook page. I immediately took an extreme interest in him. I wondered where he was, who he was involved with, if he still remembered me…. thoughts I could not escape. I learned he was separated from his wife and was going through a divorce. He immediately expressed his interest in me once he realized I had feelings for him. Things happened quickly after that. My love for this man took over every part of my life. I moved myself and my daughters out of the house with my ex and I moved in with Wes, who had moved back to Alabama from Tennessee after a few amazing encounters together. We were head over heels in love.
This man was my soulmate and I knew I was meant to marry him. We were so young, so unprepared, and so impatient to be together and to have a family together. We got pregnant almost immediately. Being pregnant with our baby was the most joyous, but also most stressful time of my life. My ex was outraged at the fact that I was having a baby with another man while I was still “married” to him. He immediately threw the “separated” status out the window so that he could milk the victim role. Needless to say, it was an ugly divorce.
Wes and I eventually found stability once my divorce was finalized and we planted roots down in our little hometown. We welcomed our son into the world in November of 2011 and we could not have been happier to complete our little family. We could finally begin living the amazing life we always talked about living. We were also finally able to get married. Oh, what a joyous day! The day I married Wes was truly the happiest day of my life. Who would have known that I was cursing my love to live a life of misery with me?
Why Does He Love Me?
I do not deserve the love my husband gives me. I have been ungrateful of his love for me for almost nine years, and it took me almost losing him to realize how blind I have been. Wes has been with me during good times, and believe me, there were many of those. There were also many bad times. It is the bad times that have truly tested our willingness to fight for our love. I am often told that I am an intense individual, that I exhaust people…. but Wes has always been up for the challenge. During my last horrific episode, I began to see a different side of my husband that shook me to my core. I saw my husband losing faith in us. I was finally exhausting my love to the point of where I might actually lose him. Wes has been such a strong rock for me through all of the hard times, and now I am watching my rock begin to shatter. Why have I caused so much damage and destruction to our marriage and to our family? I love this man more than I could ever explain, but I am the one causing him the most harm.
Pictures tell stories of their own. I believe there to be truth in that. During my manic highs, I was big on taking selfies. I always included someone in them, because it would “look like I am seeking attention” if they were just of myself. Ugh, was I that naïve? Anyway, I would like to share a few photos taken during my manic highs. Captions will explain the situation, but my husband’s face says it all.
The day I almost lost my love was the day that changed my life, forever. I had been on a manic high for several months and I was hitting the party scene intensely. It was summer time and I seized every opportunity to spend time outside, on the water, drinking my life away. I was so full of myself during that time. I found myself acting flirty with any man who would pay me any attention. I still loved my husband and wanted to be with him, but I reveled in the attention I was getting on the side. With all the partying, came the affair. I welcomed an affair with a friend’s husband, even though I never wanted any bit of it. It was never a sexual affair, only an emotional one, though it had the potential to be one if I continued spiraling out of control the way I was. I knew I was heading down a road I did not want to go down, so I stopped drinking alcohol, two weeks before the affair came to the light. Quitting drinking was one of the hardest things I had to face, until my husband found out about the affair. The moment that happened, I immediately wanted to take away every bit of his hurt and pain. I felt my heart shatter into thousands of pieces. Why did I hurt so much? I wanted the affair, right?
No, I did not want to have anything to do with another man. I thought the day I fell in love with Wes was the best day of my life, but then we had a son together, we got married, we became a family, and we built a life together…. all of these moments have been the best moments of my life. Why did I attempt to throw everything I loved away over someone I could hardly even stand? What was wrong with me?
He Loves Me
After everything I have put that man through, he still chooses to be with me. After the affair was out in the open, he took charge of our marriage and our home, and he made our world so much smaller. In doing so, we were able to focus entirely on us and our family. We had so many hard days, days that will forever leave scars on our hearts, but in the midst of all the darkness, we also had days of pure love and happiness. He lifted me up, even when I felt I did not deserve it, and gave me strength to hang on. I spent days just hanging out with my husband, something we have not done since the beginning of our relationship. We fell in love. Again.
Some days are still full of silence. That elephant still lingers in the room. Fortunately, especially since I have been accepting treatment for my disorders, those days grow a little further and further apart as we go. We’ve had to widen our circle a bit, because life forces you to be part of the outside world. With this comes a trust, a trust not just from him to me, but from me to him as well. He must trust that I mean what I say when I say I will be forever faithful and true, and I must trust the same from him. He could easily “one up” me and be completely justified by it, he certainly has received advances in the past, but that is not what love is. I will forever be grateful to have a man who loves me the way Wes does. He is truly my soulmate.
I can never drink again. I know the consequences. I know, through the recovery and treatment process I am in, that drinking is something I will never be able to do again. I am aware I used it as a crutch, to feel good every day, and to cover anything up that was killing me inside. In doing so, I almost lost everything I hold dear to me. I also know that my situation is more than just an addiction problem, it is a disorder. So today, I will live, I will love, and I will try. That is all any of us can really do. Live it one day at a time.