I am going to wrap this story up today, so I am going to really highlight the turning point in my life. Prior to finishing the Paralegal course, on a scale of 1-10, I would say that my self esteem had gotten down to about a 2 or 3. After completing that course, my self esteem increased to, I’d say, a about a 4 or 5.
Our house was built with that Masonite siding. If you’ve had any experience at all with Masonite siding, you can probably relate to the fact that it most definitely needed a paint job! Scottie worked a lot, and we didn’t have much money, so I decided on this particular day to paint the house. I remember being on the ladder and hearing the phone ring. By the way, it was sometime between 1995-1996, and we actually had cordless phones by this time. 🙂 I climbed down the ladder to answer the phone, and it was Scottie. He told me that Kevin was up at the dealership with his girlfriend, and they were looking at buying a car from him. (I was thinking…He was there? I mean, he was HERE? In Memphis? That boy had better not just show up today! I look awful! He better not!) I told Scottie, “That’s good. “Tell him I said hello.” When Scottie got home from work that evening, I was tired and laying in the bed. He came into the room and said, “Can you believe the nerve of that guy?” I said, “Who?” He said, “Kevin!” I said, “What did he say?!?” He said, “Kevin said that if I didn’t treat you right, he was going to just come and take you!” Then Scottie said condescendingly, “Like he could do that!” I could not believe that Kevin had actually told Scottie that. I thought that sounded a little cocky, but I have to admit, it made me feel really good that he still cared about me. (By the way, Kevin later told me that what he actually said to Scottie was this: “If you ever kick her to the curb, she won’t make it to the street. She will step right into my pickup truck!”…Okay, I know that still sounds a little cocky, but I knew what he meant.) I knew that Scottie and I were at a critical point in our marriage. I was trying to hang in there, but I had all but thrown in the towel. I thought this would be a good time to “show” Scottie how I was really feeling. I had a journal entry from October that I wanted him to read. I thought, if he read it, he would understand how I was feeling, and we could work on things. It just said how I was feeling, and that I was contemplating divorce, and the only reason I hadn’t divorced was because of the church and my children. It described why I was feeling the way I was feeling, and how the way Scottie treated me made me feel. Scottie read it in the bathroom. I was anticipating him coming out and discussing it with me. When he finally came out, he handed the journal back to me and didn’t say a word. I asked him if he read it. He said, “Yes.” That was it.
Months later we went to a marriage counselor. I gained a little hope in that first meeting. After listening to the counselor’s analysis of our conflicting personalities, I knew that the counselor understood the problems in our marriage. The counselor suggested we separate and not speak to one another for 30 days, to see how we felt being apart. I didn’t know what to think about it, but I was curious to see how Scottie felt. When we walked out of that meeting, we were in the parking lot, about to get into our cars, (we drove separately again), and Scottie told me that he was relieved to know that it was not “him” that was the problem. He said, it was my childhood that was the problem. What? Was he in the same meeting? Did we even mention my childhood?!? Did he hear what the counselor was saying? Is this really about whose “fault” it was? It was nobody’s fault! It was that our personalities conflicted!! I realized at that point, that he had no intention on changing anything. I don’t believe he thought he had anything to change, which was totally fine. That was his choice. He didn’t need to change anything. He could and should be himself. But, I had a choice too. I had to decide whether or not I was willing to live the rest of my life like this.
I began looking for a job as a paralegal. Simultaneously, I started investigating the possibility of getting a divorce. At this point, I hadn’t spoken to Kevin, (probably since the ketchup incident), and had only heard about him through his interaction with Scottie. I know people want to think that I left my husband “for Kevin”. That just wasn’t the case. My mom always taught me, “Don’t believe anything you hear, and only half of what you see!” But, people can believe what they want. My sister referred a divorce attorney to me, one that I could call to see if he was hiring. I met him, and we discussed a possible legal assistant position that might be coming available. While I was there, I asked him questions about the divorce process. After we talked, he suggested that I call some attorney friends of his, because they may have had a position open, right then, that I might be interested in. I went home and called them right away. They didn’t answer the phone. I think they were at lunch. I left a voice mail describing who I was, and that I was interested in the position that they possibly had available. They called me back! I got hired!! That job, by far, has been my absolute favorite job that I ever had. I developed some really strong relationships with two of the attorneys there. To this day, I still call them, and I always want to know how they are doing. They were both there for me at such a critical point in my life. They will always be forever friends.
Deciding to get a divorce was another one of those huge crossroads that we tend to come across once in awhile in our lifetimes. I compared it to a roller coaster ride. I would get determined to do one thing, then second guess myself and turn back. This went on for months. I was not that 18 year old girl anymore. I was 26, and I felt that this was the time to decide how I wanted to live the rest of my life. I had three children to consider. I pondered…Should I lay my life down for my children, and just live in this numbing existence? Or…Do I take a chance for a better life? There were no guarantees on either path. I ultimately decided that my children might be better off coming from a dysfunctional marriage, rather than living in a dysfunctional home.
Somewhere in the midst of all the changes that were going on in my life, another Stake conference was taking place at the church. I had taken my children to the doctor’s office and was sitting in the waiting room thinking about Kevin and wondering if he was there at church. When I got home, there was a voicemail on my answering machine. It was him! It was Kevin! He was at the missionaries house in West Memphis, AR, on his way home from the conference, and he just wanted to call and see how I was doing. It was so good to hear his voice! After all this time, (8 YEARS!), I was shocked to hear that he was still single and had not remarried. I told him where I was at in my marriage. I found out later that he called the Bishop at my church to try and save my marriage. Kevin loved me. He wanted what was best for me. I loved Kevin. I wanted what was best for him. The divorce was final in July, 1997. I married Kevin on November 24, 1997.
You may be asking yourself, why am I telling everyone my life story? What’s the purpose in doing this? Shouldn’t I be afraid of judgement, condemnation and sentencing from other people? That’s the beautiful thing about going through trials and tribulations in our lives. We get over stuff like that. There was a time that I would absolutely be terrified to tell anyone how I was feeling, or what I was going through. Trust me, when I divorced, I did feel like I was being judged, condemned and sentenced! It turns out, people can judge us, but we choose whether or not to accept it! It is true that “what doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger”. After going through the divorce, I learned to love and accept myself. I knew that I wasn’t the person that some of the people perceived me to be. If I was that bad person, I certainly wasn’t trying to be. I know everyone reading this also has a story to tell. We can choose to hide from the truth, or face the truth and do something positive with it. We all make mistakes. The key is taking the lesson from it and becoming a better person through it. The truth is, life simply is not easy. We all make choices every single day, and lots of them! The choices we make determine the different experiences we have, and the roads upon which we travel. I will never know the “what if’s”…”If” I had chosen to stay with Scottie… I don’t know. I probably won’t ever really know if I made the “right” choice. It was just the choice I made. Life is a journey. Until we die, we are all writing the scripts of our lives with every decision we make. During our journeys, we can embrace the people and the “moments” that bring us happiness. No matter what is going on right now in your life, and in mine, we should embrace those wonderful moments that “pop up” out of nowhere (like Kevin did–haha)! Seriously. Something really cool can happen TODAY! I don’t know, but to me it’s exciting! Life will always be full of twists and turns, ups and downs; but for the most part, life is simply magnificent! I am thankful for the wisdom I’ve gained through the years so far in my life. I am thankful for right now, this moment. Having the opportunity to be married to Kevin has been the most incredible blessing, so far, in my life. I wouldn’t change a thing. I always said…if I could only be with him for 1 day, I would’ve given up the rest of my life. I am thankful to have had all these days with him for the past 17 years. I wish I could describe the way I feel about him and the journey of our marriage in a few short sentences. That is another story, a seemingly completely different life’s story, that maybe one day, I will share.