...when you have a baby with a sociopath - part 2
Having learned of Voldemort's affair, I felt justified in seeking attention elsewhere. I turned to Ross—the only guy other than Voldemort, and the only person from the group that I still saw regularly. I seduced him, and soon developed feelings.
He sat down next to me, and I practically melted into the couch. I could scarcely breathe let alone move, but somehow managed to let my hand inch closer to his. If I looked at him, I’d give it away—he’d read it all over my face. So instead I looked straight ahead, knowing I couldn’t possibly pay attention to anything that was happening in front of me. From what I could see, using only peripherals, it seemed as if his hand was getting closer; but he moved it in such a way that made me think it was all in my head. He’s not moving his hand closer to mine, I’m moving mine closer to his, and the second I get too close, he’ll pull away. I knew this but still could not stop my hand. My fingers slowly extended from under my palm, bridging the gap between us. He didn’t pull away. I didn’t want to move, or even breathe too noisily—fearing he’d startle like a deer in a clearing. After what felt like a lifetime, I allowed myself to exhale and take one shallow breath; but I still couldn’t move, and I didn’t—not until I realized that his fingers were gently caressing mine, so softly I doubted it was even happening. My heart beat so loudly that I was certain it had leapt to my head; I feared my boyfriend could hear it from the kitchen—and moved my hand away, in an attempt to avoid detection, hoping the beats would silence; but the drumming rhythm in my head only got louder as I forced my hand away. Even if I had wanted to stay away, it wouldn’t make any difference—my hand was acting independently and would happily defy me. It quickly went back to the space between us and met his once again.
We had a brief romance, and while I relished the distraction, it was never enough. Once the flirtation dissipated, so did our friendship.
I’m so desperate to feel something—other than frustration, hatred, and this desperation—that I’d create an imaginary romance with myself and someone who... I don’t even know. Part of me wants to say that he was into it and into me; I mean, who wouldn’t be? I’m too drunk to write this. What I really want is to write to him—but I don’t know what to say. I feel like I shouldn’t say anything. “I watched him walk away with sickness in my heart—though it was a pleasing kind of sickness, if such a thing exists.” I knew this wasn’t going anywhere either way, so it’s all irrelevant—and it definitely won’t go anywhere anymore; but it’s as if I needed it. I needed the flirtations and the come-ons, because without it, all I have are fights—the majority of which are had in front of my son—and loveless sex. I didn’t want to be with him really. I just wanted something else. “[But] dreams can be such dangerous things: they smolder on like a fire does, and sometimes consume us completely.” My options are few and right now the most desirable one seems to be the one that leaves my son without a mother, and that’s not something I ever want to do. But desperation makes me weak and it’s easy to quit—so it’s as if I needed this little bit of harmless fun to get me through this montage-less rough time in my life. I guess I’m just desperate for change. I’m scared of what these feelings mean. I’m scared of not acting on them.
All the while, having been promoted twice at the insurance agency, I had reached the highest role I could within the company—as the head of marketing and life insurance illustrations and quotations. Having nowhere else to go from there, I began looking for writing gigs on Craigslist. After responding to numerous inquiries however, it seemed no one was interested in hiring me, and my restlessness worsened.
Inspired by compliments from coworkers, I decided to start a fashion blog. We never had much money; but I always had my own style, and enjoyed creating unique outfits from the few inexpensive pieces that I owned. Hoping to get a good shot, I used my lunch breaks to trek up to the top of a parking garage. I attached a cheap digital camera to a small tripod, taught myself photo-editing software, and designed a BlogSpot layout—emulating the sites I admired. I kept it up for almost a year—expecting it might someday be profitable; but eventually let my destructive relationship get in the way of my ambition, and looked inward for my next move.
What sets me apart isn’t my beauty, strength, or intelligence—it’s not my generosity, empathy, or punctuality. I’m loving, selfless, and determined, but that doesn’t make me unique. My intuition, great sense of humor, and amazing organizational skills don’t make me stand out—neither does my stubbornness, sensitivities, nor frugality. It’s not my introversion that makes me interesting. What sets me apart is my ability to look within myself and discover strengths and weaknesses, habitually—in such a way that I am constantly evolving—getting emotionally, physically, and mentally stronger. I know most every facet of myself; and those I do not know, I’m eager to uncover.
I began running. Having long since gotten over the worst of my eating disorder, I still limited my food intake, and tried to keep my weight at around 105 lbs.—the running facilitated this. I told everyone I was training for a marathon. In reality, I was just trying to stave off the insanity. It was my meditation. I could escape my life for as long as I could run. I ran for hours every day.
I’m running out of track. I don’t know where I’m going and I’m not good at dealing with things as they go. I wish I could just be happy and live my life, like everyone else. Why is it all so difficult? I feel like happiness comes in short snippets; and more often than not, it’s just a memory of an experienced happiness. You remember falling in love with your significant other, so you’re happy to be with them—but why must I tear it apart? Why can’t I see the forest through the trees? That’s my main problem, I think. I can stop and appreciate my life when it’s all said and done—but while I’m living it, I’m miserably picking apart its flaws, and allowing good times to go unpracticed. Can’t be any good if you don’t practice, right? We all know I can never do anything that I’m not good at—that’s my problem; but then again, the act of picking at a problem, of tearing myself apart and finding the flaws, is the problem. I don’t know what I really want out of life. I see the lives of others and want to imitate them. I want to be like the photographers and bloggers and interior designers and friends and girls that fill up my Facebook feed with proof of their seemingly meaningful lives. Maybe I just don’t post enough. I feel like I should be taking advantage of this age, but in reality every age should be taken advantage of. If I spend too much time thinking of my twenties, I’ll be thirty something and living in the past. I need to snap out of it—but how?
I was hoping to feel less trapped and unhappy, when Rizi reached out to me. Offering an attentive ear, he welcomed my lonely stories with compassion. I told him everything—yet he failed to tell me about his girlfriend. I worried myself with the paranoid idea that he was judging me as harshly as I judged myself, and let him occupy my vacant fantasies. Motivated by his genuinely good counsel, I began to lay the groundwork for several improvements—deciding I would no longer compromise my feelings.
While high on self-empowerment, I found the courage to let Rizi know how I had once felt and was feeling again about him. He responded positively—telling me that he too had felt and was feeling something for me; and I kicked my lazy, addicted, and abusive boyfriend out of the apartment we shared.
In the beginning, Rizi asked many questions and was able to keep me talking all day—but then he began to tell me things that would make even the most jaded person swoon, leaving me speechless.
He had moved to Nashville the year prior to attend law school. We had not seen each other in years, but planned to meet during his next break from school. When he came into town however, he suddenly had no time to see me. The guy that would text me every few minutes to ask what was on my mind, and gave me a hard time if I took longer than twenty minutes to respond, was suddenly so busy he could barely answer his phone. It was a blazing red flag, and I was refusing to ignore my instincts. I told him I felt neglected, blew off his excuses, and let him leave without seeing me.
Mild heartbreak propelled me back into Voldemort's arms; but when the typical variables presented themselves—excessive fighting, lying, and crying—Rizi rolled in with the tide and dragged me out into his ocean; but the red flag remained. I confronted him and he confessed to being like me, unhappy and stuck. It explained everything. I cared for him, and pretended to tolerate his having a girlfriend, even after she had relocated to be with him. He wanted to end it, he would tell me, but it was incredibly difficult, with her having uprooted her life for him. My desires were loud enough to silence the warnings. I was certain we were in love.
I think of you every minute now—seconds pass where perhaps my thoughts will be quite of your memory, but only seconds.
Still, I could not find the strength to force Voldemort out again. My wish to keep our family together was stronger than the knowledge that it might never work. He was my son’s father and I was still hoping he could improve.
I haven’t written much lately. I’ll write today about the things I know—isn’t that what they say? Well, I know that I have a son that I love very much. I know that he is beautiful, precocious, and energetic. I know that as I sit here writing, I am glancing at my phone, which stands up next to my keyboard, and I am hoping to see that bright glimmer of a green light that alerts me to a message received. I know that I am training my body to be able to run a half marathon and more. I have achieved nearly 8 miles non-stop, and I know I can achieve more. I know that although I am strong, making the fear in me equally strong, I can still move forward because fear alone cannot stop me—only I can stop myself. I don’t know that I can leave him, as incapable as he seems, but I know I will if my heart demands it. If I evolve, so will those around me; well what if those around me are continuously working against me? Or what if I stopped blaming others for my shortcomings, simply accepted the blame as my own, and tried to prevent the failed history from repeating itself? How can I fight against him? My heart doesn’t even want to belong to him. That which attracted me seems false and simply a matter of the right perspective at the right time. Now that I see most if not all facets of him, I can see that it was just a trick of mirrors and light, and not really a vision of the one that I saw.
I was torn between the dishonest, abusive, irresponsible father of my child—and the guy who was unavailable.
Everything he says sounds as if he’s merely saying what he thinks I want to hear. “Oh by the way, I broke up with my girlfriend [because you said I was too predictable and I know that you didn’t predict this]—but of course now you don’t want to be with me.” What are you talking about? You’re still with her. Did you just say that so that I would be fooled into thinking I was wrong about you? It didn’t work, since I expected that statement to get a reaction from you. Predictable to the very end. That’s what you like about me—I’m not.
But why has he been around this whole time? Was it something that was meant to be, or something that I forced into existence just by wanting it, like I do everything else? Because let me tell you, I wanted it. I thought about it and cried about it and prayed for it—because it was prophesied—because it was meant to be mine; but I have to be patient and become worthy enough for it. Is that the case? How do I know? How do I know I’m not making a mistake every step of the way? What does it matter? I feel like in reality, he doesn’t differentiate me from all of the other girls he likes or flirts with. That’s the truth.
After months of torture—and realizing I had let myself become the other woman—I decided to end things with Rizi, and keep things open with Voldemort, while we both attempted to better ourselves.
All the while, Carmen and Adam had planned the wedding that Voldemort and I did not. She asked me to be her matron of honor; and after getting their wedding invite, we planned a trip to New York City for April 2013. We had not been back since 2005 and it felt like fate.
Prior to going to New York, I received an invitation for my ex's movie premier. He had moved to L.A. to become an actor, and had written, produced, and starred in a film that was premiering at the West Palm Beach Film Festival. He asked me to come, and to bring Voldemort.
On April 5th 2013, we drove up for the premier. The movie was powerful, to say the least; and I was impressed, but had always known that my ex would make something great of himself. The after party was the most fun Voldemort and I had in a long time. We socialized and drank a bit; but I limited myself, knowing we would have a long drive back. Voldemort had intended to take it easy too, but instead spent the night finishing off people’s drinks—so when it was time to go home, he was far more intoxicated than I realized.
It was around 2am when we finally left the party; and since I was usually in bed by 10pm, I asked Voldemort if he would not mind driving while I slept. He said he did not; and I assumed it would be fine. After an hour, Voldemort aggressively ripped me from sleep. He was belligerent and had apparently gotten lost on the turnpike—somehow going north instead of south. I was confused and could not understand what he was saying; but he would not stop yelling. I exploded—screaming at him to pull over—and in an attempt to silence him, beat his face and head, as he shielded himself with his arms. I suddenly realized how far gone he really was, and forced him out of the driver’s seat; but it was late and I was still very tired. Once the adrenaline subsided, I briefly closed my eyes, and drove into the car in front of us. Startled awake, I swerved into the guardrail. The car spun uncontrollably; but I managed to right myself, and speed the rest of the way home.
Arriving at our apartment, I decided that if we did not change something soon, we would kill each other. The next day, I made Voldemort get rid of his gun—just in case.