Day 799: Year in Review

Rachel, Day by Day

Day 799: Year in Review

I went on the biggest ship in the world this year!

Overall, for 2017, I’m not fond of what’s going on in our country, but I personally thought it was a good year! I had many fun times with family and friends, so I thought I’d do a little year in review. I’ll make it a list with a few photos so you don’t get too bored.

New Year’s Day Party with friends
Baby N learning to crawl and walk
Phantom of the Opera downtown with Scott
Many wonderful visits to Normal
Saw the Chicago Cubs World Series trophy

Day 799: Year in Review

Me, Baby N, and the Chicago Cubs World Series trophy!

Our Super Bowl Party
St. Patrick’s Day Party with friends
Baby N turning one

Day 799: Year in Review

My baby boy turned one.

Visited the Ball Factory with Nicole
Brookfield Zoo with my mom and Scott
Early Easter in Normal

Day 799: Year in Review

Baby N and his cousins celebrating Easter.

Cubs game with Ray
Easter in Champaign with family
Having dinner with Brittany downtown
A train bar crawl with friends
Concert in Lilacia Park
Miller Park Zoo in Normal
Mother’s Day in Normal, early Mother’s Day with my mom

Day 799: Year in Review

My family.

Conference in Atlanta
Uncle Paul visiting for a week
Swim lessons with Baby N

My wonderful co-worker’s retirement party
Father’s Day in Normal
Met Baby James
Picnic with my dad’s family
Kendyl’s birthday at the bowling alley
July 4 Party with friends
Softball games with Ray’s league
Hung out with Melissa in Naperville
Paul McCartney concert

Day 799: Year in Review

Paul McCartney concert!

Cuban restaurant with family
Arlington Race Track with friends
J-Bone visited
Concerts in Hillside
Caden’s birthday party in the backyard
James’ baptism
Oak Park Beer Fest
Wisconsin Dells with family

Day 799: Year in Review

Playing at the water park.

Elmhurst Food Fest with my mom and friends
Get-togethers with college girls

Day 799: Year in Review

College friends!

Alzheimer’s Walk in Normal
Cubs game, Wrigley Field Tour with HBK, Scott, and Ray

Day 799: Year in Review

Wrigley Field!

Maggie’s baby shower
Uncle John moving to the area
Sonny Acres
Wyatt being born
Boo at the Zoo
Halloween festivities in Normal
Taking Baby N trick-or-treating for the first time

Day 799: Year in Review

Cousins celebrating Halloween.

Day 799: Year in Review

Trick or treat!

A wonderful and amazing cruise with family

Day 799: Year in Review

Having fun on the cruise.

Day 799: Year in Review

First time on the beach.

Bought a Honda CRV
Thanksgiving with Scott’s family
Visit to Springfield/Peoria with Scott’s family
A great holiday season with lots of family and friend time

Day 799: Year in Review

Christmas Eve.

Day 799: Year in Review

Christmas Day.

Spa day with college girls
Wonderful times with family and friends

Day 799: Year in Review

Those are the many highlights for you! Hope 2017 was good to you and 2018 is even better.

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Day 798: My Story

Rachel, Day by Day

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Me (on the left) hanging out with college friends while dating him. I’m pretty sure he kept calling that night.

With everything going on this year regarding sexual harassment and abuse, I thought I’d tell you my story. I’m going to write about something that has been difficult to talk about for about 10 years now. It might be good to finally get this out in writing since I’ve never done it before. I’ve always been scared to share this story, thinking you would judge me or think less of me. I’m not asking for sympathy or for you to feel sorry for me. I just hope you can learn something from this if you are in a similar situation.

About 10 years ago I was hurt by my boyfriend at the time. I was about to be a junior in college when I started dating him, and we broke up at the very beginning of my senior year. Besides having a brief boyfriend in high school, he was my first real relationship that lasted a while.

When we started dating over the summer, he was nice to me and gave me lots of attention. Me, being only 20 at the time, liked the attention. He took me out to nice restaurants, wanted to spend time with me, and actually paid attention to me. It was new and exciting for me.

When I went back to college that junior year, our relationship was still pretty new, and it became long distance. That’s always hard for a new relationship. But we’d call each other a lot and visit on weekends.

At first our phone conversations were sweet, but after a while he would call over 10 times a day, which felt like he was just checking up on me. He’d ask, “Where were you earlier? What are you doing now? Who are you with?” over and over again. With that many phone calls, it’s hard to come up with exciting things to talk about, so he’d start telling me I’m boring and don’t have anything smart to say. I remember one early conversation I brought up my dad, who passed away about 5 years earlier, and he said something like, “Who cares? I’m tired of hearing about him.” We hung up later and I cried. I thought maybe it was a one time thing and he was crabby.

After a few weeks, he told me he loved me. I was flattered and excited, but couldn’t say it back right away. I was still trying to figure out how I felt. But he kept bringing it up and got angry, so one day on the phone I just said it back. He was thrilled, but I wasn’t sure if I fully meant it.

As time went on, he got more jealous and paranoid that I’d cheat on him. It felt like he was calling every hour to make sure I wasn’t with someone else. If I didn’t answer, he’d scream at me and I’d have to explain over and over again I was in a class or doing homework. If I went out with friends, he’d call even more and try to get me to go home. He bashed my family and friends so I’d only want to see him. He was very manipulative.

To him, one minute I was amazing, beautiful, and smart, the other I was stupid and fat. He had random moments of kindness that made me wonder if he’d change. Being a girl with low self-esteem, I believed all the bad things. I thought this was what I deserved.

When we were together, I slowly started noticing the physical abuse. He’d randomly punch my arm if I pissed him off and say, “Oh come on, wimp, I didn’t hit you that hard.” This kept happening more and more throughout our relationship. He once pulled me by the hair and threw me out of his house, all because I didn’t want to play tennis. Yes, tennis. But if I started to yell back at him on the phone, he’d hang up on me, call me later, and act like everything was normal.

I stuck with it for almost a year because he said he loved me and no other guy did. And he made me believe I was nothing, so I thought he was all I deserved. He kept telling me he’d change. And I kept hoping he would.

Our relationship officially ended one night when he almost sexually assaulted me. I was extremely lucky and got away. He kept calling me after that begging me to get back together with him. I definitely didn’t, but I decided to answer his phone calls and treat him like crap, the same way he treated me. I’d scream at him on the phone and tell him what a horrible person he was, and he stopped calling maybe two weeks later since he couldn’t handle it. I had some great times yelling at him, though.

I thought about getting a restraining order or taking him to court, but I never did. I never wanted to see or think about him again. Looking back, I think I should have gotten a restraining order. I’m lucky he never came after me again. Not everyone gets that lucky.

My family and friends, especially my mom, brother, and college friends, helped me through this difficult time in so many ways, and were so supportive during and after. I know they were worried the entire time and wanted to protect me, and they did everything they could. I ignored their occasional plea for me to leave him, like most people do in this kind of relationship. To quote the movie Perks of Being a Wallflower, “We accept the love we think we deserve.” But I’m glad I eventually listened to them and got out.

I saw a social worker years later. Many years after my relationship with him, I thought I was completely stupid for getting in that situation. But she told me I wasn’t stupid at all. So many women go from one toxic relationship to the next and never know how to get out of them. She told me I’m not stupid because I got out and learned from the relationship. And my low self-esteem has gotten slightly better over time.

Ten years later to today, things are way better now. I have a loving family, friends, husband, and child. I now know what I really deserve. My husband showed me what real love means, and I thank him every day for that.

I hope you learned something from this story. And if you are in a relationship like this, I hope you get out.