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…

College, ugh, not sure I want to tell you about those years……

Back in my day, we didn’t have the internet to look up all of the fascinating things you can do in bed! Sex was a mystery only to be solved by trial and error and error and error. Some parents were good with that conversation and some avoided it all together. I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, I was clueless and would hear things like…..’tease’, ‘just the tip’ and ‘but I really, really like you’.

You might be blushing, because I know I am, but I would bet a
million dollars that most of the men reading this are thinking…..’haha, yep, worked for me’, and many of the women are thinking….’you fell for that too?’ lol

Now in High School, my experience with sex and drinking was very limited, but during my first year of college, I was like a circus lion who’d been set free. There were parties and boys everywhere! I didn’t have much money but that wasn’t an issue because we had Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill, 750 ml of cheap deliciousness.

We all know (now) that being insecure and dating do not go well together. I will shamelessly admit that I was a bit of a stalker slash crazy person once I gave it up. To me, having sex meant we were a couple, even if I’d never heard from you again. For whatever reason, I was obsessed with trying to catch someone cheating. Enjoying the relationship was foreign to me and in 1991, cell phones were a rumor. When you wanted to get a hold of someone, you would call their house and leave a message on the answering machine. It worked like a tape recorder and I was a pro at figuring out the password. That was mild compared to being caught peeking into their bedroom window trying to catch him with another girl. I was a scraper too, fighting with my siblings and the bullies in high school turned me into a mean girl. Drinking only made it worse, always causing me to provoke violence.

Fortunately, my Sophomore year, I met a Junior from the private college down the road, which settled me down a bit. He had no idea who he was about to date. Drinking and fighting became a normal part of our relationship. It didn’t matter who was around, as soon as the alcohol kicked in, ‘Crazy Carrie’ would show up and cause a huge scene. But he continued to date me, even after he graduated and took a job in the next state.

The summer before my senior year, I turned 21 and qualified for an internship in Florida, a place I had only heard about. It was a dream job, one of the best summers of my life and I was determined to return. Heading back to Indiana and college was like leaving colorful, sunny OZ and living back in black and white Kansas. Plus, I had been kicked out of my sorority the semester before for entering a wet t-shirt contest on Spring Break. All of the sorority ‘friends’ I had made shunned me, so after a few weeks, with my tail between my legs, I moved back home to Merrillville and attended Indiana University NW. It wasn’t all bad though, my boyfriend was only an hours drive away and I had my childhood friends to hang around.  And then, out of the blue, my life in Indiana was about to change forever. The boyfriend was offered a job in Augusta Georgia and for whatever reason, he invited me to go. This was the first of many events in my life that would lead me to where I am now…….