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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Life On the Outside.

Well here it is folks....my first blog post since being out of the military! Yes that's right, your girl is a civilian again. It's been a little over four months now, and it hasn't been a cake walk, but I can say that I feel free. I've taken full advantage of sleeping in, dying my hair different colors, and wearing crazy designs on my nails.

A lot has gone on since I separated, but I'll try to condense it as much as possible. For starters, I moved out of Virginia, which was bound to happen because I couldn't wait to get the hell up out of there. My original plan was to move to Dallas and go to school there. I knew over a year before I got out that I had no intentions of staying in Virginia but I also had no intentions of moving back to my hometown either. I no longer had a desire to live in Atlanta, so I started researching different cities to relocate to, and Dallas seemed to be a good choice. The cost of living was something that I was comfortable with, there was apparently a wealth of job opportunities opening up, and it was a big enough city where I could stay entertained, but not too big to the point of being overwhelming. I started putting in applications to a couple universities in Dallas once I separated, and (im)patiently waited for the lease to be up at my apartment so I could leave Virginia behind and start my new life as a civilian again.

However, as with many plans in my life, things didn't go the route that I had mapped out. Prior to me going on deployment, I had gotten back in contact with my old flame Taz and we were taking steps towards being in a relationship again. He was doing better since we had been apart; he had gotten a job with one of the school districts in St. Louis and had been working there for a couple years, so having the funds to keep his cell phone on and staying in contact was no longer an issue. While I was on deployment, we emailed or messaged each other on Facebook daily, and whenever my ship pulled into a port we would Skype as long as we could, even though we were working with a 12 hour time difference. Upon my return to the states, Taz flew to Virginia to visit me for about a week, then we drove back to St. Louis so I could visit my family for a bit, then we took a trip to New Orleans the week of my birthday. During those three weeks I believe I fell in love with Taz. I had always cared for him, but something about spending that time with him, traveling together, along with the freedom I felt from being out of the military, made my feelings for him stronger than ever. He apparently felt the same way, because during our stay in St. Louis, he proposed. I had a feeling that moment was coming, and I was eager for it and dreading it at the same time. Eager because I finally had a man that loved me with all of my flaws and I had no intentions of letting that go, and dreading it because it meant some adjustments would have to be made as far as my big move to Dallas. During the time we had taken a break, Taz had been in another relationship and had a son, who was now almost two years old. There had been a lot of drama between he and his son's mother including a whole year where she had not allowed Taz to see his son, and he was now in the middle of a custody/visitation battle. I had a few options, none of which were ideal: I could continue with my plans to move to Dallas and still be in a long-distance relationship, Taz could move to Dallas with me and leave his son just a few months after finally being able to visit with him again, we could take another break and hope that fate would bring us back to each other for a second time, or I could postpone my plans and stay in St. Louis until things were straightened out with the custody case.

To make a long story short, I chose the latter. Does it suck major ball sac to be back in boring ass, mediocre ass St. Louis? Hell fucking yeah. However, I thought about what decision to make for weeks and it just didn't sit well with me to let Taz move hundreds of miles away from his young son and possibly not see him until he's much older. I have never had much of a relationship with my biological father and I can't say for sure whether it had anything to do with the fact that my mother moved our family to St. Louis while he stayed in Chicago. I just know that I wouldn't want to look back and feel like I was partly to blame for a broken relationship between a father and child.

Once my lease was up, Taz flew out to Virginia again and we drove together to St. Louis. Since the moving plans had abruptly changed, I hadn't had the chance to find a place yet, so my mother offered to let me stay with her and my stepdad until Taz and I found something. In theory, this sounded like a great deal, but anyone who knows my mother knows that this would only last for a very short amount of time. It wasn't long before the family drama began to surface, on my side as well as his. We were engaged, and at the time when I was planning to move to Dallas, we had discussed waiting about a year after the move to get settled to have a wedding. We both wanted something small but still elegant, but we knew the costs of moving wouldn't leave a lot of funds for a ceremony, so we wanted to give ourselves time to save up and a year sounded like a decent time frame. However, once we decided to stay in St. Louis, Taz had the bright idea of "Why not just get married now?" This was another tough decision that we went back and forth on for a while. After all of my failed relationship attempts over the past few years, I had honestly thought I would never get married and I really wasn't in a rush. Taz on the other hand, said that he had spent years "playing house" with his son's mother only to be kicked to the curb and left with nothing, and he didn't want a repeat of that. Needless to say, we ended up tying the knot about a month after moving to St. Louis. This decision was met with backlash that came in the form of his sister.

She called me two days before our wedding ceremony, which was odd seeing that in the eleven years I had known Taz, I had only physically seen her on two occasions and spoken her on the phone once. When she identified herself, I hesitantly inquired about why she was calling, although I had an idea why. She proceeded to interrogate me about if her brother and I were really getting married that Saturday, which I confirmed. She then let me know that she had not been notified of this and claimed that their whole family was "just now finding out." I didn't believe this to be true, because I had been with Taz when he sent a text to his brother inviting him to our ceremony, and rather than a yes or no response, his brother simply asked why he was getting married so soon. His father was going to officiate our ceremony, and he had also invited his mother, who he told me had rolled her eyes and told him, "You don't love that girl." Taz had told me he spoke with his sister about it and even asked me to push the ceremony date back a couple weeks because she wanted to attend, but she would be on assignment due to being in the Air Force Reserves. I knew he wanted her to be there, but I felt that would be an inconvenience to the handful of people that we had already invited, and if we kept shifting the date to accommodate the schedule of everyone that wanted to attend the wedding, we would never get married. So I told him we would keep the date we had set. His sister insisted that she had no knowledge of any of this, and went on to tell me that even though their family has issues, they are very close-knit and would like to be apart of a big event such as a wedding, and that it was disrespectful and selfish of us to do it without inviting everyone. She also mentioned several times that his family "doesn't know me," and that it would be awkward to interact with me at family functions because of this. I was thrown off by the fact that I was even having this conversation, and I felt like I was being attacked for some shit that I didn't even know was going on. She claimed that she was upset with Taz and not me, but that's not what I got from her tone at all, especially when she concluded the conversation by stating that since she hadn't been invited, she would never be a part of his life again and wished us "good luck."

To say that put a damper on things would be an understatement. I told Taz about the conversation and he attempted to reach out to his sister but she refused to answer his calls and opted to send him a nasty text message that I later found out stated that she didn't like his "dry ass, nonchalant wife," that I was "never welcome in her presence," and for him not to speak to her anymore. In spite of this, we continued with the ceremony, which was lovely, and proceeded to start married life.

Only a week into our marriage, it became obvious that the living arrangements with my mother were no longer an option. I was home one day with her and my sister as we each browsed the internet on our respective laptops. My sister's birthday was that upcoming Monday, and I was trying to think of something to do for her. My mother would be out of town for a conference on my sister's birthday and I knew if I didn't think of something to do to celebrate, everyone would just treat it like another day. I went into the living room and called Taz while he was at work to discuss some birthday dinner options. While I was talking to him, my mother burst into the living room and announced that I needed to go back into the kitchen because she was about to vacuum. I obviously didn't want to go in there because I didn't want my sister to overhear my conversation, so I said that I would step outside. My mother immediately started muttering under her breath about me having an attitude and this being "her house," and I shook my head and proceeded to go outside. This led to my mother's typical behavior of ignoring me while simultaneously stomping back and forth and playing loud gospel music making reference to "taking back what the devil stole." Then she finished cleaning, said something to my sister, and they both left the house without saying a word to me. I took this time to get dressed and get in my car to ride around and clear my head from the bullshit that had just taken place. This situation was a reoccurring theme that comes up whenever I have stayed with my mother as an adult. Things will be cool for about two or three weeks max, then she finds something totally insignificant to get upset about, all while pointing the finger at me and accusing me of having an attitude. She continues by letting me know that it's her house, and escalates the situation to the point where she says I need to leave, or I feel so uncomfortable and annoyed that I leave on my own. This time was no different. I stayed out the whole day until it was time for Taz to get off of work. I told him I didn't want to stay with my mother anymore. We had been looking for a place since we had gotten back, but there was nothing that we liked; either that or the places that we did like had ridiculous income requirements. We briefly went back to my mother's house to shower before going to spend the next couple nights at my brother's house. While we were there, we discussed what to do and I told Taz that even though we had nowhere to live, I was ready to get my stuff out of my mom's house ASAP. He knew there was no changing my mind, so we went to her house the next morning to pack up. Upon arriving, we discovered that the house key she had given me when I got back had mysteriously gone missing. I called my sister to come answer the door, and once we got my car packed, I asked her if my mother had taken the key and she said yes. She had somehow secretly swiped it during the brief time we were at the house a couple nights before. I laughed and shook my head at the irony of it all. My mother had done something so petty, yet she had flown out of town with a plane ticket that I bought for her because she had found herself unemployed and broke for the umpteenth time.

I was disappointed but not surprised. I had been prepared to come back to changed locks, or a note on the door stating that I wasn't welcome in her house. That's my mother's M.O. We ended up staying at a hotel for the next two days, but luckily found an apartment in a decent area that we were able to move into immediately with no crazy deposit or fees. I haven't spoken to my mother since that weekend. There really is nothing to say, as far as I'm concerned. I know some people would say not to let little things like this keep you from talking to your family, but I've had years of feeling drained from the nonsense that my mother comes up with and I can't do it anymore. It's enough to be back in a place I don't really want to be without dealing with her drama. For now, Taz is all the family that I have.