Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Thank You. Part Four?

I know there should be a part three to end the story. But I'm kind of sick of talking about it. You see, I thought it would be a good idea - that maybe I would be more validated for my decisions by talking about what happened.

For some reason I felt like I needed someone to agree there was emotional and verbal abuse throughout December and into January. Was there physical? No. There's never an excuse for it, but it opened my eyes up to how it can happen. Two people can be so toxic for each other, they stay together and that animosity escalates. Crazy what people can do to each other. What matters though is that I say it happened, even if no one else knows every single supporting story.

Ten months later, I have hindsight. I'm proud of myself for not letting that be my story for the next 5-10 years of my life. So often we sit back and let life happen to us. We let it happen and blame our circumstances, then fill our physical, spiritual, and emotional (oh don't forget mental) voids with something, anything. Substances. Habits. Food. Or more unhealthy relationships. We continue in that spiral for however long we choose.

Or....we fill it with positive choices. New hobbies. New ideas of thought. Uplifting people. Some sort of belief system that gives you hope for right now and for the future. It's different for everyone. And we may slip up, look back, and wonder if we could have done something else to change what happened. The classic words stuck in my head by therapist Fred Riley (shout out at the bottom) are: you can *should've* all over yourself. If you don't get it, say it fast. If you still don't get it, then you can ask me.

I've had my share of both the downward spiral and the upward in the past year. What matters now is I'm learning from it, and can handle anything else coming my way. Like I told my momma, the next man I end up with will either being completely amazing ... or take my house, car, and ALL of my money away.  Hahaha.

I'm not perfect. I don't have lovey-dovey feelings towards the ex. It doesn't mean I haven't forgiven him. That part is between me and the man upstairs. So unless I feel like talking about watching the video with the police, or busting out a few choice words I never had before, these are my thoughts for today:

I owe the ex a million Thank-You's.

Thank you for making me a little less trusting. I am a million times more cautious and wise when it comes to relationships.

Thank you for teaching me to listen my gut and not ignore it.

Thank you for making me more willing to speak my mind. Feisty, if you will.

Thank you for helping me to appreciate all of the healthy, trusting relationships I have in my life. Namely with my family and a handful of close friends I consider myself the luckiest girl in the world to have.

Thank you for reminding me that at the end of the day I am patient, loving, and forgiving.

Thank you for teaching me to give people a break. We all have our vice. I know I have mine.

Thank you for letting me be the lesson in your life.

Thank you for sending me on a whirlwind of even deeper lessons with myself 6 months after the fact.

Thank you for now letting me share my story in  a way that helps me heal.

Thank you for letting me learn how to get back up.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to show just how gracious I really can be.

Thank you.

P.S. I owe so much to Fred Riley for helping me. He's an individual, family, and marriage counselor that is absolutely wonderful. And hilarious. Keep in mind you have to find a therapist you have the right "fit" with...I tried two before I started talking to Fred.

Happy Tuesday! And underwear posts will be back on after this weekend's festivities. Ragnar Relay #4...here I come.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Part deuce.

I don't really know how many parts there will be to this story. But I wanted there to be at least two, just so I could put part deuce. Yeah, I'm weird.

Ahh, so where did we leave off? Oh yes. In love. Getting married. And then things started to change.

Ben's car had been stolen, or at least he told me so. We were sharing my car. He drove me to work one uneventful December morning while it was still dark outside. I looked over and his eyes were closing...nodding off. Maybe he's just tired, I do that sometimes. Right? It happened again. Only this time the car swerved into another lane. "Babe, you're driving weird. It's scaring me." Ben immediately retaliated, "No I'm not, I'm just a little tired, I'm fine. See? I'm fine." The car swerves again. "Seriously, babe, pull over. You must be really tired or something, and it's scaring me." The tension ensued until he dropped me off. He spent the rest of the day at work - or at least that's what he told me he was going to do.

Ben picked me up that night. I notice the tank is almost on empty when it was over 1/2 full this morning. He reminds me that it needs gas. "Seriously? I just filled it up. Did you drive around a lot?" And...cue the excuse. Ben: "No, that's crazy. I just drove it to work and back. I think it needs a tune up, it's eating up so much gas it's crazy."

This part of the story probably seems pointless to you. But to me, little things like this I ignored along the way kept adding up. And adding up. Until I broke down, thought I was the crazy one, and went to see a therapist. I'm depressed, I must be. There's a lot of change and I don't know how to deal with it. Ben says I'm acting weird and unappreciative lately, it has to be me. I'm a drama queen the day after getting my wisdom teeth out because I'm not up and about. Drama queen, and crazy. I'm selfish. That one stuck with me...selfish. I never listen to him because I suggested the Corner Cafe for breakfast instead of a "diner". I always get what I want.

I'd started to be more active in church then.  I worked  a 7pm night shift on a Saturday and Ben picked me up in the morning. I planned on sleeping a few hours then going to church for an hour at 1. Setting the alarm on my phone, I told Ben he could do whatever but I was going to go. I made it a point to fall asleep with my phone in my hand so the vibration woke me up.

As soon as he thought I was asleep, Ben came into my room, took the phone out of my hand, and put it back in the kitchen. I got up a few minutes later and asked him why he did that. "What?" and he looks at me funny. I stared at him for a minute. "Why did you move my phone?" Ben put his famous baffled face on and asked me, "What are you talking about?". "You came in and took it out of my hand so I wouldn't get up for church and you wouldn't feel bad about not going." There, I said it, I put it out there. Then he points his finger in my face and tells me I'm crazy. I'm the crazy one. I imagined all of it, and he can't do anything right lately. I'm demanding. I worry too much. I'm a stress case. I'm the crazy one.

And so I let it stew in my head, that I'm the crazy one. I suggested to Ben that we go see the therapist together. Maybe it would help us learn to deal with all the changes happening. It's a lot of change, and is obviously causing some stress between us.

So much stress that I began to imagine someone was using my credit card. Several days before Christmas I noticed it gone from my wallet. I lose things all the time. I can't even find my keys when they're in my own hand, so of course I'd lose my credit card. Had Ben seen it? No, he hadn't seen it or even touched that thing in weeks. He had no idea what I was talking about. Please, Ben, if you used it, it's okay. We'll work it out, I don't care if you did, I just need to know so I don't have to report it to the police.

The next day after I noticed a few hundred dollars spent at Walgreens and Denny's. I made a facebook post about how hillbilly it is to use someone's stolen card there, then reported it to the police and the bank. All this time, Ben sat on the couch next to me and not a word came from his mouth. I tried asking him a few more times, maybe he used it and forgot to tell me. He denied every time, then proceeded to tell me I'm crazy and I always think it's his fault.

By this point, I can't even tell you how crazy I felt. Like I was asking myself, "Are you out of your mind?" Totally convinced that everything was my fault, that I have trust issues with relationships. I don't tell you about these little stories for pity - I only tell them so you can see how people are manipulated. How a good liar can make everything seem like it's your fault. Things got even more fishy - his "boss" wanting to pick things up from him at midnight on a Saturday. Work plans came up suddenly when family functions came around. This was not the man I fell in love with. I trusted that man, and this one I did not.

I felt awful even wondering if Ben took my credit card, but I couldn't shake it. The places where it was used were all in proximity to my apartment and to his. I wanted to figure it out so I could rest my weary brain. I called Wells Fargo and wrote down the times of the transactions. Then I called Walgreens to see if they had video footage...and I waited.

Three days later I received a phone call. It was Ryan, the manager at Walgreens. He thinks he has a "winner". Ben sat next to me on the couch. I remember praying that the culprit was a woman. Please, just make it be a woman so I don't even have to wonder. Ryan describes the man as "Tall....bigger build....has on some sort of plaid shirt...". That could be anyone, right? Anyone. I'm talking myself through this, and then he said it. "He's got some sort of big tattoo on the inside of his left forearm....it almost looks like a star."

Aaaaaaand pause. My heart sank. Wasn't Ben's tattoo on his right? I look over. No. Left arm. Lots of people have big stars tattooed on their forearms, don't they?

If you've endured my lengthy story-telling so far, I applaud you. There's only two more parts to the story for blogging's sake. That night, and the aftermath. The part where I get to explain my thinking process behind the actions. Coming soon: where I get to sound like a cold, heartless woman that put her fiance in jail. Haha. Fashionable green/white stripe jailbird undies:

Cruel, cruel joke. It's either that or continue to be terribly nervous about this next post. So I will just laugh until I mean it....