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The Great Escape

This is the third part to a series of blogs that I will be posting. These are very, very personal stories. The events I share were impactful and part of my journey which formed the path to where I am today. I have kept names out to protect those involved. These are my stories from my recollection. Drug use, binge drinking, and physical abuse will be described throughout the series.

Summer of 2006 was awesome! I subbed as a special education assistant in summer school a few times, but more or less I was free all summer. G and I had started to talk again here and there. Still lots of jealousy and mistrust, but we tried to remain friends and date casually. We agreed to go camping together at Kern River. It was my first time camping and he was quite an experienced camper, so we were fully prepared for this adventure. Lazy days fishing and floating in the Kern; life was good. He accused me of flirting with a fellow camper whom we met there and hung out with one evening. Nothing had changed. He was still quite jealous and possessive. I started therapy as well thinking it would help me to learn how to be a more effective communicator and understand why I kept returning to this unhealthy, toxic relationship. The therapy didn't last long. Of course, I was accused of sleeping with my therapist.

During that time, I was being processed to work as a substitute teacher for LAUSD as I was beginning my credential program at CSUN and so was G. I was still living in North Hollywood with my friend and going out with her having a great single girl time. I mean, I was technically single and ready to mingle. I had to keep the relationship with G light; nothing too serious. Yet, we hung out everyday. A weekend turned into a week and before I knew it, I was basically living back at his apartment. We agreed when summer was over, I'd go back to living at my place.

The Fall semester started and I was enrolled full-time in a credential program and working as a sub. Not too long after school started, I landed a job at my old school site teaching a high-functioning Autism program. Things were looking good. School was good. Work was great. We both started to see other people and we decided it was time to severe the cord. Christmas was fast approaching and an old boyfriend contacted me. Perhaps it was time to rekindle that romance and see where things would lead. G was far from my mind. I celebrated Christmas and New Year's Eve with my roomie and 2007 looked promising . . . until my cell phone rang at 3am on January 1st.

It was G. What a surprise. He called from a payphone, knowing I wouldn't have picked up if it was his cell. He had attended a party at Paramount Pictures and was stuck at the North Hollywood subway station. After much convincing, I went to pick him up. It was customary in our apartment to have our male overnight guests leave their shoes by the door so we'd know someone had company over. My roommate was floored when she saw who the shoes belonged to. Trust me, I was still in shock that I picked him up. We spent New Year's Day together and hiked with our dog in Porter Ranch.

Things started to get serious with G again. And I found myself staying more nights at his place than at mine. We did this for a couple of months and decided it would be a good idea to try living together again. We began to look for apartments in Glendale since that was a half-way point to both of our school sites. We rented this cute two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment just off Brand Blvd. Things were feeling good. But old habits die hard.

G and I were headed to a Dodger game one evening after work when we got into another bad fight. I was ready to leave and was getting in my car to go to when he came storming out to my car, swung the car door open and pulled me out by my hair. I was sobbing uncontrollably, I felt humiliated. I was pretty sure a neighbor saw me crying on the ground. I went inside, cleaned myself up and off we went to the game. Like nothing happened. I can't even remember what we were fighting about. Around this time, I had experienced my first panic attack. I had no idea what it was. I just thought I was super anxious and didn't think much of it. But now realizing that I was under a great deal of stress and didn't have any helpful tools to rely on, except booze.

As usual, we had tickets for a show down in Irvine. It was KROQ's annual Weenie Roast and Fiesta. We had booked a room to stay overnight since we knew we'd be drinking all day and enjoying the festivities at the show. The night before the concert, we got into an awful fight. Again, I cannot recall what the fight was about. As we were screaming at each other, I pushed over a large speaker that had a lit candle burning on it spilling hot wax all over the carpet. This enraged G, he chased me into the bedroom where he began to choke me on the bed. In the struggle, I thought he broke my nose when it started to bleed. He said, "Call the cops, but they won't believe you!" And the sad part was, I actually believed him. So, I didn't call the police. That's when something inside me awakened. I told myself this has to be over or he IS going to kill me. I stayed in the other room that night, but we still went to the concert together. For the most part we had a good time, trying to get over last night's fight. But of course, I was always doing something to displease him. This time, I had peed in some bushes where he was sure other men could see me. Those lines were long at the ladies' room and it was a serious emergency. I couldn't hold it any longer. Immediately after, he said it's time to go. But it was still early, most of the bands we wanted to see hadn't even played yet. He ended up leaving me at the concert and continued to text me to get my "ass back to the hotel or I'm leaving without you." In an act of defiance, I stayed. Listened to the rest of the show and left at the end. I was so drunk, I don't know how I walked back to the hotel safely. Of course, G had lied and said that the hotel wouldn't let me stay, but they did. The next morning, he came and picked me up. Again, I packed a bag and left. I escaped to my ex's Mom and Step-Dad's house in Granada Hills. I stayed there until I found an apartment.

I had finally escaped. I was out. I had my own place and I was ready to move on and heal. I couldn't believe who I had become. I had to learn how to do things alone again. I used to be fearless and I let him take that from me. When men would look at me or start a conversation with me I couldn't understand why. I felt so broken. Couldn't they see it? I didn't feel attractive or worthy of any man's attention. To remind myself that I wouldn't ever find myself in a relationship like that again, I decided to tattoo "Love" and "Happiness" on the inside of my wrists. A constant reminder to accept nothing less. No more walking on eggshells in fear that I would do something that would end our relationship. I was in constant fear that he was going to break up with me over some mistake I made. He reminded all the time of the stupid things I had done and the constant threat of him leaving me. He was quite charming and good at manipulating me. I thought he was what I wanted until I realized I deserved to live my life without living in constant fear and worry.


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