Monday, May 9, 2016

The Beginning

     As I begin this new blog, I'd like to say that I am quite a ways away from being hopeful. The last eight years have been extremely difficult. Don't get me wrong, there have been good times too, but majority of these last eight years have been full of pain and sorrow. Lets start from the beginning...

     The date was October 8, 2007. I was 22 years old, and full of life. Growing up always feeling like I needed a man, I had finally gotten to the point where I felt confident being on my own. I was happy. I had started to get more involved with my church and strengthening my relationship with God. Although I was confident being alone, it didn't mean that I wasn't longing for a companion. I worked with children with autism at the time, and I wasn't too fond about finding someone at a bar or club, so I resorted to the internet in search of a soulmate.
     It wasn't the first time I had looked for love online. Actually it was where I met the last two guys that I had dated. It hadn't worked out obviously, but I was willing to give it one more shot. I searched for someone who was within 50 miles of the area that I lived. Someone in the same age range, and a Christian. I also was preferring someone that had the zodiac sign of Taurus, but that is a different story in itself...
     Quite a few potentials showed up in my search. And then, I saw HIM. He had this mysterious way about him which really intrigued me to find out more. By the information on his profile, I found out that he was a soldier in the US Army.  I decided that I would send him a message. It was a casual message of course, nothing too forward. I simply thanked him for his service, told him that I saw his profile and was interested in talking with him if he wanted. After I sent the message, I did some more browsing on his profile and found out that he was stationed about 3000 miles away... In Afghanistan. Well, if nothing else, we could become pen pals, if he even decided to write me back.
     It had been 12 days since I sent him that message. I actually forgot that I even sent it. But on October 20, 2007, he finally wrote me back. He told me that he didn't know why he didn't write back sooner, but that he'd love to talk and get to know me better. From that point on, we were inseparable. We wrote each other every day, and eventually he got my phone number so that we could talk on the phone. I never knew how much a phone could get me in to trouble, but I sure racked up some money on my credit card making calls to him. It was worth it though... Every. Last. Second.
      One day in November, after only a month of talking to him every day, I didn't hear from him. I started to get really worried, not knowing if something terrible had happened to him. I was relieved when I finally did hear from him the next day, but that is when I knew... I was in love. Crazy right, I had never met this man, and we'd only been talking for a little over a month. I decided that I didn't want to let another day go by without him knowing how I felt about him. It took me a while but I finally mustered up the courage to say it... "I love you!" I told him. He acted like he hadn't heard what I said, so I said it again, and he said it back. My stomach was filled with butterflies and there was so much joy in my heart. I couldn't wait for the deployment to be over so that I could meet this man that was consuming my thoughts and had such a big place in my heart.
     The first week of March, my dreams finally came true. My soldier was coming to meet me! I couldn't sleep the whole night before I was to pick him up. I tossed and turned all night, and my stomach was in knots! The next morning, I drove with his mom to the airport, and impatiently awaited his arrival. Finally, I saw him coming down the escalator and my heart skipped a beat. I will never forget that first hug. I felt so safe and secure in his arms. I felt complete. He was so tall! We were both so nervous that we were shaking. We decided to go sit down and wait for his mom to come out of the restroom. That is when we had our first kiss. It was soft and sweet and filled my whole body with so much warmth. I felt like I was in a dream!
     The next week or so was a blur. I had to work so I couldn't see him for most of the day, but I'd come over to his moms house afterwards and we would spend all of our time together in the evenings. Our plan was to drive together to North Carolina since that is where he was stationed at the time, but I didn't know how I was going to tell my family. They were really upset when I finally did tell them, and they urged me not to go. Being a parent now, I understand why they would have felt that way. But, despite what they wanted, I went anyways. It took us about three days, but we made it in one piece. It was an interesting trip to say the least. It was wonderful getting to know him better, and I dreaded the day that I had to leave. Fortunately, I missed my flight (unintentionally, I promise) so I was able to stay for one more day. I remember the day vividly. We got a hotel room, and it rained all day long. We stayed in bed all day and cuddled and watched movies together. I never wanted the night to end. But, it did, and he took me to the airport to say our goodbyes. We both cried as I walked away to board the plane.
     A month later, he decided that he was going to come back and propose to me. He didn't want to spend anymore time being without me. I wasn't sure when he was going to propose but we had a lot of things planned for the short weekend that he was coming to visit. The first night, he wanted to take me to dinner. His mom decided that she would join us. They both asked me if I wanted to get something to drink, like an alcoholic beverage, but I was perfectly fine with iced tea. After we ordered our food, I needed to use the ladies room. When I came back, my iced tea was on the table so I took a drink. Thats when I noticed something odd. There was a toothpick with something silvery around it. Thats when I realized what was going on. It was a ring! He was so nervous! He got down on one knee and grabbed my right hand (yes, he grabbed the wrong hand) so I gave him the correct hand and he muttered the words, "Melissa Marie Johnson, will you marry me?" I told him  yes, and we kissed, and the restaurant full of people applauded. It was a happy moment. I only had wished that my family could have been there.
     Although I was really excited about being engaged, I was really nervous to tell my family. After all, we had JUST MET one month prior. I told my moms family first and even though they didn't know him very well, they were happy for me, or at least acted like it. My dad on the other hand... He was not thrilled. Him and my step mom kept encouraging me to rethink my choice. I didn't want to though. I was in love! No one could stop me from doing what my heart told me was the right thing to do.
     Two months after he proposed, he came back again so we could officially get married. We got our marriage license and were married in Lake Tahoe at a small chapel in the Harvey's hotel. It was a really small gathering, much smaller than I ever imagined. Actually, it was nothing like I ever pictured or dreamed of having, and in some ways I regret being in such a rush. Life goes on though, and all in all it was a wonderful day. A little under a week after we were married, we made the trek in my car, with all of my belongings, to Fayetteville, North Carolina, where we would spend the next six months.
     The first week of marriage was hard. We made it to North Carolina and started having problems in our marriage the next day. He had a porn addiction that he had promised to overcome before we said "I Do".  Little did I know that getting rid of an addiction is not so easy. We continued to have problems the entire time that we were in North Carolina. I had even threatened to leave a couple of times, but my heart refused to let me leave. After all, it was for better or worse, right? As much as I wanted to run away from the heartache of his addiction, I stood by his side, every.single.time. I can't say that it didn't effect me though. I became depressed and started taking an antidepressant as well as birth control. I gained 42 pounds in a matter of 8 months. I felt disgusting and unattractive, and I blamed myself for his addiction. Life was not so happy anymore.
     After North Carolina, we were stationed in Fort Irwin California for two years. It was nice to be closer to family for a change. We were only six hours away so we got to visit quite frequently. Our marriage started to get better. I started losing weight and really feeling good about myself. But, the addiction didn't go away with my weight loss. I snooped for it and sadly would find it. I blamed myself yet again, and became depressed once again. Back on to antidepressants I went... Things got even worse when I found out a few dark secrets about his past, and I didn't know if I could continue the relationship anymore. He became very selfish, impatient, always needing the next best thing... All things that I found really unattractive. I felt like I was falling out of love, and I just wanted out. One night I read some text messages that he had been sending back and forth to his mom about getting a divorce. She was telling him how to do it... But not only that, she told him that I was only with him for his money (haha) and that once he left me I would just move on to the next one and take his money too. I was heartbroken that he would talk to his mom about these things and not stick up for me. It was a terrible night, but we eventually, after many tears, left the house and went on a very long drive. After our drive, I felt closer to him than I had felt in the whole time we had been married. It was nice. I felt like things were finally starting to look up...
     We moved to Fort Hood/Killeen Texas in February of 2011. We found out a month later that he would be leaving for deployment. I was devastated. I knew no one... I was afraid of being in a new town alone. To make matters worse, my grandma, who was one of my very best friends, was dying of cancer.