How did I get here?
I find myself asking this question all the time. It’s not that I’m unhappy with my life. It’s that I’m dissatisfied. Yes, there is a difference. An unhappy person would be miserable all the time, grumbling about life, making everyone else miserable. I’m just not satisfied. I know there’s more out there for me than just sitting at home, bored to tears most days, wishing for something I’m not even sure exists for me.This might be a good time, dear reader, to go grab a snack and a drink – pee if you have to – and make yourself comfortable. It’s gonna be a long and bumpy ride.
I didn’t grow up in a normal way, so what makes me think that any other part of my life would be normal is beyond me.
I was born October 21, 1970. Two parents. See, things started out normal enough. A sister was born in 1974, but died 2 months later due to a heart defect. Another sister was born in 1976, and for some reason, still unbeknownst to me, I hated her. Just her very presence irked me. Matters were made worse when, a couple of years later, she was diagnosed with Reye’s Syndrome. And wasn’t expected to live. And spent a ton of time in the hospital, with family fawning over her 24/7. Which added to my hatred of her.
Abnormal still doesn’t begin to cover it. There was also heavy doses of domestic violence going on. It started before I was born. I thought it was normal. Until I noticed that my friends’ fathers weren’t beating the crap out of their mothers. And punishments for my friends didn’t include a pot of hot chili being thrown at them. That all ended when I was 10, though. Well, at least the physical part of it. My mother took me and my sister in the middle of the night, to a friend’s house, so we could escape. They divorced, us kids lived with my mother with weekend visitation to my dad’s. Again, none of my friends had divorced parents. My life was not normal, and I started feeling it by that time.
I was the smart one. The shy one. The one easily picked on by bullies. Never really learning how to stand up for myself against the thugs. Middle school was hell. I hated every minute of it. I started to rebel against anything and everything. I had a lot of hate. I hated my dad. I hated my mother. And I definitely hated my sister. At the age of 13 I got into a serious fight with my mother, and it came to blows. When the police arrived (my sister called them, terrified someone was gonna end up dead), I was given the choice to go to my father’s, or to a home for troubled kids. I chose the halfway house. Life was not easy there! But it was better than my own parents’ homes. I learned how to defend myself, though, physically and emotionally. I was there for a couple of months.
By 10th grade, I’d forgiven my father. After continuous fighting with my mother and sister, I went to live with my dad. He was re-married with 3 step children – a boy 2 years younger than me, and twin girls 7 years younger than me. The boy and I got along famously. We were the best of friends. The twins, well I was just indifferent to them.
Which brings me to high school. A poor kid in a rich school. Rich snobs everywhere I turned. Some were nice and didn’t act like snobs. But most were horribly snotty. I can remember overhearing a conversation that went like so: “I’m so pissed! I had to drive the Beemer, ’cause the Mercedes is in the shop!”. Luckily, there were a few kids in the same boat as me. The bad-ass kids. The rebels. I fell in with them quite easily, actually. But still, not a lot of close friends. 3 in fact. I was still somewhat of the outcast.
I went to a Vo-Tech school for the 2nd half of the school day (for computer programming/data entry), and didn’t have opportunity to hang out with everyone. After school, if I wasn’t working, I was on Stage Crew. No rebels there! Just the theater geeks. But they were cool, and I enjoyed hanging out with them. There were a couple who were still too snooty to give me the time of day (still are, I’ve discovered, thanks to Facebook!). Still, though, I was not normal. I didn’t have a normal group of friends. I didn’t have normal interests. And I went to Vo-Tech, which may as well have been a school for lepers according to the snobs.
In a year’s time, I was working almost full-time between 2 jobs, plus going to school. I’d lost a good friend to a drunk driver, and that still affects me to this day. Graduated at 17. I had a scholarship to college, which I pissed away. I’d been kicked out of my dad’s, for the ridiculous reason of not spending the weekends at home (I spent them with my boyfriend, instead). Turned 18, very uneventfully I might add. I dropped out of college, moved in with a roommate, and had a full-time job plus a part-time job. All within a year!
And the weirdness continued. My medical problems started to become … well … a problem. My best friend, her husband, and their infant twin sons moved in with me (after the roommate left). They separated. I fell in love with her soon-to-be ex. Anyone detect the whiff of world war 3? Yeah, it wasn’t pretty. I was absolutely inhumane to my (ex) boyfriend, because I was incredibly unhappy in that relationship (broke up with him by throwing his shit out in the yard). And I was thrust into step-motherhood. Don’t get me wrong, I adored those boys! They were one of the best parts of my odd life!
Things were seemingly normal for a couple of years. Then my medical problems got worse. I struggled to keep a job that I loved, despite driving to work suffering from extreme vertigo, and calling off way too often because of the dizziness. In 1995, we were married. Big mistake! Without going into too much detail, I’ll just say that I don’t think I made his priority list. At all. Ever. I made many mistakes that year. I was miserable. I made everyone miserable. I found comfort in my friends online (back when AOL was pretty much the only way to get online). I met someone who made me happy. I left my husband 6 months after getting married.
2 months later, I was pregnant. After being told that I wouldn’t be able to get pregnant because of my medical problems. And so began a 9 year relationship that was bad almost from the get-go. I was once again a step-mother, only this time to 2 great girls. The first couple of years were close to being tolerable. But once again, I was miserable. Aside from the kids, I kicked myself for every decision I’d ever made in my life. And hated the things that just happened to me, through no fault of my own. My medical problems continued to compound. I struggled just to be a whole person. The fighting … oh, the fighting. Some days I thought I was going to lose my mind.
In 2004, I had 2 choices: find work outside the home with an employer that would work with me and my disabilities … or end up in prison with a homicide sentence. I began working at Wal-mart. A couple of months later, I temporarily moved out. I had started to “find myself”. Cliché, I know. But true. Unfortunately, I didn’t count on my heart breaking into tiny pieces because I missed my Son. So I moved back. And so began the end of my relationship. My mind was free. My heart was free. I felt the weight of the world lifted off my shoulders. More cliché – I’m aware. Still true.
Then I met Bill. At work! The best thing to happen to me since Matthew was born! We hit it off very quickly. I moved in with him in January of 2005, we were married by September. And my medical problems continued to become worse and worse. I had to stop working. Which added to our financial problems. Issue after issue, piled one on top of the other. Oddly enough, it made our relationship stronger.
I now have the best marriage anyone could ever ask for! Bill truly is the love of my lifetime. I couldn’t be happier with him. He’s my rock, my sanity. Ok, I’ll stop with the mushy stuff. Wait, not yet! I also have a wonderful Son, who I’m incredibly proud of! He makes me smile every day (usually after he does something that makes me question having a child to begin with!) … he’s the light of my life. Ok, the mush ends now.
Even with all this happiness in my life, I’m still dissatisfied. I’m still disabled. I’m getting fatter by the day, due to lack of exercise, which is due to my inability to exercise. We’re still poor, due to my being unable to work, due to my disabilities. See the pattern yet?
You know how people are always saying things like, “You have a roof over your head, your health, and love … consider yourself lucky!”. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I don’t have my health – a roof over our head isn’t guaranteed – and love doesn’t put food in our stomachs.
My dissatisfaction with my life is starting to bring me down. Way down. I’m hitting a level of depression that I haven’t had in many years. I’ve stopped seeing anything in a positive light. Joy is a foreign word to me right now. I’m afraid of losing the happiness, too. That’s the only thing that’s holding me together at the moment.
So, now that we know how I got here … how do I figure out how to get out of here? I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired! I want better for me, for my family. I don’t mind the abnormality of my life … nobody is exactly normal. But some semblance of normal would be nice. Some desire to smile for the sake of smiling. Feeling happy just because … not only when someone else is doing something to make me happy. I want to feel like I’m worthy of breathing in the air around me. Like a functioning, contributing member of society. Is that too much to ask for?