I have found many old friends on MySpace I haven't seen in twenty years (Since High School) and most of you I only know about your lives from the little snippets I've read on your profiles and well, you probably know as little about me since then than I know of you... so here's a synopsis of my life since 1989....
We all picked up and headed to California in 1992 where we had found jobs (All three of us, Dad, Mom and myself) at Custom Chrome, Inc. It was while I was working there I met my first husband at a trade show. He was a dealer for Custom Chrome from England and two weeks after the show he proposed and in June of 1994 we got married.
That was a huge mistake, but I had very low self-esteem and Craig just made it worse really. But I came from a home that believed you make all the sacrifices you can to keep your marriage together. so put up with many things, like verbal abuse for many years.
Then on December 8th, 1999 things went from bad to worse, much worse. I was living in the Los Angeles area and I was rushed to the emergency room with a full pulmonary shut down. I remember riding in the ambulance and then being swarmed by five or six doctors the moment I got to the ER and then darkness. They were putting me on Life Support and induced a medical coma.
I woke up to hear my mother saying "Merry Christmas". I had lost three and a half weeks in what had seemed just taking a nap! I was very, VERY lucky to still be alive at all and they had called my parents not long after I entered the hospital thinking I was going to die. They lived over five hundred miles away so at first I was confused why my mother was there and then confused why she was saying it was Christmas when in my mind it was still December 8th. Then HORROR set in. I couldn't move, not a single muscle! The only part of my body not ravaged by muscle atrophy were my eyelids. I could blink. No voice, no moving my head or hands, NOTHING. I was a quadriplegic!
They explained to me it was only temporary, a side affect of all the massive drugs they had been pumping into me. That they would be moving me to another hospital to begin physical therapy to regain what I lost.
It was a very SLOW process, I was in the hospital almost four months. I went home in a wheel chair March 1, 2000 and Physical Therapists came to my home every other day to help me walk again. I was back up to about 75% of what I had been by October 25th, 2000 so I was released to continue on my own and finally go back to work. Almost a full year of my life lost to a freak incident that caused my body to just stop working. I am so very lucky to be alive.
This incident however made my already unhappy marriage worse. Craig never visited me in the hospital unless I begged him to come and then he'd only come for a half hour or so, watch a re-run sitcom on my television in the room for a half hour and then leave. He had run off all my friends very early on in our marriage, he was all I had and my parents had long since gone back home again, using up all their vacation time mostly while I was still in a coma. It was a very trying period of my life.
I went back to work and then the following year 9/11 happened and the trickle down effect in the economy Craig lost his job, and I'd come home to him sitting in his underwear on the couch without lifting a finger to find another job, I have never felt so used. He gave me a $20.00 allowance a week for gas and lunch and I had a huge gas guzzler station wagon that drank up that $20 every week. I went without lunch for years. I never had anything. All my clothes came from free t-shirts given out as promos or what I could get at the salvation army for quarters I'd saved. Every Friday I'd dutifully hand over my paycheck to Craig, assuming he was paying our bills with it. He wasn't I'd learn much later.
In almost eight years of marriage I never received so much as a card wishing me, Happy Birthday, Happy Anniversary, Merry Christmas, nothing. The only time I got a gift was if my parents were coming for Christmas to visit and so HE wouldn't look bad to them, he'd go out on Christmas Eve and find the cheapest bauble he could a the dollar store.
It's not the cost, but the thought, he spared me nothing and I put up with it like a beaten dog. If I didn't use my $20 allowance on HIM for Birthday/Anniversary/Christmas I was berated and made to feel like scum. I went without a lot and he had whatever he wanted. Then New Years Eve, 2001/New Years Day 2002 he dropped the bomb. He had a new job offer from a buddy of his, it was in North Carolina and he was going.... alone. Leaving me.
My world dropped out, he was leaving but not until February so I had to LIVE WITH HIM STILL for another month and a half. I never thought I could feel so depleted. I couldn't survive on my own, so I sold what I could, packed up my car and headed north to my parents March 2002.
He had not filed for Divorce yet, but I soon found out he had been cheating on me too on top of everything else. I had suspected, I had seen several clues (Love letters/Cards to her) but he would tell me blatant lies about them when confronted and creator help me, I was so naive and trusting I believed him.
I filed for Divorce in April 2002 and it was final in October 2002. During that six months I found out that he had:
1.) Trashed my Credit beyond redemption. Running up credit cards that had come in my name and never paid them.
2.) I was almost $30,000 in debt and had NOTHING to show for it other than a beat up twenty year old station wagon and some cheap furniture I had picked up over the years at garage sales.
3.) He even defaulted my student loan payments to top everything else up nicely.
He was ordered to pay me a measly $525 a month for just two years to help compensated some of that debt, because as his wife I should have known he wasn't paying bills (According to the Law) he hid that from me, I had no way of knowing. So I could only get that small amount ordered in restitution.
We garnished his paycheck and I got ONE PAYMENT of $525. He then lost his job and it would have cost me $500 to track him down to a new job and another $600 to garnish his new paycheck. Throwing Good money after bad.
I begged, I pleaded and I groveled for him to pay me... I never saw another Penny. He and his new wife (The woman he left me for) just wrote off his old obligations and left me alone to fix my credit and pay off debts I never ran up in the first place.
Not everything was bad though. Going back a little to the time I spent recovering at home in 2000 I found "the Internet" and made new friends that Craig couldn't bully away and they were a fantastic support system. The Yaoi Art and Fiction community on the internet is small and tight and people will sell kidney's to help a fellow in need. I had been drawing and writing in the genre for years in spiral notebooks alone and suddenly I found there were many more people out there... Just... Like.... Me....
We shared our artwork, we read each other's stories, we talked about a favorite anime series and I had found a place to "belong" at last. I taught myself how to code HTML with online tutorials and built my website and learned how to abuse Photoshop to paint my pictures and I wrote. I wrote and wrote and wrote. Having time at last to be ME. I grew as a person, learned to look at myself as intelligent and witty and people *gasp* liked me. I wasn't the scum of the earth as I had felt for so long under Craig's thumb.
I got a good job at CIGNA HealthCare, I had freedom, I could be creative whenever I wanted to be and I was enjoying life for a change. I was "reborn" as a person. I saw my faults and I addressed them and I became independent for the first time in my life.
Not long after my Divorce, in August 2003 I received an e-mail from a man in Kentucky. He had read one of my novels on my website and he sent me a note telling me how he had enjoyed it and offered some very GOOD constructive criticism too. Useful comments where I had befuddled a fact here and there.
In his e-mail signature was a link to his own website and I went and realized he was an author too. His book was argumentative non-fiction on religion and it was fascinating and everything he wrote, I agreed with. We had the same views. He was also a composer and he had some mp3 of his symphonies on his site and I downloaded and listened and was awed by his talent.
I wrote him back, thanking him for his comments and giving him some of my own about his own works. We struck up a very good friendship. We'd write to each other about three times a month or so on many topics. He wanted advice on a relationship dilemma, I had a question about his view on *insert issue here*.... and he commissioned art for his book about to be published.
Neither of us ever thought anything other than friendship would occur and we weren't looking for it either. I was in California, he was in Kentucky. We were friends, nothing more.
In July 2007, life again took a nose-dive in the financial woes department. My parents suffered the housing market crash and lost pretty much EVERYTHING. Including Dad's job. I had been planning to finally go back to school and get my degree. I could not sing anymore, during my hospitalization back in 1999/2000 they had punctured my vocal chords with the respirator & Feeding tubes, My voice was gone. I cannot sing like I used to, so music school was out. Not to mention my talents had gone into a different field entirely. I loved web design and illustration. I had gotten GOOD at it being self taught and when I showed my work to people at a graphics art college in Arizona they offered me admission to the school. I was going to go and get a degree in game design with a minor in web design.
But that was not to be, family comes first and my parents were hitting rock bottom so I canceled my enrollment at college, quit my job and headed east to relocate my parents back closer to family as quickly as possible. I was "the flagship" heading out to get work and find us a place to live while they frantically tried to salvage what they could in California.
When John, my Kentucky friend, heard I'd be heading through Louisville where he lived, he asked me to stop for a day in my journey to visit. ABSOLULTELY I said. Wanting to meet him too, we had been friends four years now.
So in October 2007, I loaded down my poor little KIA Sephia with just the bare basics of survival, my two cats and started driving across country (Again).
I met up with John and he took me out to dinner and the following day we went to a gorgeous St. James Art Festival here in Louisville. The streets all around John's home were packed with art as far as the eye could see. It was a great day, and we "Clicked". It was like meeting someone you already knew very intimately. We had lots to talk about but instead of e-mail it was face to face chatting. We laughed, we had thought provoking discourse and the day was fabulous.
I am a very straight-forward person and if you ask me a question I give an honest answer. He had lots of questions and it never dawned on me he was "Fishing for Information" about me.
Let's just say, by the end of that weekend we were "together". But I still had to keep going. Grandma was expecting me in Virginia. I was going to stay with her as a "base of operations"... John was a frequent visitor to Grandma's. She only lives about 250 miles from Louisville.
John moves fast and it wasn't two weeks we were "together" he was down on one knee on Grandma's front porch asking me to marry him. He already knew all about Craig and that I had once sworn "Never to get married again" but he asked if I'd take a second chance with him and he is so sweet and charming and SINCERE, I said "Yes".
So BACK into the car I go, November 9th 2007, back to Louisville to live with John. This area is so much better for finding Jobs and things like, oh HOSPITALS close by. Grandma lives in a very secluded holler in the middle of nowhere Virginia. Louisville is better for living while still being close to all our family.
Mom and Dad arrived just after Thanksgiving and are happily installed in a lovely mobile home we bought new. They no longer have a mortgage over their heads to deal with, they own their home and it's in a nice area across town.
So that leads up to me now... John and I were married last month, 05.24.08 in a gorgeous ceremony on the Belle of Louisville, a 19th century paddle boat steamer on a cruise on the Ohio River. We had a third Cat adopt us and we're very happy and settled and it took me a while, but I finally reached a place in life where I am happy.
I have my husband, my parents and family, my friends, my art and fiction and I'm content.
There is the "State of Me" address.