Thursday, March 14, 2013

Turning Points

I’ve worn a mask for the majority of my life. I wanted to show people that I was “happy” and that I was strong and that I could roll with the punches. I was the type of person who would consistently get kicked down and would think that in time all of the cracks and all of the internal pain would just heal itself. I felt like a “loser” for the majority of my life. I was never popular or well liked. I was shy and never spoke up or defended myself when I was picked on. I remember growing up thinking that I’d be alone forever and would often cry myself to sleep. I didn’t think any man would ever find me attractive and didn’t have my first kiss until I was 15 years old. Which at the time felt pathetic as I had grown up with kids who started having sex in the 5th-6th grade and already had relationships that lasted years. Now I have to admit I look back and don’t feel like the pathetic one. I think I may have suffered from depression, but was always too scared to tell anyone.

I had my first “real” boyfriend at the age of 16. His name was Jermaine or “Bob” as some people called him. We dated for 6 months and I thought he was amazing and truly believed he loved me. He was so convincing. The first time we ever talked on the phone we stayed on the line for 8 hours straight. This happened often. He would also come to visit me on weekends and we’d hang out with friends. Not soon after things started becoming more inconsistent. He’d arrive 2,3 sometimes even 4 hours late and wouldn’t get to my house until 11 pm. As a 16 year old my parents were NOT impressed. I still stuck by him even though he let me down and hurt me. One night my friend Donna called me and told me that her boyfriend at the time, Eddie (who was Jermaine’s best friend), told her that Bob was at a pajama party with a bunch of other girls and that they both thought it was REALLY weird. I did too and was shocked he wouldn’t have told me about something like this. I should have known better but I stuck with him. I eventually found out that he had another girlfriend (his friend’s cousin) that he started dating a few months after we started going out. He also had a girlfriend of FOUR YEARS!! I was blown away. This BOY laughed in my face while I cried my face off after he hurt me so badly. He went on to tell me years later that hurting me was his biggest regret.

That was my first relationship.

The following few years involved me being hurt, pressured and played by multiple men. I had a very unhealthy and sad lifestyle. When I was 18 I met a guy who seemed different.. he seemed genuine. Our relationship started out wonderfully.. or so I thought. We saw each other every single day and spent all of our spare time together. I truly thought this was “the one”. We dated for 4.5 years and after the first year or so things drastically changed. We were fighting all the time, weren’t going out to do anything, stayed in constantly and we both lost multiple friends in the process. We constantly put each other down, made each other feel like crap and probably stayed together for so long because we were “comfortable”. It’s easy to throw the blame on the other person but I know I played a big part in how things played out too. I drastically changed as a person in those 4.5 years. I became unhappy, bitter and was a miserable person in general. I felt like I would get into trouble if I hung out with my friends or spent a weekend away from him. I even heard once (in reference to Jenn) “She isn't your best friend.. I AM!!” That was the first time I ever stuck up for myself and put my foot down. I said something along the lines of “She IS my best friend.. we’re allowed to have friendships outside of this relationship you know!” and added that being my boyfriend and being my best friend was a packaged deal. Things still continued to spiral and so did my patience. We continued to fight on a daily basis and I was finally fighting back.

In October of 2010 Chantelle moved out of our apartment to move across the country for work. I decided to move back home at that time to save money. I thought that being with someone for almost 5 years meant that you could rely on them in specific situations.. one being moving. Chan was out of the apartment and I was alone for 1.5 months. During that time I sold some furniture and had men coming to the house to look at it or pick it up. I was honestly scared as I was alone in this apartment and they could have done anything. I asked him to come over to be there when these guys came. I asked him three separate times and got a blunt “No, I’d rather play basketball” and “No, I’m making pizza” and “No, I don’t feel like it.” I was livid. After all of the things I’d done including taking him into my own home when he was kicked out and driving him anywhere he wanted to go(for 4.5 years straight) he couldn’t even come over and help me to feel safe? I then felt extremely let down and sad. I stayed at my parents house for a lot of the night moving stuff in and watching our dog, Brady, while they were gone for the evening. While I was there I called Jenn to vent. This was the first time she ever told me not to work on my relationship. This was the first time she opened my eyes to what was really happening.. emotional abuse. We talked for over an hour while I sat on my parents bed bawling my eyes out. She told me what she was seeing and she told me I needed to leave him ASAP. She told me how, she told me exactly what I should say and comforted me in saying that she will be there for me no matter what.  Even after that I still forgave his bullshit. The next day he called me while I was at work and asked if I wanted to go watch football at our friends house (which was one place we actually got along because I was around sociable, friendly people). We barely talked the whole evening as I was still mad but it was nice being around our friends. The very next day I asked him for his help in moving and he completely let me down once again and lied flat out. I caught him. Not only had I went out of my way that very day to drive him home from Waterloo (would have been a 3-4 hour walk) but he couldn’t even try to find a way to help me.

This was my turning point. This was my fresh start.

I lost it. I snapped! I ended it right then and there. This was the beginning of my new life. Immediately after making this extremely drastic change in my life things started to get better. I spent more time with family and friends, I enjoyed work more, I started going out and doing things and the big thing.. I started to love myself again. It was a long journey but so many good things happened. I started my weight loss journey, I became more confident, I started to smile again.. like genuine, full out smile again, I got a promotion to full time at my job, bought a brand new car, started dating NICE guys. I was also able to openly talk about the things I had been through with my friends that I had kept to myself. I wasn’t scared anymore.

My life changed drastically. All because I decided to step out of my comfort zone and turn my life around. It was hard.. and I knew it would be but I knew being alone and happy was better than feeling alone and being unhappy.

In the end I got the one thing I wanted all along. A guy like Pete! A guy who respects me and makes me feel beautiful. Someone who is there to make me feel better and to wipe away my tears. Someone who is supportive and I can be my true wacky self with. I made the change and the best possible thing happened. I got the guy I was crushing on for months or as Jenn would call him “my biggest crush EVER!!”. Now I see only goodness in my future and am surrounded with love. I am with someone who sees a future with me and treats me the way I love to be treated. For this I am so, so, so thankful for my past experiences.. good and bad. They’ve shown me what I want. They’ve taught me what I need. I am forever a changed person.

You don’t have to live your life a certain way just because you feel “comfortable”. We live in a society that allows us to choose our path and to create our own destiny. We are who we choose to be and no one is going to come and save you. You need to save yourself. If you need a change or if you need to completely turn over a new leaf.. you are able to do this!  It is up to you to admit that you are unhappy with the way you have been living your life and to go from there. You deserve to be treated like the beautiful person you are and should never feel like a doormat. If someone treats you badly you have the right to leave and you SHOULD. Never settle for less than what you deserve. When things aren’t adding to your life it’s time to start subtracting. You should decide when it is time for your turning point. Whether your turning point is leaving an abusive relationship, changing your eating habits, changing your attitude or even trying new things. If you do what you always did you will get what you always got. Change doesn’t have to be scary! Change can be refreshing and eye opening.

I will leave you with this:

Thanks for reading!



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