Those nine words defined such a huge part of my life. I made so many stupid choices, did so many risky and stupid things, all because I had no clue how to love, or be loved.
It started at home, when broken parents tried to do the best they could...but had no model of healthy love to draw from. They had nothing to emulate. From the time I was about 8 or so...until well into my relationship with Jack, I was chasing love. I was running in all the wrong directions, to all the wrong people, in all the wrong places. Jack changed me, right from the start, but it was a slow process.
I was beat down, physically, mentally, emotionally. Jack was the one who drug me out of my "shell" so to speak. The outspoken, take no shit, give as good as I get person that I am now used to not exist. My Father did not like emotions. He discouraged them. The only one he ever showed was anger, at that time in his life. He was a deep thinker, very analytic, and he taught me to be the same. However, it was not until AFTER Jack helped me to get rid of all the bullshit I had piled on me that I discovered just how alike my Father and I were.
When Jack and I met, I was a very timid person. From a very early age I was told " Children are to be seen, and not heard," and that carried over into my adult life. I acted out, did stupid things, because I felt I had no voice to speak with. I had to gain attention through actions, and the good things never gained me much of anything, only the bad things had any long lasting effect. In my first two long term relationships I was physically, mentally, and emotionally abused. I was hit, I was talked down to, I was treated terrible, and I allowed it, because I was taught that this is normal. My model of marriage was my parents, and while as far as I know my Father never hit my Mother, he was very emotionally and mentally abusive when I was young. I thought this is what marriage was. That it was okay to be treated that way, because that is what I thought I deserved. My Mother allowed us to be treated this way. Due to her past, maybe she thought that the way my Dad was was how it was supposed to be. I do not know. I have never felt comfortable enough to ask her.
One of the strongest memories I have is one night when I was 6 or 7...my Dad and my Uncle were going fishing, and my Dad was pissed off because he could not find something, and he just went off on my Mom. It was bad. He left to go fishing, and I was reading a book that had craft ideas in it, and I looked up at my Mom to tell her about something in the book...and she was staring off into space, tears rolling down her cheeks. It was the first time I ever remember seeing her cry. I did not say anything, I just looked back down at my book and kept quiet. I remember being so angry at my Dad, for making her cry. I was angry that he was such an ass ALL the time. I felt that he made our lives miserable. A few years later, there was another terrible fight and Dad said he was leaving. He and Mom were going to split up. I remember telling my Mom about all of these things we could sell for money, so we would not be without. My Mom looked at me and said " You know if he leaves, you will probably never see him again.." ( When he split with his ex wife, the mother of my half siblings, he did not spend much time with them until they were adults. ) My response was, "Good." ( For the record, they never did split up, they were married until my Dad died last June..)
Back to Jack. I was 24 years old, and living with a man 20 years older than me that I did not care about. He was an alcoholic, and while he did not "abuse" me, he ignored me and I was basically there to help him pay bills, including child support for his youngest child. I met Jack while working at a gas station. He was a mechanic in the shop a few doors down, and he would come in several times a day. I did not really care for him when we first met. I thought he was arrogant and thought he was all that and a bag of chips. He walked around like he owned the world. He would be slightly flirtatious with me when he came in the store. Not too much though, as he had a girlfriend and I had the guy I was with, who also worked at the store with me. One afternoon, I was standing outside on a smoke break when he came in, and as he left he was griping about his girlfriend, and we talked for a few minutes. We actually had a nice conversation, and he was reluctant to leave, and said " Well, I guess I need to get back to the house and my old lady.." I looked him square in the eye ( which was unusual, I very seldom did that ) and as I flicked my cig away I said " Your 'old lady' is not my problem.." and walked inside. He sat in the parking lot and started at me through the window for about 5 minutes before he left.
After that he started coming in the store 5 and 6 times a day when I was working, and my boss, whom I was friends with, said if he came in and saw I was not working, he would not come back that day. I shrugged it off, I thought he was an ass and did not really give him much thought. A few weeks later, I was hanging around the store, even though it was my day off, because I had nothing else to do, and the guy I was seeing was working that day. I was sitting at a table, reading the newspaper, and Jack walked in, talking on his cell. I glanced up and then back down at my paper, and the next thing I know he had slid in the seat across from me and leaned over the table and gave me a hug...still on the phone. I just sat there, stunned, and I did not return the hug. I went back to my paper and he sat there talking on the phone. Once he was finished, he started talking to me as if we had been close friends for years. We ended up going outside and talking in the parking lot for the next three hours. Later that afternoon, he surprised me by asking me if I wanted to go for a ride. I surprised myself by saying yes. He followed me back to my house so I could drop off my car, and I jumped in his truck and off we went. He took me to meet his parents....'
Yeah. His parents.
We talked at his place for hours, and I was reluctant to go home. But home I went and went to bed. I ended up going to my store the next morning, telling the guy I was with that I wanted a Pop Tart ( which I do no even eat ) and I would be back later. I went and bought a nasty Pop Tart and used the store phone to call Jack, and he came up to the store before work and hung out with me for a little while. We ended up seeing each other that afternoon for a little while, and it was even harder to leave him. I explained my current relationship to him ( he had broken up with his girl weeks before all this ) and how I was there because I felt I had no place to go. We had not been intimate in months, and he ignored me 95% of the time unless he needed a ride somewhere ( he had no vehicle or a license ) or unless he was holding his hand out for my paycheck for bills and to pay his child support. I did not care for him, and did not want to be with him, but I felt trapped. Jack tried to get me to spend the night with him, but I told him no, and I went home shortly after that.
I did not see him the next day; I was off work, and I felt guilty, even though I no longer wanted to be in my current relationship, ( and I use the world "relationship" very loosely ) nor had I done anything to be guilty of, other than hang out with a new friend who was a guy. Nothing intimate had happened other than a goodbye hug. The next morning, I woke up at like 8 am ( which was not the norm, I worked nights so I slept until 2 pm most days ) and something told me to get dressed and go outside. I pulled on a pair of shorts with the shirt I slept in and grabbed my smokes and wandered outside....passing by the guy I lived with, who was already drinking at 8 in the morning...and leaned up against the back of my car, closing my eyes against the bright sun, having a smoke and wondering what in the hell I was doing up and outside that time of day, as I had to work that night.
About five minutes later, my question was answered. Jack came screeching into my driveway and came to a stop a mere 6 inches from pinning me between his truck and my car. The odd part is, I never flinched, or got scared. I knew I was safe. He came out of the truck...long hair ( at the time ) flying, no shirt, tight jeans with holes in the knees on...looking wild and slightly crazed.
I kept my face neutral and asked him what in the hell was he doing here so early, looking all crazy. He told me that he was unable to get me off his mind, and he did not want to spend another moment without me, and I could either go in there and tell the dude I lived with that I was leaving, or he would just put me in the truck and leave, he could figure it out later. I smirked and asked him did he really want to start our relationship off with a kidnapping? He just raised an eyebrow at me..with a look that said "If I have to.."
I laughed and we talked for a few more minutes. I know most of you are probably thinking "WHY are you talking to the crazy person?!" I have to tell you, it is strange, but I have never felt so safe. I knew he was not going to hurt me. I finally told him to wait outside, I had to go get some clothes on and I would be back. I went in, got dressed, and grabbed my work shirt and told the guy I was living with that I was leaving. He asked when I would be coming back, and I said that I was not sure. Instead of being concerned, or suspicious, the only other thing he said to me was: " You ARE going to work tonight, right?" I said yes and walked out the door, got into Jack's truck, and we left. I went to work that night, and my now ex came up there and brought me my car, and asked for his house key back. I guess it finally sunk in what I had done. I made arrangements to get the rest of my stuff the next day, and I never went back after that. I slept on Jack's couch for a week, I refused to sleep in the bed with him. When we finally did get intimate, I got pregnant with Alex our first time. He was thrilled. I was terrified. We have been together ever since.
Jack and I, with a 3 month old Alex.( 8 and a half years ago ) Jack had dyed his brown hair blonde. Now he has no hair lol. ( Not related to the dying LOL.) Yes, Alex was tiny. She was a 28 week preemie for those who are new here :)
I have never regretted my decision. It has been just over nine years. We are each others longest relationship.
It took him a few years to get me straightened out, so to speak. He taught me to love myself, something that had seriously been lacking in my life. He taught me to stand up for myself. He taught me that I was worth something. He taught me that I was valid. He taught me that I was a product of my environment, and that I was no longer that scared, lonely little girl.
He taught me that I deserved to be loved.
He taught me what love was.
We have had our ups and downs, we have been through really tough times, and we almost broke. But out love for each other was too strong, to deep, to ever truly break us apart.
Jack, and then Alex, taught me what love was supposed to be, and it re-shaped my entire life.
Stay tuned for Part Three to find out how....
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