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» Hatrack River Forum » Archives » Landmark Threads » Metamorphosis: Love and Learning (Landmark 2000)

   
Author Topic: Metamorphosis: Love and Learning (Landmark 2000)
beverly
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Chapter 2: Metamorphesis: Love and Learning

Well, here it is, the second half of the cliffhanger you all were waiting for. If you haven't read my first landmark, "The Ugly Duckling" it might provide a better background for this one.

Most of the names have been changed to protect the innocent or not so innocent.

Well, last time I talked about what a misanthrope I started out to be. The result was that I had a hard time making friends, and eventually developed a sort of complex about being whatever other people wanted me to be. I became a “chameleon”. It seemed that when I was with other people, I morphed to become more like them, or more what they wanted me to be. I was like a mirror that reflected back what others were or wanted to see. I found interacting with people exhausting—I would get all bent out of shape. There were few people that I felt truly comfortable around. I tended to seek out people with strong or dominant personalities and became a very good listener. It got to the point that I only knew who I really was when I was alone. So I spent a lot of time that way.

This was especially true after the painful move from Connecticut to Washington State. I had suffered through so much in Connecticut, and finally things started to go my way—then I was suddenly uprooted from all of that. That school year before the move happened I had met someone very special to me. Benjamin Markow, destined to be my first love. Two middle schools were joined together to form the high school, and that brought us into contact with each other through a mutual friend. Benjamin was as unthreatening as a person can be. I had such horrible experiences being mistreated by the “jock” sort of guys, I needed someone who didn’t bring out those fears in me. Before now, I believed that no guy could ever be romantically interested in me, that I was human garbage as far as that was concerned. Benjamin gave me what I so badly needed: adoration. We became close, writing notes in school, spending time together. He was a writer and I an artist. We always got together to share our creations and were each a devout fan of the other.

Benjamin was unusually short. He would always be shorter than me. He was quick to smile, but he wasn’t afraid to shed a tear. He had charm, natural, honest charisma. People were drawn to him. But many were very cruel to him. Short, sensitive guys are often ostracized. He was striking with a shock of unruly black hair and attractive, strong features. He was Jewish. I felt for him… something I had never imagined feeling. He was the sunshine of my life.

But two months after meeting him, he moved away to Texas. Our fathers worked for the same company, and GTE liked to transfer people. (We had both lived in Durham, NC before living in CT, but had never met to our knowledge). Even after such a short time, having him move away hurt like I had never hurt before. I enjoyed the remainder of that year, though, even having a crush on Benjamin’s best friend, Bobby who may or may not have felt so in return. I never did find out. That was when I moved to Washington.

I spent so much of my time in Washington locked away in my bedroom writing letters to or talking on the phone to the people I missed so much. I tried to make friends in Washington, but my heart wasn’t in it. I didn’t become close to anyone.

Benjamin arranged to come visit me at his own expense. That week was heaven for me. At the end of it, both Benjamin and I experienced our first, shy kiss of love. We parted not knowing when or if we would see each other again. But as fate would have it, at the end of that year in Washington, my father received a transfer to Texas! We would be living about an hour away from Benjamin.

My parents did not approve of my feelings for Benjamin. They saw how intense my feelings were, and I think it scared them. When two misfits find each other and match like a hand in glove, the effect is deeply powerful. Also, Benjamin had his head in the clouds as much as I if not more so. Aside from this, he was not of my faith. My parents and I knew that someday I would marry another LDS like myself. There was no question in my mind. And yet, at that time in my life I wanted nothing more than to be with Benjamin forever. Benjamin also knew of my intentions to only marry another of my faith. I think he even considered converting for awhile, though I didn’t want him to do it just for me.

Visits were rare, the drive was so long and my parents were already not approving. On the other hand, Benjamin’s parents loooooved me. J They thought I was the best thing that ever happened to their son. He and they didn’t have a very good relationship. Benjamin had plenty of troubles in his life. His parents put him in some sort of institution for awhile. He wasn’t all that stable, or that realistic. He didn’t get his driver’s license till… I’m actually not sure if he ever got it while we were dating.

When we would get together, we always both started out shy with each other, usually sharing our most recent works of creativity. But each time we would “fall in love” with each other all over again. It was so painfully sweet and romantic, I can’t even express. Because of him, I loved everything Jewish. Irrationally so. To this day. I remember sitting down to a Sabbath dinner with his family. I was so entranced by the ceremonies and traditions.

Not long after moving to Texas, I met Maria, Porter’s first cousin. She was a sparkling, energetic, outgoing person. I was not. We fit like a hand and glove. I had no idea, of course, that I would someday marry her cousin. She and I both pined together over our “long distance loves”. Our love lives always paralleled, and we were always there for each other. We were like soul-sisters. Maria seemed to be the only one who understood my “forbidden love”, especially since hers was disapproved of also. She was in love with her second cousin. While that is perfectly legal, her family frowned on the match. She and I found understanding in each other. She was home-schooled though, so she was not a part of my school life. I mention her here because she became an incredibly crucial part of my life above and beyond that. I could not leave her out of this story.

Benjamin would go through “flaky” periods of time, time where I just wouldn’t hear from him at all. This frustrated me greatly. It didn’t help that my parents heavily restricted phone time. Though we lived only an hour apart, calls were long distance and very expensive. (Maria shared the phone bill problem too.) Sometimes it just wasn’t clear what our relationship was. I had some brief experiences here and there, brushes with romance with others. I kept coming back to Benjamin though. A part of me believed I always would. My senior year, I brought him to my schools Homecoming Dance. I just assumed that he and I would go to prom. But right before that Homecoming Dance, he made a confession to me. He said that he had decided that he was Pagan. This actually devastated me. This will be hard for many of you to understand. I remember going to take a shower and just bawling, wracking sobs, for half an hour or so. I have strong feelings about the Jewish people and religion, and I felt he was turning his back on something very precious, very important. Not to mention I realized he and I would have no future. Jewish to LDS is one thing, Pagan to LDS is a bit more of a leap.

Not long after that Benjamin disappeared. He was gone. Sometime around Billtmas, he just disappeared off the face of the earth. Didn’t tell me, his parents, or anyone else I knew, where he had gone. This really sucked for me. Sucked major time. Especially when Prom rolled around. There wasn’t a single boy in my school or my church ward that I was even remotely interested in. It was a pretty sad situation. I wasn’t going to go, but my older brother wouldn’t hear of it. He took me. That was the sweetest gesture on his part, but I hated that evening. I think I wish I hadn’t gone. The whole evening was people reminiscing about high school life in a high school I held no love for. I still wished I were back in Connecticut. I was not very attached to anyone here.

Benjamin contacted me after I graduated and asked if I would meet him at a certain place. I was very nervous. What was going on? I had my brother drive me to see him just in case I felt uncomfortable for some reason. We had a good talk, but Benjamin seemed guarded. He told me his family was moving back to Connecticut (another transfer) and he was going with them. He was going to have to repeat his senior year up there in order to graduate. He had been acting very irresponsibly, and I knew it. But a part of me didn’t care. As in times past, we experienced that “falling in love again”. I went back to meet him alone once more. I remember him saying he wished he could just marry me right then and carry me off. I was feeling pretty confused as to what to make of this whole thing. I arranged to travel up to Connecticut as a graduation gift to me so that I could see all my old friends there once again. Their school year ran later than ours, so I would be able to attend school with them for a day or two. It mostly was an excuse to see Benjamin again though.

I deeply hurt my two best girl friends there by trying to spend every possible spare moment I could alone with Benjamin. It put a wound in our friendship and ended our contact with each other for years to come. It was horrible, immature of me. I hate that I did it. I guess I was desperately trying to hold on to something that was dying. I realized Benjamin and I had nothing in common anymore. Our outlooks, our beliefs, our values, were completely different. I was going to be going to college at BYU where there would be plenty of eligible LDS guys to date. I knew Benjamin and I couldn’t have a future together. As we said goodbye, I returned to him his class ring that he had given me. I don’t know if this gesture hurt him deeply. I don’t know if he still had plans for us despite all odds. But except for a brief phone call after I got home to see if I was safe, he never answered any of my letters after that. I didn’t try calling. It was over. And there was no closure. That sucked.

So I went to BYU. I spent most of my first semester depressed, feeling out of place, still pining for Benjamin. I still thought about him all the time. Even if we had no future as a couple, I wanted him in my life as a friend. I felt like I lost part of my soul. My second semester things really picked up. I had good friends, I had fun. Life was good. I even had some romance. There was a guy I had a crush on. Our mutual friend thought it would be a roaringly good idea to match us up. Apparently he thought I was attractive, but he was more interested in another girl who wouldn’t give him the time of day. So this go between would tell me all the stuff he supposedly said about me. Then I guess she told him whatever she felt she needed to tell him to encourage this. We went on a couple of dates and I asked him to the big “girl ask guy” dance. It was a magical night, but things were just awkward after that. We just weren’t compatible, and the truth was that he wasn’t attracted to my personality. sob!

This, by the way, was all happening at the close of the school year.

But in the midst of me realizing this and feeling heartbroken, humiliated, and even used (because of the botched matchmaking effort), Bill, a guy who I had known all year asked me out. I was floored. He was the coolest guy, but I never would have considered having romantic feelings for him. He really wasn’t very attractive, and I had heard other girls turn his advances away for the same reason. He just looked… awkward. But his personality, his character--were perfect. Just perfect. He was always so chivalrous, such a gentleman. He was always cheerful and so clever. He had the most delightful sense of humor. He treated every girl like a princess, so I didn’t read anything into him asking me on a date. We were, after all, friends.

And his asking me out soooo made my day. It brought me out of my depression. He took me to a movie. He reached out for my hand…. I had to make a decision quick! Let him take my hand? Pull my hand back? I found the decision was amazingly easy. I left my hand there. It felt right. It felt darned good. The idea was growing on me. But right as that date ended, I had to leave for California to attend a family funeral. This gave me further time to “digest” this idea. It continued to grow on me.

When I came back, there were just a few days of school yet. We had some romantic moments. I felt so close to him. He told me he was sorry about the rotten timing and that he didn’t know what was going to happen next school year. I wasn’t too worried. I figure he was the one who sought me out, right? Of course he would still be interested next school year. He told me he had liked me for many months, and just hadn’t acted on it. He was 7 years older than me. But he told me he thought I was very mature for my age. I liked that compliment. I knew already that we were going to live in the same complex next year, be in the same ward, along with all of our mutual friends. We were set. I was so excited for what lay ahead for us.

We didn’t have a lot of contact over the summer, but we were both busy. I didn’t think to be too concerned about it. After all, Benjamin and I went through long periods of time without communicating, and we never had any trouble “falling in love” with each other again.

I don’t know what happened. Something went wrong. To this day I don’t know what. Maybe it was something I said in a letter to him. But when the next year started up, and I was so excited to see him again, everything was different. He was… distant. And he continued to be distant. I finally asked him to go on a walk with me. I asked him what was going on between us. He said he was very happy with how things were right now, just friends.

O_o

I was devastated. I had never had my heart truly broken before, never before this day. Now, rejected. I thought this was the guy for me, my love, my husband to be. He was so perfect. I wanted it with all my heart. I felt like such a fool. Such a child. Such a silly girl. And now I had to see him day in and day out. Perhaps watch him find another romance. We would go to social events together. I harbored some plans on how to regain his affections, but I had no clue what went wrong in the first place! It’s not like there was another girl. No. I was rejected because I was me. Like before.

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beverly
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Part II

This is where a dark period of my life began. This is the really hard part to write. I am even now not sure if I can do it. I am afraid.

Another young man came into my life. My bane. My nemesis. My own personal demon. Icthius. I shudder at the memories I am about to call up. I met him at the beginning of the year, but nothing much had happened between us then. I don’t remember what got us together next, but we became friends. Good friends. I think we should have only ever been friends and I mourn to this day that anything more happened. He was preparing to go on a mission for the LDS church, he was putting his papers in very soon. I remember thinking to myself how horrible it was to finally meet someone new, make a good friend with promise of more, and find out that he is leaving for 2 years soon! That began the troubles. Once again my immaturity in wanting to cling to something that couldn’t last. It made me desperate, hungry, depressed.

I rejoiced when he asked me out on our first date. I did a little dance in my kitchen. This was just what I needed after all the pain I had been going through! A ray of hope. We had such chemistry, he and I. We fit. We could talk about anything. We talked for hours and hours, often staying up to crazy hours of the night, standing outside the dorm because of the curfew rules. He had such interesting views on things. I was fascinated by what he had to say. He was so opinionated. He seemed so noble, so idealistic. He was so funny. He was so dear. He was like a bright, hot light. It blinded me. When I was with him, I could see only him. Again, he was like my sunshine, but a sun that burned too bright, too hot, drew me in too hungrily.

We confessed our feelings for each other. He told me I was his first. I became aware after awhile that he came from a very strange family. He told me some rather disturbing stories about his family members. He had been through much trauma himself, and there were pains deep within him that he was not ready to share with anyone, deep, dark, ugly secrets like old, rotting bones hidden deep in a closet. But I figured love conquers all. He was wounded, deeply. He needed healing. He needed protection. He needed love. He needed me.

My roommates became concerned about me. I would stay out so late each night. My classes were suffering a little. I was trying to spend all my spare time with him. They saw me changing, and they didn’t like those changes. They told me so. It made me angry. I avoided them. They were hurt. They showed it. It made me more angry. And so it went.

Icthius did something for me that no guy had ever done before. He made me feel sexy. All my life I wanted to be sexy. Wanted to be appealing to the opposite sex. I never felt like I was. Even though Benjamin made me feel beautiful, as beautiful as a pristine snowscape, he never made me feel sexy. It didn’t help that sometime during this period I got a letter from Benjamin. You see, I had tried to write him and tell him I was dating. I guess when he heard that he felt he could respond. He told me that he was currently in a relationship with another man, that he was bisexual.

I was devastated! While I could look back and know for sure that he was indeed physically attracted to me, the revelation still made me feel—unfeminine. I don’t know. It felt offensive even. I can’t explain it rationally, I can only explain how it made me feel. It seemed to confirm my deeply held fears that I was too masculine, that only a bisexual would be interested in me. I had the impression that for the rest of his life, while he might be attracted to a female every now and then, he would seek out male companionship, that that was his preference and he could never tell me before. I wished I had known then. I should have guessed. The signs were there, but they were subtle.

Anyway, Icthius was very much heterosexual. He desired me. I loved it. I reveled in it. I loved how he would flirt with me, express his sexual desires to me. I liked talking about it. Every so often I wondered if this was inappropriate behavior considering he was going on a mission, but at this point we were talking marriage and I was planning to wait for him. How wrong was it to discuss sex with someone you intended to have sex with someday?

The weather grew bitterly cold. We still wanted to stay up late talking. The darkness was our friend. We could be alone with each other. We felt so close, so intimate. It was magic. We began sitting in his heated truck in the parking lot. Then we started driving places. We joked about how people did this to get away and do “inappropriate things”, but of course we weren’t going to do anything like that. Heh. How silly!

And we were good. For a long time we were good. We even kept kissing and cuddling to a minimum. But we liked kissing. We liked it a lot. Every so often he would ask if it was OK to do a certain something. It was usually something seemingly innocent, like having me sit on his lap. And of course, if it is OK once, it is OK again, right? Oh so slowly the slope went! How blind we were! I hated to say no to him. He was so quietly insistent, like a little child, a little boy, pleading.

The end of that semester was approaching his mission papers were in. He wasn’t going to school next semester, so I wouldn’t be seeing him until he came up to get ready to enter the MTC. I remember one night my roommates (I later found out) felt very strongly that that night something was going to happen. They felt that Satan really wanted to prevent Icthius from serving a mission and tonight was the night he was going to do something specific to stop it. They actually went out looking for me all that evening, I had no idea until the next day.

But they were right. It was an accident. We knew all the “textbook” things that were “no-no’s”. But we suddenly happened upon something that seemed innocent at the time, a gray area so to speak. It was something that had never even occurred to me before. Neither of us were thinking very clearly. Well, afterwards, we realized we needed to talk to our bishop about what happened. Hindsight is 20/20?

Well, we were instructed that his entry date to the MTC needed to be delayed to give him the proper time to repent, to show that he had forsaken and was not going to repeat it. He needed to be fully worthy and clean of sexual sin before he could be called to do this sacred work. High standards are required of missionaries. Sexual indiscretions are not tolerated in those called to represent Christ in such a specific way.

We felt really bad about what happened. We were confident that it wouldn’t be hard to never do it again, especially now that we knew specifically what it was. And now we had more time together before we had to part for two years.

He came to visit me over Christmas. My parents didn’t like him. They felt something was seriously wrong, but they couldn’t put a finger on exactly why. Maybe they saw some change in me. Maybe they didn’t like the way we were always trying to be alone with each other. But red flags were there.

Icthius’s flight back to Utah had been scheduled before his delayed entrance into the MTC, so he was going to have some “down time” in Utah before needing to enter. He didn’t have classes, and had a flexible-hour part-time job. But that still made for a lot of free time. That semester was mostly worthless for me. There were nights that Icthius and I stayed out till dawn. He found ways to be insistent, and they always seemed to be little things, things that always seemed innocent at the time. On nights that I wanted to retire early, he would beg me to stay with him. He would beg me to sleep with him in the back of the truck, just so that we didn’t have to part for the night.

Well, as fate would have it, as the date drew near again, we had another problem. The strange thing is that looking back I can’t even figure out how event followed event. I don’t know what I was thinking. But what happened pretty much meant that he wasn’t going on a mission at all. Not now, anyway, not for a long time, if ever.

The thing to understand here is that while I was being very dishonest with myself in this whole affair, I still honestly believed in keeping chastity. I didn’t want to be going against that. But their was his pleading and insistence, my lack of will to say “no”, the times I had “hurt” him and he made me feel that everything was my fault. He was so logical, so convincing. He would make an argument, and I couldn’t think of anything to say to refute it. Nothing at all. And at that time in my life, for some reason I believed that if I could not come up with a logical reason to refute and argument, than the argument must be correct. Icthius would make such a good lawyer. He knew just the right things to say, one time playing on my guilt, others playing on my vanity, others playing on my insecurities, or any number of other things. He was so good at it. At least with me. That is why I call him my bane. I seemed to have no defense.

So, we never had sexual intercourse per se. I held to that last bastion with what was left of my soul. But I did it in such a way that I was not even aware of it, for I feared if Icthius became aware of it, he would attack it directly and I would not be able to resist. Instead, I found clever ways to keep his sexual hunger satisfied without sacrificing this one last thing. It was silly. It was ridiculous. I was being sexually immoral according to my own beliefs. I knew it. I hated myself for being weak. There is a part of you that thinks, “Well, I’ve already messed up, might as well stop trying to fight it and just give in.” And that attitude consumed me except for that one last thing I tried to hold sacred.

Icthius raped me. I believe this now. I did not want these things to happen. He manipulated me. He was so clever. He emotionally abused me. Sometimes he came close to physically abusing me, it scared me. But he never harmed me that way. But his rage was terrifying. Everything was my fault. He was insane, crazy, emotionally sick. Twisted beyond any help I could offer. He had been abused as a child. He had experienced incest in his own family. He was evil. He had me under his control.

But I was not without fault myself and I knew this. I knew if I had just been stronger, more secure, believed in myself more, I could have escaped this horrible mess. I could have stopped it. I tried so many times, and each time he got to me. He cried, he raged, he pleaded, he accused. And it always worked. Because I loved him, or I thought I did, and I was afraid of being alone. If I didn’t know who I was before this, I certainly didn’t know who I was now.

We separated for the summer. We each went to our respective authorities and did our best to repent of what we had been doing. After all, we both believed it was sinful. We both wanted it to stop. My bishop and my parents told me that they didn’t want me to return to school unless I had fully repented and that this wasn’t going to happen again. They were very afraid for me. They knew that Icthius had strong power over me, and they had tried to talk to me about ending the relationship. I was not willing to do so. At least, not after Icthius would talk to me.

That was the thing. I would know what I thought when I was by myself, but I would talk to Icthius and he would completely change my mind and my whole way of looking at things. The way he perceived it, it was my family that was manipulating me. Because after being away from him, I put up a resistance to his efforts. I had ideas he didn’t like.

He told me my family was evil. Not in so many words, but he would say insulting things about them. He would force me to choose between allegiance to them and allegiance to him. He did this with my friends also. They didn’t approve of him and he knew it. So if they wanted to talk to me alone, he protested that I was being disloyal by associating with people who hated him and were going to try to turn me against him. The sick thing is I started to believe him! This is what shames me the most. He nearly succeeded in turning me away from my own family! He told me that when we were married our kids would not be allowed to associate with my parents because they would poison their minds too. I cried often. But after awhile I became emotionally and spiritually dead. I was just numb inside, lifeless.

Amidst this whole mess, that whole summer I had my friend Maria. She was living with my family at the time, and we roomed together. She was in a bad relationship too with many of the same problems. The funny thing was, she would tell me about her situation and it was obvious to me what a completely manipulative jerk her boyfriend was and she saw the same in Icthius. But we were blind to our own plights. We were like moths drawn to the flame, blind, unable to stop ourselves from our own personal banes. And yet, we each stopped each other from falling to far into self-deception. It was all we had left because our own families couldn’t reach us anymore! There was just enough sympathy in our similar situations to bind us tightly together.

I still had hopes that Icthius would get his act together and go on a mission. But his sexual appetite consumed him even while we were apart. He struggled greatly with temptations of pornography and masturbation. He was addicted. He didn’t want to serve a mission anymore. He wanted to marry me. ASAP. I didn’t like this idea, because deep down I knew how ugly and unhealthy our relationship was. I knew that missions could change people deep down and that he would be a better person for it. Someone I could actually marry. I urged him to go. He made me feel that I was being pressuring, disloyal, and just wrong.

The new school year began. I returned to school. My parents were terrified. With good reason.

My roommate told me that she didn’t want to room with me next year. She told me that my relationship with Icthius upset her too much, it was too painful for her, and she couldn’t deal with it. I was on my own. So he and I went to the same complex. He roomed with people he knew, but I knew no one.

We both started out with such good intentions. He seemed to be in control of himself. We had gone over and over our old problems and thought we had it all figured out. Now, much of this time is blocked out of my memory because I can’t bear to live with the memories. I don’t remember how it happened, but things got bad. Suddenly. Icthius nearly did rape me, for real. More than once. He scared me. I was traumatized. He knew I was holding something back from him and he wanted it. He knew I wasn’t fully his yet. I had a secret, and he was out to get it. I thought I had things under control, giving him what would satisfy his sexual hunger that would creep up every few days. I was so wrong. I think he knew deep down what I was up to.

By this point, I was pretty much living with him. I slept with him every night, and this was a brazen breaking of rules. I didn’t care anymore I was just dead inside. I wasn’t attending church. I was pretty much inactive. I knew I had rebelled against God. I had told so many lies to myself, about everything. I figured God had given up on me, that I was a lost case, irreclaimable.

My parents called me and told me they wanted me to come home. Now. I could have gotten out then. But Icthius’s control on me was too strong. I said no. I felt like I would be a coward to “run away” and Icthius would forever have “beaten” me. I kept saying to myself, “I’ve made my bed, now I must lie in it.” I was losing my identity. I was nothing more than a cipher, his puppet, his plaything.

His parents actually moved out to Utah at this time from New York and Icthius moved in with them. I kept my apartment contract, but I lived with Icthius there. His parents didn’t seem to care. I think they were too messed up to care. But I will tell you this, Icthius’s mom didn’t like me. She thought I was a worthless tramp out to take her precious son away from her. Well, Icthius and him mom had an “inappropriate” relationship. He had only told me a few things, things he hoped would not cause me to turn tail and run. I was too naïve to see how bad things were. All the world seemed against me. My school classes were a joke. I became truly nocturnal, a creature of the night.

Icthius finally convinced me to marry him. He bought me a ring of my choosing and proposed. I called my parents to tell them. I heard the phone drop to the floor and I heard my mom weep. I have never heard a more horrible sound in my life then or since. I hope never to hear it again. She didn’t mean for me to hear it, I could tell she was a distance from the phone, but she cried out in pain and anguish, great wracking sobs that were so loud they distorted through the phone line. It was as though she were mourning my death. But it was worse than that. Much, much worse. For I was headed for a fate far worse than death. I remember Icthius rolling his eyes and making a wise-crack and my cold, evil heart believing him because it was less painful than the truth.

I cringe to think of the animal I had become. I was human no longer. Surely God would destroy me. I was a mockery to all he had blessed me with.

But in all this, though I came so close to giving it up so many times, I technically kept my virginity. It was all that was left to me. I tell you, it was a miracle. I honestly don’t know how it happened.

It was with a strange reluctance that I went forth with the wedding preparations. Icthius seemed to think if I wasn’t getting ready for the wedding, I didn’t really mean it. So I went forward, obliging him. I bought a dress. We had engagement pictures taken. Christmas approached, and I had every intention of going home to my family this one last time. Especially since I didn’t know if I would ever see them again. He tried to stop me. He pleaded with me not to go. He told me that I would change again, that I had no back bone, that I would turn against him again. But somehow I got on that plane and left. As the plane lifted off the ground, there was a strange peace in my heart. I had some time to think. But I was determined not to let my “evil family” convince me not to go through with this.

When I walked through the door of my house, I felt as though I were dive-tackled by all my guardian angels. My home had always felt like such a holy place, and the comforts of home, the goodness of all my family had taught me all my life hit me so hard. It hurt, it hurt BAD. My parents, bless their hearts, were so gracious. They never once tried to talk me out of my wedding plans. They had set up a bridal shower for me. They were kind, comforting, perfect. It was too much. I couldn’t handle it.

And on top of everything else, Maria had just broken up with her boyfriend. She was so very, very happy. It was hard for her, but she had such a glow about her. She knew she had done the right thing. No one tried to tell me what to do. But I could see how proud my parents were of her though they did nothing to try and show it.

Icthius and I had a fight over the phone. He told me I was wavering again. It was my fault for coming. I told him he was wrong. My family had done nothing to me! Nothing at all but love me unconditionally. I could suddenly see that he had been lying to me all this time. I could not contend with the truth any more. Not when it was so clear, so plain before me.

But what to do? So much had happened, should I marry him, or shouldn’t I? I wanted an answer from God. I needed it. I wasn’t strong enough to do it on my own. I took a bunch of materials with me, my journal, scriptures, some books on marriage, and went to the empty church to be alone. I locked myself inside. I spent hours there reading, praying, meditating. My mind was a cloud. I perceive no clear path before me. There was only confusion. But then I suddenly remembered a verse of scripture in the Doctrine and Covenants 9:7-9

7 Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me.

8 But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.

9 But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong;

I had been expecting the Lord to tell me what to do. But I knew from the stories in the scriptures that often he requires us to use our own brains, figure it out, then bring our conclusion before him and ask if it is right.

So I decided to ask God if I should not marry Icthius. No sooner had I began to ask when a feeling so powerful came over me. It overwhelmed me that I nearly fell to the ground. My whole body filled with the feeling. My mind cleared. It was as though God was shouting very, very loud. YES! This is right! You have found the correct path and I will clear it before you!

Everything was different after that. I called and broke up with Icthius, called it all off. He went into a terrible rage. He hung up. After that I wouldn’t speak to him. If he called, my father would answer and speak to him. Icthius swore. He threatened. He said horrible, ugly things. He said he would come down to Texas with a gun. Then he would call back later in his tiny, child voice, submissive, begging, pleading. It was really scary.

Finally he convinced me to talk to him. He spoke calmly, reasonably. He tried to convince me to come back to school. We could be friends, we could still be part of each other’s lives. After all, I had my education to continue. But I had already made my mind up that I wasn’t going back. I couldn’t trust myself to, and I knew it. My family was all there in the room with me as was Maria. She could see that I was wavering. I was deciding to go back. I wanted to go back…. Then I saw her drop her head. It was a subtle gesture, a gesture of defeat. When I saw it, it called me back to my senses. My resolve was back and I told him no. He told me that I would never find someone who loved me like he did, and then that was it.

My father, wonderful man that he is, took my car and drove up by himself to Utah, gathered all my things from my apartment, took care of all the lose ends with housing and school, and came home. He was so pleased to have me back. I was the Prodigal Daughter. Returned from the Abyss. That was a very joyful Christmas for our family.

Now that I was not getting married, I could return my thoughts to a nearly forgotten possibility: serving a mission for the church myself. I had been given a priesthood blessing in my teenage years that serving a mission was one of the very important things that I was intended to do in this life. I had been willing to sacrifice that before for a mess of pottage so-to-speak. I was filled with such joy! I had a long road of repentance before me. It would not be easy. It would be a time of soul searching and healing. Some of that healing would be very painful. Not only that, but I would suffer for years to come from insecurities and deep wounds. I didn’t know who I was anymore. Icthius may have left my life physically, but his evil still possessed and tainted my mind. A voice constantly whispering that I was a liar. That I was worthless. That it was all my fault. That I had no integrity. It was not until well into my mission that I finally dispelled this demon from me once and for all. It has not returned to bother me since.

It is strange to note that if this long period of repentance had not been required of me, I would have left on my mission before Porter came home from his. We would have passed like ships in the night. He would have perhaps married the girl he dated that first year back and we would have never known each other.

Just another strange tale to add to the collection.

[ August 05, 2004, 08:03 PM: Message edited by: beverly ]

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Zotto!
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Beverly~

Thank you for being here. I've been immensely impressed with the strength of your character and the integrity of your intellect ever since you first showed up here at Hatrack.

Your post physically hurt me, because the events you recounted are similar to things that have happened to some of the people who are very nearest and dearest to me.

I am glad you shared your story here because you set such an inspiring example of how people can learn to be strong through faith, through believing in their own power to learn through experience, change, and never lose hope for personally making something better in this life.

You have blessed us all by sharing with us your story. Thank you.

God bless,

Jeremy

[ August 05, 2004, 05:10 AM: Message edited by: Zotto! ]

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Jim-Me
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Bev,

thanks for sharing that... it was painful for me, too, to read that.

Jim

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PSI Teleport
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*hides eyes*

I have to go read the Ugly Duckling before I read this one.

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Eduardo_Sauron
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Beverly, thanks to share it with us.

Reading your post was painfull for me, for personal reasons, but I'm glad you found your way.

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Zevlag
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Bev,

You always have friends here at Hatrack. It's amazing to me the strength you find to share with us the things that have hurt you so much. Thanks for making Hatrack a home, a place you cam trust.

-Zev

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Little_Doctor
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Wow
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PSI Teleport
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quote:
He told me that I would never find someone who loved me like he did, and then that was it.
The last resort of many manipulative people. What is it supposed to mean? That you are so unlovable that only a saint and martyr like him can take on the responsibility? [Frown]

Thanks for the story, Bev. I am so glad you broke free and ended up with your husband. (I bet he's even happier than me. [Big Grin] )

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sarahdipity
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quote:
He told me that I would never find someone who loved me like he did, and then that was it.

Actually if you think of it another way you could see this as a good thing. It seems like you found love that's nothing like that at all thank goodness.
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Jenny Gardener
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Beverly, welcome back to the Light! I know the journey through Darkness never leaves us unscarred, but now you bear its marks as a Warrior who has overcome great trial. Hail to you, and love and freedom!
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PSI Teleport
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That's true, Sarah. It's kind of a blessing. May no one ever love you with a selfish, possessive, manipulative and hurtful "love" like mine again.
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Space Opera
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Oh, Beverly. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I'm so proud and envious of your ability to be so honest. You've always been one of my favorite people on Hatrack, and now I just have about a million more reasons to admire you. [Kiss]

space opera

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beverly
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quote:
May no one ever love you with a selfish, possessive, manipulative and hurtful "love" like mine again.
AMEN!!

Thank you all for your kindness. This was so hard to write, but posting it actually felt really good. I felt I could trust all of you to receive these very bittersweet memories with delicacy and love.

Man, I was so cranky last night. Just ask Porter. I was ticked off at the world because I was re-living my own personal hell.

[ August 05, 2004, 12:33 PM: Message edited by: beverly ]

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from Cythera
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Oh Bev... First of all, your Ugly Duckling landmark was SO close to home for me it is uncanny. Just a day of speaking with you and I can already see what a beautiful person you are. I was just telling Farmgirl as well what an amazingly strong woman she has shown herself to be. What is it with the women of Hatrack that is so inspiring and admirable? [Smile] I am in awe of all of you. Your stories have given me such an incomprable feeling of hope for myself and others in these situations. Thank you so much for sharing. I really believe we are so much the better for hearing it.
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solo
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beverly,

Thank you for your sincerity and willingness to share difficult elements of your life.

I don't post a lot, but I do read a lot of posts here. I have really enjoyed reading things from both you and porter.

I hope to read more happy stories in the future.

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Telperion the Silver
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My god woman! How did you get to 2000 so quickly?!

Good second landmark! [Smile]

[edit: the understatement of the year]

[ August 05, 2004, 02:38 PM: Message edited by: Telperion the Silver ]

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Derrell
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I wanted to reply when I first read this about 1:00 this morning, but words failed me. Your journey back from the abyss is truly an inspiration for me. I'm really glad you're a part of Hatrack.

(((Beverly)))

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beverly
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[ROFL]

Well! I just noticed a very condemning error in my landmark post! I think I caught it all, but in my effort to change names at the last minute, it did far more than I intended!

One of the names to be replaced was "Chris". I replaced it with "Bill". As a result, every reference to "Christ" or "Christmas" turned into "Billt" or "Billtmas". So much for "changing names to protect the innocent".

Please tell me you all noticed this and were just too polite to point it out. I can now imagine all of you reading this and trying so hard not to laugh at my ridiculous errors in the midst of this very somber story. I was not exactly in a rational state-of-mind when I posted this. [Wink]

Don't you hate it when you do something so utterly embarrassing? [Blushing]

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dkw
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I was trying to figure out why you did that.

Glad to know it was a computer glitch. [Big Grin]

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beverly
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Yeah, it especially ticks me off that it happened to something that I hold sacred! I am beyond embarrassed.

Stupid computer. [Grumble]

[ August 05, 2004, 08:20 PM: Message edited by: beverly ]

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rivka
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At one in the morning, it was just surreal enough (and I was tired and punchy enough) for me to wonder if this was some Mormon custom I was thus far unfamiliar with . . .


I was also unable to put into words my awe at your ability to share something this painful and personal. I still cannot find the right words. Beverly, your strength and self-awareness are amazing. I'm so glad you and porter came to join us from the "other side"!

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beverly
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Thank you, Rivka. [Kiss]

Now I find myself desperately hoping that everyone who has already read the landmark will see what my mistake was so they don't continue thinking I am nutso. [Smile]

Solo: I don't know that happy stories are as worth telling. I have always been drawn to powerful, bittersweet stories. I feel like most of my life, especially now, is actually quite boring. It is so dang happy. So dang stable. I love it. But not all that much exciting to tell, ya know?

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imogen
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Oh, Bev. (((((Beverley)))) You truly are an amazing woman. I am so glad that you are happy and content with your life now.

And that you're on Hatrack. [Big Grin]

(And yes, I had "Billtmas" all ready in my cut and paste ready to ask what it was. I thought maybe it was some weird American slang - it is an expensive time of year, after all... [ROFL] )

Thank-you very much for your landmark, and your presence here. I have found you to be wise, passionate and full of grace in all that you type - even when I don't agree with you. And that takes a lot! [Kiss]

(I also don't know how you got to 2000 so quickly...)

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beverly
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Thank you so much, Imogen.

Oh and how did I get to 2000 so fast? Either I'm a post whore or a really big geek. [Big Grin]

Actually, I think it is a testament to how much Hatrack means to me. I have never felt so at home. [Smile]

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TomDavidson
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You know, I noticed the "Billtmas" bit and just assumed that it was some wacky Utah Mormon cultural event, like Christmas in July or Yulefest or some local festival. [Smile]
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Shigosei
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Wow, Bev. That must have taken a lot of courage to share that story. For what it's worth, however weak you may have been at the time, you were strong when it mattered most. You are an amazing woman.

I noticed the Billtmas thing too. When I saw "Billt" where I thought it really ought to say "Christ" I realized that you must have done a search-and-replace for Chris-->Bill. By all means, let's celebrate Billtmas. It should come right after Shinda.

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Space Opera
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I thought the Biltmas thing was a Mormon custom too!!!

[ROFL]

space opera

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tt&t
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Beverly, [Smile]

I'm glad I got the chance to talk about this with you on AIM, as when I first read it last night I couldn't reply - there was so much I wanted to say and yet I couldn't put it into words. I still can't, really.

Just... thank you. For being here, for being you, and for being able to share such a personal, powerful landmark with us.

I admire your strength and courage very much. Actually, I just admire you. Stay around, okay? [Smile]

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pooka
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I saw Tom's Biltmas thread yesterday and thought it must have something to do with that. Kind of like what happened with the Purple Turtle last month.

Also, Bilt means "picture" in German, I think, so I went further with the "must be a X custom I just never heard of before."

Well, I'm really glad you were so honest. I don't think I can be. And even if I were, I can't do it for this next landmark because you just did and it would be like I was copying. So I extra appreciate your honesty. [Big Grin]

[ August 06, 2004, 10:27 AM: Message edited by: pooka ]

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mr_porteiro_head
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I still haven't summoned the courage to read this landmark, but it's great to see so many people appreciating how wonderful my wife is. [Smile]
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Farmgirl
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(((beverly)))

Many hugs.

Reading your landmark was very painful for me because it was very like reading a chapter of my own life -- I had a very similar controlling relationship in the past. Amazing, in fact, how similar (in words and actions) this controlling man was to your Icthius. It gave me chills.

Thank you so very much for sharing this part of yourself. Believe me, I know how very hard it is to share something as dark and emotional as this.

You are quite a woman! God worked all things out for good in your life. What a blessing that you are now in the wonderful relationship that you are.

Farmgirl

p.s. -- okay, and NOW I understand the Billtmas thread....

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Brinestone
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Actually, Bild means "picture" in German, though it's pronounced the same way.

[ August 06, 2004, 11:40 AM: Message edited by: Brinestone ]

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