Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Outcast | Past, Present...Future

People always ask me what keeps me going and my answer is always the same "Aaron, Ayden and Kevin. Knowing that God doesn't make mistakes...ever-knowing that He can mend and make all things new."

I used to be a very unhappy person, as hard as that might be to believe and I used to try my hardest to make my husband miserable because misery loves company and he was always so easy going and positive whilst I was the ultimate crazy person.

I was insecure and scarred by the many hurts of my and in some ways our past.

One night, a very long time ago I fought with my husband. He asked me at the time and I will never forget the sound of defeat in his voice.

"Why did you marry me then?" he said with as much control as he could muster.
"I married you because God told me to." I answered, feeling the rebuke wash over me like storm water from a dirty drain.

I am sure he wasn't surprised by my answer because I had told him so the night I agreed to marry him.

My wedding day was a sad day. I remember how we were told not to marry because we didn't have the finances to do so. I didn't mind having a small intimate ceremony but I was told we couldn't not have a reception because apparently that wouldn't look good on his parents. There was no point in arguing about it because I was told the wedding day is for the family and so I complied. I did as they wanted, when they wanted and the night before my wedding my husband-to-be called in tears because his mom who was also baking my cake said she would not be participating in the wedding. My voice cracked as I asked "What did I do now?"

The same weekend of my wedding day his dad said he wouldn't marry us because my husband-to-be needed to get a very important person in his life blessings. I cried in the bathroom of their beautiful country home that night to my mom, who had called me on the phone because she felt in her spirit that there was something wrong with me. I was ready to give up too and I told Kevin I didn't want to marry him anymore. Judith put me in perspective.

This time it was because they hadn't met my family. I didn't know what to do. I had tried to get them together the moment Kevin asked me to marry him. Telling my mum, sisters, aunt and cousins that Kevin's family wanted to meet them and when and where but my family never got around to coming to meet them despite my urging. In their defense my family was very divided at the time and could hardly see eye to eye.

One thing I knew for sure is that they love Kevin. They accepted him, defended him.

I smiled my prettiest, as I had to.

The show had to go on. I faked my joy while my heart broke underneath my princess cut ball gown wedding dress.

When the day ended I was happy. I was in love with the man I married and I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him but sorrow loomed knowing that I wasn't accepted by his family.

I carried this anxiety into my marriage. I tortured my husband with the reality.

I was bitter because I felt that he never stood up for me. I was bitter because I was not the woman they wanted for their son.

We soon had to move out of our marital home because of a disagreement with the neighbor. The landlady told us we had to leave without even listening to our side of the argument. We complied but on such short notice we had no money and no place to go so we ended up in my husband parent's house. They didn't live there but one of his sisters did and I had almost felt guilty for the prophesy I had told my husband (about what was going to happen) because she was so warm and welcoming.

That was short lived.

I had come to know I was pregnant prior to the move and I was so happy I could hardly contain myself. I knew our stay at their residence wouldn't be for long since we wanted to give our baby a warm happy dwelling.

One evening I overheard her talking to her dad on the phone. Long story short, she was unhappy with us living there and she wanted the bathroom to be washed after I used it. If I hadn't felt bad before I felt worst to find that we were invading her space, the same space she had welcomed me into with smiles. She had given me cupboard space, and told me where I could put my things to make myself at home. How could I have know she was being fake straight to my face?

I didn't speak to her.

"If you can't have the common courtesy of saying morning or evening you can't live here." she broke the silence.

I still didn't speak to her.

A family meeting was called.

Things escalated when I started to have an opinion on things and soon enough she locked us out of her wifi. Refused to move out of the way when she saw me and my big belly coming to either get to the bathroom or go out back. One day I tried to get by her and her boyfriend. He moved out of the way but she grabbed at the basin I was carrying and pushed at it warning me not to let my dirty basin touch her.
I became so afraid that I stayed in the room and didn't come out if she was there. I held my pee and my hunger often because I just didn't want to cross paths with her.
I remember early one morning I wanted to pee so I got off the bed and peeped through the door to make sure she wasn't in the living room. I figured she was asleep still as it was very early and as I tip toed into the living room I heard her boyfriend coming out of the shower so I ran back into the room...I had to wait until they were both gone from the house to use the bathroom and I would usually make sure I was done doing everything I needed to do before she came home again.

I was very pregnant at the time so it's possible that I was just touchy and over emotional.

I wasn't allowed to have an opinion on electricity usage even though we were paying the higher percentage. It's funny because all I wanted her to do was not to watch television, listen to the radio and use the computer at the same time and possibly plug out the computer when she was not at home during the days. I was told by her family that it was wrong of me to expect her to change her lifestyle and routine to accommodate us. I suppose I was wrong.

She pushed over our stuff in the cupboard using cardboard to create borders and boundaries and she went on to do whatever she wanted to make me uncomfortable and I couldn't do anything about it. I was not allowed to do anything because it was not my house and I accepted that.

A meeting was called. I expressed myself.

I became family enemy number one.

I noticed my husband's mom came by the house less often and never came over there, never called for me.

I used to be there alone in the daytime. I felt so bad the day I looked out the window and saw the pink car parked out front. It was there for the entire day and she was next door.

She would spend the time next door at her relatives and so too she began leaving whatever she had brought for sister-in-law over there because apparently I was either eating them out or thieving them out.

One Sunday everyone came for family dinner and I didn't go outside to meet or greet them because I thought that that didn't make sense to go out to the road since they were coming inside the house. It was even worst when I didn't come out of the room immediately as they came inside. They were so upset about it that there was a sit down and my attitude was put in check. I realized that if I didn't do everything by their whim and fancy I would be scrutinized and scolded.
I became weary as I recalled many moments when they came to see sister-in-law and she was locked up in her room, knowing they were there and mom-in-law had to knock on her door and beckon her out or ask if they could come in to her room.

I was pregnant, tired and didn't want to be around them at all.

I became resentful. I called her a witch and a bitch. To be exact I called her a "wi-bitch" and I also said that I was happy that she wasn't my husband's...because with all the stress she put me through I didn't want me baby to born and resemble her. I wasn't speaking loud but she somehow heard through the closed door and she moved out and went to live with her sister. Days later JPS cut off the electricity because she didn't pay her part and that weekend we stayed without electricity in the dead heat of Portmore.

Another meeting was called and the whole family was there this time even distant relatives. Okay maybe not so much distant but those to whom the issue bore no concern.
I was put to the slaughter because of the words I called her and the sentence that followed. Words she wasn't even supposed to hear.

The whole family sat there as she told us to "Get out, get out..." like a wild woman coming under the influence of the Holy Ghost. The neighborhood also heard and I was ashamed so we complied without rebuttal.

I was heavily pregnant and I remember walking up and down that week and weekend looking for a place to live with my husband because funds were low and we didn't have the money for taxi fare. That same Sunday we went to my mom for dinner and we got the apartment downstairs.

I remember feeling relieved. I also remember my husband's anger. I told him to never let me come between him and his family, that I didn't want him to fight for me. I wanted him to continue to love and respect them because they were his family. I was wrong to call her a witch and a bitch mixed together or to say what followed and I was sorry about it but I was no longer going kill myself up about it.

I could fight my battles on my own, I would fight my battles on my knees.

I was happy that he was silent in all that happened because they can never say that he disrespected any of them. Except for that one time when he asked "What was wrong if I didn't want to eat..." their meal one Sunday when they came to have family dinner because he had been preparing steak and I wanted the steak that my husband was cooking because my heart was set on it and I din't know they were coming to have dinner anyway. Apparently we should have turned off the stove and ate what they had brought.

I was pregnant so I wanted the steak dinner my husband prepared not their's!

Thank God we moved and it was good timing too. I didn't want to be around them any longer.

I ended up at the doctors office because at twenty something weeks pregnant because my back was opening up. The doctor said it was stress and I was going to deliver prematurely if I didn't get rest and relax. I told him I didn't know if I could because of the circumstances I was living under and he threatened to admit me to the hospital for bed rest. I was saddened by the thought of losing my first child so I did my best under the circumstances to relax.

We moved.

We lived at the new place for almost four years and Aaron was born.

Mom was evicted from the upstairs apartment and I did what I thought was helping by packing her stuff on the veranda.

My mom lied to me, she told me she had a plan, that everybody would be okay meaning her and my sisters and brother. She knew what me and my husband were facing that we were not financially equipped to bear any other burden. She knew our emotion was spent having gone through an ordeal in the hospital with the birth of Aaron (she didn't even visit me in the hospital considering how long I was there because she was too busy with her "bestfriend") and yet she put me in a position where I too got evicted with my husband and children because the landlord said I turned his place into a "refugee camp" by putting up their stuff and taking in my sisters.

"Refugee Camp"

Those were his exact words along with a barrage of curse words to further emphasize his upset. My baby was days out of the womb and hospital and now I had to look for a new place to live after constantly being texted and verbally assaulted by the landlord and his brother.

Once again we had no money and no place to go. We had packed our stuff and we continued to pay our rent but he wanted us gone. Even after my mum had found someplace and left in the wee hours of the night with no intention to tell us.

We were still there under the abuse until he told us that we had until Thursday. I cried so many tears until there was none left to shed.

Nieka knew everything. My husband asked his parents who had a nice big house but his mom said no. I asked my mom but she said only Ayden and Aaron, my husband and I couldn't come. I decided we were not going to beg and we cuddled up together in a corner that night. Our stuff packed away and ready for the removal truck because tomorrow was Thursday and we had no clue what we were going to do. We left early Thursday morning, our toddler and new born in tow and we didn't go back in until very late. We were trying to evade the landlord. I suppose Nieka couldn't hold it in anymore and she told her mom who called and invited us to spend the weekend with her in her home.

At least we would have somewhere to stay for the weekend so we packed up out stuff at an acquaintance house and he was more than willing to keep our stuff for a small monthly fee.

We got to my aunt late Friday night and she sat us down and made us aware that she knew what was going on, relaying her displeasure about the fact that we didn't tell her about our exorbitant affairs and she had to learn about it from Nieka instead of us. I didn't know what to say to her. I was too ashamed. She told us we could all stay with her for as long as we needed to and Sadz gave us his room. The bed was small so she got another bed for us so we could be comfortable. I choked back tears because God had rescued us and that too my aunt who had neither the space nor the means but was eager to help us.

Aaron could recover from his surgery comfortably. I thanked God.

Aunty Joan took care of us. She fed us, washed our clothes. There was never a morning that we didn't receive breakfast that our money didn't buy or an evening that we were not fed dinner that we had not contributed. She loved the boys and showed uncanny respect to my husband. Ayden got juice and snacks everyday. He loved her so much that he got excited everyday when she came home. She called Aaron her baby. She would take him in the evenings when she got home so that I could have a break. Many nights when I cried as I contemplated taking my own life she sat beside me wiping away my tears, assuring me that God would restore my family.

My already quiet husband grew even more distant. He was broken but he hid it well and then one night I heard the sobs and he confessed to me how insufficient he felt and the nightmares that haunted him because he felt he could not protect or take care of his family.

That year my aunt empowered me. Everything she did for my family would affect me for the rest of my life and I loved her even more for it.

We got a place. I didn't know the details as my husband just called me in the late even and said we moving tonight. I felt overwhelmed, even more so when I got to the house with the dirty walls and deplorable kitchen and bathroom. I had to leave my aunt a letter because everything was happening so fast and I knew she wouldn't be happy about it. I wanted to be an obedient wife and support my husband so I didn't question anything.

That night we stayed up and we washed the walls and cleaned the kitchen and bathroom. The little house looked lovely now but neither of us slept and Kevin had to go to work and I had to go to class and before any of that we had to drop off the boys at my aunt. It was like that every weekend until I finished my makeup artistry course. Something I wouldn't have done if it were not for the support and persistence of my aunt.

December we moved next door as much as I did not want to. The house was old and the renovations that they claimed to do was not very comely but my husband and I made it a home. It was his parents who had gotten us this place just like the last and we were thankful for the assistance.

This was when I started to think that maybe they did care about us and maybe possibly even love me...maybe? Or were they just saving face! I could never tell where I stood with them,

It wasn't what I was used to. It was certainly not what I wanted for my boys and so I fell into a manic state of depression. Aaron was still very young and wasn't creeping yet but the floors made me dread the day that he would start creeping about. Our toilet rocked when we sat on it and I could hear creatures running around up in the roof. There were no grills. I couldn't lay in bed and look up at the ceiling because it was patchy, dirty and reminded me daily of how far I had fallen in life. Then the rats came and I was afraid of ever having visitors. Then I snapped like a twig.

I broke down. I couldn't take it anymore. I refused to sleep and dementia set in.

My husband's family started coming around more often, particularly his mom and dad. I was happy about that. Then the frequent Sunday dinners started and I felt like I was apart of them. Then I had to stand up for my husband and tell them why he was always gone, even on Sundays. I made it clear that our life was no boat ride and that they didn't know the half of what we went through on a daily basis just to take care of the ones we brought into this world. I just really wanted the criticism to stop. I didn't want to feel unhappy anymore about my life or anything else they had an opinion about. I was doing my best, we were doing our best and I didn't need them making me feel bad or subjecting me to more work. I needed to focus and so I began avoiding meetings, conversations and dinners with them all together. Even more so when our landlord said something to me that she shouldn't have known because I had never told anyone and the only other persons who knew was myself, my husband and his family.

Let us alone. Let us breathe my heart screamed.

That was after I fell very ill earlier this year. I just didn't want to be around them anymore because they didn't really care about us and I was just so tired. I was just too tired. I had a lot on my plate and while I admit that my husband has made mistakes and forgotten one too many details, we are not perfect. None of us.

I would often have to bear dinners alone with them because he would go to work.

There was no real conversation. They didn't really care to know how we were. His mom could get upset about every little thing without even first finding out the facts. I often didn't know that she was upset or why. I was trapped in a never ending cycle with them so I decided no more dinners or reunions or anything.

In their defense I am not very hospitable. I would cater to dad-in-law any day of the week but everyone else was just...!

The dinners stopped. I wasn't sad even though I enjoyed them at first. That was before I felt like I was being taken advantage of and that my dwelling wasn't respected.

Marriage is hard work. There is so much to deal with and it can cripple you if you are not careful. I had asked my husband for a divorce. I thought it would be for the best. We no longer seemed a team and his family still treated me like an outsider. I imagined we were the only ones not invited to his sister's wedding. I know because I was working at Hope Garden's on a shoot the day we saw her taking her wedding photos.

I never know where I stand with them.

I would rather not ponder about it anymore.

My husband was devastated but I am still coming to terms with it. I suppose I didn't deserve to be there but what about him? I shrugged it off and it seems he has too until I hear him mention it days later...weeks later...months later...he laughs but I know it still kills him because I still cry at the thought that because of me my husband wasn't invited to his sister's wedding.

I tell him they love him because I know it's me they don't love and that's one of my reasons for asking for a divorce. I figured I was the reason he wasn't close to them anymore. If I was out of the picture he could do what they wanted and be who they wanted.

The rest well "You've lost yourself and I cannot do this alone."

It was him, it was the children, it was his family and then I realized it was me! It was me.

I was so focused on what everyone thought and said and did that I would make myself sick.

My husband and I did whatever we needed to make make our children's lives better and no one needed make any interjections about it. I just wish we didn't forget to be married in the process...we had become room mates instead.

I was stuck at home for months at a time, turning down events and jobs because my husband had to work, my husband is at work, my husband is working.

I hated that.

Then December 2015 I got a little carried away with the coffee rum cream and we laid spent in each other's arms after the most satisfying sex I had ever had. He slept like a baby and I sailed into the new year on cloud nine since what happened that night we repeated every night after the children had fallen asleep. We snuck out their room to have our way with each other. Our troubles were many but we drowned them out with groans and moans that we stifled in order not to wake the children. I was careless. He was different. I surrendered completely and I never knew this man had it in him to love me the way he had. I still dream about his fingers, his hands, his muscles, his grip, the brute force with which he loved me again and again.

2016 dawned prematurely and with all the new problems he reverted to working tirelessly like a dog again. He was never home. He was always working.

He's always working and I am always at home with the boys.

Even though I know why. I still get torn up about it because he makes me happy when he's around. He makes me laugh. He comforts me. He pushes me. He's that old school tune with the rhythm and blues. He's my forever even if we're still waiting on our happily ever after.

I just want him to not work so much.

I just want to feel the way I did with him back in December.

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