So there I was. This angry, angry girl who decided that if she didn’t fit in, she may as well be completely outside the box. My hair was black, my close were black, my music was loud and heavy. The most disturbing part about all of this was at 16, I understood what I was singing about and I already had a relationship with a lot of the dark, nasty stuff I was so attracted to.
I started getting sicker and sicker at high school. Still I was fed the same line – I was stressed. But I wasn’t.
Regardless of the amount of time I had off school due to failing health – I still passed, not spectacularly in some areas, but a pass none the less.
After some coercion from a teacher that I really clicked with, I put my diploma of childcare away and decided to nominate for a degree. I put in for business because economics had always really attracted me. I had no idea how big my world was about to get because of this decision.
I was accepted into a Bachelor of International Business and started at Griffith University in the year 2000. I was 17 when I started my degree and already pretty damaged. I was drinking heavily and in my first of a long line of unhealthy relationships. University was a revelation though. No one knew me or what I’d done. I started over – I made friends. All different types of friends. And I made them easily for the first time in my life.
I still didn’t conform – my hair was every colour in the rainbow and I hung out at the bar when I should have been in class, but I found my very strange ways were totally normal in these surrounds. I had seemingly found my stride, my place. Unfortunately it didn’t undo what had happened to me in the past – and for some reason I was determined to self destruct even with these good people coming into my life.
Boys came and went – and looking back now, I most certainly had a “type”. And I fell in with that type again, and again, again.
I was still strong for my gender and frame and it was still getting me into trouble… but my next lesson was designed to bring me back down to earth. I saw myself as untouchable at that stage and lashing out physically was my solution to almost every problem. Add the amount of alcohol I was pumping into my spare time… I was out of control in a very controlled manner. I was seeing this guy, much older – had a cool car. I was still young and hadn’t let people get particularly close because of my past… This guy – ended up being my first – but not my only lesson in sexual assault. We were dating – but that didn’t mean he could do whatever he wanted. Except he could – because regardless of how tough I was – he was bigger and stronger than me. This was the first problem I couldn’t fight my way out of. In fact it dawned on me as I lay there that I was going to experience more issues in life that I couldn’t hit or drink away. I was no longer my own hero.
I left him immediately after the event. He chased and stalked me for months. I went to the police – they didn’t want to know about a 17 year olds relationship turned bad. I moved back home and I was single for a long while. This latest education seemingly compounded my damaged nature… my drinking and partying got worse.
Enter my first husband. He was charming and strong and damaged almost as much as I was. We dated for two years and became engaged. Looking back now – there wasn’t any one moment when I realised it was wrong – the whole relationship was wrong. We were both so damaged in different ways there was no way in hell it was going to work. But at the age of 21, I married. My marriage lasted 18 months and I suffered through that barrage of “I told you so’s”. While we were totally wrong for each other I’m not going to sit here and bash someone that I did at one stage, love. Regardless of what happened behind closed doors. We were both responsible for the end of that relationship.
While I’ve never backed away from the responsibility in that marriage ending – the way it all went down lead me to a very very dark place. That took me 6 years to start crawling out of. Please don’t be confused – he didn’t lead me down that road the way the relationship imploded did. I was already a heavy drinker – it got worse. I started turning up to work still drunk. I was driving to work straight from whatever party I was at, stinking of bourbon and cigarettes. I was unintentionally cruel to a lot of the men in my life at that stage. I used them to the point I wouldn’t not have blamed them if they hated me. Unfortunately one of those men was my now husband. I hate that he saw the very worst of me. At the same time – we have an incredibly honest relationship because of the way it all started.
After all the bullying during junior school I thought I knew the depth of my hate. I had no idea… and in 2004 I started falling further and further down the habit hole – and it began to consume me. My own hate robbed me of any chance of seeing a situation from another perspective. Was my hate justified? This is a big and unpopular view – but no. There is no justification for hate. Because all your doing is taking away your ability to make a better decision. And I did that for the next 6 years.
I was hurt and angry and at my most broken when I was eventually diagnosed in early 2010. Which compounded everything. Why is this happening to me? What did I do to deserve this? Why? Why? Why?
By this stage I was barely in a functioning relationship, I had fallen into a workplace that mirrored my formative relationships with men, I was sick all the time and still carrying around resentment for past friendships and relationships.
I let the next 8 months slip away from me, trying to make sense of who I was now… and this has brought me to my biggest regret in life. I started processing what a healthy and meaningful relationship was in enough time to spend 2 months a person that I’ll never be able to describe. She was so incredibly special. And we lost her on the 14th of December 2010. I wish I had of spend those 8 months with this person I loved rather than wallowing in my own hatred. I’m glad I woke up in enough time to change my priorities but still – those 8 months would have been far richer by spending more time with her.
It turns out that even as she left she was still looking out for me – only the way a soul mate could. In December 2010, following the death of my best friend, I finally hit rock bottom. On top of everything else – for the first time in my life, I needed to process death. And part of that process was realising it’s not just something that happens to old people – it can happen to anyone, anytime.
Processing this death was the first time I’d processed anything in years. Perhaps, ever. When bad things happened I just added them to my bag of hate – and it was so easy. Much easier than trying to find another way.
I didn’t realise that this one decision had put me on a path away from everything I knew. But the further I get, the more obvious it becomes.