Monday, August 31, 2009

The beginning

I never thought my life would turn out this way. I was a good girl. Even with all of the things that happened to me over the years, with all the problems I had, I went to church every week, I never skipped a seminary class, and I planned on getting married in the temple some day. So how did I end up a single mother at 25??

The problem, I think, is that I got lonely, and I got desperate. I thought that when I turned 16, I'd start dating. I was wrong. I was never asked out, and the only school dance I ever went to I attended with a good friend who had no romantic interest in me. I thought that I'd date in college, but again, no one ever asked me out. In addition to being more traditional, I am terribly shy. I never had it in me to ask a guy out, and I didn't think I should have to.

I switched schools when I moved, and went to a singles ward, but I was still never asked out. Every birthday I had, I told myself that this would be the year I met someone - not necessarily to marry, but just to date, to get out and learn how to date. It never happened.

I was 24, and I had given up. Everyone in my immediate family had married before they were my age. My oldest brother waited the longest. He married four days after his 24th birthday. It was five months after my 24th birthday. As far as I could tell, it was never going to happen for me.

Then something changed. Or rather, someone changed things. I'll call him H.

It's embarrassing to admit, but I met him on MySpace. He had found my profile and sent me a message - he thought I was cute, he liked my sense of humor, that sort of thing. We started writing to each other several times a day. We seemed to have a lot in common, and he was funny and sweet and said a lot of flattering things. It was exactly the sort of thing I had craved, and I couldn't get enough of him. Years of having no friends and no relationship had crushed my self-esteem, and H made me feel human again. After writing to each other for a few weeks, we decided to meet in person.

He wasn't quite what I expected, but I figured that he, like me, did a little better with words when he had time to type things out first and see how they sounded. We talked for a while and made plans to meet again.

In retrospect, there are a number of things that he said and did that should have set off alarms in my head. But I had no relationship experience and no sense of self, and I let myself believe his declarations of love. I felt that I loved him, too, and I was glad he had found me because I honestly felt that he was the only chance I'd ever have at a romantic relationship. Because of these things, I let him pressure me into things that I did not want to do. I was easily manipulated and he took advantage.

We "dated" from early April until mid-July. He had started to change over the summer. He was much less charming after a while. He began to pick fights with me, manipulate me, and verbally attack me. I took it, because I thought I deserved it. When he broke up with me, I was crushed. I felt like my life was over. He insisted we could remain friends, and I believed him.

A few weeks later, I found out my father's brain cancer had returned. He'd had two surgeries the year before, and radiation and chemotherapy had all but eliminated his tumor. But his was the kind of cancer that comes back and kills, and it had indeed returned. We were told he would have between three and six months. He got three weeks.

My father died on the ninth of September. I was devastated and grief-stricken, and I turned to H for comfort. He was happy to take advantage. He said and did things that made me think he wanted a relationship again. He didn't. I went two weeks without seeing him, and I heard from him maybe three times. I decided to wash my hands of him when he forgot my birthday. I had a small family party, and despite the absence of my father, I was feeling hopeful for the future. I'd finally earned my 2-year degree, I was free of the job I'd had that made me miserable, and I had a trip to Scotland planned for the next summer. I had made a number of very serious mistakes and I knew I needed to turn my life around. I knew I could do it. I wanted to be a good girl again.

My hope and optimism lasted two days, until October 25th, 2009, at 3:47pm.

1 comment:

Martin Family said...

Your story is amazing! So strong. Not that it will ever end but when you find a break or a place where you are happy or content with this story I hope you publish it. you are an amazing writer and I admire you!