I laugh to myself sometimes when I get told of the great example that my husband and I are, the great hope that we offer for #relationshipgoals and the appreciation for the pure and deep friendship that we have with each other...not because I don't appreciate it, believe it or see it but because It took us a long time to get here and we had to fight many battles to find each other. We met broken and bloody from battle after battle and we burned our lives to the ground and rebuilt them in each others arms. THIS IS A TRUE, MESSY AND POWERFUL LOVE STORY that has never been shared like this before. It is my prayer that our story will inspire you in your search for love whether it is in the person next to you or in the person unknown.
DISCLAIMER: As I share scenes from my love story that I have NEVER shared publicly before I just want to warn you that this is NOT a pretty love story. It has a lot of ugly and it gets WAY worse before it gets better. There were many hearts broken and many victims of my battles for love. There is nothing that you can say about me and my love story that I have not already said to myself. I know who I am, I know where I am and I know that the love that I have now is the truest and greatest love that I will ever hope to experience...you don't have to understand it or agree with it. It is mine and mine alone.
*no names will be shared and this is only ONE side, my side of the story.
I have been reading back through all the pieces of this story and I have tears streaming down my face. This is a very sad story. There is very little about this that brings joy to my heart. It has been truly painful to write and heartbreaking to dig up so many horrible memories. So many things to feel shameful about. Happy endings are coming.....but no yet....not in this part of my story.........
.....after I walked away from the two boys in my life I felt as though my entire world had been ripped from me. I was falling but could never hit the ground.
I knew that I could NEVER go back to the world I knew before....I had changed. I had fallen down the rabbit hole and I wasn't able to view my reality the same. BUT I didn't fit on the other side of this pain either....I was grieving so deeply on the inside but on the outside I was doing everything I could to just "keep it together". No one could know, no one would understand. No one would care.....
I did bring this upon myself after all.
The self destructive behavior wasn't far behind the devastating loss and grief.
I had been through trauma. I had a huge shift in my identity, with my very existence...and because I didn't feel like I fit any where, because I refused to talk or get help, I was a walking time bomb!
The drugs, the drinking, the men. All to numb the pain. All used to help me pretend that I was fine....to help me get through the day.
More drugs, more drinking, more men....looking for an out, looking for an opportunity to run, to hide.....to disappear.
BOOM. Drunk driving accident. I almost killed a woman.
Now, in any "normal" situation you would think that the accident would have been enough. That the time in jail would have been enough. That throwing up in the impound parking lot after seeing my car would have been enough.
God kept showing his hand. He kept saying to me STAY. I will hit on this one, you stay and we will both get out of this on top.
More drugs, more drinking....and then one man.
I had the opportunity to go to a Little Texas Concert in Ogden, Utah with a dear friend of mine. We were excited to "get out of town" for the weekend. To go and dance and play and drink and let loose. And who didn't love a little GOD BLESS TEXAS??
After the concert, being the kind of person that I am, we made our way to the signing table of the band members and there he was.
I was in love instantly. He was country + southern. He was a musician, and he lived a life unlike my own. He would be perfect!!
He would be the perfect mask so that everyone, including myself, would think that I was fine!
He was the distraction I needed.
I did NOT know at the time that when I saw him that this is what I was using him for...that realization unfortunately comes later....when I crush him.
We exchanged numbers that next morning and we started to talk, to date, to meet up in different cities for concerts....and soon we were making permanent plans.
The first time I visited Nashville, Tennessee I had just been laid off from my job and was holding a big severance check. I had nothing to do, no one to answer to and I needed to run away. I was in pain and I wanted and needed more!
So I called him up and said I am coming to visit. We hadn't seen each other much although we were talking every day now. So I booked a ticket and was on the plane that same day.
No return date.
I went thinking I would only stay for a few days. I was gone for 7.
People were texting me, sending me messages on MySpace. "Where are you?" "Are you ever coming back?"
Everything moved slower in Tennessee. It was calm and no drama. It was peaceful. I remember standing on the back deck of his home while the sun went down. The loudness of the bugs would drown out the voices in my head, the sounds of my heart breaking.
Even the willow trees blew slowly in the warm southern wind.
We were engaged to be married a few short months later.
I had no idea what was waiting for me in Tennessee. As I watched my entire life get smaller and smaller in the rear view mirror and we pulled out of my apartment in the U-Haul I remember my heart pounding in my chest.
I was terrified. Terrified of what was coming, not knowing or understanding that this isn't really what I wanted. I was terrified of being "found out". But I was terrified that everything that I was running away from was going to follow me, that everything that I hated about myself...all my demons....all my secrets were going to come with me.
Could you really just meet a country music star in Utah and marry him and move to Nashville and live the dream??
Only in the movies.
We were married in September of 2007. Only a short and horrible 17 months after I placed my son for adoption. Only a short and horrible 9 months after my drunk driving accident.
A few days after we were married he hit the road for a gig and I was left alone to get settled, to get familiar with the area, to relax and make myself at home in this new and peaceful place.
When I was all alone that first night I remember standing in his bathroom and I stared at myself in the mirror. Tears just poured down my face. I didn't even recognize the girl that was starting back at me. She looked so tired and scared and damaged.
It was too much. Too much reality.
More drugs, more drinking. No connection, no emotion, no feelings. I was dead inside. I had nothing to give. I didn't care any more. I didn't love any more.
During this time I had a job that just sort of fell into my lap. It was a position working with the Youth at the East Nashville YMCA. I didn't know much about the Y and it didn't pay much at the time but I needed something light in my life. I needed something that brought a smile to my face and that didn't make me feel like a failure every. single. day.
This job changed my life. I fell in love with service, I fell in love with work, I fell in love with community and I fell in love with being a part of something that could really provide a lasting impact on the heart of someone that needed "family". THIS WAS IT. This place became family to me. I spent as much time there as possible....watching,learning, growing, serving.
A spark had been lit. A shift was taking place. I was coming back to life.
As I pulled further away from the home I was supposed to be building in Nashville with my husband I drew closer and closer to the YMCA, the family that I was building there, the community, the city and all it had to offer....and one man.
I was torn between two worlds. I found myself craving spiritual wholeness, health, peace and forgiveness.
In October of 2008, just barely one year after I moved across the country to marry the musician I left his house.....the house that for a brief time brought a peaceful breath....and moved into John's apartment.
After a painful few weeks it was over. The papers were signed, the money was split, the vehicle was returned, the possessions were divided and hearts were torn in two.
For the first time in almost a year I broke. I crumbled to the floor and wept!!! I sat there for hours.
I felt like a could breathe for the first time. I felt like I could finally see....the fog had lifted. I felt like I could figure some things out without having to pretend that I was fine. I was not fine!
I was hurting and angry and in pain. I wanted MY life back! I wanted more, I needed more, I deserved more.
In my life there have been people that become nothing but wreckage as my train blew off the track. They were in the wrong place at the wrong time. My move to Nashville saved my life. I would have never survived another year going the way that I was going. I would have killed myself or someone else....it had almost happened....I had been lucky and I knew that my nine lives were about to run out.
I will forever pray for forgiveness for what I did to him....for how I hurt him.
I will forever give thanks for what he brought me. For providing an out so I could finally figure it out. If it wasn't for him, for that move, for that relationship I would NEVER be where I am today....I owe that relationship SO much.
I pray that he has found love. I pray that he has accepted, learned and deeply understood that NOTHING that happened during my time there was his fault. It was all me....I was for the first time opening the buried wounds, starting my journey of healing and he was a necessary victim.
As I sit and stare across the couch at my husband, John. and our two kids I can't help but smile....that ONE year burned me to the ground and I rebuilt my life in Music City....
BONUS PART 5 COMING SOON......