You may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
You may find yourself in another part of the world
You may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife
You may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?
The Talking Heads Once In a Lifetime
So, what happened to put me where I am today? What does my past mean? What if I was to write down the most vivid memory for each year of my life, starting with the first one?
Seeing the deep blue sky
Dad hitting me in the back seat of the car because I was crying after reconstructive facial surgery
John Sprankle breaking into our house/room and trying to hurt Mom. The “Here’s Johnny” scene in The Shining.
City of Youngstown uses Eminent Domain to kick us out of house, woke up one morning with the excavators piling dirt onto the sides of our house
Undergo multiple electric shock therapy sessions to cure my Bell’s Palsy
Started speech therapy
Uncle John returns from Viet Nam in a closed casket
Mrs. Scott pulls me out of special ed saying, “This child doesn’t belong here.” Best. Teacher. Ever.
Moved to new house on Clarencedale, left my best friend Kenny King
Got grade 4 concussion falling from roof of garage
Overheard Mom and her boyfriend in bedroom having sex
Bancroft school closed, started busing to Sheridan School
My best friend John moves away
Fabulous vacation at Cedar Point, followed by my Grandmother giving Mom heck for having to had pay for it
Tore ACL in left knee
Got dental partial, sent to school on that very same day, publicly humiliated when I couldn’t talk
Bully Bobby Mitchell torments me in high school
Moved out from home and into trailer
Severely injured in hit-and-run accident while training on bike
Another severe concussion in second hit-and-run accident, nearly died
Road 9,000+ miles training, got good results in races
Grandma moves in with me so she doesn’t have to go to nursing home
First of 3 solo motocycle trips out West
Janet coerces me to come home early while climbing/riding in WV on Spring Break
Graduated from Youngstown State University with a 4.0 GPA in my major
On vacation in Crested Butte, rode rental bike to the top of Pearl Pass without Janet
After 20,040 wheels, ended wheel-building
On vacation with Janet, bagged Mt. Whitney in 1 day by myself
House flooded, bought first house 3 days later
On vacation, 70-mile ride in Key West. Janet rides along on a scooter, only time she rode with me
Started at Dick’s Sporting Goods as Buyer, Grandma dies, Savannah born
Looked up and found Dad and 3 previously unknown siblings that were given up for adoption
First date with Janet since Savannah was born, Courtney born via C-section
Bees swarm Courtney’s 1st Birthday party
Janet falsely accuses me of having a liason while we were on a business trip in Lake Tahoe with my boss and his wife
Recipient of Buyer of the Year Award at Dick’s Sporting Goods
Bought second house, Douglas born
Resigned from Dick’s Sporting Goods under duress
Took sabbatical to walk Appalachian Trail
Started as Marketing Director for YESCO Electric
Moved family cross-country to California as Buyer for Copeland Sports. short-sold my house in Ohio
Started at VAS Entertainment
Let go by VAS Entertainment due to “strategic re-structuring”
First argument in front of kids, Janet diagnosed with Breast Cancer
Janet cleared of cancer
Failed merger at CBO and let go, Janet dies
Coached Douglas’s Little League team to championships on anniversary of Janet’s death
Engaged to Alex
Putting it this way, I see a very clear picture of myself. My Mother was the only one strong for me, Dad abused and left us. I initially resented Mom’s boyfriend because of his extramarital affair with Mom. He tried to get close to me but it only worsened the trauma. I eventually grew to understand him late in his life, I wish he was still here for Mom and me.
I stayed married to a woman for 23 years out of love and devotion, even when she was hurting me. If I argued then I was labeled unreasonable. If I disengaged then I was labeled as not caring. If I got upset then I was a tyrant. If I called out her behavior she denied it until our relationship was past done.
I was always “wrong,” always “selfish,” and always “not caring” for wanting to see my friends, for wanting my own life, for not wanting to deal with being insulted or emotionally abused. And the worst part was that I believed every word of it. I spent years feeling like I was an awful person, and feeling scared of her. I felt like leaving the situation would just prove that I really didn’t care/love her enough, and that would make me a bad husband, a bad human being. I was unknowingly married to a woman with Borderline Personality Disorder. A lifetime of trauma left me always defensive, constantly alert, hyper-vigilant.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a severe anxiety disorder that can develop after prolonged exposure to psychological trauma. I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD. I’ll make it though this just fine. I always do.