What it's all about...

I'm a 39 year old wife, mom, daughter, sister, aunt & friend. That should tell you who I'll be writing about most of the time.







Thursday, April 23, 2009

Half My Life

I have been with Shell for 17 years. We started dating on April 23, 1992 when we were 17 years old. That means that we have been with each other for half of our lives. Half. Of. Our. Lives. Wow. From now on, every year that we spend together will be more than we spent apart. Can you tell I'm still processing this?


I wrote about how we started on the post for our 16th anniversary last year (16 Years). And posted a couple of very unflattering pictures of me. Hey it was the early 90's...

Since my boy is testing for his Black Belt tomorrow and Saturday, we will be at his Karate school tonight for last minute detailing. So last night, we spent the evening reflecting on our first year. And realized that it's kind of amazing that we made it through. Here's a brief rundown of the events of our first year together.
  • April 23 - She gave me the "Yes or No" note. I checked yes. We skipped a class to discuss a little bit what we were doing, then discussed it a lot more in depth that evening at a choir function. In a church. We sat in one of the last pews and talked about being 2 girls in a relationship in high school. We talked about being gay, about having sex, about being monogamous, about telling our friends, how open we'd be at school, how it might affect our friendship if it ended, about being together forever and about having kids. Remember, we were 17 and our relationship was hours old at this point. We really didn't leave anything to chance...
  • May - For my 18th birthday we went on our first "date". We went out with another couple to dinner and then back to her house where I spent the night. We almost had sex for the first time then, but she was a little afraid that once we did that I would decide that I really wasn't gay and we'd be done. I totally was not afraid of this and was very ready to sleep with her. So a couple of days later I broke her down and we did. It was 2 weeks after we started dating. I was so nervous about her seeing me naked. (She told me last night that after being in love with me for years, she couldn't believe that she was finally getting to see me naked, not to mention get to touch me too) I had my first orgasm that night. She had nothing to worry about, I wasn't going anywhere after that!

  • May - My best friend & I had agreed that if we weren't dating anyone when it came time for Senior Prom, we would go together. Well, Shell & I were dating so I asked her to go with me. She said no, afraid that I would get teased or taunted and didn't want the memory of my prom to be tainted. So the week before Prom, Eric & I decided to go. My mom & my aunt made my dress in less than a week. It was kind of crazy. Shell said she was fine with it, but I soon found out that was not the case. After Eric & I were at the dance for a short time and had taken pictures, we decided to leave. Some friends of ours were having a party that night, so we headed there. Shell was there already and was quickly approaching too drunk to stand. And was very obviously not okay with my attending prom with Eric. We took her home soon after we got there and practically carried her into her house. She doesn't remember much of what happened that night, but she still remembers how she felt. She was scared. I promised her I would go with her to her prom the next year. And I did.

  • June - I graduated from high school. For graduation, my parents gave me a trip to Hawaii, complete with paying for a friend of the family who was closer to my age to go with me. They bought me new clothes for the trip. It was a very generous gift. I probably would have had a wonderful time, if I'd gone. The trip was scheduled for just a couple of weeks after graduation and in that time I told my parents that I was gay and was with Shell. They did not take it well at all. They forbid me to see her and I could not talk to her on the phone. She would not be allowed to come to our house and they even decided that she wouldn't be welcome on our street. That the neighbors would be made aware of this. So she would come to my work to see me and call me after we closed the store. I wasn't allowed use of the car in case I decided to skip work to see her. It was their car and there would be no lesbian hookups in it. Two days before I was to leave for Hawaii, I got off work and took the bus to a co-worker's house. I called home the next morning and told my mom that I wasn't coming home until they could accept me for who I was and who I was with. She said they couldn't do that. So I said fine, then I'm not coming home and I'm not going to Hawaii either. And I didn't. Instead of wasting it, my mom went with our friend. Since she wasn't planning to go, she had to get approval very last minute to take time off from work. She took what clothes she had and took some money out of their savings. I called my dad a couple of days after she left and he said that they were very hurt and angry and that I couldn't come home even if I wanted to until after she got home. My co-worker wasn't too thrilled about having a permanent houseguest, but agreed to let me stay just until I had somewhere else to go. The day after my mom returned, I went home to a new set of rules. Shell would still not be allowed at our house and I could not stay overnight anywhere. I had an 11:00 curfew every day. I could use the car, but she would not be allowed in it. The house was full of tension. Which lasted until...
  • August - I started taking classes at the community college. On a Saturday morning, I left the house telling my parents that I was going to the swap meet. I drove to Shell's and picked her up. We did go to the swap meet, but then went to a park to just be together. I was supposed to be home that afternoon. As we got ready to leave the park, she said "I wish we could just run away and start living our life together". I said with all seriousness, "why can't we?". And we did. We drove back to her house so she could get the money she had saved, withdrew some money from my bank account and started driving north. Three weeks later, we were in Redding, CA and completely broke. She called a friend who said she'd send us some money. Instead, she sent Shell's parents. They put gas in the car and we followed them back. I was terrified of going home. Halfway there, I called to tell my parents what was happening. My mom wouldn't talk to me. My dad was relieved to hear that I was okay, but said that I would not be allowed to live at home anymore. That I could stay there for a couple of days just until I found another place to live.

  • September through March - A friend and her mom let me live with them for a couple of months, until Shell's parents agreed to let me live there while Shell finished school. She had been skipping school and not doing homework, so to try to salvage her last year of school they made her a deal. I could live there, if she straightened up and graduated. Then once she did, we could get a place of our own. During this time, I went to dinner at my parents house every couple of weeks and spent Thanksgiving and Christmas with them. But it was very weird. While we were on our jaunt up north, my parents had packed up my room, put it all in storage and my sister had moved her stuff in. So whenever I needed anything, I had to get to the storage unit.

  • March and April - I was living at Shell's house in their guest bedroom. Her mom hated having me there and made it very clear that the only reason she was allowing it was so Shell could graduate. I was working part time and spent the other time helping Shell get caught up on her school work. She dealt with a lot of verbal gay bashing at school and was physically accosted once, which she didn't tell me about until years later. I can't imagine how hard it must have been for her. I was only out for a month before I graduated, and even though we held hands and were obviously together I didn't encounter anything negative. I know I was lucky, I just wish it had been the same for her.

  • I don't think we did anything special for our first anniversary, since we were living in the same house and trying to save money to move out after she graduated. Her parent's marriage which had been crumbling for years was in shambles at this point and her dad had moved into a sober living house and was having an affair. Her mom spent her days in front of the TV or on the phone sobbing to someone. We were counting the days until we could move out. It was very stressful, but being together saved our sanity in many ways.

So that's the not-so-brief events of our first year as a couple. It was a very trying year, and we leaned on each other a lot. I think that we established that whatever life threw at us, we'd always have each other. And I know that my selfishness caused a lot of our conflicts, and I do wish I had gone to Hawaii, but it's all a part of our history now. And because of that, I know that everything that we went through happened for a reason. Good and bad. It's us.

8 comments:

StephLove said...

What a great story. I liked getting to know more about your history. It sounds like you were very sure of each other from the very beginning.

I remember reaching the "half our lives" mark with Beth, too, and how odd it feels. We were 20 when we got together so it was a couple years ago.

Teaberry said...

What a fascinating story! This does remind me a bit of my first girlfriend, whom I dated from 14-17, in high school and with similar tumultuous consequences...

I think your story is so interesting---and I'd love to hear how your folks came around to accept the two of you and your children as a family... They did, eventually, right?

Denise said...

Great Post! You should be proud of yourself. Being so young and defending who you were. not compromising youresel.... Awesome!

DaniKel said...

WOW!! Just amazing! 17 years is wonderful! And to have had gone through all that you have gone through - at such a young age - and still be together, truly is phenomenal!

I read a quote somewhere - 'True lovers don't meet, they collide'. Haering your story made me think of this. You guys were so meant to be together. Your collision caused a spark so deep that it completely laid the path for the rest of your lives.

Juat amazing!

Happy Anniversary, to a couple who has faced the odds and defeated them. Love truly does conquer all!

R said...

DAMN! DAMN! DAMN!! What a fascinating, scary, awesome story with a fabulous ending! I hope ya have a wonderful Anniversary and here's to all the next years ahead of ya that will be very full of love and happiness!

B said...

Wow! So happy to have found your blog and eager to read you from the beginning! Hop on over to visit our blog! We fell in love at 16 and 17, "married" at 18. Have been apart for over 23 years due mostly to fear, and reunited in October of 2008. Commitment ceremony was March 1, 2009 in Las Vegas! Look forward to getting to know you both!

Keri said...

Wow. 17 years - since you were 17 is really incedible but the story of your first year makes it even bigger!
Congratulations on the mile stone. Here's wishing you many, many more!

AJ's mommy said...

This is quite a story. Yay for you guys for sticking everything out. That shows true love for sure! I am so sorry you had to go through everything that you did.