Spring Break was tense, and tension just kept rising. In May, something broke. I cannot remember what it was in specific. As much as I’ve tried to block off most of these memories, that one was just….I can’t get to it. I know it happened, I know I felt betrayed by my parents in a way I’d never felt betrayed before, but I can’t give you the context for it, because there is a wall there. I hope you’ll indulge me in taking my word for it. I decided in May that there was no way I would be able to trust my parents in the future, that nothing they told me was trust worthy. In essence, May 2008 is when I really started seeing their bullshit for what it was. I basically decided I wouldn’t tell them anything personal, anything that could hurt me, from there on out. I knew they weren’t safe and I knew that everything in my life was going to come to a screeching halt, and then crash, and then burn.
I wasn’t wrong.
My parents had started trying to make me doubt my relationship with Alex.
I feel like I should point out here, at any point my parents could have tried to get to know Alex and his family beyond just a casual hello. They chose not to. They would rather just run off of their unfounded assumptions about people than ask questions and believe the answers. They live for conflict.
Still talking to him every night for hours on end, and actually asking questions, and paying attention….none of their issues were founded. Their issues weren’t actual problems with our relationship itself, their issues were with his beliefs and his family’s beliefs being ever so slightly different from theirs!
–aside– At some point shortly after we started courting, this family we were home-churching with gave me The Courtship Series, to help me with my courtship, as I was the first in our group to start courting (and I wasn’t even the oldest). This series encouraged women to be quiet and not say anything or express any preference beyond what their suitor expressed. I’m still angry about that to this day. I’ve always been outspoken, and trying to fit inside The Courtship Series, and Josh Harris’ boxes only hurt our relationship. Eventually we were just like, this isn’t working, this isn’t us, lets go back to just being ourselves, and that was much better. –/aside–
Somehow, and I don’t remember how, my parents agreed to let me visit Maine again in June. I think this was their last-ditch effort to get me married and if he didn’t propose this trip (spoiler alert: he didn’t), then clearly he wasn’t interested.
It was that June trip, however, where we both knew things were heading south and made a plan. We took a walk for an hour – the only way we could privacy of any kind – and decided that if my parents broke us up, because that’s what it felt like was going to happen, that we would wait, and when I was 18, he would come get me, and we’d run away together. We both sincerely hoped it didn’t come to that.
Barely two weeks after I got back, mom told me she was pregnant. I was devastated. I knew it was only a matter of time before my life ended again. I wasn’t wrong.
My parents couched it in terms of losing their faith in Alex’s commitment and gave me three days to break up with him before they did it themselves. I refused. They offered me money and a car. I still refused. So I woke up one morning to an email from my parents, to me, Alex, and Alex’s parents, saying they are breaking us up and they forbid Alex and I from speaking to each other again. It was August. I was 17 and a half. I only had 6 months.
rewind One day in July my parents cornered me and were arguing with me about Alex and how he really should have proposed by now and disappointed them and whatever their other problems were, I can’t remember now. And I told them the plan we made in June. Because they were like, we don’t want to, but we will break you up if we need to. And I was like, well you can try, but it won’t work.
THEY CONVENIENTLY FORGOT THIS CONVERSATION EVER HAPPENED.
When I got the email I let out a scream like Wesley in The Princess Bride. Inhuman, guttural, the sound of a broken heart. I knew I couldn’t trust my parents. I saw that they were using me now that they were pregnant again (though they would never admit it).
I ran outside to yell into the wind and my mom ran out to tell me to go back inside or the neighbors would think something was wrong (no shit).
She tried to tell me she knew how I felt (nope). The only thing I managed to say to her was “Only for six months“. She rolled her eyes, told me not to talk like that, and left.
I was depressed. I was borderline suicidal – by that I mean, I ideated A LOT, but I never tried anything. I spent 6 months with my life on hold, yet again, being the broom, doing my mom’s job, while she was in her chair being pregnant. I don’t remember saying more than a sentence to my parents on any given day for those 6 months. I didn’t talk except to get orders. I kept my head down and stayed quiet.
I thought about cutting, I thought about killing myself. I had a gun (16th birthday present), I knew where it was, I knew where we kept the ammo but I was terrified of the kids catching me on my way out (there was this empty lot a few houses down that I would go to cry alone and was away from everyone who could get hurt) and also dooming myself to hell. I had a few friends who knew I was thinking about suicide, who told me it would defeat the purpose, and if I went they’d go with me, which staid my hand at the time. First, good point, Second, well, that wouldn’t be okay, so. I didn’t cut because I thought I had a low pain tolerance, and I didn’t want to be caught or noticed. My #1 goal was don’t be noticed. So, I didn’t do anything to cause alarm (read: more lectures).
I felt so worthless. So so so unbelievably worthless. My parents, having broken us up, left me to pick up the pieces and they moved on with their being pregnant and shit. Didn’t try to check in on me besides this attempt at comfort: Well, you got to experience love, so.
Because of purity culture, I was sure that even Alex wouldn’t love me still/anymore. Because I was damaged. I knew for sure no one else would. I had loved. I had given my heart away. Therefore, even to return to the person who loved me, I would still be tarnished and unwanted. I would be the glass of water with a drop of milk in it, turned into this disgusting murky substance.