What else?

I was very busy the summer before my sophomore year with dance team practice and then dance camp.  At camp a senior and I were chosen to be on the national team to perform at the Fiesta Bowl.  This really built up my confidence level and I started really turning into this bubbly, fun and popular girl instead of just acting.  Once school started I had dance team practice for an hour everyday and my regular dance classes Monday, Wednesday and Thursday every week.  I was still doing the figure skating and had joined a few clubs including the choir so I kept very busy and had at least 4 performances or competitions of some kind each month.   My junior year in high school I became the captain of the dance team for the next two years and was selected for the national team both years.  Everything was normal  on the surface, It felt like nothing happened and I just kept pushing the secret down further and further.

My stepbrother KL started coming around, I got to him and was mad about him.  He was smart and handsome and he treated me the way all sisters wish for.  He was the big brother I had always wanted.  He helped me with my algebra homework, he told me jokes, took me for rides on his motorcycle, teased me in the right way and was just the perfect brother.  He would bring his two kids over quite a bit and they would stay with us.  I loved those kids so much,  I would help with them and play games with them.  I was really nice having them around.  In the meantime my brother K had recovered from the paralysis and was walking and working, he had spent a short time in jail for his drug problem but was out and hiding it better.  He met a woman and they got married, she was much older and had kids from a previous marriage that she did not have custody of.  He met her at an AA meeting so I believe this relationship was doomed from the beginning.  I hated to be right but it was in my nature to always look for the worst case and of course they did start having problems.  I tried to avoid them as much as possible.  My brother D and his family lived fairly close by, he had three kids and they came over a lot but I was ok, I loved seeing my niece and nephews and started babysitting for them.  Everything seemed to be ok so I assumed that nothing was happening to them.  The charade continued and I did not say a word.

The summer before my senior year I met a guy that was a couple of years older so already out of school.  I was on a date with another guy and this guy, E, asked me out right in front of my date.  For some reason I thought that was kind of cool but looking back I realize it really wasn’t.  E wined and dined me, he always had  money and brought me flowers everyday after school when he would pick me up.  I met his parents and they weren’t too thrilled with me, wasn’t sure why but I now realize they probably weren’t thrilled with him.  I got pregnant a few months later.  I had to drop out of poms and dance, I spent the better half of my senior year in high school sick and pregnant.  I had to give up my college scholarship because it was for dance so my mom told me I had other options.  I refused to have an abortion and I thought about adoption briefly but knew I would never be able to live with that so I decided to have the baby.  It turns out that was the right decision and I resigned myself to being a mother, I could go to school later.  I got engaged to the father of my baby and had graduated high school so he moved in with us.

My brother K was excited for the baby to come and he went to so far as to request to be the godfather.  I refused due to his drug and alcohol habits.  About a month before my child was to be born I decided to have my hair done, my brother K had asked me to pick him up to bring him over after my appointment.  I didn’t want to but it was on the way so I kind of had to.  I was at my friends mothers house getting my hair done and a phone call came in and they said I didn’t need to go get my brother but that I should come home as soon as possible.  I was happy that I didn’t have to get him so as soon as I was done I went home.

I walked into our house and my mom was sobbing and carrying on.  I didn’t know what else could be wrong now but I soon found out from my step dad that my brother was dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot.  My mom had gone to pick him up and found him.  I don’t remember too many details of that day, just that I kept thinking I was supposed to go pick him up, maybe if I had gone to get him this would not have happened.  I was my fault because he was upset that I didn’t want him in my baby’s life.  I know that my mom called my OB/GYN and they said to put me to bed with some Benadryl.  The funeral was terrible and once again my mother had an off the wall story about the details surrounding his death.  She said he could not have killed himself, the position of his body and the gun did not make sense and she was convinced he was murdered.  Another death in the family that I won’t be able to properly grieve over because my mom could not accept it.  So I just kept asking, what else can this life throw at me and how much more can I take?

I feel like everything is a blur for that next month until I went into labor.  It was a little boy, A.  After he was born I focused on him and it was easy, he was a perfect baby.  After he was about 2 weeks old, I got a job in a toy store to help make some money to contribute to his needs.  I only worked there a little over a month when my fiancé convinced me to move to Texas so he could go into business with his cousin using my inheritance money.

In less than 2 months all the money from my inheritance was gone and I was barely eating so I could feed my child.  My fiancé was never home and I thought about suicide again but my son was a reason enough to live regardless of how unhappy I was.  We went back home to get married and it was a mistake but we did it anyway then went back to Texas for a few more months before moving back home.  I got a job right away we bought a home with help from my parents.  We did ok for a little while and we had a second child, a son.  I had complications with my pregnancy and had to quit my job. I found a new job and four days after giving birth I went back to work.  I was resentful, I wanted to stay home with my baby and I wanted my husband to work more to help.  I started school to hopefully get the skills for a better job.   This was the beginning of the worst for our relationship, we fought verbally and physically all the time and I didn’t want to be with him.

When our second son was only 5 months old I got pregnant again.  We could barely get by and I got very sick so had to stop working again.  I left my husband for a little bit and went home to my parents.  My husband did everything he could to convince me to come back home and eventually I did.  I thought it was better for the kids.  When I gave birth to my third son I decided I needed to do something to make a better life for them.  I went on several interviews and got several offers for work but there was one place that was not many hours but was a great company and I wanted to get my foot in the door.  I accepted their offer to start work for 20 hours a week.  They paid pretty well even though the hours were few but I had more time for school and the kids.

After two months I was asked to supplement my hours in another department so I would be full-time.  I accepted and was able to get benefits which meant we could get off state aid and get the boys proper medical care.  I loved my job but it meant I had less time for school so I quit when the semester ended.  I was making good money but my husband was going from job to job and not really contributing.  We started fighting more and more and I had no interest in him sexually. He fought with me the same way men fight with each other, he did not take it easy on me.  I had bruises on the outside and even bigger bruises on the inside.  He was so hateful and I was sure he was cheating on me with multiple women.   I wanted out but I stayed for the kids.



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