So here it is. My very first blog post on this newest blog of mine for 2018. Every year I like to start a new blog, fill it up with all sorts of words, thoughts, photos and memories to look back on, and occasional videos, but never have I ever shared one publicly. As I sit here now with 0 followers typing, I feel a sort of sickness coming on, knowing that I am about to let everything out, hit the publish button in a few short minutes and let my vulnerabilities show. I thought about how I wanted to present this first “about me” post. I could start off by writing about who I am now, my life as a mom, my daughter, our interests, our hobbies, the daily struggles and the most amazing things that have happened, but I’ve decided I’ll get to that later. Instead, since this is a place dedicated for me to get all the thoughts out of my cramped little head, I’m going to do something different. I’m going to write about the title of this very first blog post of mine, a line from a song by Jimmy Buffet, and how eight years ago I took a trip Wild Rivers with my family and our close family friends in our lazy-daze camper and wound up at Jimmy Buffet’s festival inside of the Verizon amphitheater parking lot (also what was the wild rivers parking lot) instead. How we arrived there early, before all the other RV’s and Campers had arrived, and how when we were about to leave we were trapped in a parade of hundreds decked out in festive flamingos, streamers and palm trees with banners that said “Mageritaville, and Cheeseburger’s in Paradise” with corresponding music blasting from all directions. I’ll tell you about how we all laughed, and how we even blasted our own music from our camper we were all jammed into, and how we sung out loud the lyrics to this song, and the others in unison. But what I didn’t know, was that this would be the last trip sans-Lilah that we would all take together, or the impact that these lyrics would have on the rest of my life.
Everything that happened shortly after seems relatively text-book after that. I would graduate high-school with the intention of attending fancy art school in Journalism at 18 years old. I would finally go through my “rebel girl” phase. I would meet someone that would quickly sweep me off my feet, someone “artistically creative” in a band. I would get a septum piercing. I would fall “madly in love”. I would drop out of college, we would live together for a couple years, sometimes living together in the car because he’d get kicked out. Things would gradually corrode until nothing but isolation, jealousy, and verbal abuse was a daily occurrence. (What I’ve since learned to be the cycle of violence and the “honeymoon phase” and the “I’m so sorry I’ll never do it again” constantly coming back to me, and me naively taking it, ignoring all the key signs). I guess I felt stockholm syndrome in a way, in the sense that I felt obligated to stay with someone that was clearly not good. Then one day, when I was 20, I knew it was the end. My beautiful little 8lb, 5oz bundle was born, after not seeing her father for the last 3 months during my pregnancy he blew up in a fit of rage over the name I choose for her. He took her out of my arms post c-section, screaming about it, kicking my hospital bed yelling “you better have security come in here, and you better have them take this child away from me”. Never have I ever felt more pain in my life. Fight or flight kicked in- I rushed up from my hospital bed, nearly falling over, not even a day healed from surgery. I clung to the walls and forced myself to the front desk yelling for someone to help. It wasn’t the pain from the surgery I could feel though, it was the pain from knowing that I had to leave her in the room for that short amount of time-which stood still- to ask for help. Security quickly came, and then the cops arrived. He ended up being banned from Hoag hospital, and I spent my maternity leave vowing to protect the girl that saved my life. Court followed shortly after, and I represented myself, with “more than enough evidence” to prove that he was unfit as a father, gaining me 100% full custody until she’s 18, that will be a different story, but it’s still my biggest victory. Swarms of people came up to me that day, those that had been in the courtroom listening for the five + hours of our case. People who congratulated me, and people who came up to me confused asking how I ever got involved with “someone like that”. I still question myself sometimes, yet I wouldn’t have traded any of it for anything. So here I am, 5 years later, working, and blogging and going to school for nursing like the ones that helped me so, happier than ever to be living a life unbound, growing with my best friend by my side, forever loving and loved by Lilah.
(PS. I know getting help can be hard, but if you or anyone you know may be a victim of domestic violence, there are plenty of steps to keep safe, and hotlines to call. Feel free to reach out.)