It would not be until months after the breakup with my girlfriend that I felt comfortable writing down the events. Out of all the venues to discuss this important experience in my life, this is when I really felt the freedom and the passion of blogging my actual experiences.
These next three "flashbacks" give the entire story of my relationship from the beginning to the end. The language is graphic at times, so consider yourselves warned.
This first part is a look back after 5 months from the break-up. It's still hard to look back at these pages and think about the mistakes I made. However I can recognize how they shaped who I am now.
I could write pages upon pages about how important these next 3 blogs are to me, however my purpose in reprinting them is so that you as readers may understand me a little more; and in doing so, recognize that NO ONE is beyond redemption. If God chose to call a guy as bad as I was, don't trick yourself into thinking God can't use you as well.
"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you." - Maya Angelou
Out of respect, privacy, and perhaps shame, I've not chronicled this part of my life. This weekend will be the final page of that story, and I've found it much easier to write this story now that the tale is finished. And now that it's almost at the very end, I can look at the beginning and start to understand why I made the choices I did.
In May of 2005 I was extremely happy with my life, or so I thought. I had a great job selling cars, I was making plenty of money, I had a nice place with low rent...I had everything I could want. The previous year I was living at my mom's place, trying to recover from a "corporate restructuring" at my previous company.
Despite this financial success, I still felt incomplete. I worked hard and I played hard, but I could still feel a sense of emptiness inside. I'd also spent so much time trying to build my life back up, I'd gave up looking for relationships. I didn't feel "lonely" per se, yet I knew there was still something missing from my life. To compound the matter, the other two salesmen were getting married that year. I decided that I was missing out on personal intimacy, and began searching to fill that void.
Unfortunately, my history with women hasn't always been good. I've met a lot of women that had, for lack of a better term, baggage. They were still dealing with ex-boyfriends, they had self-esteem issues, they'd just gotten out of abusive relationships, they're electricity was about to be cut off...I've had a lot of women cry on my shoulder about many different things. And in most instances, I would cheer them up, make them feel better about themselves, make them smile or laugh...only to watch them go back to the same situation again and again. I tried to show that I was the one who actually cared, yet it seemed as if the women I was attracted to thrived off of being abused. I thought I was cursed, but in retrospect I should have recognized it as a blessing.
That September, I met a woman. Again, she had some "baggage," however I convinced myself that I was being too judgemental and I shouldn't expect anyone to be perfect. Things developed as they usually do, and in November, she moved in with me.
Life was good. I felt more like a ...well, more like a man. The whole "hunter/provider" instinct just bloomed, and I enjoyed living with my girlfriend. We got along great. The sex was fantastic. Most of all, I was happy that I didn't have to compromise myself to find someone. I could still be the "nice guy."
I didn't mind that she had a daughter and I was taking on a lot of responsibility. I didn't mind that she'd been kicked out of her last house and her utilities had been cut off. I didn't mind that she suffered from depression, and was very insecure with herself. I didn't even mind that she was still married; separated from her husband for many years, yet still married.
I think part of me wanted to "save" someone. I wanted to have someone love me and also feel protected. I wanted to be the knight in shining armor. Even if the damsel in distress was wrong for me in every way possible, I felt complete when I was able to fill that role.
And I was happy, for a while.
Eventually, we moved to a bigger apartment. We said we were in love, but in reality we were simply Hedonists. Both of us truly wanted someone to love us, I know that for sure. But in reality, we were just fulfilling each other's wants. I provided the money, the security, and the knowledge...and in return she did everything she could to make me happy: be it in the kitchen or the bedroom. Even now, after everything that's happened, I struggle with my celibacy because I remember the time we spent together.
It wasn't until about a year ago that I really noticed the nature of our relationship. We'd been living together for about 7 months, and the "thrill" was leaving the relationship. Sales had dropped also, and I was no longer bringing home the big paychecks. Credit card bills were piling up, utility companies were calling demanding payment, and the luxuries we had at the beginning were pushed to the side. She began to stay up late playing video games online, often times playing all night. The apartment was no longer kept clean, we fought more, and I was tested to truly provide for everyone. In spite of this I assumed we were simply "going through a rough spot," something all people deal with during a relationship.
During this same time, I did something inexplicable.
Most of us are used to arguing on forums/chatrooms on the internet. One can argue about anything from politics to the color of Paris Hilton's handbag on the internet. I'd gotten used to arguing current events on several different message boards. At some point, perhaps after a random discussion about religion, I made the conscious decision to start arguing for Catholicism. I'd read stuff by Celsus and St. Aquinas, but I'd been away from my faith for some time. The switch not only allowed me to argue about something that mattered, but it helped me know more about what I "believed."
Sometime in October, I landed on a diocesan website. For whatever reason, I started reading about priestly vocations. I still can't explain what happened when I really started thinking about vocations, but you know the story from there. I went to see the vocations director, I started this journal, and I began to re-evaluate my priorities.
One thing the vocations director told me was I would HAVE to tell my girlfriend about this. He said it would probably not end well, there would be a lot of trust issues afterwards, and it might get really ugly.
Boy, was he ever right.
Tomorrow - Telling my girlfriend, the fallout, the accusations, the yelling, and someone gets kicked out.