At this point in my story, at 18, my idea of love was quite distorted. Much like the world’s view of love.
I no longer believed in the idea of waiting until marriage. I also wasn’t so sure God could forgive me.
I had left the Catholic church at 17. I was set to make my confirmation and due to some things I disagreed with, I no longer believed I could confirm my belief in the Catholic religion. (To this day, however, I can still remember knowing that I would someday make it back to God. I wasn’t sure how or when but that I would.)
So, now that I had let go of W and he was on a track to marriage with someone else, I found myself looking for others who would care about me, love me. And I did, or so I thought. I found a band of brothers. Five guys who were there when I needed a friend or just to hang out. They protected me like family. I was their little sister. One of these “brothers” was M. There was also H, L, P and D. This little group of ours only lasted a little while. Some left for the military, others just drifted apart. To this day I only still speak to H.
My relationship with M changed during this time. I didn’t just look at him through the eyes of friendship. There was something more but he didn’t want to change our relationship. Then he got a girlfriend and I started college. After that, we rarely spoke.
I was alone and didn’t know where to turn. I spoke to very few of my friends from high school. To this day, the only one I keep in regular contact with is my friend, Meredith, who I’ve known since kindergarten.
This was all in 2000.
In the spring of 2001, I met Mike online. We chatted online and over the phone for close to 2 months before we met in person in June.
After that, we dated for about a month before he said ‘I love you.’ (Because I wasn’t going to make the mistake of giving my heart to someone before knowing they loved me even though I gave of myself physically. Strange how that works right?)
Mike was so different from W. He was kind and happy. He made me feel loved. He said it. He made me a part of his life. He was also older than me.
We had a great summer together. We went to Cape Cod for an overnight. I met his family in New Hampshire. They were unsure of us though because I was still a “teenager” to them at that time (Mike was 23). I should also note that about this time, M made it known that he was ready for us to be more than friends. I hadn’t spoken to him in a few months so he wasn’t aware of the fact that I was dating Mike. He became upset with me and I didn’t speak to him again for a few years…
Then 9/11 hit. My sister had just left to go to college on Long Island two weeks before. My family was freaked out because we couldn’t get ahold of her because all the phone lines were busy (eventually we did hear from her). We had also found out that my cousin’s husband had been reassigned to the Pentagon and his office was right in the part of the building that was hit (by God’s grace he had just left that part of the building 5 minutes prior).
Mike’s company sent him to New Jersey for a week to try to help the companies from the World Trade Center get their computer systems up and running.
As for me, I had been back at school but dropped out within the first month. I was stressed and depressed. I just couldn’t understand why anyone would do such a thing. I couldn’t wrap my head around it. So for the next few months, I worked my part time job at the mall. I applied at another school for admission for the Spring 2002 semester and was accepted. I told myself all I needed was a few months to get myself together.
By December I was feeling better but then New Year’s came and I began to question my relationship with Mike. My reasons were stupid, I know this now, but I was still holding on to my insecurities from my relationship with W and when I found out that Mike had planned for us to go to a New Year’s Eve party at his friend’s house in New Hampshire, and that his ex-girlfriend would be there, I began to wonder if he really loved me.
My depression grew worse and I was constantly on a roller coaster of emotion. And for the next two years I put us both through a lot. There were arguments and hurtful things were said.
His friends and family saw it and I know they must have said something to him but he never said anything to me. I tried therapy and it helped a little but I hated how I felt when it came to the antidepressants.
In the Spring of 2003, we planned a trip to Las Vegas but two weeks before the trip I was in a car accident and my car was totaled. We still went on the trip but it just wasn’t the same. I came home to have to purchase a car I couldn’t afford on my part time salary and decided to quit school again to work full time.
That summer I began a full time assistant manager position at a store in the mall.
That fall my parents began work on their house where I still lived with them. They had new windows put in and new siding, too.
Because of the layout of my parents’ home, my bedroom would see the most work and so I went to stay with Mike semi-permanently. (I say semi-permanently because at this point we had been dating over 2 years and I was hoping we would get engaged.)
Things still weren’t great between Mike and I but we were working through it. At least, I thought we were.
In October, he told me that although he loved me, he wanted to date other people as well as continue to date me. That conversation ended in my saying, “If you want to date other people, go ahead but I won’t date you if you do.” We continued to stay together but in late December, we broke it off completely. I wasn’t happy and neither was he.
This was the straw that broke the camel’s back. When we broke up, I was at work. I was so upset that I had to have my father bring my sister down to the mall I worked at to drive me home. Then, that night she drove me to his apartment to pick up the rest of my things.
He cried. I cried. My sister was mad.
I then rang in the New Year single one day later.
That February I took a week off and all I did was stay home and did nothing. At that time, I was so depressed I think my mother considered having me put into a psych ward…
This is the beginning of my rock bottom…
Part 3 tomorrow…