HA note: This series is reprinted with permission from Caleigh Royer’s blog, Profligate Truth. Part Nine of this series was originally published on June 11, 2013.
Also in this series: Part One: What Is Courtship? | Part Two: We Were Best Friends | Part Three: The Calm Before The Storm | Part Four: To Lose One’s Best Friend | Part Five: To My Darling Clementine | Part Six: The Storm Starts Brewing | Part Seven: The Five-Year Relationship Plan | Part Eight: The Means To An End | Part Nine: We Made It | Part Ten: I Am A Phoenix | Part Eleven: Conclusion, Don’t Brush Off the Next Generation
Part Nine — We Made It
I am going to try to wrap up the before-marriage part of our story in this post.
This will be about a day that broke my heart. The walls that went up around my heart after this day have still not been taken down, only reinforced. I didn’t know that the same person could break my heart so many times.
I didn’t feel much when my friend passed away. I said in my last post that something happened to me as our relationship continued. Part of what happened was I lost my innocence.
I lost faith over and over again that my dad cared at all about what happened to me, or whether or not he loved me.
Losing my friend was hard, but it wasn’t until almost a year later that I was able to really grieve her loss. My heart was slowly hardening and I was seeing just what I meant to my parents.
The Saturday of Phil’s guitar teacher’s funeral, the day before my friend’s funeral, I went out to breakfast with my mom. My mom’s and my relationship had grown increasingly rocky, and my trust in her was just about as broken as my trust in my dad. I felt like she wasn’t supporting me at all.
She didn’t stand up for me.
I was upset for most of our breakfast and we definitely didn’t see eye to eye on barely anything. I finally said that maybe it was time for me to move out. Some of the biggest issues that my parents, specifically my dad, had with me was that I wasn’t helping mom out enough at home. I wasn’t filling to huge role I used to fill with making dinner almost every night for 11 people, cleaning more than my fair share because my siblings wouldn’t clean, and babysitting without pay for all of my siblings. I was working 9 hours a day, 5 days a week, add in every other Friday off, and trying to get time with Phil, trying to see my other friends, and I simply had no time left.
Top it off with the snide comments, and the constant cold shoulder or being picked on from my parents at home —
Home was just not a place I wanted to be at anymore.
When I said that maybe it was time for me to move out, she surprised me by agreeing that yes, maybe it was time for me to move out. I was so surprised especially considering how just under a year ago I had tried to move out and both of my parents manipulated me into staying by using my siblings against me. I couldn’t believe my ears. I went home and sent a text to Phil about what mom had said, and then sent an email to my pastor because I wanted to make sure that I did things right this time.
Not even five minutes after sending the email, my parents walked into my room. I knew something was up right away.
My dad opened the dialogue by saying something about knowing I had breakfast with mom. He then told me that he wanted me to move out and I had two weeks to do it. He told me that he was tired of dealing with me, he didn’t have time for me anymore, and then proceeded to blame me for the problems he was having with my siblings.
He said I was a bad influence.
He said it all in a very nonchalant, “I don’t care,” kind of way while I sat there crying. I couldn’t believe that once again my dad was twisting my siblings against me. He asked if I had any questions and when I shook my head no, he then looked around my room and pointed out the few things I could take with me. He said that if I needed help, that I could ask, but basically, I was on my own.
The breath had been completely knocked out of me. I felt betrayed by my mom.
I felt like I was nothing to my dad but someone who he could no longer control and could be easily discarded.
My heart was ripped open and I felt any shred of faith that I might have had in my parents disappear. My parents walked back out of my room while I sat there, sobbing, and wondering what now. I emailed my pastor again and said disregard my last email, my dad just kicked me out. I called Phil, sobbing on the phone that dad had kicked me out. He hung up on me because he was so incredibly pissed. He tried to call my dad to talk to him and confront him. Phil tried to ask about listening to me, or caring about me, but my dad shut him down.
I had made the mistake when talking to my mom that morning about our pastor counseling Phil and I about needing to start looking at moving forward without my dad’s blessing. So when Phil called my dad to call him out, my dad turned the conversation back on him and accused him of disrespecting him and daring to go behind his back and moving forward without his blessing.
Phil was so incredibly upset. That was his breaking point. I have never seen Phil so knocked flat. I had reached my breaking point as well. My heart shut down that day.
But the day wasn’t over yet.
My mom came back into my room and told me that dad had told her that appeals were welcome. What the fuck. My dad expected me to come to him on my knees and beg for him to let me stay? Absolutely not. I was completely done. He cared nothing for me besides having to have control over me.
I was not a daughter. I was not a person. I was simply a thing to be controlled.
I told my mom that I was not going to do that. She came back into my room even later around dinner time and told me that I was welcome to come out to dinner with the rest of the family. It was not an invitation like I was expected to come, it was an invitation like I wasn’t a part of the family. My dad was happier than I have ever seen him. He was practically bouncing around. He even let the kids play the games at the pizza place we went to. He never let them do that. Never. My siblings had found out that I was being kicked out and the oldest ones were furious with dad.
My dad was celebrating.
At my friend’s funeral the next day the drama of the day before hit Phil and I really hard especially during the service. I grabbed our pastor after the service and we ended up talking with him for a good half hour. He told us right away that through my dad kicking me out, my dad had renounced any control he had over our relationship.
Our pastor told us that he was completely 100% behind us and he wanted to get us married.
Phil and I were grateful for the support from at least one person.
I spent the next week frantically looking for a place to stay. Because I didn’t have a car, I had to rely on Phil, and he was right there waiting for me. He was by my side every single step of the way. I found a small bedroom and a bathroom that I could rent for a month while waiting to move in with friends. I moved out almost exactly two weeks after my dad told me to leave.
I removed myself from my family. I cut them off. I stopped talking to my mom unless I absolutely couldn’t help it. I didn’t tell her where I was moving to. She hadn’t stood up for me, I wasn’t going to go to her for help. My parents kicking me out went against everything they had said to keep me from moving out the year before. Everything was in direct contradiction. I couldn’t believe it, but at the same time, I was done, and I knew I had done everything I could to restore any sort of relationship with my parents. I was free, and because my dad had kicked me out, there was no viable ammo on me that could be used against me.
I found out later that rumors were being spread that I had moved out because I wanted to do what I wanted to do. I expected that, and was totally not thrown off by it.
I expected such underhandedness from my dad.
The day I found a place to stay, we were able to settle on a wedding date with the church. Everything started falling into place. The date was three months away.
The month I lived on my own was the worst of my life. I felt bad for the family’s whose basement I lived in. We didn’t tell them about my family because we didn’t want to put any burden on them.
I began planning our wedding. We knew we weren’t going to get any support from either family, so we budgeted it out and found ways around the major expenses. I made my wedding dress, and was very happy with it. My dad’s parents sent us two very generous donations for our wedding. My grandmother called me one day and told me that she wanted to pay for my wedding dress.
We were lifted up on so many hands as people started coming out of the woodwork to help us.
My mom’s oldest sister was a lifesaver. She made my veil, she was the one who gave me my ring and found my wedding band for a very good price, and she made the brownie cupcakes for our wedding, along with numerous other things.
Things were looking up, we were getting married, but it was with sad and heavy hearts that we marched towards that day. There was no giddiness, there was no overwhelming joy.
There was simply this feeling of it’s time, we made it.
There was a sense of heavy relief as that day came closer.
We decided to save money and have a potluck reception. We only sent printed invitations to close friends and family, everyone else was invited via an online invite. The potluck reception was one of the best decisions we made with regards to our wedding. We were hearing praises about our reception for months after we got married. We wanted the people who had been our family throughout our relationship to have a part in our wedding and having a potluck was one of the ways to include people.
Honestly, I was planning on walking down the aisle myself, or Phil and I would walk down together. I did not want my dad to walk my down the aisle. When he kicked me out, he stopped being a father figure, not that he ever really was. My mom told me one day a few weeks before the wedding that dad was really depressed because he thought I wasn’t going to ask him. Frankly, I wasn’t going to, but I decided that I would simply because I didn’t want anymore drama. My family was not involved very much in the wedding, and I purposefully kept it that way. My friends are my family, and I had more than enough people helping.
The day finally came.
May 14th, 2011; the day we were getting married.
My dad almost didn’t make it to the ceremony because he had spent the night before our wedding in the ER with one of my brothers. By the time I got to church at 9 that morning, I was done with planning, I wanted to enjoy myself, and try to forget about the nagging feeling I had that something would go wrong. My biggest fear was that my dad would try to do something to stop the wedding from happening. I was completely calm all the way up till 15 minutes before I walked down the aisle. Then I almost started crying as I realized that we had actually made it.
We made it to the end. We were getting married.
Despite the people who didn’t believe us, despite the heartache, the tears, the hurt, we had made it. Three words that are such a relief to write:
We made it.
We wanted a short ceremony, it was only maybe 20 minutes. We were pronounced man and wife, and we marched back up the aisle to Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, part 4. A grand and triumphant march.
We made it.
We spent the reception wandering around greeting everyone we could. We both felt a great relief that we were done with the drama.
We made it.
We left the reception after about two hours, drove to our new apartment, changed, packed up the car, and took off to Williamsburg for a week.
We made it.
To be continued.
I’ve been following your story. It’s not easy for me to understand how your parents and others could have so much influence on you and your life, but I was lucky not to grow up in a fundamentalist environment. I loved finding out in this last post that you and I share the same wedding anniversary, May 14th!
Thanks for sharing!
*is in tears* My story is different to yours, in a lot of ways, but there is so much here I can identify with. I’ve spent over half an hour crying over this.
Caleigh, thank you for your courage in sharing. So much. Thank you.