You know how when a long running tv series is coming to a close they tie up loose ends from over the years and even bring back characters or story lines from the beginning as ‘fan service’? That’s my 2020 – if I didn’t know better I’d seriously think we really ARE living in the matrix and just exist for the entertainment of others.
Maybe I watch too much tv, maybe I’m too tired, maybe covid exhaustion is affecting me in weird ways or maybe my heart just is done.
Two decades ago I met a guy who would change my life and ultimately not for the better. We didn’t really last long in the great scheme of things (barely 6 years) and none of it was pure happiness which should have been a clue early on. It also didn’t help how we started dating in the first place.
I was actually dating a girl, Sarah, but I came from a staunch Irish Catholic family and this was the late 90s – the LGBTQ movement wasn’t as socially entrenched then as it is now.
My parents were never going to accept Sarah and I was still terrified to accept that I was bisexual. When she wanted to move in together I knew I had finally come to that fork in the road.
I would marry a guy, though I still dated Sarah for a bit while dating him because I couldn’t let go of the future I wanted for the one I felt forced to accept. I obviously did …. eventually. It wasn’t a clean break and when he chose to go on vacation with his family, while leaving me at home when we’d only been married a few months, Sarah was there for me one last time.
I often feel like everything that’s happened to me in these last 2 decades where he’s concerned is some kind of cosmic punishment for making the wrong choice, for marrying someone I didn’t love and turning my back on the one I did. Sometimes I even feel like I deserve it but after 20 years I think I’ve been punished enough.
I eventually came out as Bi, openly dated women again after my divorce and by pure chance met a guy that didn’t make my skin crawl who taught me I was capable of loving again – the real kind, the kind I had with Sarah all those years ago.
I wish the story ended there. But it doesn’t because with that first guy from 20 years ago I had a child.
During that marriage I suffered abuse too disturbing to detail even if my PTSD doesn’t let me stop flashing through it.
By the way, just because someone tells you what they did isn’t abuse and they did nothing wrong doesn’t make it true – that would be called GASLIGHTING! Oh and if the police tell you it’s not rape because you’re married but medical professionals tell you the physical and mental trauma they are seeing is consistent with rape guess who is right?
So yeah things didn’t go well during the marriage and only got worse after. He had all the money and charisma – the type where if he wanted he could walk up and knock me out cold in front of people and convince them he was the real victim and only defending himself. With all of that he hired a woman attorney who made it her mission in life to destroy all other women.
She got stuff signed off by a judge no other attorney could believe. She diagnosed me with bipolar disorder in court and got a judge to agree to take my son away because of it – YES you read that right, the ATTORNEY diagnosed me, NOT a medical or mental health professional. (All the actual professionals have ever diagnosed me with is PTSD due to abuse). She was able to give my ex perpetual access to my medical and mental health records and the right to make decisions – on what planet should an EX-HUSBAND have that kind of control?
It took years but that darling clause finally got terminated though not until long after my second marriage so for a while my ex still had more control over aspects of my life than my actual legal husband.
Eventually his life began to spiral a bit out of control and with it my son’s since I could never overcome the damage of those early years to have my son live with us and his sisters. Then my son got old enough to be considered legally able to have a say in his life. He chose to use that right to stop being involved in mine.
I’m not going to pretend I was ok with it or even understood it. While my ex cycled through women and forced our son to move repeatedly over the years due to those relationships I had become increasingly stable and like a modern ‘June Cleaver’ from Leave it to Beaver. I got a college degree, had 2 adorable little girls, we bought our first house, I became a mental health advocate and extremely involved in our community, school and church as a stay at home mom which was very advantageous when covid hit so I could add homeschool teacher to that resume.
But I gave him the room he wanted while always reminding him he had my cell, email and home address should he ever need anything. I would keep reaching out to him, offer to spend time with him but rarely had those offers accepted. When I did we’d spend a few pleasant hours together only for him to return to his dad and blow up my phone or email with all kinds of lies, innuendos and anger. No matter how often I tried to point out the truth of what happened between his father and I, who I was, the choices I made he was determined to believe I was more evil than an American politician.
We all settled into an uneasy truce where neither side messed with the other and basically lived knowing the other existed but like there was an unbreakable glass wall between us. We could see each other but not communicate.
Then 2020 happened.
Whether it’s because our son is about to turn 18 and my ex feels he’s running out of time to have any power to attack me again I don’t know. But he waited until during a pandemic AND during the holiday season to bring the ‘Devil in Prada’ back into my life with demands to I and my parents for tens of thousands of dollars. Even worse my son, that one I still remember cuddling, singing Irish lullabies to, helping to walk and watch Finding Nemo on repeat with since it was his favorite movie is helping his dad. He actually said he thinks his autistic sisters (who are 10 and 11) don’t need me as “they can take care of themselves” and they need to be turned over to their grandparents.
Considering what the ‘Devil’ managed to get a judge to sign off on before my girls have been in an emotional state that their brother and his dad can make good on this threat to have them taken from me and possibly their dad if we don’t meet the financial demands.
So my life has become like those tv series that are ending where they bring back the ‘Big Bad Villain’ and long past story lines to hopefully provide closure. I don’t know how my ‘final’ season is going to end, will it finally get that happy ending I’ve been long denied or will a LOST like theme repeat itself here?
All I know is I will ALWAYS encourage my kids to follow their heart no matter who it chooses.