Sunday, August 06, 2006

Lesson Learned...

In case you haven't noticed by now...I find this blogging thing extremely therapeutic! Sometimes, throughout the day, I think "Wow, I have to remember this so I can write it down!" Of course I never do. Most of the time, I just fly by the seat of my pants here.
I thought tonight, I might share some about myself; some of my challenges, triumphs, screw-ups, etc. I've been thinking about writing a book...OK, that's not quite true. I've actually STARTED writing a book about it all in the hopes that it will give someone else some hope; That somewhere, someone might need to hear what I have to say to know they are not alone in what they are going through. We'll see how it goes. So far, it's kinda reading like a police report. At least that's my opinion. And I'm my own worst critic.
My first marriage was when I barely turned 18 to a man who graduated high school six months before I was born. Now, I'm not knocking generational marriages...but I really wasn't ready for that. Just kinda felt like "Well, I'm living with him because I have no place else to go, so I might as well marry him." Good reasoning, huh? We were together for about 3 years...the last year of which was spent up in the woods in an old single wide trailer with no electricity, facilities or running water. Just call me Hillbilly Woman! We didn't have any children (Thank God for His grace)! We decided to split because I wasn't happy in the status quo...I wanted to be something, to make a difference in this life. And none of my plans were compatible with his. Five years after our divorce, he was arrested for Kidnap and Rape. It was a "he-said, she-said" type of thing and he had a good lawyer, so he was able to avoid a guilty verdict.
Speaking as someone who lived with him for 4 years, I tend to side with "Her". He was aberrant, to put it kindly. Anyway, we won't go there....
I decided to go drive truck for a year. That was an experience with a capitol E! To say God protected me from my own stupidity is a gross understatement. One company sent me on 20 different trips with 20 different men...not one of which I actually met before I climbed into the truck. Only one turned out to be a pervert, but nothing that a kick in the balls and an IRATE call to personnel couldn't rectify.
One trip in particular that stands out in my mind; I was to pick up a load of paint in the industrial district of San Francisco. I arrived at the destination about 3am, exhausted beyond belief. My co-driver, who could beat Mario Andretti ANY day hands down, was sleeping so I had no choice but to sit upright in the drivers' seat. After a couple hours of this, I thought I'd get some fresh air, opened the door of the truck and literally fell into a heap on the ground next to the truck. My legs were too tired to hold me up and I began to vomit. The truck door was open; I must have lay there for at least an hour before I could pull myself back into the cab. Anyone could have come by and killed me and I never would have been able to raise a finger to stop them. That's when it occurred to me that the JOB was not worth my LIFE.
My second marriage began with two years of "co-habitation" and then we were formally married for 15 years. We had 4 beautiful children and were active in their Cub Scouts, sporting events and recreational activities. We became foster parents; he was working for a solid company making $16 an hour. We were buying our first home. I was on the verge of quitting my job and staying home with the kids; looking forward to a gastric bypass operation I had fought the insurance for a YEAR to get clearance for. Then...I discover my husband has been "hurting" a young girl for the last year.
To say my world ended that day does not do justice to the pain our family has endured this last year. He was arrested 10 days before we were to close on our home. We lost our source of income, the husband and father, our home, our sense of security, even our dog that I could no longer care for as I had to find fulltime work to support us. We became INTIMATELY familiar with the District Attorney and the court system and began extreme counseling.
Yet even at the end of one life, a new one emerges. People in our community were SO amazing...I was blessed at every turn. I cried almost every day, not only from grief, but from joy and thankfulness as I would come home and find groceries on the porch. Checks arrived in the mail from people I'd never heard of. Entire churches took up offerings for us. Friends attended court hearings with me, cared for my children when I could no longer function and needed a break, sat and held me while I cried. The list of blessings goes on and on...$40 from an older lady at church right when my lawnmower broke down and I needed to pick it up; $1000 anonymous donation that put a roof over my head and paid utilities for another month; a friend stopped by and wrote a check for just enough to cover my childcare bill...when she didn't even KNOW I was in need. Time and time again, God showed up in the faces of the people in my town. I am still in awe...
One month after he was taken away, I went ahead with my gastric bypass. It has been a year since that operation...I have lost 185 lb.s so far. It has opened a whole new world to me...I've done things the last few months that I haven't done since I was a teenager and I still have a few things I've always wanted to do but never could.
I've done:
  • Riding a carnival ride. Always had to hire a babysitter to take my kids on the rides. I HATED that...but NOW it's ME!! WooooHooo!
  • Riding a horse. Scared the crap out of me...but I did it! And I want to go back for more!
  • Climbing a ladder
  • Going to the movies and being able to sit on BOTH buttcheeks at the same time! DON'T laugh...I'm serious!
  • Wearing a skirt.
  • Buying clothing at WalMart.
  • Sat in a hot tub.
  • Sat on WICKER furniture without fear!
  • Rode on the back of a Harley.
  • Cross my legs...I know, I know...but you take these things for granted!

What I wanna do:

  • Go roller blading / roller skating.
  • Go swimming in a public pool. Still don't look great in a bathing suit with all this extra skin...but you know what? I don't REALLY CARE! At least I can FIT into a swim suit.
  • Ride a bicycle.
  • Wear cowboy boots.
  • Become a home-birth midwife.
  • Jump on a trampoline.

There are just things you can't do when you weigh 400+ lb.s, ya' know. It's like being trapped inside a huge bubble that you can't escape.

I have had some challenges with relationships. Now that I am halfway attractive, I have a hard time learning how to interact with the male population. But finding the man of my dreams has settled me down. My kids are happy and healthy. I have a wonderful job; I may not be self sufficient, but at least I'm making a healthy contribution. So things are looking up...And I've learned SO much.

The primary lesson through this entire year-long odyssey is something I want to share with you. Please take my word for it so you will not have to someday endure the pain of learning the lesson for yourself.


Don't take it for granted because, quick as a wink, it can be GONE. Destroyed. Never to ever be the same again. Be grateful...tell your partner how important they are to you whenever you get the chance. Talk to him/her; share yourself so that you are SO close nothing can ever come between you. Become two halves of one. Tell your kids how precious they are. Catch them doing being good at least once a day and PRAISE them up and down! Don't get so comfortable in your daily grind that those you care about begin to think you DON'T care anymore.

Please don't pity me. I've grown, learned and been blessed by my experiences. Just please, please learn from my lessons. RUN, right now...go give them a hug or call them on the phone. NOW! Go on! You can come back and read some more later...ya' know I'll be here, writing and writing and writing...

Thought I would share a before/after pic with you... and I've lost 40 more since this was taken.


Qtpies7 said...

I don't pity you, I know how much God shows up when life falls apart. I've been there. My husband and I were as close as can be. But he was living a double life. I still can't see how he hid it from me, but he did. We are recovered now and he is not living that life. It was a LONG HARD road, though.

Adventures In Babywearing said...

I just wanted to say your story is amazing, and your outlook even more so. What a testimony you have- and I am sure God continues to heal your hurts, bless you, and take you to new heights. Thank you for being so honest and open sharing this story!


Donetta said...

Well I just read this for the first time. Here you are standing! So amazed I'm sure , It has got to feel good now to be you! I think your doing a great job of overcoming girl. Wow! I could so easily have had your journey. It just startles me how much mercy I have been shown and you too.