Saturday, January 24, 2009

The men in my life

Story 1: Bill: I married at 21 to a fairly well off man in Northern Idaho. Looking back, I forced the issue and subconsciously wanted to be set for life. Little did I know how bad that would backfire on me. I entered into a serious domestic violence relationship, but didn’t know it till after the ceremony. Now let me paint a picture first. Here’s a cute slim little blonde girl. Who ski’s with the ski patrol only, rock climbs, power lifts at the gym ( I could bench 250 at the time) and is a lifeguard on the public beach of Sandpoint, Idaho. Tom girl extraordinaire you might say. When I began dating Bill, I was an electrician’s apprentice. Needless to say the Tomboy in me was showing. We courted for a time and finally I said yes December 26th 1984. We were married May 11,1985.

Overnight things changed dramatically. I was no longer to work, wear makeup or associate with any of my friends. No more skiing the hill with the patrol, no more rock climbing, no more anything. This man wanted complete control. Not sure if you are familiar with Northern Idaho? But it is Aryan Nations central (Neo Nazi’s). Literally, no lie. So this type of control over women isn’t too surprising. I had a beautiful baby girl 10 days before our 1st wedding anniversary. After that it got even worse. Not physically because he was never as strong as I was. But mentally, he would say every conceivable thing that was mean or spiteful to undermine my well being. I of course didn’t last long and left finally after 2 1/2 years of abuse. I had to go into a 1/2 way house for 3 weeks because of his stalking me and our baby.

At one point we had reached what I thought was a neutral point and I agreed to come to the house and collect my things. Lucky for me I am as strong as I am cuz again he attacked me... This time with my 2 year old watching from the couch. He grabbed me from behind while I was calling 911. I stepped back and spun around and cold cocked him in the forehead with every ounce of strength I had. He staggered back, grabbed his forehead and screamed,”Courtney! (Joselyn) Your mama just killed me”. Nice thing to say to a crying frantic child as he staggered out the back door. She was in hysterics. I dealt with that issue till she was 16.

I quickly called my girlfriend Laura to come get Courtney (Joselyn) and several reserve cop friends to come help me pack up and move. I figured at least with them helping me he wouldn’t try anything... Hah...Was I wrong. About 1 1/2 hours after he stumbled out of the house, we were complete in getting my things packed up in the truck and ready to leave. Suddenly Bill and his entire family showed up minus the brother I’m good friends with. Dad, mom, sister and brother. All descended on me at once as I was trying to get into my car and leave. All yelling in my face and pushing me back against my car. Bill slipped into the seat behind me as I grabbed onto the steering wheel. I knew what he was going to try to do immediately. He tried to pry my hand free so he could get the car away from me but unfortunately again I was too strong and he ended up kicking me in the kneecap instead. It hurt but he slipped and only grazed the side of my leg.

During this whole time Bill was trying to get the car away from me I was being confronted by the rest of his family. It’s rather comical if you can picture it. His overweight sister Candy (of all names) was bent over shaking her ass at me and in school girls neener neener voice saying, “ You’re so fat I can’t imagine Bill ever wanting to get with you” over and over among other choice statements. Meanwhile the brother is shaking his fist in my face so close I have to turn sideways and lean back slightly. With clenched teeth he was seething, “You better leave my brother alone or I’ll..... I’ll.....” The mother reaches around from behind the brothers fist with both hands and slaps my face and the dad is off to the side pushing the brother to hold him up...think he might have been a bit intoxicated. All the while Bill is doing his damndest to pry my hand off the steering wheel as I’m gripping it to keep him from steeling my car.

My friend Jim later said it was like watching a scene from the keystone cops or something. He was watching the whole thing while dialling the real cops to come help. At one point I guess I got a funny look on my face (according to Jim) and reached out with my free hand and literally pushed the entire lot off me and they toppled onto each other saying at the same time, “OK, that’s enough of that”. Then I reached around, grabbed what little hair Bill had left and yanked him out of my car and threw him on the pile with the rest of them just in time for the police to come rolling around the corner. They couldn’t retaliate! HAH!!!
I loaded up and went into hiding for the next 3 weeks.

Years later I was working on the film “Free Willy II” in the San Juan Islands of Washington State as a stunt extra driving boats in the background. A bunch of us were sitting around a campfire one night drinking beer and talking story. It came out that I lived in Sandpoint, Idaho and Kelly, one of the boat owners, looked up, squinted across the fire at me as asked, “What was your last name in Sandpoint?” When I told him, he laughed and preceded to tell me he knew exactly who I was and that the entire North Idaho police force was angry and on my side during the whole time I was going through divorce. Oh I forgot to mention...He also bought off my lawyer and the judge and I only got $160.00 a month for the next 10 years to raise my daughter with...small towns.. Gotta love em

Story 2: I met Rod in 1989, the day my divorce was final but unaware it was. I was working as a cocktail waitress at a Mexican restaurant in Coeur d'Alene, 45 miles south of Sandpoint. One of my customers, John a PI would come in Mon, Wed and Fri. and order the same thing and always sit in my section. He would tell me he wanted to fix me up with this friend of his and I’d laugh and blow him off. Believe me the LAST thing I wanted was a man in my life. I came to work one day to a full bar..odd but I guess there was a game going or something, I honestly don’t remember. Needless to say there was John, waiting for me in my section with his new girlfriend and someone else. Furiously he waved for me to come over. I leaned over to my co-worker Shannon and said,”Oh my God, He brought that jerk guy he wants to fix me up with and now I have to go meet him...SHIT”. Of course I put on a smile and sauntered over. As I walked over John got more and more animated. The guy with them turned around and watched me walk over. He was kinda cute. At the time I was on the college crew team and even smaller than I am now. John instantly started talking. He said,”Elise, Elise, this is Rod. The two of you are so alike it’s not even funny. You both love the outdoors, biking, sailing, water sports, hell sports in general. You have to get to know each other, You just have to.” Speculatively, I turned towards Rod, looked down at him and said,”Well in that case, you wanna get married now or wait till next week...?” Next week was the answer and he of course called me back, much to my disdain at first. It turned out we used to surf together in So. Cal years before and we knew the same people. He even remembered me as I have funny toes (nother story). I was married to him for 10 years. Rod loved being the centre of attention and as it turned out that included all the women doting on him when he was a captain in Hawaii. Little did I know all that entailed exactly. Actually I didn’t even find out about all the infidelities till AFTER our divorce. Glad I never caught him with anyone. I’d be in jail for murder.

Starting to see the pattern?......Getting to the point I don’t trust men much.......

Story 3: Patricio I met on in July of 2001. He was a professional world renowned photographer originally from Brazil but has spent the last 25 years in France. He was a staff photographer for Pinochet till... Well let’s just say he had to leave the country quickly. I ended up moving to Paris in Sept 2001...yes right after 9/11 to live and work with him. I was a photo journalist for his company Taiga Presse. We produced high end magazine photo essays from all over the world. We had 25 photographers and were based right around the corner from Magnum. It was like living a dream for me. At the time I thought it would be cool to be a war correspondent. However come to find out a person with my looks doesn’t exactly blend into the landscape they STAND out!!! The exact thing I didn’t want in a war zone. So ended my high hopes of being on the front lines. I went on a few assignments in Northern Africa but none too close to the lines. I My relationship with Patricio was like those you see in the old movies of people in the streets of Paris yelling at each other. Sometimes I wonder if they were actually filming us at times we fought so much. And not just arguments. Down right screaming matches. After 6 weeks of that and walking in 3” heals 6 blocks to and from the train station to get to work I bagged it all and said adieu. God what a mess that one was. Of course I came back to the states in an economic crisis. Not unlike the one now.

So after a time I ended up in San Francisco in 2003 I met Steve in 2006

Story 4: Steve was a match I thought was made in heaven. Actually not but he was perfect to me. Quiet, relaxed, mellow, a bit of an introvert (little did I know how much). And little did I know how much that would bore me. He was a retired foreign currency broker at 45, a fabulous cook, had a music collection that more than rivalled mine, read even more ridiculous titles than what I had, had the ultimate modern loft in tres chic Alameda and cute to boot. Wow was I the lucky one. Hmmmmm Time began to fly by. He accompanied me to the 12th World Outrigger Canoe races in New Zealand. I was a member of Team California representing the USA. We were there for over 3 weeks. Then off and on throughout the next 1 1/2 years we went to Italy for 1 month, Utah, Washington, Southern Cali and many more places. I only worked 1/2 the time as I was studying for my Gemology degree. When we were travelling all was well. However he soon began to recede farther and farther away. He would spend days in his “cave” as he called it. Not talking, wanting company or anything else but the lull of his music and movies. It became more and more prevalent till it was invading into our relationship like blood seeping slowly across a tiled floor. Yes and it was a bit on the morbid side as the longer we spent together the more of a recluse he became. I found out he was diagnosed with borderline Asperger’s syndrome. See following explanation. Well then... I could see the light but not what was about to happen

“Asperger's Disorder is a milder variant of Autistic Disorder. Both Asperger's Disorder and Autistic Disorder are in fact subgroups of a larger diagnostic category. This larger category is called either Autistic Spectrum Disorders, mostly in European countries, or Pervasive Developmental Disorders ("PDD"), in the United States. In Asperger's Disorder, affected individuals are characterized by social isolation and eccentric behaviour in childhood. There are impairments in two-sided social interaction and non-verbal communication. Though grammatical, their speech may sound peculiar due to abnormalities of inflection and a repetitive pattern. Clumsiness may be prominent both in their articulation and gross motor behaviour. They usually have a circumscribed area of interest which usually leaves no space for more age appropriate, common interests. Some examples are cars, trains, French Literature, door knobs, hinges, cappuccino, meteorology, astronomy or history. The name "Asperger" comes from Hans Asperger, an Austrian physician who first described the syndrome in 1944. An excellent translation of Dr. Asperger's original paper is provided by Dr. Uta Frith in her Autism and Asperger Syndrome.”

He left me for another woman as fast as he jumped on the band wagon initially with me. (I moved in after 4 days). It hit me blindside. Neither was I prepared nor did I see it coming. In hindsight the symptoms were all there. He tried to tell me in his way and I just wouldn’t understand. I was so caught up in getting my degree, then my new job that I lost all sight of us as a couple. I honestly haven’t been with anyone serious since then. That was mid 2007. And this one really hurt. Despite the fact we are now friends, it took a long time for me to be complete. I've met "THE MAN" The one I'll spend the rest of my life with. The man whom I never knew I could love as much as I do. I more sure of this than ever. He is amazing, beautiful, kind, generous, handsome, gentle, caring and everything else I've ever dreamt of. He is PERFECT to me. Imagine that.

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