I have a peculiar relationship with money. There were the woes I experienced as a youth, growing up in the lower middle class (or perhaps even slightly less fortunate) in a well off community – my peers all having expensive things that I often felt ashamed not to also possess. And then later when my parent’s deeply troubled marriage went totally sour, that summer when I told my father I planned to go to college where I really wanted, my mother and I lived in a battered women’s shelter for six months… in a dangerous neighborhood.
Going from west Bloomington, Minnesota during the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, to a neighborhood where stabbings and shootings at night were common was… an experience. But that was the last place my father would have looked for us and as long we were brave and minded our own business we were relatively safe. I had always wanted to spend a semester abroad in college… but those six months in that ghetto feeling on the outside of so many things were an equally eye opening contrast to where I was from.
Then it was back to being surrounded by relative affluence for four years at a respectable private Christian college… It was safe. You could take walks at night in the beauty of the Pennsylvania countryside, under the stars. But I always felt out of place as I did in high school if I didn’t “look the part.”
When I met Mark I was living with my mom, who was doing well considering what she had recently lived through with my father, and I was clinging to my last strands of willpower to try to “make it” and succeed. But we lived tastefully. My mother was raised well… and she knew how to enjoy beauty without having to pay an exorbitant amount.
And then, as things became more serious with Mark I met his family. Previous to that I had always been very well liked by my boyfriends’ parents, but that was when I was still on the “right” life path… Before I had been in college and was trying to become something at least a bit prestigious… When I met Mark’s family I was a college drop-out who worked at a coffee shop. And they were kind enough to my face, but in reality, they thought I was entirely unacceptable.
I remember being accused of being lazy and I’m quite sure they thought I was just a gold digger. Some likely even thought I was very stupid… But, of course, Mark was an alcoholic womanizer and when I tried to confront that, especially in light of their views on me, all hell broke loose… There was no way a pathetic little bimbo barista could possibly be telling the truth about such a nice young man.
Mark loved it. :) All the anger and frustration he had ever felt towards anyone in his life was channeled through my many angsty and scathing emails and other communications. All he had to do was watch and when the dust settled he could take choice pieces of my rage and claim them without too much of a reaction from anyone. I had cleared the path. “Yeah, she was right about that dad. I have been an alcoholic.” “Yes, our relationship has been bad, dad.”
Then there was the issue of the engagement ring… I won’t go into all of it, but suffice to say, even though we got married he never proposed.
We visited Ireland with the intent of becoming engaged. Then Switzerland. And finally we traveled to the UK… after we were already married. And on all those occasions I was promised a vacation where Mark would make up for the pain and at least give a beautiful proposal. But, alas, he never really did except for once or twice when he managed to mouth a few words when we had a pretty ring and I begged him to… For example, in London we went out to a beautiful dinner that he had planned, we had a lovely ring and he brought me to a spot outdoors at night where he was going to do it, but instead he suddenly “felt cold” and asked to go back to the hotel… I begged him to just propose and get it over with – we were already married and were going home soon.
Aside from the beauty of all those places and how much I adore travel, they were actually quite hellish experiences. And on more than just one occasion I threw my ring away…
Once I threw an engagement ring in the ocean (as I’ve previously written about). And then once I dropped one randomly in the street in London when Mark wasn’t looking. There were a couple I flushed down toilets. I threw one out the window of a moving car into a ditch. When Mark pulled over and went to look for it the police stopped and interrogated him to see if he was drunk… He wasn’t and when they found out what had happened and what he was looking for they used their flashlights to help him. Well, to be honest that happened twice…
And each time I did it, it was because I was jealous, but not in some useful way. I was angry because Mark had always given money the love and respect I wanted him to give me. The rings weren’t tokens of his affection and if they had been I would have been loathe to lose them, even by chance. They were ugly reminders of all of the heartache in our relationship. Throwing rings down toilets, in the ocean, and in ditches was my way of saying “fuck you” when my words weren’t being listened to. And as embarrassed as I am by all that money being wasted when it could have helped someone, it felt good to finally be heard.
…Still no call or text from Handsome… And maybe I won’t even write about it if he does, just for my own privacy… At any rate, I have a suspicion I know what’s been going on. But I refuse to write about it…
And I’ll write a review of a fragrance later today. I’m looking forward to that.