A brand new year! A chance to start things fresh. I, along with a lot of other people, have big plans for this year. Plans to make DRAMASTIC changes in my life. I made that word up last year. I liked it, so I'll be using it now and then. But with those plans for change, I decided to start a blog to document it. It's really just an electronic journal for ME, but if someone else gets something out of it......all the better.
So the big plans are:
1. Finally make the divorce final. It's been a LONG time coming. But I decided a month or so ago to save it for the new year, so as not to have to deal with the tax implications til 2012.
2. Sell my house. It's not been easy trying to deal with my bank to cash in some equity to fix it up a little. I may have to just go the short-sale route. Just get OUT of it and start fresh.
3. Take better care of my body. I've not been kind to it over the years, and I'm getting to the age where it's going to come back and bite me. There are a lot of people I'd like to stay around awhile and spend some time with, namely my kid.'
There are other smaller plans that are out there, but we can save those for later.
So you know where I plan to go. I'll figure out how to get there as I go along. But I guess I should tell you where I've been, so you know how I got to where I am.
On a cold and gray Chicago morn', a poor little baby child of muddled descent was born..........in Winston-Salem, NC. Born to Larry and Shirley, shortly after dawn on the shortest day of the year. My mother still hangs the stocking they brought me to her in from the fireplace every year. Her family was from a little town just north of the called King. Right across 52 from Tobaccoville. In the town of King, you only had to dial 3 numbers when we would visit when I was a kid. That tells you all you need to know about North Carolina.
We moved to Georgia when I was a baby. Clayton County was where we ended up. I never knew my father, as he left before I turned 2. Turns out, he had a habit of borrowing money from banks without asking nicely. So that left me, my mom and my sister to fend for ourselves. We were VERY poor. We were the family in church that people would take up collections and there would be a box on our porch Christmas morning with presents in it. I always wore hand-me-downs from the older kids. But it was a great neiborhood to be in as a kid. Lots of other kids around, and everything we did was within a block or two of the house.
We were the type of family that if the doors to the church were open, we were in it. Everything we did, for the most part, involved our church. I was a pretty happy kid. Playing baseball, riding my bike.....all that fun boy stuff.
We moved right before I turned 12, from Jonesboro to south Riverdale. So a new junior high, and new people to meet. Not as fun a neighborhood. Luckily, we were only there a year. My mother got remarried, and we moved to north Riverdale......closer to the airport. My dad worked for Delta, so it made sense to move up that way. Now you have to understand something. I will speak of my father and my dad. My father, who is responsible for me being here and my last name. That's all he ever gave me. I've spoken to him once in my life, for about an hour when I was 25. Then there's my dad. My step-dad actually, but he's earned the title of dad/ His name is Allen. A really good guy.
Now for the story of the biggest thing to affect my life. While we were living in south Riverdale, I was molested by my youth minister. It's hard to say I got off lucky, but in terms of the things that happened to the other kids involved.....I certainly did. I remember coming home from school in the spring after we moved to north Riverdale and my parents sitting me down and asking me if anything had happened. The story had already come out about another kid or two. I told them the truth and down to the police dept. we went to file a statement. I'm glad I never had to go to court for it, as one kid took all that upon himself. I never got the chance to thank him for that. So the youth minister went to prison. And I tried to move on with my life the best I could.
That, along with moving twice in a year, made my North Clayton days pretty miserable. I just didn't have the ability to let people get close to me. I knew lots of people in school, but had only a small circle of true friends. And most of them were girls......lol. Rhonda, LeeAnn, Julie, Donna, Samantha, Robbie, Larry and others I'm sure I'm forgetting. In crowds, I was ok and could fake it. I also started developing my sense of humor about this time. It helps to block out the pain if you can be funny. It's also a good defensive option.
But that happening to me made me question EVERYTHING. That God would let something like that....INTO HIS HOUSE.....I just didn't get it. Also as I'm almost 13, that's a time when I'm starting to figure out who I am. So I also questioned my "sexuality". I mean, I KNEW I liked girls....I just wondered if it was some vibe or whatever I was putting off. Like I said......a rough time.
I went off to college at the tender age of 17, after taing a year off. West Georgia was an eye opener for me. No parents to make me go to class. Parties and girls everywhere. I almost flunked out my first semester. But I pulled it together and survived the two years I got on a grant. There, I met my first serious girlfriend Tamara. We dated those two years, but eventually drifted apart. I got a wedding invitation about 5 years later at my parent's house. I was amazed she still thought of me. But I went, thinking it was the last time I'd ever see her. And it was. But the hour and a half drive in my beat up Nova was worth it.
I bounced around the next few years working here & there, dating various women (including a "dancer" at the Goldrush). In my early 20's I decided to just start living my life for me. To stop trying to make other people happy. I stopped going to church. I still had my faith, just not in the church. God and I had a nice little talk and came to an understanding. I did some very unsafe things in those days. Nothing really I regret though, as it's part of what made me ME.
Then in 1994, I met my wife to be. I was managing a pizza joint in Riverdale. The Korean family that owned it had another store in Norcross. They needed help one night with drivers at that store. They let me use their car and go up there. I delievered to her house. I kept her number off the slip and called her a few days later. And there it started. We talked for over a month before we went out the first time. Things moved pretty quickly. I moved in with her, and started managing the Norcross location. That was July. By September, we were engaged. We got married in December of 95. Nice wedding in a GORGEOUS church. One of those big Catholic behemoths. She got me going back to church again, but hers was one of those really cliquish "who's wearing and driving what" kinda churches. It turned me right back off and I was done with church again.
We wound up buying a house in Flowery Branch in 96, which I still own today. We tried to have kids, unsuccessfully, for awhile. We even went to fertility doctors at one point. The news was never good. So we finally gave up. It was ostly a good marriage, though. Around 9 years in or so, things really started to change. She stopped working as much, as she lost customers. She's a nail technician. The industry fluctuates, I get it. But it got to where she was home 4 or 5 days a week. Money started getting tighter, so I worked more. But then she started letting the house get dirty. Everything that kinda got worse and eventually we seperated. At first we didn't get divorced because of her being Catholic. They are not fans of divorce. But during the early time of our seperation, we "got together" out of need and familiarity. One of those times turned into our little son.
I still remained close with her family, even going to holiday get-togethers like we always did. Well, Christmas three years ago at her mother's, she dropped the bombshell that she was pregnant! I was SOOO not ready for that. The plan that year was to go to my parents alone, as I was dating a fantastic woman who lived right down the street from my parents. But that all changed with the news. I had to call "D" and explain to her that I wouldn't be coming by for Christmas now. We talked and she, understandably, decided that was a situation she couldn't handle. The good news is, we're still good friends today. There was a year after that that wasn't so good. But she called me on it and we're ok.
There were other women after that, to varying degrees of success. And then I met "7". She had been coming to my trivia gigs with some friends and somewhere out of just chatting one night on facebook, we hit it off. She came to my trivia show and hung out December 30, 2009. Something clicked there that night and we wound up making out in the rain after the show.
There's SO much more to talk about with her. But I need to cut to the chase. This girl was IT for me. My wife and I had always had the understanding that we'd stay "married" for tax and insurance purposes, with the knowledge that there would come a day we'd have to make it officially over. With 7, I knew that day was here. So we had the talks and things got moving.........somewhat.
My wife had been living with her mom and step-dad the entirety of our seperation. His father had died a few years ago. His mother was getting to where she couldn't live alone anym ore and would need to move in with them, which meant wife and kid would need to find a place to go. She approached me and asked if they found nowhere else, could they move back into the guest bedroom. I was taken aback and said I had to talk to 7 about it. And she was understandably not happy with the idea of wife moving back into the house. Well, late April came and she said she had nowhere to go. So I let them move into the guest bedroom. I was doing what I thought I needed to do to take care of my kid. Where I royally messed up was by not telling 7 I'd done it.
And she eventually found out in July. I had been trying to work things out in the interim. To find a place for me, or them, to go. I even had hopes that maybe 7 would ask me to move in and it would just take care of itself. Also back in March, I had lost my job at one radio station. It would be a month before I caught on where I work now, a sports radio station here in Atlanta. So money was very tight. I couldn't afford to just up and get another place. I was stuck.
And that was the beginning of the end of 7 and I. We went through periods of trying to make it work, one day at a time. But we were just going through a long goodbye. She is an AMAZING woman that I wish nothing but the best for. She was the one that made me realize all these changes needed to be made. Not for her, but for me and my kid...........and for any other woman that might come my way. I started going to therapy to figure out why I tend to self-destruct things that make me happy. Also to deal with past issues, like the youth minister. Things I'd carried for far too long.
We're working on being friends now, and that makes me happy. I just saw her last night and we had a good time with her pals. Unfortunately, I was far too tired and didn't see the new year come in.
But things are lining up for me. I have some truly fantastic people in my life. I'll talk much more about them as this moves along. I hope I wasn't too long winded today.
Happy New Year to everyone!