When I started writing my book almost a decade ago, it had been inside of me for over thirty five years. Without ever really realizing it, I think it started out as a kind of therapy of my own. It is about a young girl, who finds herself twisted inside a very emotionally abusive relationship and the woman she becomes because of her past. It is a work of fiction with a bit of my own reality woven throughout the story. My premise for the book was to shout out a message to vunlerable young girls about not losing themselves in the process of finding their dreams.
I think that I did a good job in teaching my daughter that lesson without the help of my finished book. She was the recipient of all the material I would eventually write down, the template I would use as my guide. My goal in teaching my daughter to not lose herself was first on my bucket list. And I believe I did a good job. She is now educated in what she is passionate about, with a degree, and continuing her education, she owns her own business and is working towards her acting aspirations. And she is in love with a wonderful man who I believe she will marry someday, but never once did she stop living who she was to love him.
If my story can help other young girls not make the same mistakes that I did then I have to tell it. You see, when I was going through my version of hell back then, there was nothing out there telling me that other boyfriends were also hitting and controling their girlfriends. Not that, THAT would have made it okay but I think I would have had a softer place to fall. I did not feel that it was the kind of thing you share with your family or close friends and so I was alone in my agony. Today there are Oprah-like shows that “teach” you and inform you and pretty much kick your butt into being proactive about living a positive life. At least you have the information now.
My daughter took a long time in choosing who she would hand her heart over to and I believe that because of my warnings, she really bypassed some of the standard faux pas many young girls have to experience. She doesn’t have to drag that extra baggage of relationships gone wrong, into her life that I have in all the decades that followed, as I blundered my way through several broken hearts since.
Today, I now find myself in a twenty year marriage and though everything is not perfect, I think in all of my lessons learned, I finally know that I have made the best choice for me and I am married to a pretty wonderful guy who I may not have fully appreciated, if I had not experienced the second chapter of my life in the way I have….
Back when we were kids… my first love and I would break up and make up over and over again, a few phone calls back and forth, and we would get back together. We didn’t have emails or cell phones or texting and so breaking up back then was still hard but it must be hell for young people now, with all of the social medias of “friending and unfriending” and labeling ; “In A Relationship” or not. I can’t even imagine! When it ended for us the last time, it was horrible and it was over. After several chance meetings of driving to where he knew I would be and hashing things out over and over again, He finally accepted that I was done and moved on. He had a whole host of family issues that were far removed from anything I had ever experienced. I wish I had understood it all better back then. He really was a good guy, damaged by his own childhood and the abuse he experienced but it was too much for a young girl to take on, let alone comprehend so it ended badly but not without first dragging me through the emotional mud that seemed to stay caked all over me for many years to follow.
Fast forward a few decades later, due to today’s technology… he found me again. In-between our broken lives lived, and asked for my forgiveness. I was so caught off guard, we began dialoging, he, looking for forgivness, and I perhaps closure… My husband hesitantly gave me his blessings (the amazing man he is) thinking maybe if I could say goodbye the right way, it would help me move on. I even shared some of our messages with my daughter because “he” had kind of been the guy in the lesson I had taught her. Kind of the template of who not to fall in love with. But she knows me oh too well, and became concerned at best saying… “Mom, it doesn’t sound like he is looking for closure!” If only I had listened.
I stopped writing my story. It seemed offensive or at the very least, cruel as I got to know the man who once was the boy I loved with all of my heart and perhaps, never really stopped. The flood of memories we shared was like a healing wave that washed over my heart. We became friends, good friends. We connected. The forgiveness I felt, was like taking a deep breath and finally being able to actually feel the oxygen run through me, as it took on a life all of it’s own. I even started writing my story again. But something didn’t feel right. For one thing, it didn’t stay so innocent for very long…my daughter knew something was up… my smart little chickadee… but like in Bridges of Madison County… it started out that way, so very innocently, I promise.
Fast forward almost two years later…. Marriage counseling and struggling to let go. (which is really hard with all of this dang technology always at our fingertips)
I make no excuses. I won’t even give the stupid ole’ devil credit in this one, which is very tempting to do… I know it was a series of dumb choices that I made all by myself. Though it started out innocently enough, we even attributed our re-connection to God as a miracle of HIS doing. And maybe, HE did open up a window for forgiveness and closure but we took more and opened the door to other things not meant to be… As I look back, I see that I do that a lot…take God’s blessings for me and become greedy. A good lesson for me today, as I reflect.
I know now, that my lesson is a warning to all women out there like me. I was bored and curious and still terribly, terribly damaged by the past. I know now more than ever, that hind sight is 20/20 and I realize that my message is not just for the young girls, but for all of us, young and old or (at least …older… smile.) It is for the ones stuck front and center, smack in the middle of their own midlife crisies, the ones dealing with empty nests, and grieving their youth, and the ones who never really believed in themselves, the ones who need to find a soft place to land and then stand up and take control of their own life and live it! The ones who look at their reflection in the mirror and see a stranger and want to scream out “NOW WHAT?!” But only a whisper comes out. It is to remind you that we all have second chapters, at twenty or at fifty. But it is in our choices and how we handle them that truly tells our story.
I have made some terrible decisions that I regret and yet had some experiences I wouldn’t have wanted to miss. It is just an art of knowing which are which. I have been on a wild ride these last few years. Sometimes, I have hung on for dear life and other times, I almost let go ~ and yet, I wouldn’t have wanted to miss any of it because it has made me become the person I am now; Still A WORK IN PROGRESS and yet, someone very different. I have forgiven and been forgiven. I have gone back and tended to that young girl who once was me, the one I left behind so many years ago. The one who needed me to go back and love again.
And Funny, but it seems as if I have so much more material now, I don’t even know where to start and so it sits… the four little chapters, waiting to be written. Kind of like me…God is not through with me yet. He is still writing His version of my happy ending if I would stop getting in the way.
Perhaps none of this is something that I could have possibly imagined, let alone penned at twenty. But ahhh, wouldn’t it have been nice to have learned all those lessons back then?
So that leaves me to where I left off… The twister….I have been about four chapters short of finishing my story. Everyday we have a new canvas to begin painting on, a new stage to begin that new dance and a blank page to spill our heart upon…. As I finally figure out how to climb over the last of my baggage, to wrap up the last lesson learned, to let out that breath I have been holding, I look for the words and somehow… I know it will all turn out okay.
I know……….. our marriage will be my happy ending! As for my book…. hmmm… what do you guys think?
I take a deep breath and breathe as my fingers begin pushing those darn keys once again…