To keep my family protected, I have decided to keep my full identity safeguarded until I have had the opportunity to discuss this with each of them. This is their story also and I was not the only one affected by the “chaos”. Unfortunately at times, as the youngest of three girls I was the one being protected. My sisters especially (who I owe everything) were four and six years older than me and have many more vivid memories of our harsh upbringing.
My name is Samantha, but those that are closest to me call me “Sam”. Project Clarity is a passion project of mine, that I hope will bring me to a deeper sense of “Clarity” that I have found mostly this year. As you will find out if you choose to read further, my life was pure chaos prior to the Summer of 2016. There were more downs than ups. More bad days, than good. It took hitting what I felt like was my “rock bottom” for me to be able to see that I needed to make a very drastic change or life was going to slip right by me as I wallowed in my own self inflicted misery. A series of events occurred over the past 3 years:
- A divorce from a man I knew since I was 12 years old. The “Dad”, but not biological father of my now 12 year old daughter. A man I was in a relationship with for eight years. It was a very turbulent relationship that started at a time when both of us really did not have our own identity and I believe were “lost”. We clung to each other through the many downs, but also some very wonderful ups. We tried, but failed miserably. Today I am happy to say that we are both in a happy and steady place.
- A move from our beautiful home in the Houston Suburbs where we chose to live to provide our daughter with the best environment and education to the City of Houston. Relocating was very difficult for my daughter after the divorce. Moving my child from her beautiful home to a small apartment in the City felt like I was uprooting her. I felt like I was taking away everything from her that she knew and loved. I lived with immense guilt, but did the best I could by moving to one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the City to send her to the school she went to for her first two school years.
- Adjusting to a new life where it was now just me and my daughter. There were many financial burdens when you go from two incomes to one. Especially when your husband provided two thirds of your previous household income. I asked for nothing from the divorce. He got was his and I kept what was mine. He had no legal obligation or rights to our child and her biological father has hardly paid a cent.
- Adjusting to being alone and very single. Having spent my entire life in only two relationships, this was very new for me. The constant, the “consistency” that I thrived on was no longer there. The dating scene provides very little of what most are looking for and what I was obviously not ready for.
- When I did decide to date, it was brutal. I never have had a problem with getting dates and the men…ohhh the array of men I dated. Young, middle-aged, 15 years my senior…Caucasian, Hispanic and everything the melting pot of Houston had to offer…business owners, lawyers, an orthopedic surgeon, a professional soccer player and I decided to ultimately see the man I called my “best friend” for five years.
- Yes, my “best friend”. Looks bad already doesn’t it? Yes, my divorcee past coworker that I befriended along with another coworker. We were the three musketeers, “Sam”, “V” and “NB”. If you think I couldn’t complicate my life more, she was in love with him and I actually thought they would be “thing” for years. She herself was going through a separation and we all attached to one another. But what do I decide to go and do? Ahhh, you know…forcefully attach myself to him at a time when I was probably searching for something familiar and consistent.
- If I could title this relationship, I would call it “PROJECT TORTURE”. A divorcee of only two years, (I believe) he was still in love with his ex-wife and was then seeing a very unstable mother of two. Attractive, but with very low self-esteem he allowed her to railroad him just like his wife did. He was kind, generous and had a bleeding heart for people. All the things I had never experienced with any man in my life. Foolishly, I allowed the type of love you have for best friend turn into something a lot more complicated for two adults that were unstable and emotional.
- With the many complications of this best friend/romantic relationship and a life that had recently been turned upside down, I sought relief…I was a walking time bomb, bottling everything up…tick, tick, ticking away. At the same time that I was trying to manage my own feelings of having my own world shaken, I was also trying to be a Mom, a full time employee and everything for everyone else. I convinced myself that I had it under control. I could manage it all, do it all…but to my own devastation, I realized that I am not a super human…and that I couldn’t handle it all…and that’s when I felt myself quickly falling apart.
- What does one turn to when they want to escape from reality? I should have known and understood this coming from a family of addicts. My escape of choice was alcohol. Socially acceptable and I had convinced myself that I was just having fun. I was an adult, I did everything for myself and by myself…but I didn’t realize until now is that I was beginning to become my father. You couldn’t tell me what to do, how to do it and I was never to be challenged. I was in control or at least that is what I convinced myself.
- Three life changing things happened within a 9 month period. All things that could have potentially been prevented had I come to my senses of my behavior sooner. After a major falling out with my “best friend” NB, I really felt alone. At that time, he felt like the only person I could talk to or that understood me…and that’s when all I wanted to do was numb myself from the constant bad feelings I was having about my life.
- #1 My First Eye Opens A night out with a few new friends after a very sad and lonely 31st birthday turned into a morning waking up in a hospital bed. You never understand true terror until you wake up in a clouded state only to feel that your wrists and ankles are all tied to a hospital bed. A nurse looked up from the corner of the room seated and asked, “Do you know where you are ma’am and why you are here?” Tears flowing from my eyes, I groggily explained that no I didn’t. Fight or flight kicked in as confusion and anxiety flowed through my body. I flailed, cried and begged her to let me out. She explained that I was a risk to myself and that until I calmed down she wouldn’t be able to let me out of the restraints. Unidentified, security from a hotel near where I was saw a man with a woman walking towards an elevator with a woman thrown over his shoulder. I was that woman. Security footage later showed the man with me seated at the hotel bar feeding me more drinks. Not only had he drugged me, he also continued to poison me with more alcohol. That security guard saved me what could have been a lot worse of an outcome, but you never walk away from a situation like that undamaged. It took me almost a week to get out of bed. I couldn’t wrap my mind around how someone could have done that. His face still haunts me. I remember the devilish glare this man gave me when he offered to buy me a drink and I rudely declined. The last memory I have was of the smirk he had on his face as if I was now a “challenge”.
- #2 My Second Eye Opens You can probably get through life with one eye, but I am sure we can all agree that having two eyes is better than one. Instead of coping with what happened to me, I forced the memory to the back of my mind. Possibly even good enough to convince myself that it never really happened.