09 August 2008

A Fairy Tale

When I was nineteen, I was S.T.U.P.I.D and got married. Like you are when you're nineteen, I just *knew* this was how my life was supposed to go. I grew up in a small town and settling down at a young age was not that unusual, in fact, it was probably mostly the norm.

Originally, I had planned on going to college. I was interested in being a teacher although I was working in a daycare and loved it. But that whole financial thing was an issue so I didn't go. (This was before the prevalence of student loans...you didn't have the money, you simply didn't go. Not necessarily a bad thing, as we look back now) Anyhoo, I’m off-topic. Big Surprise.

As college was off-the-table, marriage became the next option. It's not like I purposefully started searching for a "husband", it just kind of worked out that way. I was essentially (i.e. sans ring or date) engaged my entire senior year of high school.

I normally refer to my former husband...I hate the title "ex-husband"; I don't know why...
I normally refer to him as Satan, or Lucifer, or Bonehead. These were the nicest names I could use in front of my mother. For a while there, I referred to him as Prick; which it turns out that my mom didn't realize was actually a bad word and not just slang. (:-O Anyway, his given name is Michael and I am trying to use it more often and let go of the animosity....we'll just see how that goes...

On the surface, the relationship was picture perfect. He came from a prominent family, Christian (something I hadn't experienced) and affluent family. He was going to provide a life for me that I didn't think I could have on my own. Stability, independence. I was a Lifetime made-for-television movie. Poor Girl Done Good. (I can't believe that's not already a movie title, actually)

Right around my 18th birthday was when I was beginning to get pressure to marry Michael. His parents were worried that we would live in sin. Truthfully, I think his parents were equally as worried that he'd marry ME. And then he started in with some of the stupid stuff that you don't think about when you're teenaged and immersed in "love": Calling a lot, wanting to know where I was, dropping by unexpectedly, etc. etc. But in my eighteen-year-old head, it was flattering.

The only real warning light is when he literally launched his car off an embankment into a snowfield during a disagreement. Yeah. Nice. I was PISSED. I was beyond PISSED. I was F&&%ing PISSED. I must have broken up with him at that point. (You know, trying to kill/maim you usually = a deal-breaker)

But obviously, we got back together. It was after that time that things are a little blurry for me. I've actually lost about three years of memories. I haven't retrieved them, as I figure I lost them For. A. Reason.

We got married almost a year to-the-day after my graduation. I didn't have qualms about it at the time. It was mostly kind of a shoulder-shrugging "meh" kind of an attitude. Divorce was becoming more common and I think I knew in the back of my mind that either family would gladly pay for it when the time came. (Notice: not "if" but "when") My friends were ambivelent. I was the first to get married, so I think my wedding was kind of a novelty.

It was a traditional wedding. In a small country church, 300 people (I know!) wedding dress, tuxes, flowers, etc. We had a good time. I, like many brides, got more caught up in the Wedding than in the Marriage.

After the wedding, I was busy playing house. That's all it simply was: playing house. Furniture, groceries, decorating, friends. This took about six months time until the shiney newness wore off.

Michael was okay during the first six months. It was clear before the marriage that he had a problem with the truth. He lied to the pastor during pre-marital counseling. Not a good sign.

But I was coping with the lying thing. I was raised by alcoholics so you know, frankly, it wasn't that big of a deal to me. Horrifying, now that I look back at it.

Then he got a really GOOD job...working swing-shift. At first, I was bothered. I didn't want him to be gone that much. He said it would help us buy a house, give us insurance and he wouldn't have to accept help from his family. (I didn't know he was) This felt like it was just one more step toward being "grown-up" and on we went. This is what marriage is, I thought.

Well, let's do the math: now I'm 20 years old, left to my own devices for most of the day - every day- and money wasn't so much a worry. Hmmm, I wonder what happened? Friends, parties (benign, harmless parties - not Animal House parties) and no responsibilities. Soon, I began resenting when he actually WAS home. At first he was livid and clingy but soon, he became indifferent. I was relieved with the indifference. I could work with that.

Just as I was beginning to realize that this wasn't working, he brought home a roommate. Like a puppy, he brought home Jeff. This was a little up there on the weird-meter but again, I just rolled with it. Turns out I ADORED Jeff. Not in the LOVE way but in the brotherly, I would give you a kidney kind of way.

This buys our relationship about six more months. Jeff became a buffer. Actually toward the end, Jeff & I were more married than Michael and I was. (Jeff ended up marrying my BFF at the time so get your mind out of Soap Opera Digest Land)

Finally, Michael started upping the crazy level. He began drinking more, smoking more, money started disappearing. (This is a whole other story. You know, if you work in a bank and someone comes with a messed up checking account? Don't assume they're an idiot. Assume that their husband is FUCKING AROUND ON HER and not leaving the receipts. Whew, a little pent up emotion there. Apologies)

The beginning of the end came when we were having pizza and a movie. Jeff was there, as always, but was moving out in a few days. His moving out made me nervous. I was not wanting to be alone with Michael. Turns out, Jeff didn't want me alone with him either. He had been making comments toward my marriage but they bounced off me like a super ball. During pizza and movie night, Michael shoved me. Well, more like a push disguised as an accidentally bumping into. Jeff said something and Michael left shortly thereafter. Then Jeff read me the riot act.

Jeff moved out a few days later. I was heart-broken more over his moving out than my failed marriage. I spent lots of time with my friends and away from the apartment. I knew at this point that I'd gotten myself into a mess and was trying to figure a way out. As I was figuring, I wrecked my car in the snow. NICE. Perfect. Now I was housebound. Just as Michael would have preferred it. Now I'm in a mess and stranded. Well done me.

They say that there is always a mitigating factor when someone actually ends a marriage. If I remember correctly, Men usually have to get to the Miserable point and they bail. (Now in hindsight, I can see that Michael had checked that off his list by this time.)

Women need a parachute. I will concur: I needed a parachute. His name was.............ah ha. I'm not going to tell you! I don't want to throw him under the bus without his knowledge. Just know that he was lovely.

The point is I got out but I got out not necessarily in the order that I perhaps should have.

And this is when the real craziness began. All I can say is THANK GOD ABOVE that cell phones were not common then.

I moved back home, it was almost like I never left. I went back to work...oh, I forgot to mention that Michael didn't want his wife to work...and I got the friends in the divorce. In fact, cold hearted bitch that I am, I went to Movie Night at my friends just a scant few hours after moving out. Yeah, I was pretty broken-up.

So, the drive-bys started up. (Not shootings, just driving by at ALL hours) and the phone calls, and the hang-ups, and the accidentally bumping into me, oh, everywhere. Especially if I was with the Parachute. The final straw came when the motherf...er, um…Michael, stole my car. Yep. Stole it.

Right now there's a Miranda Lambert song on the radio that talks about domestic violence in a very Avril Lavigne sort of way. There's a verse in it that resonates with me: "He ain't seen me crazy yet."

Yeah. What she said. This is where I got PISSED. This is where the theory of "Anger is a Motivator" came from. Once I got angry, oh, it was ON.

Enters the lawyers. Enter the restraining order.

Exit: parents house. Exit: the parachute. (while lovely, we couldn't have made it in the long run)

Enter: Divorce Exit: Michael in a big ugly way.

Enter: Mad Genius.

What did I take in the divorce? You would think everything, huh? Not so much. I just wanted the hell OUT. Well, I mentioned that I got the friends. Well done me. I also took my maiden name back. Wouldn't you know it, Michael had a FIT about that. He wanted to force me to carry his name forever. Is it bad when the lawyer laughs?

Oh, and he is supposed to give me a 19" black & white television. I didn't really want it; the lawyer just put it in there to be a pain in the ass. (:-D

When MG and I got together, right before my divorce was finalized, I was still a little crazy.

He fell in love with 105 lbs of Crazy. But he did what the parachute was unable to do: Threaten to beat Michaels ASS if he ever came near me again. (Inclusive of driving over to his house and knocking on his door. LOVE IT!) And he stuck when the going got tough. He was my first grown-up relationship. You could say that without Michael, I wouldn't have MG but I don't want to give Michael any credit.

It's been twenty years since I got married to Michael. In some ways, it feels like it never happened, as if it happened to someone else.

In other ways, I wonder what my life would have been like had we stayed together.

Swistle asks "Where were you a year ago and Where will you be in a year". When I play that game, I am astounded at the person I used to be. And I am equally astounded that if I hadn't miscarried Satan's children, I would have two teenagers right now. And still be connected to Michael. (tell me there's no God. Psh. That's an example of his work right there, let me tell you.)

But there's still a little twinge of loss. At one time, I loved him enough to marry him, not for the right reasons but marry him all the same. At one time, I was eighteen with the world at my feet and it feels like I wasted that time. I know, I know, it's not a waste. But sometimes, that's what it feels like.

With the passing of time and a big birthday rapidly approaching, I am finding myself more philosophical about Michael and our marriage. Time has passed, wounds have healed, and memories have faded. I am slowly able to refer to him as Michael, instead of profanity and sarcasm. I am starting to remember some of the good things instead of all the bad. It's a good thing.

But of course, I would never tell him that. (:-D the restraining order prevents it anyway...

Now, for your viewing pleasure, I've dug up a photograph to place faces with this lovely tale. I can look at this picture and feel a little nostalgic. I still feel anger when I look at the wedding pictures so you get this picture instead.

Here I am, in my eighteen-year-old glory with the errant prince:


Swistle said...

This was so interesting to read. And it is KER-RAZY to see that old picture! He was a hotttie, yes? He looks pretty darn cute, and confident enough to wear raspberry! But he's not as cute as MG, not by half.

Firegirl said...

It's crazy to LOOK at the picture, for sure. Our 20th anniversary would have been 06.18.08

Yes, she admits reluctantly, he was Cute. Huge blue eyes, great smile, swimmer's body. Haha re: confident enough to wear raspberry. Never thought of that.

And of course, No One is as cute as the MG. (;-D