Following so much loss, tragedy, and feelings of abandonment, it is probably no surprise that my life spiraled out of control fairly quickly.
At this point, I was working at a local grocery store. There I ended up meeting a young man who we will call C. C was about a year younger than me. He was a sort of “bad boy” – very different from my high school sweetheart. He was physically fit which definitely caught my eye. He was confident and a bit arrogant. Just exactly what I needed in my life.
C came from a dysfunctional family too. His parents were severe alcoholics. At this point in my life I was far too young to actually realize I was once again choosing to date someone who was just as broken as I was.
As it would be, C and I clung to each other like lifelines. Two broken people can really do good for a little bit. And this was my chance, it was time for me to get the heck away from my dad and I finally had someone who would go with me.
At 18 years old, I rented my first apartment. It was a tiny studio apartment but I didn’t care. It could have been a closet as long as it got me far away from the situation I was in at home.
You will not find it surprising I am sure, when I tell you I began messing with fire once again. I began throwing birth control pills away again. Looking back on it, I just don’t even understand what I was thinking… but that’s the thing, I wasn’t thinking. I was just feeling. I was feeling the hurt of abandonment and the longing for a real love and still in my mind, a baby was that answer.
I think I failed to mention that following my first son being stillborn, I also suffered a miscarriage (with my high school sweetheart). At 19 years old, I was pregnant for the 3rd time. It seems so strange to say that now but at the time it was perfectly normal.
At this point, C wanted desperately to get married. Me, not so much. After watching how my mom and dad lived, I wanted no part of this nonsense called marriage. What with fighting all the time and leaning on your own children for emotional support (that was mom’s thing – I was her emotional support system), no thank you. So, I continued to refuse when he would bring it up.
Well, if y’all have been pregnant, you know that the hormones start going wild and you don’t always think rationally. You guessed it, at 6 months pregnant I woke up one morning and said “ok, let’s do it. Let’s go get married.” We went to a tiny chapel and got married with no family or friends around. We didn’t even provide our own witnesses.
A few months later – just shy of my 20th birthday, my oldest son was born. He was everything I had hoped he would be. He brought me so much joy and I loved being a mom. (For the record, I still love being a mom and now a grandma).
Fast forward slightly more than a year. I was 21 and alcohol officially entered the picture. C being younger than me, I began to be the “supplier” for him and his friends. I enjoyed that because it made me feel important and powerful in a way. Unfortunately, I discovered I enjoyed the escape from reality that came with drinking. I very quickly fell into the partying of my younger husband’s crowd of friends. I thank God for my mom during that time in my life – she is probably the only reason I didn’t lose custody of my son – she babysat constantly for me.
My marriage to C began to go downhill, largely due to our young age and the alcohol. There were several “minor” incidents of domestic violence type of situations. But the final straw was following an incident of sexual abuse. I had, once again, drank too much alcohol and had passed out. I will spare you the details but suffice it to say I awoke with him taking full advantage of the fact that I was passed out cold. When I shrieked “what are you doing!?” he simply laughed at me. The following day when I confronted him and said “that was rape!” he again laughed at me and said “no it’s not. You are my wife!”
I never reported the incident. How could I? The bottom line was that I had gotten drunk and my husband had taken advantage of me. I felt so dirty and ashamed, and frankly, stupid. Clearly, I deserved what happened because I was drunk, right? I didn’t think any law enforcement would take me serious anyway.
Following that incident, I made up my mind that this marriage was over. I was so young and not well equipped to stand up for myself, so it took me a full six months of telling him to leave before I finally stood by my decision and refused to let him back in.
Our entire relationship, dating, marriage, and all – was a whopping 2 years long.
I wish I could sit here and say that following my divorce from C, I got my life together and gave up the alcohol, but that would be a lie. My downward spiral continued….