For Better or For Worse, I'm Standing By My Man
Twenty years of resentment just snuck up on me one day and I was flabbergasted at the realization of my unhappiness. For as long as I could remember, all the way back to my distraught childhood, I had a makeshift bubble around me inside of which no one could harm me-- mentally, physically, or emotionally. As I grew older, I kept that bubble-shield if you will- around me wherever I went. It was my protection. It kept me from getting hurt or witnessing the hurt all around me. I smiled big, looked people in the eye, kept my posture straight. No one would know that my heart pounded inside my chest so loud it made my head hurt, or when it was becoming my time to talk, my mouth was already drying out, and that my knees knocked when I did speak articulately. I laughed out loud, worked out, and dressed confidently. Family, close friends, and onlookers thought I had it going on.
I met my husband while I was a stripper at a downtown club in Minneapolis. In my eyes, he was adorable standing out from the slicksters who were all eyes and paws. I danced for him, he showed me respect. I informed him of the little girl I had waiting for me at home, she was my priority and the only reason I was hugging this pole was for her. He wasn't turned off by that. He remembered my phone number and called; we fell hard and in love with each other. My daughter took to him as I did and our lives flowed naturally. We married and I was destined to have a marriage/family that didn't hold any of the abuse I suffered as a child and from the hands of my daughters "sperm donor".
Image: Adriel O. Socrates via Flickr
Being the young newlyweds that we were, my husband and I faced some pretty hectic times but we seemed to be a great team. I stopped stripping because he didn't like it now that we were official; he didn't want other men seeing me in all my naked glory. I understood and found a traditional job at a prominent fitness facility where I rocked the front desk. Men, women, and children fell in love with my upbeat attitude and I loved the fact that I could stay in tip top shape for free and collect a paycheck. There were many events, some work-related, others personal from fellow employees and every time I'd get invited, I never showed up. My husband always found a way for us to stay in. This happened for years. I used to love to dance at night clubs where he took me a couple of times, then the dancing ended all together.
I had always been the social butterfly even though I had my anxiety issues, I was always the life of any party, whether it was a Mary Kay shindig or a kids birthday party. That, too, came to an end. I thought, "I'm married, I have a family, and this is what my life is now." But there was that nagging part of me that kept calling out, "Tasha, where are you?!" I wound up working at the same job as my husband upon his request, and Happy Hours were pretty much mandatory for employees on Friday nights. There, I was the life of the party again just having a good time sipping on one margarita (I wasn't a heavy drinker), letting the week fall behind me. My husband would become sullen and not speak to me for days accusing me of wanting other men's attention. He couldn't have been more wrong. All of a sudden I was at home every Friday night. Again, I justified my distance from people by accepting my new introversion.
Life went by with me in my happy bubble of a marriage. My husband and I built a wonderful little life together adding three more children. Everyone was healthy and no one was being physically abused as I once was. This was the American dream. But it didn't dawn on me that even though I wasn't being physically abused, I had been being emotionally abused for many years by a man who was so insecure he had to keep me locked at his side at all times. I asked him straight out why after he accused me of "flirting" with our male neighbors when I was simply talking about all of our children.