Here I go again….from one bad decision to the next!

“I just wanted to remind everyone that I have no idea what I am doing, I’m not a writer, but I think everyone should document your life because one day, you may forget it. Thanks so much for reading!” #themidlifetravelerblog

I believe I was drowning my sorrows in a cocktail when the phone rang. It had been 8 months since our last encounter and there it was, his name shining brightly on the caller ID. My roommate shook her head as I jumped up and down with excitement before answering the phone. My ‘older man’ (M.B) was coming to town in a few weeks and wanted to know if I was single. “M.B” knew that if I had a boyfriend, we wouldn’t see each other, but today was his lucky day and for me, a life saver. It had been 2 months since I caught my boyfriend with someone else and I really needed some attention. Even though it was wrong to see him, I was young and stupid and he was the perfect man to bring me out of my funk.

First step, get fit! My body was at an all time low which didn’t help with my depression, so my roommate and I went on a mission to lose 10 pounds in 10 days. It was simple, just eat lots of diet pills and stay away from 3 am bar hot dogs and fast food. Our poor bodies, we put them through so much. This wasn’t the first or the last time I thought I could look like a super model in light speed without a proper diet or exercise. In high school I weighed 105 pounds, but didn’t drink alcohol and ate home cooked food. In college, Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill and unlimited food credits in the cafeteria helped me to put on 35 pounds. At 5’5”, this wasn’t good and I’m guessing was a big reason I was always tired in class and slept a lot.

So began the process of starving myself and spending hours on the treadmill in my apartment’s fitness center. After a week the scale read 133, 7 pounds disappeared in 7 days…..whoo hoo, it was Friday so time to celebrate! Orlando’s fashion sense was pretty casual which was great because my closet was full of gym clothes, t-shirts, anything I could find with camouflage on it and lots of bad choices. Luckily “M.B” liked buying me sexy outfits and my friend was amazing with hair and makeup, so I was feeling HOT that night. For the first time in awhile, it felt good to be me and my confidence was at an all time high.

Weekend nights were always the same, drinks at our apartment, a strong roadie for the car ride, another shot once we parked and always the same bars. By this time, we knew which bartenders poured the strongest drinks and which Dj’s played the best music. As usual, I was on display portraying my best mating dance when the next ‘bad decision’ of my life took the bait.

He was hot, I mean HOT, the hottest guy I’d ever seen and he wanted me! We never said a word, for hours our bodies just moved in perfect harmony on that dance floor. When the lights came on, he placed his hand under my chin, lifted my head, gave me a kiss, tucked a piece of paper in my bra and said, ‘call me’. There I stood, jaw dropped, knees buckled and absolutely in love!

The next morning was chaos, I talked to everyone I knew trying to find out how long to wait before calling?? 3 days, a week, that very minute??? This guy wore expensive clothes, smelled good and definitely did well for himself. Being eager was a turn off but if I waited too long, he might forget who I was. “M.B” would be here in a week and since I already had something to look forward to; the decision was made to contact him after my other man left town.

That lasted all of about 40 minutes. I picked up the phone and started to dial, my roommate grabbed the handle from me and hung it up. This happened several times as she tried to talk some sense into me. But the butterflies in my tummy were out of control, I was a mess, waiting a week would be torture, so I poured a drink and made the call…

When “G” answered, everything froze, the clever lines and cute things I had practiced to say all morning just disappeared from memory, so I hung up! I can’t believe I hung up. Of course he had caller ID and of course he called me right back…

It was Cinderella’s fault I was so unhappy in my 20’s….

This was now the second time I decided to move across state lines for a boy. And this was the second time it failed. One day after moving to Orlando, I caught him at the beach with another women! Between my broken heart, paying double rent, student loans, credit card bills and endless bar tabs, I was a mess. If it wasn’t for the $1 menu at McDonald’s and the cheap hot dog vendors at 3 am, I would have starved. I was extremely unhealthy, drank too much and was out of control. The sad part was that compared to where I had just moved from, life was pretty good. Here I am, living in Orlando, newly single with a steady job and a fantastic apartment, but none of that mattered. I was 23, broke, alone and desperate to be in love.❤

Dating was like playing the lottery, the odds of winning were 1 in a million, but I kept playing anyway. 

Unfortunately my mom was always working, so there wasn’t much time to teach me about boys. But she did mention one thing that stuck with me, mom said, ‘Carrie, don’t ever feel that you have to get married or have children’. I don’t remember if I ever asked why and to be honest, it probably went in one ear and out the other, but looking back on it now, she was absolutely right.

I was obsessed with finding love and it’s all Cinderella’s fault. Her and all those silly fairy tale books we read as kids.

I thought happiness meant you had to have a man. On girls night out, it was hard to enjoy myself because all I ever wanted to do was find a man, get married and have his babies!!!!

I think if I had a daughter, she would be reading books on how to be her own boss, make money and travel the world. The ones that say to wait around for a Prince are sweet, but there needs to be variety.

Plus they painted a picture that seemed so easy to achieve. Society and family pressure didn’t help either. Up until the last few years, it was strange if you weren’t married by 25 and by 30, you were almost considered too old to marry. 

When I was young, it seemed instead of traveling the world, discovering themselves or dating a bit to see what kind of person was right for them, adults did as they were told. They married young, bought a house, had children and got a job. That was my plan too, but the keeper of my destiny had a different plan. 

And then, out of the blue, he called, my ‘older man, the one I swore off because he was already taken. The man who taught me about fine wines, girly clothes and elegant dinners. I knew it was wrong to talk to him, but when all you see are dark clouds and broken dreams, you do things you normally wouldn’t do, so I answered the phone…

 

It was 1995, I was in love, had a great job and then everything changed…

Now that I had a good job, Augusta was starting to grow on me.  I soon met a local boy named Tony who captured my heart. When I told my ‘Sugar Daddy’ in California that it was over, he wished me well, chuckled and said,’I’ll see you soon’. I wasn’t sure what he meant by that, but it was about to become very clear.

Knowing that there was no other way out of small town Georgia, Tony joined the Navy and was stationed in Orlando. I was going on 9 months with AT&T when they informed us of the layoffs. Luckily for me, there was an office in Orlando looking to hire a File Room Clerk for $400 a week…I was elated! Not only was it my ticket out of Augusta, but it was a way for Tony and I to be together.

The week before my big move, the famous ‘Masters’ golf tournament was taking place and one of the local bars needed a beer tub girl. The city was flooded with people from all over and in 3 days time, I made $2000 cash. In my 25 years, I had never seen that much money, and it was all mine. Everything was working out perfectly, except for 2 tiny issues, my DUI and my lease.

A month before accepting the job in Orlando, I had moved into a nicer place and signed a year lease with a girlfriend of mine. Now If you know me, you know that I am loyal, and when I give my word, I will do whatever it takes to keep it. So I promised I would pay my half until she found a replacement. Basically between the rent in Orlando and the rent in Georgia, half my pay was already spent. Not having any money was normal for me though and like always, I would figure it out, but the DUI and weekly mandatory visits with my probation officer…..well that was another story???

My 1988 Chevy Cavalier was packed, Travis the beagle was chillen in the front seat and I was on my way. The 3 bedroom apartment was already furnished and my new roommates were eagerly waiting my arrival. At the time, cell phones were fairly new, expensive and impossible to get. Tony would have to call my home phone from a payphone in order to talk and it had been a week or so since I’d heard from him. I was getting suspicious, but remember, I was also the crazy, psycho, jealous girl, so I was always suspicious.

Once I settled in, it was time begin the hunt. My boyfriend had no way of getting a hold of me so I went to the Navy base to track him down. It wasn’t easy getting past the guard gate, but with a few flips of the hair, some fake giggles and a lot of flirting…..I was in! After interrogating several of his Navy buddies, they informed me that he was at a super popular beach bar with some friends. I was feeling quite proud of my investigation that day and with a big smile and happy heart, I was off to surprise the man I loved, the man who swore to me that we would be together forever…

I’m 22, broke and stuck in Augusta, Georgia….

There’s so much sadness right now, so thought maybe my story would make you smile a bit….happy reading!

When my college boyfriend asked me to move to Georgia, I didn’t bother looking the place up. The internet was still a couple of years from being common and I never paid attention in Geography class. To be honest, I was just happy to be getting out of Indiana.

In college, one of my many majors was Radio, TV & Film, so before heading South, I’d applied at a few of the local TV stations and scored a job with the morning news. Work began at 4 am, ended by 9, and the pay was awful. From there I would head to the local T.G.I Fridays and wait tables from 10 am to about 3. It seemed no matter how many hours I worked, there was never any money.

Augusta was a small military town and mainly consisted of lower end bars, chain restaurants and the famous ‘Masters’ golf course. I remember the OJ Simpson trial was always on TV at the restaurant, it was the talk of the town. There wasn’t much to love but I was having a great time and making friends was easy. The boyfriend and I weren’t getting along so he accepted a job in another state and I rented a one bedroom dump in the ghetto for $200 a month. The locks were broken, my only furniture was a mattress and after a while, the neighborhood gunshots became normal. The area I lived in was a huge step down from the place my college boyfriend and I lived and it was very similar to where I grew up. Not much opportunity to grow and it seemed your only choices were to get pregnant, waitress forever or get out! I was hopeless, broke and had no idea how to get out of Augusta, I just knew that I wasn’t going back home.

Then I met Bill, he was rich, handsome, married, 17 years older than me and lived in California. He traveled to Augusta quite often for business and had set his sights on me. Now let’s be clear about something, fooling around with a married man was not something I was proud of. Him and his associate happen to sit in my section at the restaurant and left me a $72 tip on an $18 lunch. I tried to give it back, but he insisted and invited my coworkers and I to dinner at the most expensive restaurant in town. We went, he worked his magic and so began our very long affair.

Bill was honest about everything. He told me he was happily married and that I wasn’t the only ‘side girl’ in his life. His wife was beautiful, fit and their sex life after 15 years was still better than ever. But Bill truly believed that it was impossible for a man to make love to only one women forever.  This obviously didn’t help me with my insecurities but for some reason, I was never jealous over him.

At first I felt a bit guilty for what I was doing, but he kept showing me a world I never knew existed, it felt as though I was in a movie! If you remember from my past blogs, I was a tomboy, never wore dresses or did my hair and certainly had never been to fancy, expensive places. Bill changed all of that! He helped me to get a great sales job with AT&T, taught me about wine and good food and would buy me clothes that girls wear, not boys. Eventually that job would be my ticket out of Georgia and into Orlando Florida, where everything was about to change.

Bullying was very real in 1987, I even tried to quit High School because of it!

Most of my wonder years were spent shooting guns, playing in the woods, building fires, and beating up boys, but dating boys, ew! I played with them, not kissed them. Around 14, in 9th grade, one of the pretty and popular girls invited me to her slumber party. Now you’ve seen the black and white Junior High photo of me in my last blog, I was not about to be nominated for the prettiest girl in class and I certainly had no sense of girly style or friends. Talk about nervous! Of course some of the hot football players decided to crash the party and that’s when I met my first love.

What he saw in me and my 3 inch think glasses and boy clothes, I have no idea, but I was so happy. He was shy, but played football so he hung with the cool kids. We dated all through the school year until he broke my heart for one of the hip girls. But within weeks, we were back together until summer, when I broke up with him after I woke up one morning with boobs and contacts. All of a sudden boys were noticing me and I liked it! Being single was short lived as I met another young man that summer from the rival high school with a convertible and muscles.

Now you may think bullying is a new thing, but you are very wrong. We started high school in our Sophomore year which was a combination of the 2 local Junior Highs. Since I had ditched the glasses for contacts, grew out my hair and found a sense of style and confidence, I was hardly recognizable. Within days, the cool girls in school made my life hell. They would push me down, knock the books out of my hands, corner me in the bathroom, threaten and yell terrible things at me and spread rumors to make everyone think I was the town slut! I was far from it and happily dating my handsome man from the other high school. At one point, it was so bad, I refused to even show up, almost 2 weeks I think it was. The principal had to come to my house and make a deal to get me to come back. It never stopped and I spent many Saturdays in detention from getting in fights that I never started.

But I persevered, made the dance squad, got a job, played on some sports teams and had a few good friends who knew the real me. That boy and I eventually broke up my senior year and being single was like being dropped in a maze without a map. My self esteem was at an all time low, most likely from the mean kids at school, so I was going out with all the wrong boys for all the wrong reasons….

I had about $2000 in my bank account, a pile of bills and now…no job!

It was July 6th, 2015, 2 pm. I drove to the beach and sat in my car for quite sometime. After taking in the magnitude of what I had just done, I dialed both my parents. Dad of course never worried, he thought I was indestructible, like Keanu Reeves in the Matrix, (he actually said that) and figured I would be fine. Mom never overreacted, but she definitely worried.

Throughout my life, when there was something I wanted to do, it would only be a matter of time before I made it happen. They weren’t always the best decisions either. I would follow a boyfriend to one town, then run from a different boy to another town. Often I would move for a job, or have no job at all, just an a photo of somewhere awesome I wanted to live. If there was too much thought put into it, I would talk myself out of it. That’s how I made it from Indiana, to Illinois, Georgia, Orlando, Tampa, Fort Lauderdale and Sint Maarten. Usually with only a few bucks in my pocket and a dumb idea.

The weekend before becoming unemployed, I had worked with a yacht owner recommended to me by a mutual friend. 4-day charters in a row as a Stewardess on a 100 foot motor yacht was quite the payday. Mr. boat owner specifically told me not to quit my day job because there was no guarantee he could keep me busy. It was summer time in South Florida, the slowest time of the year for yacht charters. But of course, I didn’t listen.

My second stop that afternoon was to Blondie’s beach bar! Not really smart to spend money when you don’t have a job, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. I would have to start networking fast in order to drum up some business, but it could wait one day and Fort Lauderdale has some really fun bars. In that town, no matter what time it was, there was always someone to have a drink with and talk your worries away!

 

The first step towards my freedom, was getting fired from my desk job…

I figured if I got fired, I wouldn’t have to put in a 2 weeks notice, and if my plan for my new career bombed, the unemployment checks would pay my rent! After 6 years with the company, I knew my boss pretty well, so pushing his buttons would be easy. My desk had been cleared out, the PC was wiped clean of all my personal junk and a brand new, professional resume was already floating around town.  During the previous weeks I was prepping the new girl, (without her even knowing) on when to water the plants, how to take care of the office dog (boy I miss him) and handle the stress!

For the last year there, life had become pretty much a ground hog day. The job I had loved for many years was now more like an anchor. After sharing custody of our dogs for 4 years, the decision was made to let my ex (who´s job was transferring him) take our precious fur babies with him to another state in order to keep them together. Weeks later, my eldest dog had to be put down, 2 of the hardest decisions of my life. The crowded and loving one bedroom home I loved, had now became very quiet and lonely. My only salvation was my martial arts, which I religiously attended at least 4 times a week.  It was time to make a move!!!

Since obtaining my one yacht client over the holiday weekend, I was feeling pretty confident that fateful Tuesday morning. The boss and I had been at odds for a while, not really sure why, but there was no time like the present to act. I asked for a meeting and within 10 minutes, I was jobless. I proudly collected my purse, flashed the surveillance camera a final smile and walked out like a boss!!

As I sat down in my car, every bit of attitude I had had, melted away, and all I could see was a giant, florescent sign flashing loudly in my head that said……..¨what have you done¨?