The First Three years
I was married in the small Presbyterian church that his grandfather attended every Sunday. The wedding was in December with red and white Christmas decorations. I can remember insisting that there be mistletoe from a big oak tree, however I must admit I did not see the significance of this. It is funny to note that I decorate for the holidays in any color except red and white. I quit the architecture program and continued with small art classes with my mother for a few months. I was soon discouraged from doing this because I should be spending these nights with my new husband. I don’t remember when he started staying away from home, but I am sure it was by the following summer.
His best friend’s house was about fifteen minutes away and on his way home from work. He would stop there every afternoon with a six pack of beer and hang out. I would call him six to say that supper was ready, and his reply was always, “I’ll be home in a minute.” I would stay awake some nights until midnight waiting on him to come home. I eventually started calling every thirty minutes crying for him to come home. I cringe to think about this now. Things did not improve, and I eventually got a job working second shift, so I could avoid his not coming home. His parents and my grandmother would tell me that he continued to come home extremely late even though I wasn’t home. I eventually decided I had tolerated his behavior all that I could, and I went to my boss’s house one night to a pool party after work. My job ended between eleven and eleven-thirty, so I stayed out for five hours after work I came home just as he was getting up to go to work. He never came home late again but I had reduced myself to his level by playing games and this made me very unhappy with myself.
I had been married a little over a year and found out I was pregnant. This was horrible news as he had stated many times that he had tried to have kids in a previous marriage and could not. The doctor told him that he had a low sperm count and could not father children. His family and my family insinuated that the baby could not possibly be his and because I was ten years younger than him I was obviously having an affair. I had a miscarriage at three months and it was over.
My family blamed my tarot cards and my friendship with the “witch” that lived in town. They cried and showed me bible passages for weeks until I finally agreed to get rid of my tarot cards. I threw them in the trash, but then remembered they cost a lot of money and took them out. My mother saw them and told me the only way to get rid of something that “demonic” was to burn it. I took them outside the house and made a little campfire and proceeded to try and burn them…they wouldn’t burn. I managed to burn the edges of them only, so I decided to bury them. I dug a small hole and buried them in the woods beside my home.
The next year I found out I was pregnant again. This time I had a little girl the following May. Her father was in the delivery room when she was born. I didn’t know it was possible to a grown man to cry such beautiful tears.
This little angel could have been his clone. When my first daughter was six weeks old “she” came for me for the first time in years. I was nursing so I had fallen asleep with her on my chest. The ceiling above me opened as it always did, and a huge spider dropped down from the ceiling. When the spider was directly above me I saw that it had the face of a hag with sharp jagged teeth. My first instinct was to throw the baby and run. However, I stopped myself and screamed wake up. When I woke up I felt as if I was still in the dream for hours and could only hold my infant and cry. This did not happen again and the months after her birth my life was the epitome of perfection.
I had a new home, a new child and a husband that acted like a new person. The only worry I had was that I had gained over fifty pounds while pregnant and it was not going away. I had delivered by C-section and could not do my normal one-hundred daily sit-ups. I was devastated. My aunt helped me buy huge, tummy hiding clothes and as usual I covered up and ignored the problem. The Goddess I once was disappeared in the weight and despair.
When my daughter was about six months old it became apparent to the world that she was never going to sleep in a baby bed. I have always been terrified of the dark and the thoughts of a helpless baby waking up with no mother was equally horrifying to me, especially after the dream I had experienced when she was an infant. I knew something out there wanted her and I didn’t know what or why. This co-sleeping arrangement would later be blamed for the problems in my marriage. I have come to realize since that co-sleeping is completely normal and a choice that many parents make.
When my daughter was seven months old, I was sitting at my grandmother’s kitchen table talking with her and my mother. This was completely normal when my mother came to visit we would sit and talk for hours about her recent move to Atlanta and her new job. This time my mom wanted to know how I felt about men having affairs. I was very self-righteous in my early twenties, so I commenced to give her my speech on the punishment I could foresee for a cheating man. I remember the conversation like it was yesterday, me telling her that I was so lucky that I was married to a man that was so much older than me because he would never consider cheating. Why should he?
He had everything; a young wife, a young daughter, a new home, a good job..... but most of all he had low self-esteem and no morals.
I found out just weeks later he was having an affair and they were just trying to see if I knew. The entire town apparently knew, and I was the only one in the dark. I found out when my credit card statement came in the mail and there were charges for a motel, restaurant and florist over fifty miles away. I called the motel and proceeded to demand that they remove the charges. The receptionist was also the owner and she went back through her accounts while I was on the phone. She then told me that she remembered the nice gentleman in the white truck that rented the room for him and his wife. She described him perfectly and during the conversation I remember thinking I should hang up before I vomited.
When my husband came home I was in the baby’s room packing her clothes as I had already packed mine. I had also called my grandmother and my mother prior to packing. He came through the door and yelled at me that he had to go to the bathroom baddddd he had not had time to go all day, funny what you remember. I walked in the bathroom while he was urinating and told him about my conversation with the motel earlier. I remember that I was thinking the entire time I was screaming at him that I just wished his dick would fall off and wham! I watched as all the blood drained from his face because he zipped his penis up in his Levi’s 501 jeans. I still remember this with a smile and it should not be funny. I walked back in the bedroom and started packing again.
He followed me crying and talking but I don’t remember a word he said. He eventually punched a hole in the wall and I stopped packing and got the baby out of her bed and left. I went to my grandmother’s house expecting her to understand my anger and offer words of wisdom. Fear not wisdom awaited me at her kitchen table.
She explained to me that yes, I could leave but where would I go.
I was not welcome at her house with a small child and she would not allow me to intrude on my mother in any way. Her words for me, “you made your bed.” I was devastated and returned home. I was greeted at the door by his mother. The conversation I had with her is bone chilling to this day. She was loving and kind as she explained to me how her husband had cheated on her throughout their entire marriage. This was because she gave to much attention to her children during the early years of their marriage and wasn’t attentive enough to him. She went on to say that all men did this, and it was completely normal as I had gained a lot of weight and maybe he didn’t find me attractive anymore. I didn’t even have the words to tell her that he had never stopped being intimate with me and I couldn’t understand why he would need another woman. She stayed at my house and in about three hours convinced me I was simply overreacting and should calm down.
I slept in the nursery with my daughter for a few weeks until my mother-in-law showed up again with the perfect solution. She made me an appointment with her doctor who prescribed me Prozac. It would help me lose weight and stop me from being depressed because I obviously had post-partum depression. Writing these words makes me intensely angry even now.
This was the beginning of my twenty-year cycle of anti-depressant nightmare. I call it the time of non-dreaming. I would have day dreams to combat the fatigue and boredom my mind experienced while on the medication, but my dreams stopped.
I was willing to do anything to save my marriage because my grandmother had made it crystal clear that I was on my own with no options. I rationalized that my mother-in-law had been married for years and if I wanted to stay married to her son I should do exactly what she did. This meant we had something in common, so she took me under her wing and proceeded to teach me how to be a good wife. This was the start of my shopping addiction and my credit card debt which to anyone with an IQ could see was a determent to any marriage. We went on all day shopping sprees and had lovely lunches and my debt climbed daily. My husband said nothing because he learned very fast that if he did I could cut him off with one sentence. My shopping was justified by his affair and so the vicious cycle began.