Wednesday, September 14, 2016

XXXI


Every now and then I take a break from blogging. Sometimes all I need to do is take a few weeks, other times the blog remains inactive for months, as it has been. The reason for doing this is that as I've healed and matured, there's less of a need to talk about my past and while it still definitely empowers me to speak about how far I've progressed, taking a break from blogging helps me keep a check on whether I'm unburdening myself in a healthy, therapeutic way or just obsessing over my mistakes. The latter, obviously, is something I want to avoid as I move on with my life. I initially started this blog as a way to remember and recount all that happened to me. I haven't checked on it in quite some time because I've been busy with other things and I've been thinking of ways to transition it into my life now: with less talk about the past and more talk about the present. With the five year anniversary of the beginning of my past experiences approaching next week, I thought I'd write about just how far away it seems.

At the end of January, I did something I've wanted to do for a long time and got my learners' permit! I failed my driving test when I was 16 and never got around to re-taking the test, so at 24 years old, I'm on track to get my license within a couple months. With Matthew, driving became a priority once again: in the summer, I'm fairly active and walk pretty much everywhere I go, but during winter, I have to rely on my parents or Tanner to drive me anywhere I need to go. It's really hindered my independence and finally, this year, I decided enough was enough and took Matthew with me to get my permit. Tanner has been helping me learn how to drive, and for those of you that don't know, he drives a lifted Nissan Titan. This truck is enormous and being behind the wheel at first was pretty intimidating, but I finally got the hang of it. Driving the Titan has been so much fun!

Tanner and I get married later this year. I can't imagine life without him: he's really stepped up to take care of not only me, but Matthew. We had originally planned for June, but opted for August instead since our venue will be a picturesque golf course in Park City. At the higher elevation, it was still likely we would see spring rain in June and didn't want to take chances with the weather. I couldn't be happier with the way things unfolded, and with most of the planning done at the end of last year/beginning of this year, planning the wedding has been relatively low stress.

It's amazing how much Matthew has grown. He went from barely speaking at all to almost nonstop talking. I love coming home from work and seeing his smiling face: he always makes sure to let me know that he missed me at work and fills me in on his day with Grandma. I have the luxury of working only part-time: since my mom watches Matthew, I don't have to pay for daycare and I spend my afternoons and nights with him. While I'd obviously rather stay home with him, it's been nice to be able to bring in money for us and still be able to spend time with him. In April I will have worked as a legal assistant for a year. It's been amazing to finally put all my hard work in college to good use and see it pay off.

Moving on from my experiences in Washington has always been my end goal. Even though I still have anxiety and emotional issues that have stemmed from what happened, these episodes occur less and less frequently and it no longer affects me as deeply as it did before. I finally feel happy with life again and I'm glad I can focus on building a family instead of dwelling in negativity.

Friday, April 1, 2016

XXX

March marked the four-year anniversary of when I left home with Theo. In past years, the first week of March has been an extraordinarily painful one in which I've reflected on what a horrible mistake I made by going to Bellingham with that miserable excuse of a man. In fact, my whole life before Theo, I admit, I was a coward. I was a spineless, weak, spoiled brat. I ran from everything that I considered "too hard" or "too stressful". Even when I returned home, pregnant, I was still looking for an escape.

I don't indulge in fantasies of running away or leaving any more. I took inspiration from my boyfriend, Tanner. I've dated this man almost four years and every single day he gets up, he makes a choice to battle his own, very real demons. It's made him stronger, and I feel very lucky to have witnessed how much he's changed for the better. The most important lesson I take from his struggles is that I should not be afraid. He's there for me when I fall and tell myself I can't go on any further. He pushes me to be stronger through example. It's the kind of relationship I've always desired.

I feel no shame in admitting how weak I was. I could look back and hate the na├»ve girl I was, with my delusions of fame and my obsessive, desperate need for acceptance. Spring has always been a hard time for me because it reminds me of the girl I was. I placed so much faith in people and merely expected them to be good, but that isn't the way of the world. Bellingham took away that childlike innocence and ignorance and made me a stronger woman for it. I want to be a strong as possible. I know there are a lot of women out there who have faced trauma like I have, even worse, and I want to set an example, just like Tanner did with me, that you shouldn't be afraid.

I have come to the conclusion that I may never see him behind bars for what he did to me. Does that change the fact that I still struggle? Some people would answer yes, but while it's certainly less intense, the trauma is still there. Once I made the decision to stop running from what happened I felt more at peace. My main goal now is to focus on what's in front of me: not simply recovery but the will to strengthen myself both mentally and physically. I'll always battle demons, but I know the stronger I get, the easier it will be to face them.