Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Part 4 -- The Portland Years

A couple of days after she & BB (Bubba Bear) arrived in Portland, actually Beaverton, where they were now staying with his friends, she found a job as an administrative assistant for the Parks & Recreations Dept. She really liked the job & was happy to be out of the bar/restaurant business. Cowboy was not happy about her choice of work. He grumbled every day about all the tips they were missing. Grumbled about a steady paycheck. She was looking for security & a future but he just had no concept of this type of life. After all, he had only had one or two jobs out in the world in his adult life. He had survived by scamming, stealing, playing cards, running illegal card games, etc. He just could not get with the idea of a steady paycheck & a suburban lifestyle. Oh, he wanted the big house, nice things, sporty car but he did not want to put in the time to get them. She stood up to him until he wore her down. Then she went back to bartending & bar management. They found a nice house, they got his stuff out of storage (they had sold all her stuff when they made a trip back to Vegas to move to Portland permanently). They were standing in the driveway of the friends' house one afternoon as he berated her about something now long forgotten, & she looked in his eyes, saw something that scared the hell out of her. She said "You are the devil". He was so shocked & so mad he forgot to hit her. Score one for the home team!

She worked 10-14 hrs a day, he sat around. By now she had become one of those women she saw on Lifetime movies & wondered why they stayed. Now she knew why. She had become nothing. He humilated her at every turn, he degraded & devalued her. She became a shell of who she had been. She had no friends, she had no contact with her family, she had to account for every minute of every day.

NOTE: As I write this I find it so hard to believe I sank that far, that I let another human control me to that extent. I fought back alot, I learned to hit back, I would sometimes pummel him & one time brought him to his knees from beating on his chest hard, fast, long. I became someone that I did not like. My Spirit was dying more & more each day. I had attempted suicide three times over the years. The last time he broke down the bathroom door & wrestled the blade from my hands. It wasn't so much that I wanted to die, but I really wanted to get off the merry-go-round I was on. I just did not know how to pull STOP. So, in some very sick way, I felt I owed him for saving my life. But the price was becoming too much to pay. I stood in the middle of our kitchen one day while he held a loaded gun & told him to go ahead & end both our suffering. I knew that day that even though he held the gun to his head he was not going to kill himself, but I did figure he would kill me. When he dropped the gun to his side I took it, unloaded it, & got rid of it. It was a turning point, it was the beginning on the end.

She began to make friends at work, the first women friends she had ever really had. They seemed to see her real self. They saw her Spirit, her gifts. She found her Totem, she began to meditate, she started reading lots of self-help & New Age books, she began to change-to grow. She started to find her voice. The weekend DJ kept trying to get her to leave Cowboy (for selfish reasons BTW). She laid awake at night trying to figure out how to kill him without getting caught. She wanted to just be rid of him, but she couldn't figure a way so she was trapped in the nightmare. And so life went during the Portland years.

Then, after several years-she spent 7 yrs in OR all together, she found out he was beating on BB (by now a Senior in high school with behavioral problems & a very nasty temper). She could, for some reason, take the abuse herself but she would not tolerate it on BB. So one night there was a big argument, Cowboy & OK Farmgirl were in their bedroom & he punched her square in the face with a doubled up fist. She took the punch, looked him in the eye & said "That will be the last time you ever f...ing hit me" & walked out. BB came out of his room broom in hand to do battle with Cowboy. "You do not hit women & you most particularly do not hit my Mother". NOTE: Years later BB told her that he had a loaded pistol that he had gotten from a friend under his pillow. It was the grace of Great Spirit that caused BB to grab the broom as weapon & not that gun. If he had grabbed the gun I would probably still be in an OR prison 'cause BB's prints would not have been on that gun.
At that point the fight was going to be on, a battle was about to rage. She threw herself between them & told BB to go to his friend S's house. S & his mother came, picked up BB & begged her to come also. She told them she was leaving but not tonight. Once she knew BB was safe, she knew she would be leaving too. She had been hoarding tips (skimming off the top so to speak), paying off credit cards on the sly. Cowboy was angry that night but not abusive. She slept on the couch, he kept coming out to wake her up. Three days later she got up early, left a note, took what she wanted to be sure she kept, took all the credit cards, the debit card, the checkbook out of Cowboy's wallet & drove away. First, to the bank to close the joint account & open a new one, next to work to put her valuables in the safe & tell her boss what was up. Then she found an apartment, bought furniture, & arranged to move in. Then she called her mother & told it all. Her brother, now a cop, offered to leave OK right then & meet her half way so she would not be traveling alone. She thanked him but declined. BB wanted to stay to finish his senior year & she would not leave him.

Cowboy called many times that day & the days following, but she would not relent. She had found her strength once more. She was free & wanted to stay that way. She retained an attorney, told him the whole story, & filed for divorce. She took the papers to Cowboy to sign. She begged him to let her go. Explained that they were not good for each other. Said they only brought out the worst in each other. She begged. He finally signed. Her attorney went straight to a judge & asked for an immediate divorce. The judge waived all the waiting periods based on the situation & granted an immediate divorce. Cowboy has been in her life for 12 yrs by that time.

It took almost another year to be totally free of Cowboy. She was almost killed in a car wreck the day he signed the papers, he was driving. The pain did some really weird things to her, she took a paid leave of absence from work, she got clean/sober, she worked the Program, she went to meetings, & she decided to change careers. She attended a school that trained for airline jobs. She was voted most inspirational by her class & asked to give the commencement address-such an honor! She was hired by an airline & moved to the Bay Area. She was on her own for the first time in her life. She was 43 yrs old.

************to be continued**************

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Part Tres-- Cowboy

NOTE: This part of my story will be the hardest to tell. The years before Cowboy were , as I look back, all leading up to this period of my life. The years I spent with Cowboy were growth years of a portion I could have never imagined. All the men in my life including my father were just stepping stones leading to this man. He embodied parts of all of them-the parts I had been desperately trying to reach. In him I looked for & found much of the acknowledgment I had craved from them. Finding that entailed a very heavy cost. It also entailed great rewards. Cowboy was, as you will see, the great love of my life. You will probably also find that he is still that. He was also the worst part of my life. The most painful of my relationships. Through him I learned so much about myself-the good, the bad, the ugly, the sad, the forlorn. I learned just exactly that of which I am capable both in my darkest moments & in my brightest. If I saw him tomorrow I am afraid I just might fall under the spell again for he is never far from my thoughts. I have been on the run from him for 15 yrs-I have put thousands of miles between us & changed my name. I keep an unlisted phone number. I am careful, always watching over my shoulder & at least once a year I do an internet search for him so that I know exactly where he is residing.

I have gotten over, gotten past, gotten through with everyone else in my past (including someone that I thought I would never give up-that will be another part of my story & one that my dear heart-sister Butterflies knows well) but with Cowboy while the chapter is closed I am hoping that with this writing the story will also be finished. At least in this life.

She meet him through mutual friends one night in a small bar listening to Country Music in her hometown. The town where she & Bubba Bear had fled. She was working, settling in, & running into friends from high school. It was new friends who introduced them. She asked who he was & he just happened to work with the new friends. He had dark almost black curly hair, piercing blue eyes, & a well-trimmed beard & mustache. He was about 6 ft. with dimples & a cleft chin. Looked alot like Warren Beatty. Beautiful deep voice & beautiful manners. They danced, they talked. He called & they went out a few times. He had been seeing someone else & Waitress Woman was one of those "trashy" women. Just a bit on the rough side. Waitress Woman did not take kindly to him seeing someone else. So that was a problem for awhile. In the end, after commenting many times that he had never met anyone like OK Farmgirl & seeking reassurances the she would never change, they became a couple. He promised her that no one would ever hurt her again. He was good with Bubba Bear, he was twice divorced with a daughter & son he never saw. The son was just a baby & the daughter a few years older than Bubba Bear. This set off some alarms in her head, but she brushed them aside. After all the grim picture he painted of his exes she could understand. She had ex problems herself. So instead of checking out the alarms she felt sorry for him & vowed to make his life better.

Cowboy was sexy, sensual, & showed her things about herself she had never known. It was intoxicating. He had a colorful past that unfolded a little at a time. Sometimes through the stories he told her, sometimes through his friends who had come to OK with him to sell land, & sometimes through his actions.

Land sales in that part of OK dried up, the tracts were all sold. There was a project opening up in Utah on the Nevada border. A resort where the Hollywood stars of the 40's used to go. It was an "opportunity" & he was going. He asked her to go with him. She really did not want to be in OK so she said she would go. He made it perfectly clear that he loved her but would never marry her. She did wear a wedding ring he had given her, she used his last name-at his insistance, even got her drivers license & all id changed. A very nice lady at DMV noticed them all lovey dovey in line & kindly changed the name without a marriage license. Watching a couple in love will do that to some people.

So they packed up all her stuff & headed to Nevada where they would live. They lived in a small farming community that was predominatly inhabited by polygamists. Everyone else in the town worked at the truckstop/casino. Well, to make a long story short, the land deal fell through & they ran out of money. Cowboy became quite depressed. He went back to his former occupation--professional gambler. He was a Texas Holdem player & had made his living that way for several years in WA State. He had been holding illegal gin games & dealing a little pot in OK to supplement his income as well as detailing & selling cars. So he went back to the card rooms in Vegas.

Still gambling was not a steady income & they had bills to pay. Cowboy thought she would be really good at being a cocktail waitress. This was a pretty weird career change for a very naive girl from OK. But to the casino she went & a cocktail waitress she became. It was so hard at first. But the money was very good. So she cocktailed, learned to tend bar, & he played cards. Then he lost the Christmas money. She was so upset. Christmas was late that year. Then Cowboy decided Vegas was where they should be. Better opportunities, closer to the action. So off they went to Vegas.

Once again, the money ran out. She didn't even have the money to bake Bubba Bear a birthday cake. But he did get a Hostess Cupcake with a candle. It sucked! She was such a failure.

The day they moved to Vegas one of Cowboy's buddies from WA won the World Series of Poker at Binyons. That just about did Cowboy in. He just knew he was a better player. He didn't celebrate his friend's win, he became bitter.

She beat the streets for days looking for a job. She was told so many times she was not the "Vegas" type. But she kept looking 'cause she had a child to support. Many times she thought about packing it in & going back home, but she just could not stomach the failure of it all. She just could not go home & have her family tell her I told you so. So she stayed, she found a job, she eventually became the Director of Food & Beverage at a small local hotel. She began to drink fairly frequently. She wrote her own past as she wished it had been. Everyone thought she & Cowboy had been married for many years & that he was Bubba Bear's dad. She never told anyone about her family in OK. She invented a person who could live the life she was living. Then she was introduced to Meth. It, along with pot & tequila, took the edge off. The noise in her head stopped. She was someone else. That person was the Evil Twin & she did not like her. For several years she & ET struggled for power. Then one day something so minor set Cowboy off. Oh, he had always yelled & been verbally abusive to her (her dad did that stuff so what the hell). Then he slapped her. He was immediately apologetic. Sorry, never happen again, ya da ya da. The next time he shoved her & she landed on the small of her back on the solid wood frame of a waterbed. For a moment she could not move. Again, sorry! The drinking & the drugs took over her reality. Cowboy used more than her, but she was catching up fast. She became ET. ET was in charge. ET was a trashy woman. She dressed trashy, she talked trashy. Then OK Farmgirl tried to get control. She stopped everything. Cowboy's temper got worse, he was depressed, he just quit living. He was an ex-boxer who had always been in shape, but he balooned up to over 200 lbs. Cowboy got even nastier. When he was good he was very good, but when he was bad he was worse. Nothing she did was right, she did not make enough money, she did not appreciate him. Just on & on.

Then her dad died. She made it back to OK to see him-she was the last person he spoke to . She went back to Vegas & he died several days later after being taken off life support (that is all another story). She did not go to his funeral. She was just so mad that he died before she got to say all that she needed to say. Cowboy began cutting her off from her family more & more. She & her brother had had an argument at the hospital about her being there so she stopped talking to him for many years-funny thing was he never noticed.

They had been together for 3 yrs when he asked her to marry him. She should have run, but she did not have the confidence that she could take care of herself & Bubba Bear. Geez, what did she think she had been doing?? She was supporting 3 people by herself. But she was thrilled, after all she could never figure out why he had ever wanted her. Even her mother asked "How did you get someone like him?" when she first met him (Mom was very superficial, had always been a beauty - it is very hard when you perceive yourself to be the plain daughter of a beautiful woman). So she cried tears of gratitude & said yes. They got married in Vegas, just the two of them. Things got so very much worse once she said I do. She should have realized how it was going to be when he took the money she was saving to buy him a wedding ring & spent on buying silver coins as an investment (never saw any profit from those).

Then came the days when he was losing so very badly on the tables, things were going from bad to worse. He finally confessed, when she noted that he had never had a bad streak for so long, that he was actually winning on the tables then putting it all in a poker machine that he just knew he could beat. Hello! you don't have to live in Vegas long to know those casinos are not built on winners. BTW, she did not gamble. She worked too hard for the money to risk it.

That was when she said it was over. Seven yrs into the relationship, & while it broke her heart, she consulted with an attorney. She did not mention the abuse (her friends were starting to comment on how afraid of Cowboy she seemed). One friend, an ex-LA policeman, asked Cowboy if he wanted to go out target shooting. It seemed so innocent but for some reason she got a really bad vibe off this. She told Cowboy not to go. Who knows how that might have turned out. She had known Cops, Mafia, gun runners, bikers, bounty hunters, dealers, etc to date, but she knew this ex-Cop liked her & that he was just a little bit crazy (had been shot by a gang member in LA, got drummed off the force on a psyc & was on the run even though the guy was in prison-he carried A LOT of guns in his car). She was not about to take a chance of having a killing on her conscience. The attorney got the papers ready to file.

Cowboy decided he just could not face Vegas anymore, it was killing him there, he said he knew he was in deep trouble, so he contacted his best friend in Portland. BFF told Cowboy to come back to OR & get his head straight. She put him on a plane & promptly paniced. What would she & Bubba Bear do in Vegas alone. How would this work out?? Two days later she quit her job, packed up Bubba Bear & drove straight through to Portland only stopping for gas.

**************to be continued******************

Blessed be...

Friday, April 3, 2009

Part 2 --- San Antonio 1980

The saga continues....

The divorce was final, she had a new job, Bubba Bear (her son who hates that name BTW LOL) was in Christian Pre-School. She was learning to pay bills, the house payment, & the other stuff. Life was not easy. Money was tight. She fed her son, but not herself. Her weight dropped to 90 lbs. She made new friends. Ex took Bubba Bear every Wed. night & every other weekend. She was so lonely without that little guy. Then the new friends starting asking her to go out dancing & such on those nights. So out she went. She found that drinking stopped the noise in her head & she no longer felt shy or out of place. She loved to dance. She started to date. She dated more in one month than she had in her whole life before marriage. Enter "Party Girl" aka San Antonio Cowgirl who looked alot like Debra Winger in Urban Cowboy. She did a mean two-step. She was living like an 18 yr old 'cause she had never been an 18 yr old. She ran fast with a fast crowd, but only when Bubba Bear was with his dad. No dates were allowed to pick her up at her house. She always met them & came home on her own. Then she met a man who was a decendent of Pancho Villa. He became her addiction. While he was not much of a drinker, he did love to toke. He was separated when they met & it was much later that she discovered he was actually married. They were inseparable. She had never met anyone like him before & fell head over heels in love. She was the candy on his arm-tall, very thin, modeling for a local store, long hair down her back, always in tight jeans, boots or dressed to the 9's in 4" heels. She towered over him but he did not care. They went everywhere. Took their kids on outings. They planned to marry. This went on for 2 yrs. Then The Abuction happened.

Ex (who had remarried 6 months after the divorce) had moved out of TX for his job & came to town one day. Stopped by the house. Asked to take Bubba Bear home with him for a week. She allowed it even though it was outside the parameters of visitation-she was a nice guy, knew Bubba Bear missed his daddy. As soon as the car turned the corner she KNEW...knew he was not going to bring Bubba Bear back. She just knew. The pain was overwhelming. Her attorney thought she was nuts. Her friends thought she was nuts. She was not nuts. She was right. Ex called the night before he was scheduled to bring Bubba Bear home, "No need to be at the airport" "I'm not bringing him back" "Two of your friends (the best ones or so she thought) went to court-helped me get custody" "Just forget it & don't try to get him back". She was devastated. Couldn't call her friends. Who could be trusted. One was still true. She spent the night with them after a quick phone call to her parents. They were there the next day packed up her stuff & took it to OK in a U-Haul because she had already sold the house. Her attorney found out that it had all been done very hush hush with lots of lies & no notification. All her records were missing from the courthouse. The judge got very PO'd at how he was played by Ex's attorney, about the missing records, & immediately issued a court order to bring Bubba Bear back to her. She flew to Houston, met her private investigator, flew to Louisiana. They found the daycare, they found Bubba Bear, Wolf (the investigator) promised she would leave LA with her son---she did!! They flew straight to OK, never returned to TX. 3 days later Ex called to ask her mom if she had Bubba Bear. Mom said"I thought you had him" (Good move Mom!!!). She did have to go back to TX one time to meet with the judge & Ex (she left Bubba Bear in OK). The judge had done a complete investigation, talked to everyone, & determined that she was a very good mother, Bubba Bear was safe, well cared for, & happy with his Mommy. She got full custody. Ex was admonished for his act & was told her life was no longer any of his business. When she got back to OK , Bubba Bear would not leave her for a moment, had to sleep with her for quite sometime, would have bad dreams, but he was home & would stay there.

No one had ever thought she was a strong person. But she had proved them all so very wrong. Ex thought she would just lay down, cry, & give up. How wrong he was. Bubba Bear was her life. She fought for her life because she knew she was right, she knew she had to prove he lied about her, she knew Bubba Bear was better off with her. She was strong & she was a fighter, she could get things done, she was self-reliant---The Abduction taught her this & it changed who she was forever. Gone was the naive little Okie girl who trusted everyone. Gone was the belief that these things happen to other people. No, girl, you are the other people. Life was no longer quite so safe, so "normal". She began looking over her shoulder alot. She began looking for someone to keep her safe.

All ties to TX were broken. She was moving on to the next phase, the next re-invention of herself & her life.

Enter Cowboy...

***********to be continued***********

Blessed be...