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**************


country girl said...

Another amazing chapter. I really admire you.

jen said...

What a long journey it has been. You are no smalltown girl in the pejorative, dear. You are a brilliant woman. Smalltown in zeal and warmth and kindness, but universal in thought. Blessings, jen

butterflies said...

Indeed a long journey...
I dont believe in coincidence so its all been setting you up for what you have now.

And now is your time.
I love you sister xoxo