I Am Learning To Love Myself: Mara’s Story, Part Three
HA note: The author’s name has been changed to ensure anonymity. “Mara” is a pseudonym.
< Part Two
His mother didn’t like me, I had a free-spirit locked inside a 40 year old woman. Every now and then my free spirit would come out and I would do things that are a little crazy (like jump in a pool at a new years party with some of the other girls — and yes, we were clothed). All of my family were late bloomers and didn’t hit puberty until 16-18 but, once we did, we all ended up having the body of swimsuit models.
Being tall, small-boned, with D+-cups and a nice butt and legs, is the worst thing that can happen to a homeschool girl.
No matter what you wear, if the wind hits right, or if the shirts too baggy can make you “immodest.”
We were on a thrift store budget and most shorts and dresses that look good on other girls look like daisy dukes and mini-dresses on us. Anyways, his mother hated my clothes, she felt I dressed too provocatively (I mean a t-shirt and fingertip length or longer shorts, or dresses). I had a figure and she hated it. I also was passionate and intelligent. I was starting to gain a little independence and her family was huge into the umbrella concept. She ran the house and hated that her son liked me and would look down her nose at me every time she saw me.
I had never been alone with anyone, and one night when we were alone, we started kissing and before the night was over we were pretty much naked. I felt so bad and so guilty, even though we hadn’t physically had sex. I felt as if I had sinned so much that there was no going back and I had to marry him. Not soon after, I lost my virginity to him. He proposed shortly after, largely due to how much pressure I was placing on him. I had grown up believing my body was my husband’s and that I should never deny him sex if he wanted it.
When we are told that, sex is your gift for your husband and you are only worth your virginity. Once you lose it, you place all your future on that person. You feel as if you have to marry him or no other man will want you. But, we finally broke it off after he told me that he thought a women was supposed to do exactly what her authority figure said, even if there was a bible verse that contradicted it.
I went through a very severe bout of depression after that. I ended up telling my mother what had happened and my mother ate it up. She loved having her little baby back. Anytime I tried to gain any sort of independence she would always bring up how much sin I had gotten in on my own. I had lost any ability to feel by this time. I started trying to date again, I was so numb and wary then, it made life difficult. Unbeknownst to me, my mother signed me up for a Christian dating website and reached out to a couple of the men on their without my knowledge eventually gifting me the website as a “present.” I tried to date one of them, but I could sense that something wasn’t quite right with him and ended up breaking it off before I was invested at all.
After that, I just really didn’t care anymore.
I thought ‘if the “good, Christian boy” hadn’t treasured me at all, why don’t I find someone on the opposite end of the spectrum?’ I also started to reason that if guys were just after sex, I would just give my body away and anyone who stayed after that might be worth getting to know. For me, I had already given away my precious jewel, so what did I have to lose just letting everyone else have it? At least then, I didn’t have to spend the time, energy, and trust vetting them out. I had started MMA and absolutely loved it, but met one of the guys from there who had little ambition in his life, smoked/dealt weed all day long, was not attractive, and had no job. So I went home with him one night, I was so numb. I remember, I just couldn’t take it and it began to hurt because I wasn’t into it so I made him stop and went home crying. I snuck into the house and didn’t tell a soul for the longest time.
A couple of months after, I met a guy at work, he worked insurance and we had been put together one day. I talked back and forth with him and he had a good personality — it was easy to talk to him and he could make me laugh. Later that week he made me a flower out of a post-it note and a paperclip and asked me on a date. He had been the first guy to ask me on a date ever without me having to manipulate them into asking. I decided I had had enough with courting and trying to find the man I was going to marry and decided to just have fun. When he picked me up, his car had the faint smell of smoke in it and I wondered if he was a smoker. He took me ice-skating, then to dinner which he ordered for me and bought the most expensive item (my first filet), and then to his house for a movie. We lay down together and started kissing, but I left before anything else happened.
I wasn’t physically attracted to him, I just was desperate to feel something — anything.
He was fun. He didn’t ask about me and he didn’t condemn any of my choices. I could just be with him, without having to divulge anything. He didn’t pressure me for sex either.
Our next date I ended up staying the night and I was always the one who initiated, I wanted to see what would happen if he could have it anytime, how he would treat me once he had gotten “ what he wanted.” On our third date he told me that he wanted to marry me, and my heart started racing, I had never had to go slower than the guy in the relationship. He had told me he had been into drugs and alcohol as a kid but had been clean for several years.
I had finally found the good medium between a “good, Christian boy” and a bad-boy — a reformed bad boy.
He started coming to church and loved the attention from our one elder. He stopped smoking and started reading the Bible. We were still spending many nights together, but I just kept that our secret. My mother would grow suspicious, but I would talk her out of those saying that I had had to work that night — she heard what she wanted to and it wasn’t hard to convince her.
After three months of dating, we went to the justice of the peace and got married, alone. I was afraid that after much more time, the church was going to find something wrong with him and forbid my dating him. By this time, the church had dwindled down to one family and 2 men and me. One of them was a single father, the other was a father of a big family who had separated from the church. They were particularly hard on men and felt that if they showed anyone the “truth” any truth and they didn’t immediately convert, they were in sin.
I went ahead and got married so that I could be under the authority of someone who didn’t try to control me – someone I could manipulate. I had gotten rather good at underhanded and submissive manipulation. My great aunt had a finished basement, complete with kitchen, so we moved in there. After being interrupted a couple of times, we decided we had to move out. He had told me he wanted a bunch of kids before we were married, but, after I miscarried our first, he changed his mind.
They sent me home with some narcotic pain medicine for the miscarriage, but I didn’t like it and only took a couple. A couple of months later, I had a migraine headache and went looking for the medication, only to find out it was completely empty. My husband made an excuse about his neck hurting and that he had had to take. Before we were married, he had told me that he had had an addiction to this same medication in the past and I questioned him about it, but he told me that I had misheard him and that hadn’t been the case. Pretty soon, he was going to several different doctors about his back and neck pain until they finally started prescribing him narcotics. Over the next couple of years, they escalated the dose until he could barely keep his eyes open, but all he said is that it wasn’t enough.
I had grown up very sheltered — I hadn’t been around an addict or drunk before.
Unless they had a bottle in their hand, I had to be told when someone was drunk. I didn’t know what a bong was, I didn’t know what a pipe was. Nursing school and the internet had taught me what sex was and I used urban dictionary to pick look up references my friends or patients made.
Soon after the heavy narcotic use, my husband lost his job and one of our cars broke down. He stayed home all day, and wouldn’t let me use the car for anything (one that had been bought with my pre-marriage savings) he would drive me places, but he would fall asleep at the wheel while driving me to work and I would have to wake him up while we were driving. I would tell him to text me when he got home, so that I would know that he had made it home alive and that he hadn’t crashed into someone else.
I would discuss my fears with a nurse I worked with who was a former addict and one day he made a joke that you know how addicted someone is if you flush their medicine down the toilet. This was brilliant, I had wanted to take all his medicines for a while, but didn’t know where to hide them were he couldn’t find them. I thought that if I could just get him sober he would see what he had done and want to stop. I flushed half of his pills down the toilet and hid the rest of them in a tampon wrapper.
When he woke up, he flew into a rage.
He started yelling at me, throwing my stuff on the floor, taking all of my credit cards and IDs, he picked me up and threw me on the bed. He sat on top me yelling “You stupid bitch! Why would you do that?” He raised his hand as if to hit me and I looked into his eyes and told him that if he was “going to hit/kill me to go ahead.” I really thought I was facing my death and I didn’t want to leave earth without him seeing the defiance in my eyes.
I wanted that image to haunt him as long as he lived.