Radiant: Lacey in the City

So it's March and the month of love has come and gone but I am loving the stories I've been receiving for this Radiant series far too much to stop. So Radiant continues until I stop receiving amazing stories!

This next story comes from one of my favorite bloggers turned google hangout friends, Lacey of Lacey in the City. When I asked her if she'd like to contribute, she was incredibly busy with work and wasn't sure she had an unwritten story to tell. She asked if I'd mind if she could share a story she'd written a few years back and I said that was completely fine with me. Then she jokingly asked if she could tell the story about how she pulled the fastest break-up and cross-country move ever because she discovered she loved herself too much to be in that relationship. And I begged her to tell that story! Luckily, she agreed.

I am so excited that Lacey wrote this story and was willing to share it. I think it's a story that needs to be told and needs to be heard.

August 2011.  That's the first time I rode in an ambulance with Dom.

We'd been tail-gating all day in the hot summer New Jersey sun, and singing the evening away with some friends while we enjoyed a sold-out Kenny Chesney concert.  Eventually, the combination of all day sun exposure, the many beers we'd consumed throughout the tail-gating and the concert, and Dom's clinical anxiety disorder made for a really negative turn of events.  Dom snapped at me, yelled at me in front of our friends, because he didn't like that I'd sat down in the middle of one of Kenny's songs.  I walked away, trying to avoid a fight.  He chased after me, lost me in the crowd, had a panic attack because he was so worked up, and unbeknownst to me, he passed out in the middle of Meadowlands Stadium.  I got a call from his phone, but the person speaking wasn't Dom - as the EMTs were getting him onto a gurney to take him to the medical wing, he had started yelling my name.  They found my name in his phone and hoped I was there to come claim him.  After two hours in the medical wing of the stadium with no luck at calming him down, the EMTs called an ambulance, and I followed as Dom was loaded in on his stretcher.  

I spent that night outside of his hospital room sobbing.  I was alone, so alone, and I had the weight on my shoulders of always caring for this man, who, at this point in our relationship, could only act as a fully-functioning adult fifty-percent of the time.  I was freezing, soaked from the rain that had started coming down earlier in the night, and I was starving.  And I had to figure out how to get myself and a drugged-up Dom back to our hotel room forty-five minutes away from the rural New Jersey hospital that the ambulance had taken us to.

After that, Dom's days came in even more extreme waves than they had prior to the concert.  I found out he had stopped taking his medicine.  I'm not crazy, I feel so much better when I'm not medicated, Lace.  I don't want to be drugged my whole life.  I begged him to see a therapist, or better yet, a psychiatrist.  Even more than that, I pleaded with him to take his medicine that kept his moods and anxiety attacks in check.  It was a constant argument, one that I could never win for more than a week at a time.

He had fits.  One time before he realized what he'd even done, he'd shoved me against a wall in our Connecticut apartment.  It didn't take him but a split second to snap back to reality once he saw the flash of anger in my eyes.  I am a strong and extremely independent woman, and he knew he had crossed the uncrossable line.

Despite it all, I loved him so much.  I forgave so much.  I forgave too much.  

In October, it came to light that he'd been having inappropriate conversations with the girlfriend he dated before me.  He said he'd stop.  (I found out later that, of course, he never stopped.)  In December, he stopped by home before he went to meet a client (who was not shy about making it obvious that she had a thing for Dom) for work drinks one Thursday night.  He said he'd be home by 730 pm, and I said that I'd have dinner ready on the table when he got home.  

I didn't see him again until 9 am, the next morning.  

I had been up worried to absolute sickness, calling the police station, the hospitals, even his parents and his best friend, all trying to find him.  When he finally came home that next morning, I knew the truth.  (If I'm honest with myself, I think I knew the truth even as I watched the sunlight creep into the sky that morning, but tried to deny that he would do something so blatantly cruel.)  He'd stayed out late with the client, gotten drunk with her, and ended up in bed with her that night, two blocks away from the apartment he and I shared.

That fateful Friday morning, we fought.  I sobbed.  I shook.  I couldn't breathe.  I made him leave for the weekend, and I told him not to come back until Monday night.  As soon as he shut the door behind him, I knew what I had to do.

By Sunday night, everything I owned had been packed into my car or donated to Goodwill.  Anything of worth that I couldn't fit into my SUV, I gave to my amazing neighbors who had provided me with unwavering support throughout the entire ordeal.

By Monday morning, my neighbor dropped me off at White Plains Airport in Westchester, NY, and I walked through airport security to board my one-way flight back to Los Angeles.

Dom never saw me again.

---

I found out about Dom's clinical anxiety disorder a year into us dating, when he decided to stop taking his medication.  After almost two years of loving Dom, and after a full year of dealing with an unmedicated Dom, I finally realized that I was offering love to someone else, in sacrifice of loving myself.  I'd been putting his needs before my own self-worth, and I was miserable as a result of it.  When I finally snapped out of it all and was able to reassess my situation and what I deserved, I knew I had to leave.

Because I love myself more than that.


I absolutely love this story. I so often hear stories of women, friends, who are in relationships where they are constantly giving and taking care of and sacrificing without that loving sacrifice being reciprocated. Where their partner is the center, the focus, the recipient of so much love. And the woman is left to attempt to take care of herself.

I love that Lacey left and I love that she loved herself enough to leave.

If you have missed other stories in the Radiant series, you can find them here:
Radiant with Empirically Erin



4 comments:

  1. I'm so glad Lacey shared this story. It's such an important one and such a part of her life story that it's perfect. Thanks for highlighting such interesting stories, Em!! It's nice to see real content on a blog!!

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  2. Hi! I'm Lacey's cousin, and traveled on this journey with her. I've met Dom-he was a great and wonderful person when he wanted to be. But in the end, put this girl we all love so much through something no one in a relationship should have to put up with. This story is just another testament to what an amazing person she is :)

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  3. Leaving to take care of yourself was brave; writing about it was truly courageous. I hope you give yourself credit Ms. Lacey. You rock. Thanks for sharing:)

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  4. Thank you for sharing. And Lacey rocks!

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