It was August 1997 and I was coming up on my one-year wedding anniversary, which my then-husband and I had decided to celebrate with my father, stepmom, and very young sisters who had not attended the civil ceremony one year prior.
I was also 5’ish months pregnant, and had been alone in our apartment for about 3 weeks while my husband was on some special military training and completely unreachable.
Prior to him going to his military training, he told me NOT to pay the rent until the landlord fixed the leak that we had in the kitchen. I listened to him, mostly because we barely had enough money to complete the rent so this would buy me some time, and partly because I was afraid of his reaction if I didn’t listen.
While he was gone, I received a 3-day notice to pay or vacate the apartment. I panicked and called the renters bureau of Los Angeles who advised me that it was my responsibility to pay my rent. She said that along with the rent payment, I was to include a letter to the landlord specifying the repairs that were necessary. The landlord then had 30 days to take care of the issues. If I withheld rent payment, my landlord had every right to evict me, regardless of the living conditions. I listened, scraped up enough money to pay the rent and got that cleared up.
A few days later, on the day that I was expecting my husband to return from training, I left a note in the apartment telling him to find me at the laundromat around the corner. We were scheduled to leave to my father’s for the weekend for our anniversary celebration, and I wanted to get things done before we left.
When he showed up at the laundromat, he was his usual funny & loving self until I brought him up to speed with the rent… then he turned into his usual puffed-up and threatening self. He yelled a few things at me; something about “commands” which my terror and humiliation blocked out. He stormed out of the laundromat and left me behind, crying and folding. A little old man who was busy doing his laundry had witnessed the whole thing, and then kindly helped me load the duffel bags of clean clothes into the back of my tattered car (that’s a WHOLE other story for another time).
When I got home, he was fuming because I had “disobeyed his direct orders!” That is exactly what he said to me, that I had disobeyed his direct orders! YEAH, I HAD! And thanks to that, we had a place to live! He didn’t care and he wasn’t listening to me, so I started packing.
I didn’t have any suitcases or weekender bags of the sort. I had very large military-issued duffle bags that could fit a corpse, and I had plastic market bags. I used the market bags to pack.
He didn’t like that I was ignoring him. He didn’t like that I was pursuing the plans at my father’s. I don’t really know WHAT he wanted; I just knew that I did not want to be there.
He grabbed my bags, tore them up, threw my belongings everywhere and said that I wasn’t leaving. I smelled my favorite perfume gushing out of the glass bottle in some corner of the room, and I went to reach for the next bag in his hand. The last bit I remember was me, flying across the room, and then nothing.
When I woke up, I was on the bed, and he was kneeling next to me, GRAY AS F*CK, scared, and apologizing to me for what had done. He swore it would never happen again, and I forgave him.
We packed a few things and took off merrily to my father’s house for the weekend.
When we arrived, my father could tell that something was off. He immediately asked if things were OK. I fidgeted and lied to him. “Yes, just feeling tired, that’s all.”
During dinnertime, he asked again, “what’s going on with you two?” This time, I summoned up the courage to tell him what had occurred, thinking that he would have my back. Thinking that he would defend and protect his daughter. Here’s what I got instead:
Father: so you’re telling me that your husband told you not to pay the rent until the landlord fixed the problems in the apartment?
Father: and you took it upon yourself to ignore that when you were told that you’d be thrown out in the street if you didn’t pay your rent?
Father: well, I’ll tell you whose fault it is. It’s your fault. Your job is to always listen to your husband, whether you think he’s right or not. You don’t go against your husband’s wishes. This could have all been avoided had you done what your husband told you to do.
Me: [Jaw drops. What more is there to say?]
Amiga, you’re probably angry as you read this. Angry at me for being such a weakling. Angry at my ex-husband for being so abusive. Angry at my father for being such a chauvinist macho. Angry at YOURSELF for tolerating hurtful things and not knowing what to do about them.
For years, I didn’t want to share my life stories because I didn’t want to upset anyone – not the people involved, and not the people reading it. So, why now? Because empowering women by sharing my stories and my skills as a life coach are how I help eradicate the patriarchal belief systems that have ruled our lives for far too long!
Everything that we’ve gone through – individually, and collectively as women – has prepared us for this exact moment. The moment where we say, “ENOUGH! I deserve better and I want more out of life!”
Whatever you’re craving, it’s for you. Whatever you’re dreaming of, it’s for you. And I’m here to teach you how to get that for yourself. I’m here to equip you with powerful tools that will help you discover just how powerful you already are, and all the greatness that you can do with your strengths.
I didn’t magically wake up one day BEING this person. I continued to bruise and bleed along the way – jumping from one marriage to another, in and out of unhealthy relationships with men, until ultimately settling for nothing less than absolute respect and belief in myself and from a loving partner.
What became possible for me, is possible for you. If any of this resonates with you, I want to you check out The Woman’s Coaching Club, where you’ll evolve From Frustrated to Fierce and learn to think & feel better about yourself so you can create a confident & empowered life. Go to members.healthandvida.com to learn more and to become a Fierce Member! I look forward to seeing you in The Club!