Tuesday, February 17, 2015

It's Finally Time...

     As I begin writing this... I'm in tears.  My face is sticky with the tears that have already dried and it is sore.  This is from a certain emotional pain that has reoccurred and reared it's ugly head on occasion.  And then I realized that it's time to open up.  I finally feel comfortable and confident enough to speak about what has been bothering me for almost a year.  I'll just give you the long story as I do not believe cutting to the chase would effectively express where I'm coming from.  And I absolutely do NOT want to come off as tactless, biased, and an overall horrible person.  I simply just want to be understood and maybe, finally, be able to get some sort of relief out of the process... 
    While I was still dating my husband I began to meet more and more relatives the more serious our relationship became.  Just when I thought I had met everyone, here's some more family!  It was pretty funny from my perspective coming from a small family of three and who's relatives were scattered among the country and were either rarely or never seen.  But it was great too!  I had hoped to meet someone special that came from a large, close-knit family.  If I were to have kids, I wanted them to be able to have loving aunts and uncles and grandparents that were still able to be quite active with them.  My kids wouldn't get any aunts and uncles from my side and my parents may not be quite as spry when they do finally come into the picture.
    I had just about met everyone (or at least at the time I thought I did), except for his younger sister and her family.  ...And they were fixing to move to the States from Scotland.  So with my inexperience of being in "meeting the family" situations, the only other place I could look back on in order to prepare myself was from TV shows and movies.  In a lot of those fictional scenarios, the mother was the usually the one who was difficult to get approval from.  And if the man had a sister... she was usually a tough nut to crack too.  Oh gosh!  I had thankfully gotten approvals from both my future-husband's mom and step mom, but now I had to face... the sister. *Cue dramatic music here.*  Would she like me?  Would she hate me?  Would she be difficult to get along with?  Would this be the toughest challenge I ever had to face in my relationship with my love?  Would this be the end all, say all?  I was nervous.
    So finally the day came to meet "the sister," and I was still nervous.  My boyfriend-at-the-time husband told me not to worry and that everything would be fine as we drove up to his mom's house.  Admittedly, that was much easier said than done, but I went on with a semi-determined, no-turning-back attitude.  Here goes nothing!
    We entered the family-filled home and began to greet everyone.  I immediately noticed his sister sitting on the couch with her baby boy in her arms.  A grand idea instantly popped into my head, I'll take the initiative and go over to greet myself so she won't have to get up.  It will be a nice and polite gesture that can't possibly go wrong!  I went over with new-found determination and confidence, extended my hand in friendly greeting and said, "Hi, my name is Christie.  It's nice to meet you!"  ...And that's when I realized that I had unintentionally caught her in the middle of breast feeding her baby...


Okay, keep calm, keep your hand out...
Pretend that you either still don't notice or that it doesn't bother you...
Ignore the fact that this is one of the most awkward things you've ever done...
For the all love and good that is in existence, MAINTAIN EYE CONTACT...
Do not look, do not glance, do not stare, MAINTAIN EYE CONTACT...
Keep smiling, but don't smile too much!  
Act natural and act NORMAL!
You don't want to make things more awkward than you already have!

    Luckily, she was nice about the whole thing and it was obvious that she didn't think I was a complete weirdo.  The day went on and I got to know her a little better.  And the more I got to know her as time went on, the more I though how cool she was as a person.  Our political opinions seemed to differ, but that didn't bother me.  I have a best friend who's political opinions differ from mine and we are on really good terms with one another and have expressed our understandings about each others opinions.  In fact, my husband's sister at the time reminded me a lot of her in some ways.  There were other things I noticed about her that spoke of qualities that I like in people.  She had piercings, not just in her ears, but she had one in her nose too.  To me, that spoke of how brave she seemed to be of some of the little things that I was afraid of, like my fear of needles and pain.  She had tattoos in Arabic calligraphy that spoke of her interest in other cultures.  She been to all sorts of places around the world.  I love to travel, but some of the places she had been to are some that I'll probably never get to see.  And she liked to colored her hair, sometimes a "natural" color and sometimes not so much.  I just wish I could streak my hair some crazy color!  I know she's a stay-at-home mom, but I still thought it was cool that she could get away with it.  I, however, have a job and they may not like it so much if I came in with blue, purple, or green streaks in my hair.  And for her to have tats, unorthodox piercings, dyed hair, AND be a Christian... That was amazing to me!  
    I absolutely LOVE stereotype breakers, no matter who they were, whether it be gender-based, race-based, faith-based, etc.  I love it when people prove these idiotic, judgmental, hurtful, hate-based and ignorance-based stereotypes WRONG.  I - LOVE - IT!  And to see some Christians do it is simply inspirational.  I feel like those are the people that truly understand God's love.  It's not about how you look on the inside, it's about what's on the inside.  How you treat others and your actions overall.  I could go on and on about this, but perhaps I'll save it for another time.
    Not only did she break negative Christian stereotypes, but she broke negative stay-at-home mom stereotypes simultaneously by doing practically the same things!  I totally want to be the cool mom when I have kids too!  I don't want to be a boring and ho-hum mother that hardly encourages their kids or even discourages them.  And I also don't want to be the crazy mom that pushes her kids into things that they don't want to do or into too many things and raise the expectation bar so high that they couldn't possibly be able to reach it realistically.  His sister seemed to have found a healthy middle ground with her kids for the most part.
   She was really cool and she was really nice enough to organize and set up one of my bridal showers, offer to host a bachelorette party (which I politely declined... I really didn't want a penis cake... eww), and she filled in as a bridesmaid when my other bridesmaid broke her foot near to the last minute.  I really liked her and was actually starting to look up to her.  And I really appreciated her for all she did for me - and still do to this day.
    My husband and I got married on March 1, 2014 and afterwards things were going well in our new marriage... and then a minor problem arose.  A problem that I'm still not comfortable talking about here online and so openly.  A problem that I honestly didn't think was going to happen.  My thoughtful husband got me books, tools, and resources to try to help and it kinda did... but I was still lacking certain details.  What do I need to look out for?  What should I expect?  And there were other questions that needed to be answered.  I sought out information online, but didn't really come up with any satisfactory answers.  It came to the point where I felt like I needed to ask someone close to me for some answers and reassurance that I'll be okay.  I tried going to my mom for help and ended up with an awkward response that didn't help and a change of subject.  I thought about going to his mom, and although I knew she would be much more help than my mom was, I was still afraid it would be incredibly awkward.  Then my husband suggested that I ought to go talk to his sister.  Well, that could work... She does seem pretty open about things.  But then again I was pretty awkward when we first met... Would she be okay if I approached her with more awkwardness, especially of a personal nature of this caliber?  I drug my feet about it for the longest and continued to try to figure things out on my own.  
    Three months into our marriage and getting nothing but very little success and progress, I had enough.  I needed to get over this and needed some advice from somebody.  I decided that I was going to go speak with my sister-in-law.  Around the time that I had decided upon this and was trying to figure out how best to approach her...  That's when it happened...  She had announced on Facebook that she had completely lost faith in God and that she and her husband were now atheists.  ...Well, nevermind then... there went my chance for help...  At that point I could not trust her with anything so personal and so sensitive of a topic to me.  I worried that if I did, she would see it as nothing more than "evidence" that Christianity was to blame not believe or hear the real reasons I was having trouble, as she seemed to be in the on and off process of blaming Christianity for all her problems.  I wasn't about to risk letting her take it out on me, as I had enough of my own problems to deal with already.  I also spoke with my husband about my concerns and he agreed that I had made the right decision not to go to her.
    At first it just irritated me.  I ended up not getting any help at all.  But whatever, she's clearly got worse problems than I do that she needs to figure out for herself.  I'll just try to figure things out on my own... like I've been doing... and failing...  But the more I thought about it, the more hurt I became.  I had looked up to her.  I had wanted her help.  And I just felt so... abandoned.  Someone who I had once thought of as this super awesomely real individual wasn't who I thought they were.  As an introverted individual who has a hard time making friends and has an even harder time finding really good friends, finding someone with the potential of being another best friend is an extremely rare event for me.  Where some brides are able to have 5 or more bridesmaids for their weddings quite easily, I was barely able to come up with two for mine.  And as much as I like being the type whose interested in the things that aren't necessarily always going to be popular with everybody else because it helps me to feel unique and different from from the rest, it also sucks because it sometimes leaves me feeling lonely.  Is there anyone else out there like me?  I have always felt like very few people really understood me and respected me for who I was, and that too is a very lonely feeling.

    Not only was I experiencing married life for the first time that was still giving me the nervous jitters, had moved to a completely new location which gave me a bit of a sense of isolation, had a personal issue that had left me feeling uncertain of my future with my husband, I now had a brand new batch of negative emotions to deal with: abandonment, loneliness, and distrust.  Oh wait, there's more.  Thrown into the mix was the fact that the Air Force was going to deploy my husband in September and will be gone until sometime in April.  Even more loneliness and a deeper sense isolation was yet to come.  Then more things came up... a lie was revealed that left me with a even deeper sense of  distrust, uncertainty and loneliness, along with betrayal, anger, doubt, and the occasional bout of regret.  Yes, I occasionally struggle with feelings of regret and feeling like an idiot for some of the decisions I have made.  And then there are the things that unfortunately help remind me and reopen the scars of abandonment and betrayal.
   All of this had caused the most powerful, intense episode of depression I had ever experienced.  I had gotten no chance to recover during all of this.  No chance to "get used to things" and be able to move on before something else punched me in the gut.  I had felt like I had gone unnoticed and would get no mercy.  I felt like all I could do was keep my mouth shut as much as I could, stay low as much as I could and ignore as much as I could and hope that it would all end soon.  But it didn't stop... And seemed like it would never stop... I wanted it all to stop so bad...  Why can't they realize how insensitive they've been and just STOP?  The ones that complain about all the pain in the world the most, are the ones who've been adding to it's whole little by little by causing distress to those closest to them and they don't even realize it.  Why do I keep putting my faith in people, only to have them hurt me so?  And why would they hurt others too?  (I've seen it!  I've seen the tears, how could you??) There is no empathy in this at all.  If there was, no one would be hurting from this.  It had all made me become overly sensitive.  My normally thick skin was now worn away.  
   I didn't ask for any of this.  I didn't want any of this.  I just wanted to get along with everyone I met.  I just wanted to go through life and check off all my life goals and die in peace, leaving behind a full and fulfilled life.  That's all I ever wanted.  I didn't want the drama, the complications, the tip-toeing/walking-on-egg-shells feeling, and the pain.  I stay away from all of that as much as I could and I absolutely hate it when it's just shoved into my life.
    ...But if I didn't reach intended my goals, some back-up plans always fell into place for me.  I didn't know exactly where to go to college after graduating high school, so I was encouraged to take a small step and took all my basics at a community college.  Then I graduated and moved on to a state college where I at first struggled with what I wanted to do with my life my first semester.  And then the art department was pointed and seemed to be the best fit for me out of all that was available and I graduated with a Bachelors in Graphic Art and Design.  I graduated just in time for the economy to crash and just when I thought I couldn't find a job after two years of struggling and searching, I was blessed with a sudden opportunity.  Everything seemed to be falling into place after some time.  And then came a point when I didn't think I was ever going fall in love and get married and was coming to terms with it, as disappointing as that was.  And then I met my husband.  I thought everything was going to be perfect.  However, I didn't originally think I was going to get absolute perfection, but something so very close to it seem to be there right before my eyes.  How could I not believe it?  How could I not fall in love with it?  I had it!  I finally got something I wanted!  I was so happy and relieved - everything was going to be okay again!  And then... it crumbled a little.  And it was quite painful to see and to experience.  I couldn't help but feel like I had been played a bait and switch.  But then again, why was I here if it all wasn't meant to be?  Looking back I realized that all the imperfections that the little voice in my head pointed out, were warnings about what I was getting into.  I had horribly misunderstood careless actions and decisions for mistakes and struggles.  They were there to help me to prepare and I blatantly ignored it in denial.  I had found love and he loves me back!  He's what I've been hoping for!  This is an absolute miracle!  
    The little voice is in my head again now.  It's the same voice that has guided me throughout most my life, has encouraged me, and has opened my eyes to how people really are inside.  It is the same voice that had made me ask a tough question and it is the same one that had showed me that someone had a secret secondary Facebook profile.  It is the same one that points itself out in hindsight and how I have ignored it.  And now after my emotions have calmed down I hear, "See?  I warned you.  But don't worry, everything will be okay again soon."  And looking back on my past before all of this, I see the struggles I've been through and then I see that it has always gotten better.  The little voice is right.  I know it'll get better eventually because it has to.  It must.  This has been the absolute worst, the lowest of the low.  I have never been more ready to move on so much and so badly as I do now.  I do feel better now that I've finally gotten this off my chest.  I am constantly and consistently learning and RE-learning important lessons.  I am really trying so desperately to hang in there and not give up.  Even though giving up would be the easy way out, it would also be the most selfish.  I don't want to do that, I don't want to be the cause of anyone else's pain.  That would destroy me with such guilt.  I really want my happiness back.  And not just temporarily - I want it back and to stay.  I honestly really do not care who you pray to, but if you do pray, please pray for me and for those around me.  And, yes, even pray for the ones that have hurt me now and ever.  They need it most.  Thank you so much for allowing me to express myself, my pain, my struggles, and my experiences.  Much love.