The Story of My Life – Part 1

This is likely going to be a very long post, but one that is necessary to capture an entire lifetime of lessons. The story starts more than 10 years ago. This is about to get pretty personal. If you know me personally, you may or may not know some of the details I am about to share.

I originally started to write this to get to the part where I met K 10 years ago and we fell in love, but to get there, the road is a lot more complicated that I expected! So, I will break it up into parts and hopefully we can all get through this together in one piece.

My story is a long one, but it has a good lesson and a nice ending, so hold on tight and ride with me through memory lane. The bumps are rough and the twists and turns are brutal, but we will come out on the other side with smooth sailing.

Meet 17 year old me.

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At the time, I was very, very straight. I actually didn’t even know that being anything but straight was an option. I didn’t know any gay people (they later came out) and I had no idea what being gay really meant.

I am from a very small town, where everyone knows everyone else. This picture was taken shortly after my heart was broken by my very first long term boyfriend. We had been together for a year and a half. My first … well, my first everything. When we broke up, my life spiraled out of control and I started my wild, dangerous path of bad choices and even worse consequences.

I started drinking and by the looks of this picture, you can tell I started smoking. This picture was taken the summer after my junior year of high school. By the time I started school, my senior year (summer is only 3 months, let’s just be reminded) I had racked up sexual partners in the near double digits. Male partners. I didn’t care who they were, I didn’t care how old they were.

Looking back, I was on a mission to find someone to love me. At the time, I thought that sex meant love. I thought that if someone wanted to have sex with me, well, they loved me. I was burned a  lot, taken advantage of, I had a lot of trips to the free health clinic and frankly, I had quite a few pregnancy scares. In the end, I was drunk a lot, I was high a lot and I had a lot of sex.

I wore clothes that were too small and too revealing. I partied hard enough to black out sometimes and there are parts of my crazy ride that I don’t fully remember. I was almost raped by three guys in a bathroom, I was out until the full morning light was coming up, I was gone from my house for weeks on end and no one really noticed.

At the end of my very wild three months of summer, I decided that I just needed to quit school and do my own thing. I was 17 and I didn’t need to be told what to do anymore. I almost dropped out of high school, my senior year no less. I had a very good friend to talked me out of it. He told me that it would be the worst mistake I would ever make in my life. So, I started my senior year.

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My self-esteem was shot. My reputation was shot. My place in the town I grew up in was at the bottom. The slut, the town whore. I was less than the dirt on the bottom of someone’s shoes. Of course, I only heard the rumors about me. The elaborations. Believe me, the real story was enough – the rumors were worse. I had made enemies, I was the mean girl in high school. I regret that. I regret being the mean girl. I regret being the whore.

Needless to say, I couldn’t stay where I was. I moved out of town in the middle of my senior year of high school. I moved to a town where I knew no one. I said no goodbyes to my friends and I had no one to hold me there. In fact, most of them didn’t even know I moved away until I had been gone for quite some time.

I moved to a place where no one knew me. Where the entire senior class had grown up together. I had no social life to speak of. I had 1 friend. She forced herself on me and we became great friends. Otherwise, I spent my days at the library reading, studying, doing my homework and acing my classes. I didn’t concern myself with boys, I didn’t concern myself with drugs or alcohol or sex.

Meet nearly 18, fully changed, almost graduated me.

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Moving in the middle of my senior year, changed my life. It also helped me to remember my worth. It put lifted my self esteem and I decided to make something of myself. I made the most of this new life that was handed to me and I did something different. I turned myself around. I went from an almost high school drop out to a high school graduate, bound for university life in the fall.

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After I graduated, I moved back home. I worked and kept to myself. I saved the money I needed to buy my textbooks and then when the three months were up, I headed off to college. My first year of college was full of making new friends, re-inventing myself and becoming a better person.

To Be Continued ….. (This story is a lot longer than I expected!!)

Ten Things You Learn In the First Year Of Motherhood

1. First and foremost, you will understand why some people might want to shake a baby. Look, I’m not ashamed to admit that I have looked into those angelic eyes in the first three months of her life and wanted to shake the piss out of her. Did I? Well, absolutely not. But I sure felt like it. I won’t soon forget the 4 month sleep regression period, where it was the worse. The kid was sleeping great and then BOOM four months rolls around and she’s got to be rocked and patted and I’m running on fumes. Do psychotic people shake babies, yes? Am I psychotic? Not yet, but I have been on the edge of that line before.

2. Breastfeeding is HARD WORK. It didn’t work for me. From the latch to the public feedings, my breasts were too big for the baby’s head and I felt like I was suffocating her constantly. Instead of nursing, I pumped. I f’ing hated pumping. Not because it was uncomfortable, I might have gone longer if it hadn’t been for work. Legally, they have to give you a quiet, private room to pump. However, it’s really hard to do that in a work setting and I would be home engorged and uncomfortable. If you are a working mommy, plan ahead for the breastfeeding plans.

3. Some people don’t cut it out as a stay at home mom. I’m one of those people. I can’t be the stay at home mom. I just can’t do it. I go stir crazy and need me-time more than our baby would really allow. I love my kid, I do. But working is where I need to be. I am bored at home and there is only so many pictures I can take of her or so much Facebook time I can have in a day.

4. Babies are like little goats in human form. They WILL eat anything, stick ANYTHING in their mouths and will devour just about anything. Especially when teething. Speaking of teething, I know it’s exciting to see those little buds of white pop through the gums. Step back slowly. Back away and DON’T stick your finger in there! You stuck your finger in there, too, didn’t you? Yea, baby teeth suck.

5. Sleep training is my favorite phrase. I know there are people out there that don’t like the phrase. Hell, I don’t really like the verbiage of the phrase, but the sentiment is the same. Train that kid to sleep. Seriously. I resisted the idea of crying it out, I didn’t want to do it. In fact, my partner had to sit on me the first night. However, when I saw it working, I am all for suggesting it when someone asks. Punky is on a sleep clock like nobody’s business. She’s up at the same time, she naps at the same time, she sleeps at the same time. And she’s so trained, she initiates each thing on her own and knows when it will happen.

6. Don’t feed the kid chili. Ok, look. I am pretty sure I know this was a bad idea. However, I wasn’t really thinking about it. The pediatrician said at 8 months old, Punky could eat anything we are eating, just break it up in little pieces. Ok! So, we are having chili. I give her chili. If you have not seen soupy poop, you haven’t fed your kid chili. Good for you! I now know what soupy poop looks like and I would prefer to never know again.

7. On that same note, don’t put your kid to bed without pants. Seriously. Though, especially put pants on the kid on a night where chili was involved. Why you ask? They are just going to get their pants yucked up, you say. Yes, they will poop through their diaper and through their pants. It’s nothing compared to taking the diaper off and flinging it around the play pen. I only hear the horror stories second hand on that one. My partner got to deal with the aftermath of my feeding the child chili and then not putting her to bed with pants on. See # 3 – I’m a working mommy for a reason!

8. All the good cartoon characters talk to you. No, I don’t mean they are talking and have dialogue  I mean, they talk to you. So that you can answer and have a conversation. Don’t be surprised when you talk back or tap your toes to that song you have heard a billion and one times. It’s going to happen. Smile and nod and just let it go. There are worst things in life than telling Steve where the damn clue is.

9. There must be some sort of magic cleaning solution in baby wipes. Who needs soap and water? Who needs cleaning products? I wipe everything down with baby wipes. The kids hands? Sure. The kitchen table, you betcha! Anything that needs a good wipe down gets a baby wipe and elbow grease. So far, the only thing to defeat the baby wipe is my daughter’s cowlick. That hair is indestructible and incredibly impossible to tame!

10. The best sound in the world is my daughter’s laugh. In the last year, that is what I have learned the most. I will say, her tiny voice when she says small words comes in second place. I will do anything to make this kid giggle and laugh. Right now, that means she gets to jump on me, poke me in the eye, chase me around the living room on newly minted toddler walking toes. It doesn’t matter, at the end of a hard day, or at the end of a whirlwind roller coaster of a first year, motherhood boils down to that one thing.

The laugh.