It’s National Record Day

Music is my food in life. Don’t take it away. ~Peter Frampton

I love, love, love music. I can remember music being a part of my life for as long as I can remember. When I was a wee little person, I can recall listening to music on our super-sweet stereo system that was bigger than our television. Seriously. The console was a large piece of furniture that dominated the living room. The top of the console lifted up to reveal a kick-ass turntable. There was a penny glued to the top of the needle to prevent skipping. Tons of those little yellow inserts used to secure 45’s were scattered about. And albums. We had everything. My step-dad liked classical. Mom liked musicals. I loved Peter Frampton. Frampton Comes Alive was my very first album. I asked for it for Christmas in 1976 (I was eight). I played it so much I wore it out. As well as the copy after that. And then yet another.

I did eventually expand my horizons to include other artists but I have struggled in trying to let go of that particular genre. Classic rock is what I love the most. Back in the day I had an impressive collection of vinyl. And I totally played the crap out of every single one. What brings a smile to my face today is when I hear one of my old favorites on the radio and I can still recall the slight hiss of my vinyl or where the record had a permanent skip. It’s so ingrained in my memory that the flaw on my album has become a part of the song. And no one gets it but me.

Maybe there’s one boy who gets it. I’ve known this boy nearly all my life. He’s got a bazillion albums – a collection I used to know many moons ago – but haven’t seen since the late 70’s when I used to sneak into his room and peruse his collection without his knowledge. I understand that his collection today requires its own zip code so he’s expanded considerably. Anyway, I used to be friends with his younger sister. Back then, he had little use for me. But when I saw his albums I was transfixed. Most girls would be enamored with a closet full of clothes or perhaps a collection of dolls. But not me. Those albums were what drew me in. I remember sitting in the basement of their house listening to “Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy” through those gigantic earphones that only the 70’s could make popular. Oh, the music then was so wonderful. And I was secretly in love with the boy who owned all those albums.

So, I followed him around like a puppy. And over the years we began to like each other as people. We’d talk about music. We’d contemplate the seriousness of life. We’d laugh over the ridiculous. And, eventually, our friendship surpassed the one between his sister and me. His friendship became a priceless treasure. There was nothing we couldn’t talk about.

Then, nearly 20 years ago, I made the poor decision to not marry him. I guess I was afraid that it would screw up our friendship. I didn’t fully understand that friendship was the most incredible foundation you could have for a marriage. We liked each other. We loved each other. And I couldn’t stand the thought of losing that by marrying him. See, I’ve had a total of EIGHT marriage proposals over the past 25 years. I guess I have a hard time taking proposals very seriously (in my defense, I’ve only accepted three and acted on two.)

So I took off. But not before “borrowing” his VHS tapes of the X-Files. Unfortunately, we were out of touch for a while.

Then, over a decade later, we reunited. And it was as if nothing had changed. At least from a friendship standpoint. We still contemplated life. We still laughed at the ridiculous. He had moved on with his life as I had with mine. We were in different places but still the same people who had a deep respect for one another.

Until he asked me about his X-Files tapes. I had no response for him other than I had saved him from a dying technology. VHS was out. He would have had to upgrade to DVD at some point, I just saved him a step. Right? He didn’t buy it either. 😉 Truthfully, I had simply lost the tapes along the way, most likely during one of my many moves in Summit County.

This last year he has been instrumental in helping me maintain my sanity. I’ve had so many heartbreaks that if it weren’t for him, I would have drowned. Interestingly enough, I didn’t fully realize that until just recently. See, I’d been seeing someone who used me terribly. Lied to me outrageously. And the whole time, my dear, sweet friend saw right through him. Never once did he try to dissuade me from following my heart. He told me what he thought but then left it to me to make my own decision. And the beautiful piece of it? He remained my friend. He didn’t abandon me because I was making what was – in everyone else’s eyes – a very bad decision. And when it all fell apart he handed me a bandaid and told me to get on with it. We make lists of songs that will help me get over the hurt and nearly every day he encourages me to do the best I can do. Each day it gets a little easier. And then – maybe not soon, but one day – the pain will be gone.

That right there, my dear readers, is a friend. He has forgiven me for the hurt I caused him (mostly over the X-files tapes – not the marriage thing). He loves and accepts me as I am. He supports me no matter what. He encourages me. My life is better because of him.

So, on National Record Day, I want to thank my best friend, James, for standing by me during some really jacked up stuff. You’ve shown me what a true friend is and I’m so blessed to know you. In your honor, I’m going to come up with the five best songs to describe how I feel about you. I’ll forgo the obvious Queen selection. You really are, without fail, my best friend. And maybe someday you’ll leave all of your beautiful albums to me. Except that J. Geils crap. You can leave that to Scotty.

ILUNBS.

*NOTE* I also have a super awesome female friend named Steff. She’s never asked me to marry her or anything but we have a connection that is just as special. I’m just a lucky, lucky girl to have two best friends. 🙂

 

 

It’s International Moment of Laughter Day

Oh, how I want to tell you a funny story. Unfortunately, I just don’t have it in me today. I’m being a bit introspective at the moment and life is just weighing me down like you wouldn’t believe.

See, the last twelve years of my life I have done it all wrong. I returned to Ohio after receiving my MBA in 2000 thinking I was going to make a fresh start. Instead, I ended up getting pregnant and marrying someone I simply did not love. He seemed to be a nice enough guy, I’d known him for a long time, but he just wasn’t well suited for me. No matter, I was pregnant. And my mom highly encouraged me to marry him, despite my initial desire to just have the baby and never tell him. After re-thinking that scenario, I decided to enter into a relationship with him. I tried to make it work. And, for a while, it did. We had Ben. For the first two years, things were okay. Then Ben got sick as I was expecting Madeline. The stress of a not-so-strong marriage intertwined with a critically ill child and a newborn was completely overwhelming. Add to that the financial devastation from Ben’s illness, Matt’s job losses, difficult family issues (on both sides), and the stress that Ben just might not live.

The initial 15 months that Ben was in treatment was hell on earth. Given the circumstances, neither one of us knew what to do. I would have to say that most families who enter into the world of having a critically ill child either grow stronger or fall apart with most of them doing the latter. Seeing how we didn’t have the foundation that many marriages had, we were lucky to still be standing, let alone make it through that first round of treatment with our marriage still intact.

After a year and a half of intensive therapy, Ben was in remission. Matt got a job in Colorado. We seemed to be starting over and doing better. Then, Matt lost his job again. This was the beginning of the end. Without going into dirty details, life with him became unbearable. I wanted to leave him. I made plans to leave him. I should have left him. Because I had met someone else.

But Ben got sick again. His cancer returned. I lost all hope in having any sort of normal life and knew that I wouldn’t be able to face Ben relapsing the same way that I had to muddle through it all on my own before. I knew I wouldn’t make it through without support. Oh, sure, I had family and friends who were supportive, but not in the way that a spouse should be. I didn’t have that from Matt. And to be fair, I’m sure Matt felt that he didn’t get it from me. But I did have a man who was very supportive and led me to believe that he was my knight in shining armor. I wanted to believe it so bad that I fell for it hook, line and sinker. He was a precious bit of levity that I so desperately needed during my own personal hell.

It was wrong. I was wrong. It was ultimately very hurtful to everyone involved. It is over now and I’m moving on, but it doesn’t change the fact that I was so very wrong. Despite our being formally separated, I should have left Matt entirely before moving on to someone else. But given the change of events with Ben’s health, I didn’t make the right choice. I didn’t want to hurt the children by getting a divorce in the midst of Ben’s treatment.

The affair was a wonderful distraction. Something that took me away from the pain of my abusive husband. Something that sheltered me from the heartache that I might possibly lose my son. That he had to go through this trauma yet again. My new love helped me see the good in what was a seemingly horrible situation. I once again found hope in life. I felt restored and ready to fight again. I was stronger.

And so it went for nearly three years.

I believed he was my soulmate. It certainly felt that way. But, ultimately, it was all a lie. I can honestly say that I’ve never, ever loved anyone like I loved him and oh how it pains me to know that he didn’t deserve it. I know that someday I will emotionally move on, but it has been stinging for a while and I don’t anticipate that it will stop anytime soon.

I guess I got what I deserve.

The one benefit of it all is that I’m finally free from the marriage that I was in, despite the continuation of the emotional turmoil. I’m sure that his emotional abuse will go on for many years to come. While I had done nothing to deserve his emotional tirades before having an affair, I am now a whore, which gives him carte blanche to treat me however he chooses.

But those are stories for another time.

God, I never wanted to write about any of this. It’s hurtful. My time married to Matt was an embarrassing mistake and my affair even more so. I am a smart girl who has made some seriously fucked up decisions when it comes to men. I am guarded when it comes to relationships. I always have been. I have serious trust issues because of exactly situations like this! I didn’t marry until I was in my 30’s because I wanted to do it right. That didn’t make a bit of difference. I tend to be attracted to the liars and abusers. I swear, they need to develop a chemotherapy to rid the world of these cancerous men.

I understand that I need my own therapy to not make poor relationship and personal choices. I know I was wrong. I take responsibility for that.

There just ain’t nothing funny about any of this. But there it is. My confession. I am free.