I’ve always been a hopeless romantic. Growing up, I watched a lot of movies about best friends falling in love with each other and happy endings. I guess, in a way, we all do. As such, even if I didn’t realize it, I chased after this idea of romance that was more fairy tale than reality. Maybe that’s part of why I believed the things I did, part of why certain things happened the way they did. As I got older, I became cynical and started to hope for these romantic ideas but also be fully aware they would never happen to me. Or maybe I just got tired of being disappointed. In hindsight, I've been blessed, I've had three great loves in my life.
You see "Me too" on your Facebook and you think, "Stop making yourself a victim." You think, "Stop living in the past." You think, "You're exaggerating the problem, exaggerating the pain." And if you don't understand, you may think those are fair things to say. Honestly, that means you are lucky because that means that you've never felt the need to cover every inch of your body for fear of what will be said about skin showing. You've never walked down the street in fear you'll run into that one person you know always makes you feel uncomfortable because while you've stated you’re not interested they continue to make sexual advances. If you're against the "Me too" trend, as some are calling it, you've never sat in a room so self-conscious of your body you have no idea what anyone else is saying.
It was one of those moments that make you want to scream. I didn’t know what was going on, or why things were happening. I was too young to truly understand, yet, somehow, I was completely aware of the possibilities. Just moving from Ohio, we were in Las Vegas, Nevada. At the time, my dad was an Air Force Captain at Nellis, Air Force Base. I was seven years old, a mere third grader.
You hear stories about domestic abuse and how the women stay for so long and the question is always asked: why did you stay? If you’ve never been in an abusive relationship, this question makes sense. Why would anyone stay with someone who hurts them, who makes them feel worthless? Why continue to put yourself through that torture when you could just leave? But abuse is never that simple and women stay for all kinds of reasons.
There’s been a common story about the red thread of fate that binds people together. An ancient Chinese belief is that an invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet or be together regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch and tangle but it will never break. It is a similar concept of soul mates or that there is only one person out there specifically designed for us.
The alarm goes off at 6:45 and I hit the snooze button as I’m overwhelmed with a huge wave of nausea. Taking a deep breath, I reach for my loaded pipe and lighter taking a hit and breathing slowly. I lie still for a moment and take another hit as I feel nausea begin to subside. One more, and I’m ready to get dressed and ready for the day.