Monday, August 13, 2018

Becoming a Single Parent Times TWO and the complications of love & woo-hoo



A quick recap on where we left off: Pregnant at 18 … and single. Yep, that sums that up. 

Let’s rewind to a year before when I first met my soulmate and experienced love at first sight. I’d had three jobs -busing at Calvary Club, a cashier at P&C, and a telemarketer at Barrier Windows -my own efficiency apartment in an attic, and a red Le Mans that puked on me on my way home from work on Halloween, 5 days before my 18th birthday. I didn’t know much about cars then. Now I know that it was the alternator that went and I could have fixed it for a couple hundred bucks. Me knowing that now obviously changes nothing. I left it on the side of the road and started walking and never went back for it.
Not having a vehicle left me in a bad predicament of having two jobs that were 45 minutes away from where I lived and having no way to get to them. I didn’t care about losing the telemarketing job – Worst. Job. Ever! Cold-calling people made me want to kill myself. I mean, they’d literally tell me to go home and kill myself and I was too insecure to not let that stuff affect me. But I did have my first apartment that required I pay for it, and I never wanted to experience homelessness again after having no place to go one night and no car to sleep in and then having the woo-hoo stolen from me. Just the thought of possibly being back out on the streets would get me hyperventilating.
So I made the second-to-last decision that I absolutely did not want to make … which was to call my parents for help from a pay-phone (no cellies then) since I was 25 miles from home. I’d been living away from my parents for the most of three years at that point. (I’d moved in with my Grandma at 15, and my bio father at newly 16 before leaving home(s) for good). I DID NOT want to be back in their clutches. So throughout trying to finagle a way to get back home, they had me watching my little sister while they worked at the restaurant they’d just opened downstairs. And by little, I mean three-years-old.
I happened to be decked out in my PJ wear. A blue and white polka dot crop top and pigtails. And I swear, I didn’t turn my head two seconds before that little twerp was bounding down the stairs to the restaurant, which is exactly what me babysitting her was supposed to avoid. I hightailed it after her, even at nearly 18 afraid of getting in trouble by my parents, busted through the door, and found myself in the kitchen of the restaurant, my eyes scanning frantically for my sister, just to land on the sexiest man alive looking at me, instead. 

Again. NOT my soulmate, but very similar. If I had seen this guy first? … Come To Mama!!!
And right there in that moment, our eyes looking into eachother’s own, I fell in love with a dishwasher. (He was the dishwasher, if you didn’t catch that). These are the times where cliché’s work. Love at first sight. Head over heels. An explosion of fireworks in the … um … heart. Yeah. Being floored, as far as being frozen to the floor, unable to move. Unable to speak. Unable to look away. My sister -completely forgotten. The knowing. I HAVE TO HAVE HIM! And then the light-bulb moment.
“Hey, Mom, I was thinking. Do you need help at the restaurant? You know, until I can get another car or whatever? I can’t exactly get to my other jobs right now, and I have no way to get home, so I’m already going to be staying here until I can figure it out, so …”

STALKER RULES

Stalker Rule Number 1: Get a job where your obsession works.
Stalker Rule Number 2: Figure out where he lives.
Stalker Rule Number 3: Convince him to feel sorry for you and give you a ride to your apartment because living back with your parents is awful.
Stalker Rule Number 4: Casually invite him up to the apartment for a cup of coffee? … Food? … To help you with something? … Anything? …
Stalker Rule Number 4: Find out who his best friend is. Become friends with the best friend by playing pool with him and being nice to him. (If he falls in love with you and thinks you’re flirting with him, that’s just collateral damage).
Stalker Rule Number 5: Learn from the best friend that he’s having a party that your obsession is going to be at, so get invited to that party!
Stalker Rule Number 6: Act surprised when your obsession shows up, and tell him that his best friend invited you, and convince him it was all completely coincidental or meant-to-be.
Stalker Rule Number 7: At the party, become friends with ALL his friends.
Stalker Rule Number 8: Discreetly, via those friends, learn everything you possibly can about your obsession while paying more attention to his friends than him, so he won’t suspect.
Stalker Rule Number 9: Throw a party and invite all his friends. Don’t tell him about the party until he gives you a ride home and then sees all his friends there. Then ask him if he wants to come to the party since you got a keg and all his friends are there.
Stalker Rule Number 10: Wait until he’s drunk and passed out, and then curl up next to him, so he’ll wake up sober with you in his arms. Then act like you don’t know how you got there and smile and laugh and say, “I must have been really drunk.”
Stalker Rule Number 11: Cry to his friends (your new friends) about how he doesn’t want you until they get mad at him and confront him for not wanting you, and then have them declare that he must be gay for not wanting someone as sweet and nice as you until he’s forced to pay attention to you in order to prove that he’s not gay.
Stalker Rule Number 12: Get with another guy and act like you’re just friends when your obsession starts getting creeped out by your infatuation.
Stalker Rule Number 13: Leave him completely alone, get engaged, move to a completely different county, schedule your wedding a month away, get pregnant, get walked out on, move back to town, lose all your friends because they’re all partying downstairs while you’re sitting upstairs five months pregnant, all alone.

And that’s where we left off in Part I. My only visitor being the person whose name I named my sons, ‘because I liked the name’, I told people. It took following 13 stalker rules and one year later and being pregnant and abandoned for my soulmate to finally notice me. It was the first time we spent actual alone-time together talking, because he felt sorry for me, while all our friends were raising the roof just 13 stairs away. I took it as I figured it was. Appreciated the moment. Was grateful for his time and friendship, but I no longer felt attractive, and if he hadn’t wanted me when I was free and single, I figured he most definitely wouldn’t want me with a kid on the way.
But he showed up again.
And again.
So I finally asked him if he wanted to get some pizza and watch a movie next time he came over, and we set our first date!
It was magical! Every moment up until the last one. We ate pizza. We watched a movie. Okay, okay, I know that doesn’t sound so magical. I don’t even remember which movie we watched. That’s because I was too focused on the fact that he was next to me and I could feel his body heat from two feet away and I was thinking in my head the entire time, trying to figure out if he like liked me or if we were just two friends hanging out, because he felt bad for me. Then it got really awkward when the movie ended. You know, when two people start fidgeting and refer back to the movie they just watched and talk about the scenes they just watched and repeat the dialogue THEY JUST WATCHED just to make conversation.
Courtesy of the show, 'New Girl'

And then … he kissed me!
In my heart, it was glorious. In reality, I had a watermelon of a pregnant belly that was in between him and I and in the way. From the past year, I’d known he wasn’t the type of guy that would woo hoo a woman just in the name of woo-hooing, like most guys, but my insecurities caused me doubt. I knew that my heart wouldn’t be able to withstand the heartbreak if something happened and then he walked out, leaving me alone and still pregnant. You know, like the last guy did. There’s being used and then there’s being used while pregnant and that’s just evil. So I pulled away and asked him if me having a baby would change anything. He said Yes. I turned down any further intimacy. He left. I cried. He stopped visiting. Life goes on.
The father and I made one last go at making things work. I loved him. I really did. I wanted things to work. He hadn’t been love at first sight, but he had been a me-likey at first sight. We even got engaged again … while he was taking a poop. I swear. 

I really love this pic!
Apparently that’s the time he did his best thinking, so while taking a poo, he called me into the bathroom. I sat on the tub while holding my nose while he sat on the toilet with his pants down. “So, we’ve been getting along pretty good, don’t you think?”
“Uh huh.” Said nasally cause I was holding my nose.
“What do you think about putting that ring back on your finger?”
“If I say yes, can I leave? It stinks really bad in here.”
“Yup.”
“Okay, sure.”
Perhaps I'm NOT the only one
I know what you’re thinking. The most original proposal EVER. I bet I am the only friggin’ person in the world that can say I got proposed to in the moment that the guy was taking a dump while I had the heart of an undying romantic. Who could have imagined that we wouldn’t work out, even though they say third-time’s-a-charm?
I went into labor on the exact day I told the Doctor I would – not the due date they gave me. My pregnancy hadn’t been an easy one. From being sick all the time, not knowing which emotions were from my hormones and which ones were from external situations like having McDonalds run out of chocolate milkshake mix when all I wanted after work was a large fry and a chocolate milkshake, and I bawled my eyes out, right in front of them, and yelled at them for ruining my life and not making sure to have chocolate milk shake mix for me, or having my heart broken three times throughout the duration of the pregnancy. I’d wound up with abnormal cells in my cervix and they wanted to remove that portion of my cervix before it turned cancerous, but I risked it so that I could go full-term with my child without him falling out. I’d gotten really sick and had to be hospitalized after throwing up for 10 hours straight, but everytime I threw up, I peed, so it was just really embarrassing. So it followed suit that labor would be just as difficult and I would continue to refuse to listen to anything the Doctor’s told me, and have my baby in my own way.
I’d gotten proposed to on the pooper, so I wanted to be on the pooper while pushing that baby out and using gravity to assist me, and not lying in the bed like the Doctor’s wanted. I tried their way for 7 hours. My way worked better, even though everybody was yelling at me to get in the bed and stop walking around and crouching while in the midst of full-blown labor. Whatever. My baby boy came out healthy, howling, with a patch of red hair.
The father didn’t have red hair, but his brother did. It was bad enough convincing the father that I wasn’t naming his son after another man. Then to have the baby come out with hair the same color as his brother’s? OH BOY!!!
Wake the friggin' baby = certain guaranteed death
My baby also wound up with colic. I couldn’t breastfeed and he couldn’t tolerate formula, so he cried. And he cried. And he cried. 14-16 hours, my poor baby couldn’t sleep. He could only cry like he was in excruciating pain. I felt so helpless. We tried every different formula. There wasn’t much the Doctors could do. And then I wound up with THE worst case of Post-Partum Depression, but didn’t know what it was. We were a sight for sore eyes. My baby would be crying. I’d be crying. We’d just lay on the floor together alternating between crying, passing out in desperately needed sleep, waking up too quickly, and crying some more until we could pass out again.
The father threw up his hands and said, “I’m out.”
Since this is my story, it’s naturally going to be biased to make it look like I was perfect and everyone else was wrong and bad and mean and evil. Me the innocent victim. Them the monster. But in reality, there is no such thing as saint-like when a woman is pregnant. Those hormones are similar to a guy on steroids, experiencing the extremes of every emotion. So happy was euphoric. Sad was deep depression. Upset was like ice. And anger = pure evil. All he wanted was a meal and a clean house after a long day of work; to come home to the woman he loved, maybe get some woo-hoo, eat, go to bed. He DIDN’T want to come home to no meal, no groceries to make a meal, a pigsty house, a colicy baby and a post-partum depressed woman that felt NO love for him during that time. His side of the story, he’ll tell you I was aggressive. I’d throw plastic cups in the sink from across the room. I’d tip chairs. I’d write long letters that he couldn’t read. I’d use big words when trying to talk to him that he couldn’t understand. 

Typical argument 
Me: You're being ridiculous
Him: Stop using big words. You know I don't know what they mean!!!
Me: IT MEANS ASS. YOU'RE BEING AN ASS!
Him: THEN JUST SAY ASS! 

But the biggest grievance he’d tell you about is when he came bursting through the door, extremely upset and breathless and shaken, saying how he was just in a car accident and his life flashed before his eyes and he realized just how much he loved me, and my response was, “What Did You Do To My Car?!” in a barely-controlled shout. Not one of my best moments, but he’d woken the baby and woken me when I’d finally gotten the baby to sleep so that I could sleep. It was after that happened when he left for good.
Then he got engaged nearly three weeks later.
Got a house where they moved in together.
Got married.
And then, when my son was just three months old, they went after full custody.
But this isn’t a story about single-parenting woes. It is a story about how easy it is to BECOME a single parent, so let’s fast-forward to a year and a half later. 








Things were changing in the area we lived and the apartment complex we were renting. Apartments were being rented out to those who came to the United States to get work during the summer so that they could send money home to their families. Each apartment would have, on average, six tenants, so the six tenants that previously occupied the entire complex multiplied to at least 30, and it was no longer an environment I wanted to raise my son in.
The PennySaver was our go-to during that time when you could find jobs and apartment listings, which is how I wound up in Chadwicks, checking out apartments. The landlord showed me a house that he was going to tear down, so I asked him if I could rent it if I fixed it up. It needed a lot of fixing. Plumbing. Carpets. 20 different colored paints needed to be completely scraped off all the walls so that it could be repainted, but it was well worth it, because my son and I could have an entire house of our own for only $425 a month. I was back on again with working the multitude of jobs, which is something I’ve done my entire life. I either have no job or three jobs. That’s how I’ve wound up with 40 jobs to-date.
And all I had was my little car (my 6th one at that point),and myself, to perform the move. That’s when we used landline telephones and actual answering machines, so the phone and answering machine were the last things I packed up. Not knowing if the messages would save, I listened to all my messages before unplugging the answering machine and phone and bidding bye-bye to my home of the past two years.
It was both nostalgic and pleasant. It’d been me and my son, just the two of us, that year-and-a-half. I’d grieved the father for a year before I stopped mourning so much and could go most nights without dreaming of him. I’d learned how to be alone, how to do it on my own, how to occupy myself throughout all the silent hours and lonely nights. I wrote. Wrote in my journal. Wrote poems. Wrote stories. Wrote novels. I didn’t become a complete recluse. I attempted friendships. I attempted male relations. But they were all so young. I was the same age, but I didn’t feel the same age, because I was a mother first-and-foremost, and people my age didn’t want to have to deal with being chastised for swearing when they were JUST beginning to experience their freedom away from living at home with their parents. I was the party pooper. I had to be when it came to my son. I had to knock on my former-friends’ doors that I used to party with and ask them to turn their music down so it wouldn’t wake the baby.
I was ready to move on and move forward in my life. Start new.
Start fresh. Just like every rebirth I went through when younger. Wipe the slate clean. Redeem myself, my life, my choices, and make the most of it. Our first official night in our new home was a type of euphoria mixed with sadness. I played the music loud and sang my heart out and danced, since I could, because I no longer had to worry about the people living across the wall from me or under the floor from me. It was a freedom I’d yet experienced. I could run around naked and not care. Which I did. In fact, once getting my first house, the only time I wore clothes was to go to work. If my neighbors came-a-knockin’, well, they’d find me wrapped in just a sheet or blanket. I didn’t care. I was free. … Until my son got a bit older. Now I can hardly recall what naked feels like. Blah.
In the absence of me wearing my things, my son wore them. 
That's him getting 'ready for work like Mommy"
I unpacked my answering machine and phone and plugged them in, and then tested the phone to make sure it was working. I was surprised to see my answering machine blinking, since I’d listened to all the messages only hours before and it hadn’t been plugged in since. So I pressed the play button and got back to sweeping.
And I practically swept myself off my feet when I heard his voice. I careened toward the answering machine, throwing the broom, jumping over obstacles, skidding to a stop on my knees and getting some rug burn in the process. It was my soulmate! I hadn’t spoken to him or heard from him since that equally blissful-wretched evening of our first and last date when I was five months along, but I’d never forget that voice. My answering machine sucked, so I could hardly decipher what he was saying, but his number came in loud and clear, so I grabbed a random writing utensil (crayon, colored pencil, chalk) and a random writing recipient (napkin, blanket, my hand) and wrote it down.
My heart was in my throat. I couldn’t even figure out how his message had gotten on there when it hadn’t been on there the first time I listened through all my messages. And I hadn’t provided him with my new number. Of course, I looked at it as fate. Destiny. I called him back as soon as I was able to compose myself and calm my nerves. He told me he’d run into my Mom at the bar and she offered him my number and he decided to call it to see how I was doing. (My Mom would tell me that he walked up to her nervously, made some surface talk, casually asked about her daughter (me), and ‘he was so cute trying to ask for your number’). He hadn’t known that the father and I had separated a while back. Nor did he know that I moved. He invited me to attend a holiday party with him.
“Does this mean you’re finally ready?” I asked softly.
“I was ready, but you rejected me.”
“But you said me having a baby would change things. I wanted a relationship. Not a one-night fling.”
“That’s because having a kid does change things. I didn’t say I didn’t want to have a relationship with you because of the baby, but then you just got all cold and wouldn’t have anything to do with me, so I thought you didn’t want a relationship with me.”
Ah. Good ol’ miscommunication. The fact that I could have had a relationship with my soulmate for the past almost-two-years, but for one bit of miscommunicating sat sour in my stomach, but only briefly, because the very day that I’d journeyed on my brand-new life, intent on making it as good as I possibly could, I was talking to my soulmate and he wanted to be in a relationship with me. In my heart and mind, since he’s my soulmate and the man I fell in love with at first sight, that meant forever. I’d never be alone again, and I was just that beautifully blessed and lucky girl to have found her soulmate when people spend their lives looking.
And nothing made that more clear than meeting up again after so long apart (when you’re 19 & 20, two years feels like what a decade feels like to a person in their 30’s), looking into his eyes, and feeling like I was home. It was never romantic with fancy dinner dates, flowers, chocolates, love letters, and I’m sorry cards. But our love was pure and whole-hearted. We didn’t need any of those things to fall in love with each other or to maintain loving one another. It was all just completely natural, without doubt. I would love him forever. To this day, he is still my soulmate. To this day, I’ve never once doubted that. There has never been a moment that I have not known that I love him. Even when hating him, I loved him. But – there’s a reason I say my soulmate – not my one true love. It’s so very different. It’s without power or choice, and there’s absolutely no conditions surrounding it, whereas I’d thought several people were my one true love … until they weren’t anymore.
He was my addiction.
But alcohol became his.
And shortly into our relationship, he turned 21. That’s when his father decided to bond with his only son – through alcohol. The change didn’t even happen gradually, little by little. It was abrupt. The first time he went to hang out with his father, I was convinced he’d gotten into an accident or was in the hospital so I called as many of his family members and friends as I could, because he’d gone completely AWOL. And that is how it would go every time he went to his Dad’s. He began drinking more and more, and the more he drank, the more bitter he’d get, the more paranoid he’d get, the meaner he’d get, the louder he’d get – until they were all kicked out of their apartment.
He had a choice between moving in with his father, or moving in with me. I begged him to move in with me, and he did … for a
My son aspired to be just like us - since we
were both musicians as well!



month. He wasn’t happy being away from his friends and his partying life whereas I lived a pretty solitary life. He became depressed. Bitter. Angry. It wasn’t the happily-ever-after I thought it’d be. He liked me being in his world. He didn’t like being in my world. So he moved in with his Dad a month later, and my worst fears came into fruition. First, it’d be a day or two that I wouldn’t hear from him. Then, it’d be a week. A week turned to two weeks. I’d call and call and call. But more than anything, I’d cry.
And then he’d just show up and everything would feel right again. He wasn’t neglecting me out of not loving me. He wasn’t neglecting me out of not wanting to be with me. Rather, he was drinking so much with his father and friends that he’d lose track of time, lose track of the days. Even after two weeks, he’d swear up and down that he’d just seen or spoken to me two days ago. I’d try breaking up with him. And we’d fight. Oh, would we fight. But he was my addiction. My heart couldn’t fathom a life without him, without his love. So we’d break up during those two-week benders, and then be completely in love again the moment he would just randomly show up.
I was lonely. I was struggling financially. I was failing at being a single Mom while not actually being single, because the more I worked, the more childcare I had to pay. And my son couldn’t keep sitters, so I’d lose one job after another after another. I wanted a guy that would be there. That would help me take care of my family. That I could share my home, my nights, my life with. A guy that would care about my happiness, my survival. A person whom could figure out the simple math that if minimum wage is $5.15 an hour and childcare is $3.00 an hour, I could work a hundred hours a week and make less than two hundred bucks. My situation wasn’t just difficult. It was IMPOSSIBLE! Physically and financially. And my soulmate wasn’t the type of guy that could figure out that math. Nor could I hold him responsible, because it was my child, not his. I couldn’t expect him to help. But survival in its purest form meant I needed to do whatever it took to survive. Even if it meant scouting the territory, and searching for one whom could help.
I would leave messages for him. I would give him ultimatums. I would tell him that if he didn’t show up in the next couple days, I was going to set up a date with someone else. Then I’d leave messages telling him I set up a date with someone else and if he didn’t show up to stop me in the next few days, I’d be going on that date. He’d show up the night of the date or the night thereafter, raging about me cheating on him. Having no memory of the messages I’d left, no memory as to how much time had passed, no memory to the actual conversations we’d have when he was drinking. In the beginning, I never blamed him. I blamed his Dad. I blamed the alcohol. I knew his heart. I knew he loved me for life. I knew he loved deeply. But I needed to pay the bills for my child. Love wasn’t helping me do that.
So this is how it went for almost a year. Unhealthy, chaotic, destructive, heart-wrenching, and so so so many tears. But together again, all that stuff would just disappear and it’d just be him and I in the moment and nothing else mattered. Our love was extraordinary. It still is. The unbridled passion is unmatched by anything else I’ve ever experienced.
And with it, came my second greatest blessing. While amidst

going back and forth on leaving him or staying with him, and praying for answers, I wound up pregnant with my second child. Of course, believing in such things, I saw it as the answer to my prayers. I was meant to stay with him and tough it out and just figure out a way to survive. He didn’t take it as optimistically as I did. Due to the other dates I’d been on during our off-times, he didn’t believe the child was his, because he didn’t remember us ever messing up for me to be able to get pregnant.
For all you young ladies out there, don’t let a guy convince himself and you that the pulling-out method means there’s no possible chance of pregnancy. It doesn’t work that way. Abstinence is, by far, the 100 percent sure way, but any form or type of protection is the 2nd most effective. That doesn’t mean taking birth control your entire life, though, as even birth control has risks and side effects. Male protection comes with no side effects other than him whining about it. You tell him to suck it up and deal with it or he ain’t gettin’ woo-hoo, period.
With that said, I can also say that for me, I’ve never experienced regret, because I don’t know where I’d be or even who I’d be without my children, but for my children, I experienced A LOT of regret, because I couldn’t give them the perfect life I wanted to. I still can’t. The three of us have been through SO much together, just from being poor. Just from struggling to survive, and I have had to hate myself a million times for only being able to work with what I got, and not being able to give them EVERYTHING that they deserve. Everything that I wish I could give them, so they’ve always been lacking in all things that require money, because the only thing I could ever truly give them consistently was my love.
He calmed down after a time, especially when he realized he didn’t have a choice, because I was keeping the baby. And I vowed myself and my loyalty to him, my tolerance, my patience, and my commitment towards finding other ways to continue to survive that didn’t involve another person, because he promised that once I had the baby, we’d settle down into being a family, get a place together, and he’d be a father. Until then, he wanted to enjoy his life and freedom. While I was only 20 years old with my second on the way.
Preggers & getting ready for a singing gig - my sister to the right!
My pregnancy with my daughter was one of the most consistent happy times in my life. The hormones with her caused me to just be in this pleasant state of mind with a whole lot of energy. The world was wonderful. Everything was wonderful. That dogpoop on the sidewalk was so damn cute. Oh, that guy screaming at me looked like a little Oompa Loompa. Nothing phased me. Nothing got under my skin. I was pure bliss. So I’d begun tripling up on college classes while I worked a fulltime job waitressing at a pizza place. I sang professionally on weekends. And then I wrote and wrote and wrote. While continuing to raise my son. I was on fire. I was unstoppable. I had everything put together and everything was as perfect as perfect could be.
I counted down the months until we could finally be a family. True to my word, I let him do whatever he wanted and didn’t give him grief about it. A month before I was to have the baby, my job fired me. It didn’t make sense, because they told me to come back after I had the baby. Only later would I realize that they got rid of me before they would have to pay for maternity leave.
I went into labor with my daughter exactly on schedule. I called my soulmate first. And then spent the next three hours calling him while in the midst of labor. The contractions were getting really bad at that point, so I called my son’s father to come get him so I could go and have a baby. That was another half-hour. I threw my stuff in the car, drove to the hospital, and walked up to the counter happy as can be. I figured her father was sleeping, since I’d started labor at 5 in the morning. I’d left messages telling him where I’d be, which hospital I’d be at, etc…
“Can I help you?” the nurse at the counter asked.
“Yes, I am in labor.”
She chuckled at me. “Honey, if you were in labor, you wouldn’t be smiling.”
“No seriously, my water broke like 3 ½ hours ago.”
They got me in a bed, taking their sweet time, and finally got around to checking me. Thereafter, I got the craziest look from the nurse and people started running. “You’re in active labor. You’re ready to go. We need a doctor,” they yelled into the hall. Of course, I didn’t stay in the bed. I knew how my body worked and I wanted the baby out as fast as I could get her out, because that sh** hurts. I went straight to the toilet. Then when I felt ready, I returned to the bed, and it seemed like it only took three pushes thereafter. Maybe it was more than that. It could have been five. Those are some pretty intense times to be worrying about how many times I pushed. I was more worried that I was giving birth to more than just a baby, because it felt like I was pooing, even though it was sworn up and down that I was not. That’s a weird thing to be worrying about when my body’s being stretched and torn and cut and I got a baby on the way, but I guess I think about weird things during times of crisis or times of excruciating pain.

I swear my baby girl came out smiling. They say that’s impossible, but I will tell you that it’s not. She was smiling. But with my beautiful bundle nestled in my arms, my heart grew heavy, because my soulmate had missed the entire labor. He’d missed the first moments. He’d missed me screaming, “Does she have the butt chin?” the moment she came out. She was his spitting image. If I thought he was sexiest man alive, my daughter proves that he looks even better as a female.
I was in the hospital for three days recovering. Every person that walked in the room, I’d look up with a big smile on my face, thinking it was him. It wasn’t. My family came to see the baby. His family came to see the baby. Everyone came to see the baby, but not a single person had heard from him. Every hour that passed, my heart dropped lower and lower. And with every day that passed, I felt a piece of my soul dying. The part of me that hoped and believed and trusted and loved unconditionally. The part of me that believed in God and the power of prayer. The part of me that loved with the most innocent and purest core of my heart. When he finally showed up that third day, I could no longer be the eternally, unconditionally forgiving person. I knew deep in my heart that this was something I couldn’t forgive him for. Especially when he held her for five minutes, like a limp doll, while watching TV and refusing to look at her. When the nurse came in to have him sign the paternity papers and birth certificate, and he finally looked at our newborn daughter, he returned her to my arms, said, “It’s not mine,” and left. 

THAT’S how easy it is to become a single parent …. Times two!



Becoming a Single Parent Part 1

Next up - Becoming a Single Parent Part III and the complications of love, woo-hoo, and murder?
THE STAR THAT YOU MADE MINE
(a song I wrote to my babies and sang to them everynight before bed)
I won't let nobody step
on the star that you made mine, Lord
on the fire that grew within me
and then was born to become my world
I was lost behind the shadows
of this dark and lonely world
I didn't know which path to follow
until you came knocking at my door
You gave me life
You gave me love
You gave me this child from up above
And now no matter where I go from here
My Sweet Bradon will be there
When I am down
When my eyes cry
I have my sweet child to keep me alive
And now no matter where I go from here
My Sweet Jasmine will be there.
I won't let nobody step
on the star that you made mine, Lord
On this fire that grew within me
and then was born to become
My World. 

Sunday, July 15, 2018

SINGLE PARENTING - from the beginning - and the complications of woo-hoo.



What’s it like being a single parent?




 This is a question NOONE asks me, even though I’ve been a single parent and a sole-income for as long as I’ve been writing professionally, but you’re going to be seeing a lot on this subject, because becoming a single parent (and/or sole income) is really easy and almost always completely unexpected, but it is probably the #1 MOST DIFFICULT LIFELONG HARDSHIP that neither happens by choice or can be fixed by choice, because you can’t MAKE someone pay half your bills. Believe me, I’ve tried, and it’s guaranteed to not get you a second date. … Ever.



And worse … you’re going to be judged very, very harshly. You know, that whole, “Well, she shouldn’t have had kids if she couldn’t afford them.” (That’s the women). “She probably got pregnant on purpose so she could be lazy and live off of child support.” (That’s the guys).



HOW I BECAME A SINGLE PARENT



Raised with a strict Christian background, I was raised with the belief of no woo-hoo pre-marriage. (For the intent of keeping this blog PG, I will be using the word woo-hoo in place of all the you-know-what words). But I also grew up in the 80’s and 90’s, raised by a generation that alternated between preaching what they were taught, and rebelling against it out of being discouraged by their parents’ own relationship where females had been taught to obey there man and follow them to the ends of the earth, thereby creating an environment for the male of there being no checks and balances, and him being able to do as he pleased without consequence, like cheat, be abusive to the woman and/or children, or just be an a-hole in general. (I speak of the outliers, not how it was for everyone).



Me at 13 - Had never had a boyfriend
Wished I was prettier.
Thought that if I was prettier, more people would love me.
...And less people would bully me.
My best friend was God.
I thought that everyone should be best friends with God.
May or may not be related to said bullying.
So how it worked out for my Mom was, amidst a broken heart from the man she loved and had wanted to spend her life with, she committed the woo-hoo in an impaired state (which is why I’m a strong-believer in all girls wearing chastity belts on any and every occasion where impairment is a possibility), and I came to be, but she was so ashamed, due to her religious upbringing, that she found herself a boyfriend that was willing to call me his, for the purpose of not shaming her parents. (She did go on to marrying him, and spent 28 years with him before he died). But financial and insurance hardships of having a 3-month premature child with medical issues eventually led to the truth coming out and the involvement of my biological father when I was 7.


Growing up, I found very quickly that guys were far less interested in holding your hand and talking about your lives and future than they were at wanting to kiss you. So my
My first unreserved and uninhibited kiss at 15.
heartbreaks started early on when every boy I was interested in – rather, head-over-heels in love with – would leave me or get with someone else more inclined to kissing, so by 15, my beliefs were already being whittled away to compromising. Compromising meant I’d allow a quick peck on the lips, and if a guy tried doing anything more than that, I’d break up with him. I’d grieve. I’d feel such confusion. (I broke up with some pretty amazing, respectable, decent guys back then that were as inexperienced as I was, but I didn't know then that my beliefs were a surface cover-up to keep suppressing hidden truths and fears.)



By 17, I was an anomaly. A stereotyped prude. The target of every male scoundrel that saw me as a conquest and the target of every female scoundrel to out me as ‘not being the saint I pretended to be’, so rumors would have me be a person who woo-hooed all the time and me just pretending to be a prude without me yet having experienced what the woo-hooing was all about.



The peer pressure, the judgments, the bullcrap, the not-knowing-if-a-guy-actually-liked-me-or-not did me in. I didn’t want to be that girl anymore. Especially considering that I’d left home and was working towards emancipating myself and was living on the streets (in my car), and though I needed food and shelter and warmth from the winter, I was too paranoid of what I would have to give in return.



So I scheduled my first woo-hoo. Yes, you heard me. I scheduled it. I went through a list of potential candidates (my friends), weighed the pros and cons, and chose the person who had helped me out the most and had provided me a place to stay, after a female (who had signed my guardianship papers until I could get emancipated) had vandalized and destroyed my car, once learning that her ex was interested in me, even though I was so not interested in him at that time. (I know. The Drama!)



My first woo-hoo was basically an act of charity to show my appreciation for giving me a bed to sleep in and a stove and pot to cook my ramen in. (Back then, you could get 10 for a buck). It was so far from being magical. More like checking off a to-do list. Not saying I didn’t care about the person, and it was special in the sense that I did choose him. There were even times I thought I loved him, but there was definitely no future of ‘Until death do us part’. 


Besides, at that age, it's quite easy to feel love and think love for a number of people, since the  mediatized 'butterflies in the stomach', 'inability to sleep or eat', and 'thinking of the person all the time' is typically equated with true love versus all the number of other things it could be. I get indigestion and have difficulty sleeping and eating when I'm thinking about bills all the time, but it sure as heck doesn't mean I'm in love with financial woes. 



From there, I moved to Syracuse and got my first apartment with a friend whom had claimed to love me for a couple years, (my ex-guardian’s ex) and I had developed feelings for him as well. It’s hard not to do when you’re living together. But in order for me to be emancipated, I had to show residency and that I was financially supporting myself, and that is how I was able to accomplish it. Though at the time, I had serious moral regrets about the whole woo-hooing before marriage, I stopped having regrets four-months later when I tragically experienced the realization that a person can be forced into woo-hoo without consenting to it. An experience that destroyed me for a long time, because it complicated the ‘No’.



Age 17 in my first official apartment by myself.
Loneliness led me to bringing in a stray cat off the street.
Awareness led me to realizing she was pregnant.
Kind-heartedness and a no pets-restrictions resulted in 
1 Mommy cat, 5 kittens, and a daily dead-bird or half-dead-mouse
sacrifice in my attic apartment from the grateful Mommy cat.
Previously, saying No was easy and, for the most part, it was generally respected. Having to come to terms with the fact that not everyone respected the no made me petrified of saying No. And the world became a very scary place to be in, because I was a 17-year-old that was well sought-after amongst guys who, let’s face it, will look for any opportunity to woo-hoo. At this point in my life, I was living alone. I’d moved to Vernon because a landlord was willing to rent me an apartment even though I wasn’t yet 18. So there I was, working three jobs and going to highschool (my 7th one), while still suffering from post-traumatic stress, panic attacks, and social phobia.



And then … I met my soulmate! 

Not my soulmate, but very similar appeal!
Just a random picture I got off www.memecenter.com
when google searching 'hot guy'.


 He was the only guy in my group of friends that didn’t want me. It made him a safe person to be around. I didn’t have to feel afraid. So I did everything I could to keep him around. Even if it meant learning he liked parties and me throwing parties just to invite him. I’d stay right by his side, showing no interest in anyone else. I’d curl up to him when he was drunk in order to keep the other guys off of me, and he wouldn’t even put his arms around me. I’d sleep soundly. The only times I’d sleep back then. But it was inevitable that after time, I would become frustrated with him not wanting me, and it drove his friends crazy. From the girl who wouldn’t even kiss a boy to a girl begging for the boy to kiss her. To the point of tears and whining. “Why Won’t You Kiss Me? Is There Something Wrong With Me?” He’d tell me it was something wrong with him, and that I should just move on.



So I moved on to peer pressure and parlor tricks, and there were only so many tears and so much nagging and whining he could handle before he finally gave in. “Fine. One Kiss, but it won’t change anything.”



On the contraire, I was hoping it would change EVERYTHING. And to this day, I can 100 percent say it was
Like this, except we were hungover,
and sitting in his rumbling truck b/c
I'd made him give me a ride to the store
and then refused to get out of the vehicle
until he kissed me. And he really
just wanted to get home.
my absolute best and most favored and most magical kiss that I’ve ever experienced. That slow-motion, heart flip-flopping, belly-twittering, licking-of-the-lips-and-having-prepared-myself-with-a-breath mint, time-suspending moment. That stuff’s for real, people.




For me, that moment cemented into my heart the knowing that he was my true love and the person I wanted to spend my life with.



For him … it changed nothing. Just like he forewarned.



And I was completely crushed, because he was the only guy I actually wanted to make woo-hoo with after having the woo hoo stolen from me and tainted.



So, like mother, like daughter, at the very same age, I walked away from my love with my heart shattered, and tried to move on … with the first guy that showed interest in wanting me.



And then when I found him to be cheating on me, I handled it in a very mature way – by storming his house, crashing his party, punching him in the face, dragging him down the road with my car because he forgot that the door handle didn’t work, driving to my Mom’s house, crawling unexpectedly into bed with her, telling her I punched a guy in front of all his friends because he was cheating, got out of her bed, and then stayed at my true love’s house and binge-drank for three days while bein reminded he didn’t want me before returning home and finding out that some a-hole had moved in downstairs from me and had taken my parking spot when I’d specifically gone out of my way for 8 MONTHS to ensure no one would want to live there by stomping on the floors, playing music loud, and flushing my toilet over and over again when people came to check out the downstairs apartment. 



(And that is what they call a run-on sentence, my friends, which is a big no-no in the writing world, because it confuses the reader, which is why you're most likely going to have to re-read it. That's my point. It's a lot to take in, but that was exactly my experience of it all. Everything happened so quickly, and in so short a span a time, that I didn't feel I could even catch my breath. Let alone process it all. But it was this not-taking-a-moment-to-catch-a-breath, and not-giving-myself-time-to-process-things that would directly influence all the things that would happen next.



Being cheated on and feeling those mixtures of emotions. Going on a three-day-three-night bender (outside of work) with the person I knew I loved the moment I laid eyes on him and having to re-experience the reality of his not feeling the same. Working graveshift full-time at the Casino, and full-time day-shift at McDonalds, and waitressing late nights on weekends. Then to come home heartbroken, hungover, completely exhausted, having not yet been able to shed a single tear, to find that somebody had moved in to the downstairs apartment and had stolen my parking spot in the midst of winter.


Again, I handled it very maturely. By pounding on his door in the middle of the night in order to tell him to leave. But while I happened to be extremely frustrated with a shredded heart, he happened to be extremely cute.

Again, just a random pic from google-searching 'Cute guy' found at favim.com

And his response was, “Hey, listen, my girlfriend’s sleeping. She gets really bad headaches. How about we talk about this over laundry?”



“Now? You want to do laundry NOW? Yeah, okay.”



Ah, those 24-hour-a-day laundromats. (Why do they call it a laundromat? Wouldn’t it make more sense to be called a laundrymat, since you do your laundry? What the heck is a laundro?) And we talked the entire rest of the night to the background noise of spinning clothing. He broke up with his girlfriend the next day and trekked up the 14 stairs to knock on my hatch door (my apartment was in the attic), and invited me over to watch a movie. He confidently told me that by the end of the movie, I would kiss him.



‘Far and Away’ is one of my favorite movies to this day with
Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise, and how could you NOT want to kiss someone after seeing Tom Cruise almost die, and Kidman showering him with tearful kisses once seeing him alive?



The day thereafter, we started practically moving in together, being as how we already lived in the same house, and his apartment was better than my attic. That’s when my cheating-ex showed up full of apologies until he saw that standing beside me was his arch enemy that he hated more than anyone else on the planet for stealing the girl he loved in highschool.



“I’ve moved on,” I said.



KARMA.



He knew how important the no woo-hoo-out-of-wedlock was to me, and how sensitive of a matter it still was due to my continued panic attacks and flashbacks, while I'd yet had the time alone to process any of my recent experiences and actually be able to think clearly, so three weeks later, I had a ring on my finger. We packed up our things. Moved to a neutral place not tainted by history. Scheduled our wedding date and began planning our wedding.



Remember. I was 18 at this point. I’d left home and been on my own for two years. I’d experienced the hardships of being out on the streets, the loneliness of not having support or the love of my family, because they didn’t exactly agree with my decisions to leave. When other kids in highschool’s worst issues were homework, mine was working three jobs and trying to keep up on highschool while being too terrified to sleep at night. The only thing I wanted at that time was family and love, safety, and security, while also being young enough to still believe in fairy tales and happy endings, while still being religious enough to be grateful for any blessing or gift that God sent my way. Highly intelligent I was, but level-headed and capable of making smart choices based on rational thought versus dreams and faith and emotions, not so much.



So with that ring on my finger, a wedding date planned, and sharing a new home together, I was free to woo-hoo all I wanted. Both of us wanting to get started on making our family right away. (A.K.A he didn’t want to wear protection and I couldn’t take birth control due to a heart condition).



Too fast. Too soon. I know. And that’s exactly how he felt when I woke up one morning to find him standing at the door, his bags packed, only a few weeks before our wedding, missing his home and missing his family. I’d been out on my own for a couple years, and there’d been several times where the homesickness would strike and I’d try to return, thinking things would be different, just to find they weren’t and run again. This was his first experience being on his own and being far from home and the homesickness had struck. He wanted to go home. Leaving me with a beautiful apartment that I couldn’t afford on my own.



So he moved back in with his Mom, and I picked up a cheap, scumhole apartment that smelled and leaked and had long-ago retired from ever meeting codes, but it was all I could afford, being as how I left all three of my jobs when we’d moved, and I’d been spending my time babysitting and writing my first novel in the interim of finding a good job. He wanted to continue trying the relationship living apart, but he’d betrayed me. Left me stranded. And let’s face it – he’d gotten plenty of free woo-hoo under conditions and stipulations that he’d broken AFTER THE FACT. I felt used. Disgusted. Ashamed.



Those times in life when you don’t heed others’ warnings, because you’re friggin’ a teenager, and the very adults trying to give you advice seem a hundred years older than you, holding onto ancient beliefs, while being completely unhappy and miserable themselves and having given up on magic and miracles and meant-to-be’s a long time ago. There is not a single teenager on the face of this planet that wants to end up like the adults they see. At 35-years-old, I’m supposed to be an adult, but I STILL don’t want to be one.



I picked up a job at Pizza Hut, just a couple-mile walk from my apartment, and signed up for the AirForce (the least likely place in the military for a female to get forcefully woo-hooed – yes, that was the basis of my decision) to teach me discipline, and provide free college. I just wanted to put the past and my fantasy-life mistakes behind me and move on. Start fresh. And I wanted to jump out of planes. Having a brand-new job and apartment and a future planned out was a good start.



… Until I couldn’t walk into my job without having to run to
the restroom and throw up. And after a week of spending my shifts in the bathroom, it could no longer be considered a bug, which meant it could only mean one other thing – Pregnancy.


Surprise! 18 and Pregnant!


 As usual, I tried to handle the situation as maturely as possible. My ex-fiance came to the house. I’d purchased the test. I’d read all the instructions three times while sitting on the toilet. Now-a-days, women can pee in a cup or bowl and then insert the stick like a PH strip. Then, you had to pee directly on this 2 cm width stick for three whole seconds. Three seconds doesn’t seem like a long time. Trying to aim a stick in the direct flow of pee when female bodies aren’t meant to aim, hence us having to sit on the toilet, while trying not to pee on the hand holding the stick – Three seconds is a REALLY long time.



Three minutes is even longer. Which is exactly how long you have to wait for the results.



So I locked myself in my room, and him out of it, and flopped down on my bed. Suddenly, he was a time expert, counting down the minutes, which annoyed me to a ridiculous degree, because I was trying to be mature while fearing my worst nightmare. The one Mom had raised me with about how getting pregnant at 18 years old ruined her life and how she’d never wanted kids, because she had dreams and goals and all these things that she’d wanted to do with her life, and her getting pregnant was the worst possible thing that could have happened, and so she had to watch her dreams die while being the Mom that had never wanted to be one. (I tried to listen objectively at those times, being as how I was the 18-year-old unexpected pregnancy that destroyed her life).



“It’s been three minutes,” the time expert anxiously boasted.



“I don’t care. Leave me alone.”



“Don’t you want to know?” he called through the door.



“No!”



“Well I do. I’m going to check it.”



Fire ignited under my feet, and I moved, and unlocked that door so fast, “Don’t you dare! This is your fault, so you’re going to sit there and you’re going to wait until I’m ready.”



And then I locked the door again and returned to the bed.



“If you’re pregnant, then it’s my child too, and I have just as much right to know as you, so I’m going in there.”



I practically tore the door off its hinges and gave him a scathing look worthy of killing a person with eyes alone, ran into the bathroom, and locked the door.



“What’s it say?” he continued to bother me.



I gave him the silent treatment. Because what he didn’t know was that I already knew, and I’d only taken the test for semantics-purposes. Proof. Everyone always wanted proof. Sitting late nights, alone, with nothing but silence, after those non-stop puking workshifts threatening my financial security, I’d write. Journal entries. Poems. Music. “I know you’re there. Inside of me. I feel your soul. I feel your heat.” I already knew without a doubt, so me seeing the two lines didn’t change what I already knew. What I knew was I already loved what I felt growing inside me. And it was far too precious for me to want to share it with one whom had already proven how easily it was for him to walk. I wanted to keep it secret from the world, and not have to share what was so innocent and beautiful, and the last person I wanted to know was the father.



But because he was the father, I had no right to keep it from him.



So I unlocked the bathroom door and miserably admitted that I was pregnant.



And he acted like I was lying, so I threw the pee stick as hard as I could and nailed him in the forehead.



It was his reaction though, that made it truly hit home that I was going to be a single mother, even though I’d tried so hard to do everything the right way. While life circumstances may have set me off course here and there, I’d still never risked bringing a child into the world without the commitment of marriage. Some people would say that I should have waited until actual marriage before carelessly jumping on the bed with another person (another name for woo-hoo). Would it have made a difference in his walking out on me?



Instead of embracing me in his arms and attempting to remedy how hurt I was so that we could celebrate this beautiful creation developing in my womb that he and I made together, he called his Aunt to explain to him what two lines versus one line meant on a pregnancy test, because he wasn’t willing to read the directions, but what hurt more was he wasn’t willing to believe I wasn’t lying.



So in the same moment that I had it confirmed that I was carrying a child that I had already fallen in love with pre-confirmation, I had to sit there and watch and listen to the person, father to such child, whom I’d believed I’d loved that had made commitments to me and then walked thereafter, treat me like I was lying.



They say that you can only truly hate a person if you love them. Okay. I say that. Whomever else says that is just copying me. I felt pure hatred in that moment and true regret that I hadn’t just disappeared off the face of the planet and kept my child to myself so he would never know.



And THAT is how easy it is to become a single parent.



Did we try to make things work? Of course. For business reasons, my job couldn’t keep me around, because I couldn’t do my job with the smell of onions constantly making me run to the bathroom to throw up. I can’t exactly say what his reasons were. But the second time he packed his bags and walked, after he’d proposed to me again and the second time we’d been planning our wedding day, saying he was too young to be a father, it didn’t surprise me. It still hurt, but I’d never put my guards down after the first time he walked. So I was much more mature when he left me the second time. I helped him pack, and threw an industrial-sized box of condoms at him and told him to actually use them if he wasn’t ready to be a father … idiot.



My Beloved!
Being pregnant at 18 – as a teen or young adult in general – sets you up to not having a place to belong or people to belong with, because the friends your age are still set on partying, first-time independence, and freedom, and those who have children won’t accept you into their circle because you’re too young. My own mother was still raising a 4, 11, and 14-year-old. And my biological father was putting all his hope and commitment into his 4-year-old child that he could raise from the getgo versus meeting his child at 7 years old and having weekend visitations where he had no chance at being called Dad at that point.



I’d been given a variety of talents and skills and I COULD HAVE had a variety of promising futures. I was highly intelligent and could have graduated valedictorian. Instead, I took the college exams in 11th grade, passed in the 90-plus percentiles, and was accepted into college. So I went and got my highschool diploma without ever graduating highschool, because those options exist. You take the tests. You pass. You get your highschool diploma. Period. In a matter of six or so weeks. 

And I couldn’t have been more proud to walk the school, turning in my books, and finally getting to my 11th grade math-teacher. Throughout the school year, he had used me as an example as to all the losers in the world, because working three jobs and going to highschool, his class just happened to be the one where I would pass out, and it drove him crazy, so he would literally tell the class that I was the example of a person who was never going to go anywhere in life. All while he’d never taken a moment of his time to get to know me. That’s why it was a very proud moment to return my book and have him sign off on it and have him look to the class and say, “This is exactly what I tried to tell you. A person who will never go anywhere and now she’s dropping out of highschool.” And me clearing my throat and saying, “Actually, I’m dropping out of highschool because I got accepted into college”.

 

It’s funny how red people’s faces can actually get.



So I did have a choice of going down a different path, as I’d already been accepted and enrolled in college to start that August.



But love, family, connection. No longer being alone and afraid. That was more important to me. So I took a chance. I chose love. And when I could have been starting college, I was carrying a child instead. When I should have been preparing for college, I was making plans for my wedding instead. 



Originally, we were to be married September 15th, 2001.



First Bath
I signed up for the AirForce in August after he walked. Found out I was pregnant a few weeks later. And 9/11 happened when I was still trying to manage working my job. The first responders they sent in were AirForce and I think 16 choppers went down the very first day.



I’m pretty sure my would-be son saved my life!



First Fashion Show
In the meantime, I lost all my friends, because I could no longer party with them, being pregnant and all.


And it just really sucked that I lived upstairs from them – only a staircase away. Pregnant and alone. And not a single one of them could make the trek upstairs … but for one.



The soulmate that didn’t want me.



And the plot thickens!



My Heart




 My heart once wanted to sing



And now it sings for you dear



It will sing for no other



As long as we’re here







There was so much I desired



Before you came along



So much I wanted to do



Until you changed my song







My life is now yours, child



My heart belongs to you



And wherever you may go



My heart will be with you







I wanted to accomplish so much



But you have become my goal



To protect you, to support you



To give you my very soul







You are my blessed child



We’re inseparable, we’ll never part



Because wherever you go





SINGLE PARENTING - from the beginning - and the complications of woo-hoo.

What’s it like being a single parent?   This is a question NOONE asks me, even though I’ve been a single parent and a sole-inc...