I thought today I would take some time to introduce myself to some of my new readers. Every once in awhile I like to let you know that I have been there, too. I know what it is like. Hence, the repost of my story. I am Woman. I am strong. I can do anything. Today, that is how I feel about myself...I am a survivor...but it wasn't always that way. There was a time when I couldn't even decide what I wanted for dinner if someone offered me the choice.
I was born in a small town in the rural area of New Jersey. My dad was an alcoholic; my mom had her boyfriend and her own life to lead, so as a little girl, I was pretty much on my own. My parents didn't seem to care that much until I became a teenager...only then did they decide that it was time to keep an eye on me. And they did so in the most horrible way...by condemning me to spend my teenage years in my room. They found fault with everything that I did, and everything was grounds for punishment...even a coat unbuttoned was grounds for a month of detention. I never had a date, never went to either of my proms, never did any of the things that my friends had done.
And to make it worse, I was constantly belittled by my mom. "You're no good", "You're never going to amount to anything", "You're going to be a fat old drunk like your father." Now, keeping and eye on one's child and being there for the child are two different things. My parents NEVER had any time for me, and I grew up believing that that was the way things were supposed to be. Relationships? I never had one...so how was I supposed to know how to act. After all, when my friends were going on their first dates, I was home sitting in my room.
By the time I reached my senior year in high school, it was all getting to me. I felt so different than the other children. I felt like I didn't belong. I was lonely, and all I wanted was someone to care. So, when I hit 18, I got married...married to an alcoholic...just like my dad. Only this husband was a nasty drunk who didn't work and expected to sit around slurping beers and being taken care of. Then, I began drinking the beer with him...and he started fighting with me over it. In just a matter of a few months, our marriage was in shambles. I was afraid of him. He was becoming more and more violent. Bills were not being paid, and there was little money for food. We were losing our home. Fortunately, it was fairly easy to leave him. I still had my parent's home, and there were no children. So, one day I told him I had enough and moved bag and baggage back home.
Oh, he didn't give up so easily. He called and called and pleaded that he wouldn't drink anymore. Then, when he saw that that wasn't working he called and threatened to kill himself if I didn't come back. I simply told him "Go ahead"; I knew he didn't mean it. Pretty boy was too wrapped up in himself to do himself in. So, shortly thereafter, I hopped on a plane and flew to Atlanta, Georgia for a quickie divorce. I don't know if they still have them, but in those days, the 1960's, they were quite easy to obtain.
I was hungering for love, but what was that old song? "I'm looking for love in all the wrong places?" Well, that was me. I began running with some fairly wild gals and we did a lot of bar hopping. In New York State at that time you could drink at age 18, so many a night we would cross the border into Port Jervis...a really 'hopping' town in those days. It was there that I met the next so-called 'love of my life'. He was older than me...by about ten years. We didn't marry but we settled in together. I was the perfect wife...dinner, cleaning...my wild life was over. I really wanted this to work...and it did...for awhile...until I discovered I was living with a sex addict. He began staying out all night long...coming home disheveled...with love bites on his neck...And I, so desperate for it to work...would spend night after night sitting at the kitchen table waiting for him to come home...which was usually at dawn. By now, I had started drinking again and my companion was a bottle of "Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill" wine. And I put up with this for months on end...I knew I was the laughing stock of everyone around me, but I was just so hungry for someone to love me....and my self-esteem had always been so low. My mom had seen to that.
Then one day, he came home and gave me a case of the 'crabs'. That was all I could take? Do you know how I felt having to go into a pharmacy and ask for the shampoo? It was probably the most embarrassing time of my life. I put him out. He cried and he begged for another chance, but how could I? After what he had done? Although he had never physically abused me, what he had done still was still considered abuse, a form of emotional abuse. I went to the doctor, had myself checked out for everything. Fortunately, I was fine. It was shortly after that that I made my move to New York...and, oh, what a wake-up call.
To be continued....