Part 3 – The Hero’s Journey

In every great story, the hero or heroine, descends into the “underworld,” before emerging a changed person. Usually, the changes are assets. After all, how can you evolve if you haven’t learned new lessons, which make you a wiser person? Sure, it’s possible that the hero will be damaged, but I suppose it’s all about how he or she envisions their journey…it’s all about perspective.

In my journey, it seems that I have descended into the underworld a few times in my 40 years. First, it was the abuse I endured – which I emerged a bit damaged, but savvier. It set me on a path to discovering passion and education, not withstanding the tarnished eye I began to cast upon people. My trust level was diminished greatly, and my skepticism was sharp. Looking back, it did serve me well. I was wary of who I called “friend,” and even more so of intimacy. I like to think that it saved me a lot of wasted time getting to know people, only to be disappointed. I know, wrong attitude, but I only had the protection of myself, and that was the wall I felt I had to build. Today, I can honestly say, that there are times when I wonder where this “bad attitude” of mine comes from, but I’ve always known.

In a romantic way, I can look at the beginning of my relationship with my husband as the first step into a 20 year descent into the underworld. There were so many levels of this world that I experienced with him, but I’m not really sure if I’ve ever emerged into a new reality. Perhaps I’ve emerged and gone back down, I have changed, so this would be the logical conclusion.

In the very beginning of our relationship, my husband was the most amazing man – funny, considerate, and most of all, he loved to hang out and laugh. He was the life of everyone’s party and was never denied an invite. I felt safe with him. When he was around I felt as though I could enjoy my life without constantly wondering if my ex was waiting for me in the shadows. He was gentle with me, even though the abuse I endured was 2 years past, the results of my trauma were still very apparent.

For the first time in my life, I felt as though I was actually living. In a way, I think I was safely rebelling. My parents STILL wouldn’t let me spend the night at his place, as I mentioned, they were old fashioned Italian Catholics, but hanging out until the wee hours of the morning, and telling my parents that I was spending the night at my brother’s house worked for the time being. I would feel guilty about lying, so I would go to my brother’s place and shower, making my story partially true. It was my way of making it right. Then, one day, that all came crashing down.

 

You see, my brother and my ex were best friends. It was hard for my brother to understand and accept that my ex could do such a thing, and my ex was working hard to get back into my brother’s good graces. One morning I arrived at my brothers and, low and behold, my ex was there. I went to shower as my brother was leaving for work. I locked the door, even though I thought my ex was leaving with him. He didn’t. He proceeded to pick the lock and drag me to my brother’s bed and rape me. I remember those moments well, I didn’t fight, I took it for fear that this time he would, indeed, kill me. When it was all said and done, he offered me money that he owed me and said, “Now you can go to the police.” I left, knowing full well that a rape exam would yield two different types of DNA, my boyfriend’s and my ex’s. I would be ruled a whore and that would be that. I went home and told my parents of the event and stayed in bed the entire day. It was then and there that I took another level of control in my life. I would never lie to my parents again about where I was or what I was doing. Perhaps I would leave out some personal details, but I would never lie to them again. From that moment on, I was vocal about spending the night at my boyfriend’s, but I was respectful, as well.

After the day’s events, my boyfriend begged me to go to the police, even if it was just his roommate, who was, in fact, a police officer. I refused, explaining how things would go. From then on, I launched into a slew of Rape Crisis volunteer work, holding the hands of rape victims as doctor’s invaded their bodies and parents condemned their children for “loose behavior.” That is an absolute fact, by the way, parents condemned their own children. I watched as a young girl, who turned out to be my neighbor, received a rape exam as her mother said, “She parties a lot, I know she’s not a virgin.” The doctor looked up from his exam and said, “Yes, she was, her hymen is newly broken.” I was heartbroken for that girl, and I knew the humiliation she was experiencing. The look on her mother’s face changed from anger to embarrassment, and I was quietly happy to see it.

In the best way possible, my life was forever changed. My parents and I had graduated to a new level of respect, and I was finally being allowed to be an adult. Time marched on, I would go to class, complete my homework, and visit my boyfriend. He was changing, too. Although he was still funny, there was an air of seriousness about him, which I attributed to his job. Unfortunately, I had confused “seriousness” with “arrogance.” Surely our move to Colorado would solve all of this. We would both have careers and we would stand by one another. As I mentioned before, I was wrong.

Part 2 – The Government Agent’s Wife

As I think back on my life, I often wonder if things were different when I was a child, perhaps I would’ve turned out different – less hard, more gentle. I can say that I was a relatively happy child and my childhood was pretty normal. Although I knew my family loved me, it wasn’t an easy household. Honestly, I still laugh at just how stereotypical it was.

Myself and my family hail from Brooklyn, New York, but I was raised in the small, Southern Arizona town of Tucson. Both of my parents are Italian, my mother is also half Irish. My father was first generation American, a World War II veteran, and 17 years older than my mom, but they were each other’s first marriage. He was 51 when I was born, and although he was loyal and protective, I still attest that, by the time I reached my teens, he was just too old to raise a teenage girl. 

As far back as I can remember, there was the constant looming threat of his death. He was a severe asthmatic, and had a slew of life-threatening health issues from which he always recovered. Some of my earliest memories are of the fear I had of losing the man I adored. Thoughts of losing him were with me constantly. Fortunately, he had a strong constitution in all aspects of his life, coming from the Depression Era, I suppose that’s only natural, and he lived to be 91 years old. 

As I mentioned, my parents were strong people…and my mother certainly knew how to yell. Actually, she still does, but I don’t want to go any further without saying, I love my parents more than anything. They loved us and showed my brother, sister, and me their love through their actions. We had our issues, and perhaps our household lacked affection, but we always knew that they loved us. 

In my pre-teen years, I began to fall victim to anxiety. I don’t know why I started having panic attacks around 12 years old, but they never ceased. I missed school and am pretty sure I was suffering from depression due to my lack of understanding. My parents were older and in their time, people didn’t goto psychologists or seek mental help, which is why I suffered for so long. By the time I reached 8th grade, I had a handle on my anxiety and I began to flourish. 

I was becoming a young woman in the early 1990’s, a very different age from when my father grew up in the 1940’s, and I began to rebel. Although I never drank or did drugs, my sister, who was 7 years older than me and married to a dip-shit, know-it-all, told my mother I did. She suffered from “middle child syndrome,” and it was fierce. Anyway, like most people, I would later discover that my parents were right, about everything…but kids will be kids, and girls will be girls. At the age of 15, I found myself a boyfriend, and kept it a secret, for fear of being forbidden to see him…since I wasn’t allowed to date until I was 16. During the year we spent together, I lost my virginity and had a pregnancy scare. My cousin, whom is more dear to me than my own sister, offered her help. She knew my parents, and she knew that something like this could drive a rift between them and their youngest. So, I was going to spend the summer with her and have an abortion. Fortunately, it never came to that. It was a false positive and I promptly got on the pill. Life was back on track. My boyfriend and I broke up, and like many “first-loves,” I look back and wonder what I ever saw in him. 

I graduated high school early, when I was only 16, and after only a 2 week break, went to college. In theory, I should’ve graduated by the time I was 20, but I had found a sense of freedom I so desperately needed. Just two short years after graduation is when it all went awry. 

In many ways, I was still a child, and my parents did the right thing by keeping me grounded, but it hindered me because I felt trapped. I felt as though I wasn’t allowed to spread my wings…which led me straight into the arms of a monster. 

Fortunately, I escaped with my life and although my dignity was in shreds, I had enough of it left to pull myself back together. Only a couple of months later, I met a man. I was still only 19, newly divorced, and only beginning to figure out who I truly was. He was 31 or so when we met and the physical attraction between us was palpable. 

He was the man at work that every woman admired, and many desired. He was olive skinned, quiet, handsome, and quick to laugh. He was olive skinned, quiet, handsome, and quick to laugh. The scar just beside his right eye, remanants of a bar fight from his younger years, only added to the character of the crushing gaze he would give me through the giant school bus driver’s mirror. Everything about him was exactly what I needed. And I can’t deny that holding the attention of the most eligible bachelor did wonders for my nearly non-existent self-esteem. 

He had a silent strength about him, he was safe. It was only weeks before we launched into a full love affair. We came together on Fridays, sometimes sneaking an interlude on the school bus he drove to the high school football game. It was risky, but the desert seemed to always border the school parking lot. He would park the bus near the dank green shrubby and cactus, and I would park my camaro in its shadow. It was sexy, he would unbotton my stylish flannel shirt and it would drape around my waist, which made us feel as though I was hidden, in case we got caught. Silly, I know, but he was considerate of me in every way. 

Most of the time it was someplace neutral and inconspicuous, since I lived with my parents, and he took care of his mother. Over the next two years we both dated other people, but when those brief moments ended, we always seemed to find our way back to one another. To this day, he still holds a very special place in my heart. In many ways, he brought me back to life – body and soul – and for that I am eternally grateful. 

I met the man I call “husband” shortly after I turned 21, and our love affair came to an abrupt end, although, I can’t deny, I thought of him often over the years. I set back off to college and amidst major anxiety, panic, and a terrible case of Post Traumatic Stress, I completed my Bachelor’s in Psychology when I was 23.

The horrors were a few short years behind me and soon to be a thousand miles, as well. Now, after two years of a long-distance relationship, my fiancée and I were finally going to be able to be together and start our lives in a new place – Colorado. His career was developing, he was a police officer turned Federal police officer and I was accepting an entry level administrative position. We were off and running. I thought it would be onward and upward forever. I was wrong. 

The Government Agent’s Wife

I’ve decided to share my story. It’s less about entertainment and more about therapy. Perhaps you can relate…although, in many cases, I hope you can’t. I’ll start at the beginning and end somewhere near the present. Not sure how many posts this will take, so keep an eye out. 

My Beginning

It was a warm, Arizona day, shortly after my 21st birthday. My parents and some friends had taken me and my friend to Vegas to celebrate our milestone birthdays. I was so young to have endured what I had already endured. You see, I was married at the tender age of 19. Not because I was in love, but because I wanted a way out of my parent’s house. 

My parents were good people, strong people, and very savvy, to boot. Every time I tried to move out on my own, they would point out how it just couldn’t be done alone. Well, along came a man who could change all of that. He had family money, a decent job, and he said he loved me. What more could a seriously insecure girl want? I promptly got engaged and the day after our wedding, the abuse began. It started with him berating me, then physically dominating me, squeezing me until I couldn’t breathe, and quickly moved to smothering me with pillows, and repeated rapes. He even went so far as to trick me into believing he wasn’t home and ambushing me. It ended with him raping me, a gun sat on the table that my head hit as he sodomized me.

Had it not been for my parents coming over for dinner that night, I’m not sure what would’ve happened to me. They put what they could of my things in trash bags and moved me back home. Over the coming months, my ex kept baiting me with items of necessity, like my car insurance cards. I went to pick them up from the front porch and he would grab me and sodomize me. I honestly don’t know why I went over there, why I trusted that things like that wouldn’t have happened, but they did…and I’m lucky to be here today to tell my story. 

In the end, he sold all of my childhood belongings, things I held so dear, and that was the end of the girl, I had become a damaged adult by the age of 20. 

I guess it all makes sense that my next relationship, which started when I was 21, would be with a handsome man with policeman aspirations. Of course, I didn’t know it when we first met, but within moments I knew that this man was someone I could trust, and that was a big deal. He achieved his goal of becoming a police officer three months after we started dating in March of 1998, and I thought that we were on our way to a good, long, happy life. 

He moved 100 miles away and we maintained a long distance relationship for two years. Even though he became engulfed in his job and added a level of arrogance to his personality, I still loved him and thought we could make it through anything. Looking back, I guess I loved him enough for the both of us, only to find that that could never last. 

The Adulteress


Continuing to write fiction…one day at a time. 

If I were a different type of person, I could likely find a reason for such treason. I could blame my parents for being too strict, perhaps, in some cosmic sense, I’m to pay for the sins of my father…and maybe even the sins of my mother. But really, the decision to become an adulteress is not a conscious one. It is a vulnerable one. Men and women alike, there are few, if any, who move through affairs with malicious intent. Unlike those devilish “one-night stands,” affairs are a balm to soothe an aching heart, they fill those tiny voids in your heart that you never realized existed. They are an awakening, a realization, in a way. They force you to see your reflection with foreign eyes, the face is familiar, but the thoughts are entirely new. Nothing is sacred anymore, your beliefs, your morals, not gone, only changed. You find yourself asking, “What do you truly hold dear?” Then, you struggle even more, trying to reconcile the person you’ve become…or perhaps always were. 

Then, of course, you get found out. Perhaps through admission, or, more often, you get caught. Either way, the villagers will happily light the pyre beneath your feet, burning you for not adhering to their moral code. Yet as your soul drifts to some new dimension, you discover that the morality preached is seldom righteous. The villagers have their own dirty little secrets, their lives are a lie, and you have become their sacrifice to absolve their own sins. 

It was never a life goal to view relationships as disposable. I soon found myself asking, “When did loyalty become possession?” I was not in love anymore, my marriage had become a contract, my life one of obligation and possession. My shoulders had become weak from carrying so many burdens, sustaining verbal abuse, and floundering through countless failures. It is probably a bit easier to understand that my dalliance was inevitable. A hand was extended, offering to lift my burdens, a heart was offered to fill those spaces that had been recklessly abandoned. I’m sure, as human as you are, you might possibly offer some understanding. 

New Fiction

I’ve decided to start writing again…I don’t really understand why I ever stop. I suppose it’s because it drains me to think about topics and, then weave words that desire to be read. But here I go…again. 

“I am an adulteress.” I repeated this to myself, as I searched the reflection in the mirror for any sign that the woman I once was still existed. In just two short years, the youfulness had dwindled from my eyes, and began to show as a new dullness in both my skin and eyes reflected back to me. Apparently, all of the trials and tribulations I had endured in my first forty years didn’t take nearly the toll that just two years spent in the beautiful turmoil of passion provided. 

I suppose there is still a level of naïveté that demonstrates itself, even at the age of thirty-eight. Looking back, I could equate myself to a child, desperately seeking the comfort, the safe  embrace, only a parent could provide. At the time, I was as lost as a piece of driftwood, carried across the miles of open ocean, with no particular destination. All I wanted was a safe place to rest my weary heart. It was quite pathetic, in retrospect. But somehow, I convinced myself that nothing mattered, no sin too great, for the warm sanctuary of an equally aching heart would heal all indiscretions.