the one about my marriage (pt 2)

(These next bits are not for the faint of heart. They are not easy to write about. They are intensely personal. Please forgive me if I do not respond to any comments. I will not elaborate on any more than what is written. Thank you for understanding.)

You never really know someone until you live under the same roof.

March 1985. Five years after he died. I discovered I was pregnant. Somehow I knew the child would be a boy I would name Robert in memory of him. I wished he would have blue eyes and blond hair, secretly thinking it would never happen because we have brown eyes and brown hair. But a girl can dream, right?

May 1985. I graduated from college. I quickly packed up my life, moved to Dover, Delaware into a tiny trailer with the man I married the previous year, only visiting him on weekends up until this point.

The verbal sword matches began immediately. Oh I’m great with a sword of sarcasm, accusation, nagging. He was skilled in telling me how stupid, awful, useless I was.

June 1985. The trailer was too tiny. We found a small house to rent on the other side of town.

He played in a dart league on the USAF base. We’d go. I’d watch. He’d get drunk. I’d drive home. Repeat.

Accept this one time while I was driving us home, he didn’t like my skills. He took it upon himself to bend over, push the gas peddle to the floor as I screamed for him to stop, somehow keeping that car from careening off the road or into other cars. This is when the real terror began. I was 4 months pregnant?

November 1985. 8 months pregnant. A card game with the neighbors ends. He’s drunk. Really drunk. I’m not throwing the right cards. Suddenly, he goes berserk. Starts screaming at me. I scream back. Next thing I know he picks me up off the floor, throws me into the wall, and I crash to the floor (he is 6 ft 2, 210lbs. I am 5 ft 0, 8 months pregnant).

Terrified, I run to the back of the house. Why I didn’t run for the front door I’ll never know. It didn’t take long for him to find me in the dark back room, to rape me, to pull me up off the floor and violently shove me out the front door.

Crying hysterically, I climbed into our only car. I told myself I couldn’t leave. How would he get to work the next day? He would get into so much trouble if he didn’t show up for work. I replayed the scene over and over. It must have been my fault. I was too demanding, too nagging, too unsupportive. I hoped my child wasn’t dead. He didn’t move for a very long time, obviously stunned into a fearful stillness of his own.

I went back into the house after spending the night in that car. He acted like nothing ever happened, no remorse, no apology, only silence as he dressed in his uniform, went out the front door.

December 1985. The boy I wished for was born on Christmas Eve. He had blond peach fuzzy hair, blue eyes, a gift from the God I was refused to believe existed, who never left me even in my anger, protected me, my unborn child because of His goodness, mercy, and grace for a lost soul.

To be continued…

His… Michelle

the one about my marriage (pt 1)

I met him the year my dad died. I was 17. It was August. I was with my friend who had stopped talking to me the previous year, our rift repaired.

We hit it off. He graduated from the rival highschool. He was tall, dark, handsome. He smoked pot, lived in a really tough part of town. He was a bad boy. I was the girl who always did what I was supposed to do to make her happy. I lived vicariously through his rebellion.

That first night, I let him get to third base. Then I made him stop. If you ever do that again, I won’t stop, he said. I should have taken that as an ominous sign. I ignored the voice of reason coming from my gut ( I think it was the Spirit of God, but I wasn’t speaking to Him anymore).

Ours was a tumultuous relationship from the beginning. He drank too much, smoked too much, bragged about being involved in a highschool gang rape (all I did was stop her from getting away, I didn’t actually participate, he rationalized). I was so young, naive, needy.

I didn’t even break up with him a year later when he confessed to sleeping with another girl because she was more fun, more spontaneous than me, I was so desperate to hang on to anyone who would “love” me.

He was a drifter, never keeping a job for more than a few months at a time, living with his parents who’s only rule was to be good inside the house. Outside the house was no holds barred.

1983. I talked him into military service. He actually went for it. He thrived for awhile.

While he was gone, I began to thrive too.

Despite loud alarm bells clanging in my brain, I married him in 1984.

To be continued…

His… Michelle

on self injury

I’m not sure how it happened. I think I was around 13 years old when I injured my wrist. The next thing I knew I was taking the same wrist and banging it on my little red desk. Even though it hurt, I couldn’t seem to stop banging my wrist on the little red desk.

I went through a phase of self harm. I’m not really sure why I was compelled to cause my self injury and pain? There was something in me that needed to feel that pain.

Looking back, I’m sure it had something to do with feeling invisible to her.

The phase of self injury that I lived through as a child was short-lived. But it was not completely finished either.

Fast forward 20 years. I had been getting tattoos from the age of 28. When I was in my mid 30s, I was feeling invisible to the world. And so I brought home a syringe and hypodermic needle to tattoo myself. Tattooing myself caused pain that was deeper than the tattoo gun and somehow it was also more satisfying.

I was living through a lot of emotional turmoil, dealing with a child who was falling apart, dealing with my own world unraveling into drunkenness.

It didn’t take too long to go from tattooing myself with a syringe and a hypodermic needle to bringing home a sharp razor blade, cutting designs into my skin, then rubbing black ink into the designs, rationalizing to myself that it was art, when really I was probably just trying to cope with the ongoing pain in my life.

These were the years before I knew Jesus.

When I gave my life to Jesus in 2005, the self injury stopped. But I confess I have a compulsive need to pick at wounds that I get on my body. I struggle with keeping my fingers off of scabs. It doesn’t seem to matter how deep the scars become, the pain that I feel, the amount of bleeding that I cause.

I know I’m not the only person in the world who struggles with these things. I know that I am a new creation. I know that I am being changed every day because my Savior lives.

If you struggle with this sort of thing, I want you to know that you are not alone. You. Are. Not. Alone. Jesus understands. That’s why he came. To know our pain.

He is making my life new again. He will make your life new again too. All you need to do is call out to him. Wherever you are. Whoever you are. Call on the name of Jesus and be saved!

His… Michelle
Philippians 1:20

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