Ok...where did I leave off? Oh yeah! The "StepFather". I refer to him as this often....sometimes I call him "the one who shall remain nameless". My mom began dating him when I was 12...Ok I can already hear the laughter from people who know me well. (the running joke is that everything happened to me when I was 12.) It was a pivotal year, SUE ME! I won't speak for my sisters, but I never liked him.
He tried to be nice when they were dating, but nobody really understands the betrayal that you feel when your parents divorce and move on. Everybody loses something at first, then slowly your parents gain new relationships and in my case I rarely saw my dad so I lost everything. I lost both parents. I could talk to them, but I was never their joint priority like it's supposed to be.
I don't believe for a second that my mom thought that is what she was doing. I don't believe that she was being intentionally cruel. I think she wanted a companionship with someone. I think she was by herself, doing everything by herself, and she needed someone, but in her search for inclusion...she excluded us. We were not a part of this new endeavor...not that we made it easy either...we FOUGHT her...I FOUGHT HER. I don't think I even knew that I felt excluded...I just felt like "You can't just keep changing things on us. You don't even ask or prepare, you just do and we have no choice, but to follow along." My mom wanted to marry him. I guess you know where my vote lied. I have never been an activist in my life, but the closest I have ever been is the "You can't marry that asshole" campaign.
Needless to say my attempts were futile.
The heart wants what it wants and my mom's heart wanted it soooo bad that she sent us to stay with a friend of hers on "vacation" for a week. When we came back, we went to my grandma's house...I will never forget this day as long as I live. It was dark and stormy and the power went out. My grandma had been acting weird all day. Fidgety, too many hugs. (yes, there is such a thing) and then it slipped out...my mom was getting married....TOMORROW!
Have you ever been sad? Have you ever been so sad that you felt crazy? Like you were not you. You were outside of you, laughing at how pathetic you were, which just made you more sad? How about the emptiness? Did you feel it? Starts in your throat and is so oppressive it eats it's way down until you're a shell? You're a shell with weighted arms and legs.? You cry so hard and so loud that the sound can't escape your cavernous self? When the sound finally comes, the built up force of it steals your breath as it breaks free and you hyperventilate? I have. This was the day.
Of course, things evened out and despite the fact that I was angry and even more alone than ever there became a day to day routine and you just get used to the pain...that is until the "StepFather" rears his ugly head. Despite the fact that he had married a woman with extra pounds and her three fat kids, this was not longer acceptable to him. He was going to fix his problem and his problem was us. This is when the diet started.
The diet consisted of unwavering boredom. Fish with lemon and season salt, salad with no dressing. Cheerios 1/2% milk, no sugar...on Saturdays we could have 1 tsp. of sugar, tuna no mayo, on crackers, fruit plain. PLAIN. No snacks ever....no exception. This did not apply to him as he did not have weight issues and felt no need to curb his consumption of sugary treats in front of us. To make things worse, he was our gym teacher at school. He worked us out, then he worked us over. I have never forgotten the day he came into the lunch room and caught my 10 year old sister's best friend sharing a cupcake with her. The sound of his humiliation blared through that lunch room and echos in my heart for her still. I could do nothing, but what I was told.
I don't remember when there wasn't mental abuse, so it's hard for me to clarify exactly when the physical abuse started. It was directed mostly at my mom, but I had my brush with it as well. It lead me to write him the following, just last month, when I found his snarky ass lurking on Facebook:
"I am a 34 year old married woman with kids of my own. I have been happily married for 10 years. I work a full time job, own my own home, but I am angry, I have always been angry and it stems from you. I can still remember your fingers around my throat and the feeling of my legs dangling below me."
They were married just about a year. I weighed 75 lbs, when we left...I lost 75lbs. that year. I also lost myself...officially!