I’ve thought on this for a while now. I’ve thought about how I want to write this last blog on just this chapter of my life and this particular relationship. I don’t know who is reading this and it does not matter. It is my story alone. I need not fear judgement of others because this was the truth. I don’t need to be friends with everyone in this lifetime. I only need to know I’ve done my best to be kind to others and try to avoid being with those who are malicious toward others. They say “You are the company you keep.” My only hope is that I can connect with others who have walked a similar path and reassure them that it is not okay to let anyone treat you poorly. I know what it is like to walk away with nothing. So here it goes.
As a young girl you imagine Prince Charming and the beautiful house and the birds chirping and butterflies fluttering about your every step. I was that young girl with that vivid imagination of how love should be. I had the best example of it in my parents. I thought that would be easily accomplished because I also believed Walt Disney. Will someone let Walt know he’s generally wrong about this?I bought into to all of it. Hook, line and sinker. I did the stuff you are supposed to do for the happily ever after. I got an “F” on that life assignment.
So how am I making this grand finale exit? Good lord. I have no clue. I had promised my parents I would be home for good before the holidays but I did not tell him. There is one thing about me that often takes people by surprise. When it comes to the really important stuff….I am a vault. I shut down and no one knows what is happening. Not everyone needs to know everything about you every second of the day. Here’s the shocker. Not everyone cares. Deal with your stuff and move on. Start over. My problem was logistical now. I stopped loving or caring for that man a long time ago. His demonstration of his feats of strength when he tore his pants in two was a deal breaker for me. I started methodically plotting my “freedom” from something that should have been permanent long ago. I worked and started saving my money in a separate account and then I opened my own American Express card. I remember the day he intercepted the mail and saw the bill. He looked right at me and said “You’re leaving, aren’t you?” I just laughed it off. The vault was sealed tight. I went about my business about timing my departure because the thought of it turned my stomach. I loved my friends out in California. I loved the weather. I love the beach. I love the ocean. I just couldn’t stay. I was so broken and I know I needed love from my parents to help me find me again. I was literally numb. I called home whenever I could and my parents coached me through those anxious moments. I just needed to know how I was getting home. I needed my car but am I making this journey alone? My mom assured me they would help get me home. All I needed to do was say when. For about the next 6 months I kept falling short of getting the nerve to go. You become so conditioned to this type of person that you don’t want to piss them off. They bring you to that place that you fight mentally and you have to have internal conversations with yourself and say everything will be okay. Just take that step!
We become attached to “stuff” in our lives and I’ve learned that none of that matters. I think I was making peace with leaving my friends, my job, my personal things behind. It is like burying your life. You literally leave with nothing. What can I take? I have to at least start shipping some clothes home because the only other stuff I can take has to fit inside a Honda Prelude. Yes, that’s what my Porsche evolved into. A Honda. So I started sending boxes of clothes home. I’m not really sure he noticed but I left enough clothing that I wasn’t lacking in a wardrobe. I shipped a lot of shoes. If you know me then you know I have a shoe “issue”. I’ve moved more shoes than a semi delivering shoes to Macy’s. It’s kinda my problem. Let’s all embrace that and move forward. So clothes and shoes have shipped. Check!
“Pick a date Emily” were my mom’s words on the phone. “Mom, how can I do this alone?” She replied “You tell us a day and we are putting your brother on a plane to come get you.” So the date was picked. I would leave California on October 27th. You never forget those dates when your life ends and starts over (there’s at least one other story to tell about that). Time ticked away for the next few weeks. The energy in our apartment was intense. I have often referenced the movie “The War of the Roses”. It felt like that. He knew the day was coming because the shift had happened. I no longer cared what the hell he said to me. I just came and went as I pleased but deep down I was hoping he wouldn’t change the locks on me. The only thing that made me sad besides leaving some special mementos behind was my pet rabbit. I had a giant lop eared bunny. His name was Albert. I’m not kidding you when I say giant. Look them up. I loved him. That would hurt more to leave him than this man. I gave notice at work and I worked up until the end because I would need every penny I could hide. It wasn’t much. I finally told my closest friends I was checking out. Although they were sad they understood. They could not believe I stayed as long as I did. They saw the relationship up close. None of them liked him. You can’t be JR Ewing and have a big circle of friends or fans. Quite the contrary.
October rolled around and it was starting to feel real. Then about two weeks before my escape date I was getting ready for work in the morning. I was brushing my teeth right before I left and I heard this noise. It sounded like 100 people were pounding on my bathroom walls and the big mirror was bowing and the ground was moving and HOLY SHIT…….EARTHQUAKE!!!!! When the bowels of the earth decide to start moving there is nothing you can do but get to a safe place. All I could think was “Are you kidding me? I’m trying to leave California and I’m going to die in a earthquake?” I ran to the door frame and literally hung on. When it was over I heard a knock on my front door and my neighbor and I stood there and hugged each other and cried. That was the largest earthquake to roll out of Pasadena in decades and we felt it in Huntington Beach. I’m not going to lie. It was scary. Aftershocks continue for days after something that large. I just need to get out of here.
October 25th. It was the morning and he was getting to go to the office. I was not getting ready for anything except leaving. He saw me making no effort so I looked at him and announced that my brother was flying in tomorrow and I am picking him up at LAX. He finally knew the answer to his question months before when he saw the AmEx bill. He didn’t say much but he obviously waited to get to the office to call his family and notify them of my plans. Later that day his brother called me and asked me to stay. He asked me what I wanted. Did I want a fur? Did I want a Mercedes? What do I want? I replied “I wanted him to love me and it’s the one thing he cannot give.”
Ladies…when you stick around for the money it is not worth it. You are worth so much more than material stuff. This is why I HATE when men lead with money. It does not impress me. Do not get me wrong. It is nice to have nice things in life but if the only way you can keep someone around is by buying them stuff, it’s a shallow relationship. Then they hold it over your head and say “You are nothing without me. I gave you all of this and I will take it all away.” Find that balance. Make all the real stuff more important like care and concern and appreciation. If he treats you like crap, his money is worthless. In fact, go make your own money. I cut the cord. It was not worth it. There is a difference between being broke and poverty. I was about to be broke but happy because I am going to start over. Broke is temporary. Don’t stay out of fear.
Oct 26th. I pick my brother up at the airport. As we are driving down the 405 he asks what the plan is for a departure day. I said tomorrow. He looked at me like “wait a second”. He told me he thought he might stay a few days before we shove off. Nope! So I gave my brother the compressed tour of SoCal and Orange County. I took him to the beach where he dipped his toes in the Pacific, then I took him to Newport Beach where we had a drink over looking the harbor. I pointed out John Wayne’s home and we watched the sunset from there. We headed back to the apartment late and there was that awkward moment when we walked in. I really don’t remember the conversation, or if we even had one but it was late and we all had to get up early….for much different reasons.
Oct 27th. The morning routine for him was like any other and I just sat there sipping my coffee. He finally had the balls to say something and it was “Are you leaving today?” I replied “Yes”. He stopped for a moment. Grabbed the checkbook and wrote me a check for $2,000.00. Then as he turned to walk out the door he turned around and looked at me and said “Throw the key over the patio when you leave.” And that was it. He wrote me off for $2,000. No hug good bye. Not that I wanted one. No kind words. Nothing. He walked out and went to work. I looked at my brother and said it’s time to pack the car. I want to be out of here in a few hours. That’s easy to do. It was a Honda Prelude. We stuffed that car like the Beverly Hillbillies. All the while my sweet Albert watched.
I will say that packing the car was a sitcom in and of itself. The very quick side story is that it was a 5 speed. I like driving manual transmission cars. However, my brother is about 6’2″. We failed to calculate packing the car with the drivers seat adjusted for his legs and honestly we didn’t notice until our journey out of Los Angeles. I took the maiden voyage out because I wanted to be the one driving away. It was when we changed drivers and we realized that his left knee and part of his leg would have to be hanging out the drivers window because we could not push the seat back he looked at me and said “Start picking what you can’t live without because I’m throwing shit out the window.” I almost cried….but was laughing. I told him this is all I have. This and $2,000! The movie The Jerk was not even a movie so when I see that scene where Steve Martin is screaming “All I need is this lamp……” I crack up laughing.
The journey back to Ohio was not sad. In fact it took a detour. My parents instructed my brother to watch over me and make sure she isn’t sad or something like that. We spent some time in El Paso and I left more stuff there before we finally began the long part of the journey across the U.S. El Paso was what the doctor ordered and soon the work would begin to start all over.
You learn so much in many relationships but the most important thing is what to understand that is not okay. You do not have to accept that this is how it has to be. No one should verbally or physically abuse you. You need to recognize it and find the strength to move on. Find the help you need to get out if you don’t have family. Bad relationships make you second guess everything you do. It’s the cycle. I recently saw an amazing video with a man talking about narcissistic people. I was nodding my head in agreement with everything this man was saying. I am sure the man I left behind is happy now. Perhaps I brought out the worst in him but there I go again. That’s me trying to justify it all. I can honestly tell you this. A few years ago I took my youngest daughter to Orlando to perform in a Bowl game. While I was there I met up with a friend from California. She was my neighbor out there. She was the one who ran to my door after the earthquake. It had been a lifetime since I had seen her and we made this plan to finally see each other again. We met in Cocoa Beach and had lunch and wine together. We shared stories in front of my daughter. Some were funny. Some were about him. I told her she could speak freely about it. I have nothing to hide. So in front of my daughter she said that after I left another woman moved in with him. She lasted about a year. In her words, not mine, she said “He chewed her up and spit her out too. She looked worse than you when she left.” My daughter was witness to that and I promised both my girls to teach them what they will never accept in a relationship because I walked that path for them.
You are beautiful. You are strong. You will be okay.
This is the end of this story. Our paths only crossed once ever again and I ran into his mom in Greece. She spoke to me on the beach and said that people make mistakes. I told her that’s one mistake I’m never looking back on ever again.
I will soon start the next story. More life lessons. If there is one thing I have learned the most……..
Love yourself first. The rest will follow ❤