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October 27, 2004

I am only one...

For as long as I can remember, I have been alone. Even when I am with people.

I pretty much raised myself from the time I was 10. I got myself to school let myself in after school, made dinner and, many nights, put msyelf to bed. Naturally, this offered me quite a bit of freedom, probably more than a 10 year old should have. I watched shows my friends would never be able to see, stayed up later than everyone else and cut more school than I should have. Hey, you can't blame me. I was just being a kid.

I moved out 2 weeks after high school graduation into an apartment with people I hardly knew. Actually, I didn't know any of my roommates but I knew the guy downsatirs, Paul. We had been best friends through middle and high school even though he was a year ahead of me. I think I knew he was gay before he did. When he told me about the apartment upstairs from him, I jumped at the chance and found myself living with 4 total strangers in a 2 bdrm. apartment. That first summer was tight. After paying rent, I had $20 savings to live off of until I got a job. Unfortunately, that took 5 weeks. Every afternoon, Paul would come upstairs with Coke and Doritos and we would sit and play cards to pass the time. I learned to smoke and found that smoking made me less hungry. It wasn't until much later that I realized that he would bring the Coke and Doritos upstairs so that I would have something to eat. So it wasn't a balanced diet but mixed with the nicotine, it kept me going.

When I finally did get a job (at McD's, thank you very much), we began actually going out occasionally. The best trips were into Boston where we would go to see Rocky Horror Picture Show (oh yeah, I've seen it 40+ times) or to a gay bar, which was a surreal experience at best. For some reason, no one, male or female, would ever approach me at these bars ... possibly because the females there knew I wasn't gay and all the males there were. Inevitably, my friends would all end up hooking up and I would be the odd person out. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. Just sayin'.

I pretty much went through college alone. I joined the radio station and the theater department hoping to find a family and, yeah, I did make a lot of friends but, when it came down to it, I did everything for myself. I made decisions, chose classes, fought with financial aid, paid for my books, paid my rent and utilities ... and only once did I ever have to ask my mom for help.

* long story alert *

** ok, about 3 paragraphs too late, but I digress **

It was while I was subletting an apartment for a Kuwaiti friend that had gone home for the summer. I was to stay in his apartment, pick up his mail, take care of things and NOT let the landlord know I was living there.

The summer passed without incident and he came home and, since I didn't have any place to live yet, he told me I could continue to stay with him ... as long as the landlord didn't catch me. HE occasionally would make passes at me and told m that I was welcome to sleep in his bed, that he wouldn't touch me ... yeah right. I was smart enough to keep my distance and my guard up.

This precarious situation lasted until one October morning, round about 4am, when I rolled in from my boyfriend Brian's birthday/D&D party, still high on Rolling Rock, Courvoisier and a little pot. The landlord met me in the hall as I tried to sneak in the back door. Long story short, I turned around and walked 3 miles back to campus to tearfully call my mom from a pay phone and ask if I could move home for a couple of days. Those were the longest couple of days of my life, let me tell you.

In my senior year, I secretly got married to someone that I had met six months before, not to mention we moved in together about 6 weeks. Yeah, I loved him and, at the time, would have done anything to please him, proven by the fact that I married him on Christmas Eve so that he could start the proceedings to get his green card, days after I had finished my finals, without letting anyone know. At graduation the following May, I noticed how the previous 6 married months had changed me, how slowly he had cut me off from the friends I had in school and how far gone I was. I had a hard time mingling with my old friends knowing he was across the room watching me, waiting for me to do something that would displease him. I wasn't too concerned at the time, though, since 2 weeks later, we were getting married 'for real' in front of God and everyone. I figured that would change everything, that I would finally have someone in my life that I could rely on, that would have my best interests at heart, someone that truly loved me and would never leave me. Okay, so I was a little Pollyannaish.

Four years later, on the day my son turned one year old, my husband went on the road to be an OTR truck driver, leaving me alone with a baby and two months later, to find out I was pregnant again. He had spent the previous 2 years going through truck driving school and trying to pass the test and, when he finally did, he wasted no time getting out of there. From then on, I was the sole caretaker of my children, being both mom and dad while he was gone and keeping them quiet so he could sleep when he came home.

When we moved to North Carolina, my withdrawl was complete. We lived 20 miles from the nearest town so it was easier to just stay home and amuse ourselves. We lived like this for years, the kids and I, enjoying our time together as a family of three during the week. During and after the divorce, I found that I had to rely on myself to crawl out of that particular hell and keep my family together. During this time, I was the only contact for my kids school, the only one that would take care of them and their needs, the only one that would volunteer or go in for Parent-Teacher conferences or check homework.

Now that the kids are in middle school and I'm working full time, not much has changed. I am alone and solely responsible for, well, everything.

Okay, so I have the kins so I'm not really 'alone' ... But still, I am only one ...

I don't expect that to change anytime soon. Many people, when they are single parents, begin looking for someone to come in and take on the role of the other parent, someone to share the burden of raising children that are not their own. I am more realistic than that. My children are my responsibility, not my burden. If I didn't accept this responsibility, I would not be here right now, working my ass off to make a life for us.

It would be nice, however, to have someone there to reassure me that I'm not a bad parent, to remind me that I'm only one person and no one expects me to be as perfect as I think I should be, to refresh my spirit when I'm sitting here, totally broken by an argument or a bad report card.

Nice ... Not necessary, but nice. Is that too much to ask?

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Prosemonkey published on October 27, 2004 2:24 PM.

SO ... what will I write about? was the previous entry in this blog.

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