Have you ever reached a point in your life when you realise the one thing your mum told you not to do was for a good reason. I did, but I just realised it 11 years later than I should have.
So if you read my first blog ’30’ your would remember the part about my family hitting a rocky patch. Well that Everest sized rocky patch was the death of my oldest and only brother. Now I’m far from ready to talk about that, but it is the point where this next chapter of my life started.
Year 12 for me was hideous. I had always been great at school, not a genius but smart enough that I would head somewhere in life. That all fell apart in the summer before year 12 started. I only enrolled for classes 2 days before the school year was to begin, so it’s safe to say I had lost all interest in “the future.” I had a boyfriend at the time that was a mothers dream. He was considerate, well-mannered, fun, pretty much just part of the family. He tried his hardest to pull me together and get me back on track, but I was too far off-road for a 17-year-old boy to fix.
That year consisted of me walking around in a fog, most of it I don’t remember at all. At some stage during this fog, I’m not sure when, but I changed. It wasn’t a great change. I dumped the mothers dream boyfriend, I drank more than an underage should have, I skipped classes, I stopped handing in school work or even pretending to care enough to remember I had work that needed to be done. I painted my sisters apartment the week of my year 12 exams, I turned up to my English exam in clothing covered in paint. But the absolute worst of all, was that the relationship with my mum changed. If I was my mum I would have hated me. There is no way she would have ever said it out loud but she must have at least thought it a few times. She had to deal with losing a child and another one losing their shit at the same time. She’s the strongest person I have ever known.
Our relationship got so bad at one point I had to move out. I wasn’t kicked out, my parents would never have done that, but a new living arrangement was made and I moved in with my older sister. Finishing year 12 this way wasn’t a highlight in life and was never something I imagined would happen to me, but as I started to slip further off the tracks I managed to slip into a life with someone I otherwise would have had no time for.
I started dating the exact type of boy my mum had always warned me about. The type that didn’t follow the rules, had no great life plans and only thing that he was worried about was the next house party. I remember the exact moment my mum had one of those ‘life chats’ with me. She was sitting at the family computer playing mah-jong tiles with a cup of tea in hand. She turned to me and said “he isn’t the boy for you … don’t get sucked into a life that’s not you.” I was outraged! She didn’t know him, she was being judgemental, how dare she think I was too good for him. And that right there, that very moment is one I have regretted for the last 14 years. My mum was right and I was too self involved to see it. I wish I had listened a little harder.
The no good boyfriend and I dated for 7 years with a 4 month hiccup along the way. Now I can’t sell it too short, we did have some pretty amazing times together. We built our first house at 18, we travelled and made a pretty good life together. The thing was it wasn’t the life I wanted. I’m proud of what we did but the stuff we did was only stuff he wanted. He had a need too have it all. I didn’t. He needed the houses, the cars, the expensive TV’s, the latest clothes, he had to have all the material things … including me. I was just another one of those material objects. I get it, I do. I understood his need, He didn’t grow up in a great neighbourhood and he never had much, it was a rough start to life, But still that wasn’t ME, materials meant nothing to me. I’m pretty ashamed to say it but I just followed along in life. I never made the plans I just agreed to them, I convinced myself so hard that this is what life was meant to be. Compromise. It didn’t get better than this.
After 7 years of being the no good boyfriend, he became the self involved husband. Our wedding was the perfect example of this. I paid for the entire thing by myself. I was given the ring so in his mind he’d done his part and tapped out. He left me to do the rest.
Come our wedding day, he thanked and talked about his best man more than he even spoke about me. He was angry my dad had made mention that he wished my brother was still alive to see me get married, he thought it took the attention away from us. (Dick!) He was so drunk he walked off and started dancing with his mum during our first dance, left me standing in the middle of the dance floor alone. He spent 90% of the night hanging out with the footy boys. You would have been forgiven for thinking it was the Mid year Footy Ball, instead of our wedding .. aka the happiest day of our lives.
Now I’m not an idiot. I know I wasn’t happy, I know this wasn’t what I wanted, I know I shouldn’t have said YES. But I did. Remember that fog I was in, in year 12, well it turns out it never actually cleared up. I just learned to function while in it. I knew how someone should act, so I did just that, acted.
I acted like the perfect girlfriend when he drank so much he would punch walls. I acted like the perfect girlfriend when he would pop pills and insult me in front of all his friends. I acted like the perfect girlfriend when he made me out to be the running joke. I acted like the perfect girlfriend who was heart-broken when he first cheated on me. I acted like he was the perfect fit for me. I got real good at acting. But no one is that good. Cracks started to appear, firstly it would be little things, I wouldn’t laugh at the cruel jokes anymore, I wouldn’t pretend to smile when I picked him up at 4am drunk, I slowly started to yell back instead of just balling up and crying. I stop caring who saw or who heard. I started to crack. Now you would think if he really had loved me he would have started to notice the pain on my face … but do you know how self involved Husband responded? He gave me a nickname. Yep a fucking nickname … I BECAME BIP… short for Bipolar. Cute Hey!
Now I know they say marriage is hard work and you need to put effort in, but marriage for me was a nightmare. A nightmare I willingly walked into knowing I didn’t want it. So the almost 4 years I managed to stay married was beyond an effort for me. It was nothing short of a miracle I survived.