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Peanut Story

July 7, 2011

This weekend, I began reading “Plan B” by Jonathan Tropper, one of my absolute favorite authors. I actually just discovered him in the past year, and you may remember that I’ve quoted him here before. Early on in the novel, the main character Ben meets his love interest Lindsey, and during their first real conversation, Lindsey shares what she calls her “Peanut Story.”

She says, “When I was thirteen months old, I found a peanut on the living room floor and tried to eat it. It got stuck in my throat and I began to choke. My mother heard me and stuck her fingers down my throat to try to get it out, but it was in too deep. By the time the paramedics came I had stopped breathing, and my face was as purple as a wine grape. They resuscitated me in the ambulance, got the peanut out, whatever. By the time we got to the hospital, I was fine. My mother was a wreck, though, and some asshole doctor gave her hell and told her she was an irresponsible mother and that I could have died and it would have been her fault.

“Anyway, I had a bit of a behavior problem toward the end of elementary school and in high school. You know, mouthing off to teachers, staying out all night, a lot of boyfriends. Just your general adolescent bullshit, I guess. But whenever I got into trouble my grandmother would always trace it back to the day I swallowed that peanut. She said my mother was never the same after that. She grew more and more distant from me, like she was afraid or had no right to show me any real love, because she’d almost killed me. I know my mother never yelled at me or punished me. My friends thought she was so cool, you know? I think that night at the hospital she decided she didn’t have the ability to be a parent. And my acting out was this pathetic attempt to try to shake her out of it, to force her to step in and punish me. To actually be my mom, you know? I sometimes think about what might have been if the peanut thing never happened. Anyway, that’s my Peanut Story.”

peanuts lined up

Photo courtesy of Stephen River

Reading this passage made me think about the validity of Peanut Stories. Everyone has a defining story from their past, something that completely changed the course of their life. I started to wonder what my Peanut Story is. The first thing that came to mind was the way my ex fiancé and I first became serious.

In July 2003, I had just finished high school and was working as a telemarketer, saving money before I started college that fall. This job was incredibly lucrative – I had a knack for it, and this was before the “Do Not Call” list, so phone sales was not nearly as hard as it is today. In fact, I was making at least $3,000 a month working only part-time. It with this job that I was able to purchase, and pay off, a brand new car in less than a year.

The only problem I had with this job was that I had a tough time fitting in at the call center. The majority of my fellow employees were black or Hispanic, and I was one of maybe three dozen white employees (out of 400 total employees). I didn’t have a problem with this; growing up a military brat I’d seen all colors, shapes and sizes, and easily looked past race. However, I was a top performer and a minority in the building, and that seemed to rub some people the wrong way. I experienced a great deal of racial tension and disrespect, and there were several times that I was accused of falsifying my sales, and getting away with it because I was white.

It all came to a head one night during a normal team meeting. My colleague Chantelle kept interrupting our supervisor as she was trying to give us direction regarding a new sales promotion we would be selling that night. Chantelle was simply trying to drag out the meeting because she didn’t feel like getting on the phones. However, I was in my last weeks at this job before I headed to college. I needed to be on the phones – being on the phones equaled sales. Sales equaled commission. I needed every dollar possible to pay for my college tuition, especially since I would no longer be working as a telemarketer once I went to school. After about 10 minutes of Chantelle delaying the meeting, and the entire team getting incredibly frustrated, I spoke up.

I said something along the lines of, “Chantelle, can you please quiet down so that we can get on the phones already?” I will never forget the look Chantelle gave me after those words left my mouth. Chantelle and I had argued about work-related issues a few times before, but she had never looked at me with such hatred. In fact, while we’d argued in the past, we’d also had several moments of pseudo-friendship. What I didn’t know at the time was that Chantelle was really into drugs and her boyfriend was a drug dealer. Had I know all of that, I might have kept my mouth shut.

Chantelle didn’t say another word. We wrapped up the meeting and got on the phones. It was an otherwise normal night.

At around 11:30 p.m., I left work and began to walk to my car. The entire front of the building was made of glass, and two security guards sat at the entrance to monitor the parking lot, as well as those coming in and out. I felt safe – I had made this same walk a hundred times.

I was wrong. About halfway to my car, Chantelle and about five of her friends (male and female) jumped me and beat me to the ground. The security guards stood inside behind the panes of glass, watched it all and did absolutely nothing to intervene. I lay on the ground bleeding, and I remember hearing Chantelle say, “I know what you drive. I know where you live. Don’t you fu** with me again.”

This was probably the scariest moment of my entire life. While nothing was broken and I escaped with only bad bruises and a few cuts, Chantelle’s words paralyzed me with fear. I was so scared that I didn’t want to go to the police. All I wanted was to get the hell out of Newport News.

My supervisor heard about what happened and encouraged me to file a report with management, and shortly after, Chantelle was fired. I was terrified of the repercussions of turning her in. I felt like I was going to break my neck from looking over my shoulder so much, and I couldn’t fathom going back to work.

I had just started seeing my ex fiancé. He was eight years older than me, established in his career and made plenty of money. I told him how frightened I was to go back to work, but that I had to return because I needed the money to pay for tuition. I felt like I had no options.

When we went on our first date to Busch Gardens the weekend after I was jumped, he told me I was beautiful, even as my face had bruises along one side and my eyes felt permanently swollen from days of tears. He hugged me and made me feel safe, and told me that everything would be OK.

And then he made me an offer I couldn’t refuse: he offered to give me whatever money I would have made in my last two weeks telemarketing, if I would instead quit my job and go to the beach with him for a week.

He was like my knight in shining armor. He was helping me escape the fear that had taken over my life. He had given me an out when I desperately needed one.

So, I quit my job and never stepped foot in that building again. I headed to the beach happily, feeling like I was part of some whirlwind romance. During that trip, things became serious. And that began a seven-year relationship and almost walk down the aisle. What that also began was a dependent relationship with which I’m just now coming to terms. My ex was always my savior, my support, the person I could turn to with my troubles. He helped me financially for years, because he was able and generous with his money, but also because that was how our relationship was established.

I guess if we had gotten married and lived happily ever after, my Peanut Story would be how he saved me and got me out of a terrible situation, how he was always there for me (financially, emotionally and otherwise) and how in some ways, he completed me.

But we all know that’s not how it worked out. My Peanut Story now is how this man saved me and then I became dependent on him. He was my world. I am a naturally independent person, but I kept parts of myself locked up while I was with him. That independence couldn’t thrive while I viewed him as my savior. I couldn’t be independent if I knew he would always been there to catch me if I fell, to provide monetary assistance if I got into a bind, to buy me pretty things to show me he loved me. The roles in our relationship were established early: he took very good care of me (until the end anyway), treated me like gold, and after seven years together, I molded my personality and my life around his support.

And now that he’s out of my life, I have to figure out who I would have become without him. Who would I be today if I hadn’t relied on him for seven years?

I’m afraid that my new Peanut Story is that I had my heart shattered, cancelled a wedding, lost who I thought was the love of my life and I’m not sure I’ll ever believe in real love again. I now have baggage of which I’m struggling to let go.  And, I’m just now beginning the hard work of figuring out who I am supposed to be – who I would have been – if my Peanut Story had been different.

This Sunday is one year from when we were supposed to get married. It really would have been a beautiful wedding. I thought it was going to be a beautiful life. I could spend days analyzing what could have been. But, I will not spend Sunday (or any other day) being sad and imagining the life I would have had if we had gone through with the wedding. I will spend it, and every day of the rest of my life, building a new Peanut Story.

What is your Peanut Story? Do you think we have the power to change these defining stories in our lives?


59 Comments leave one →
  1. July 7, 2011 8:56 am

    I have a peanut story, but something so personal I really don’t feel comfortable writing it out. This story has 100% defined who I am today. Rarely does a day go by that I don’t think about the implications this event has had on me (especially in my relationships).

    I do believe that some stories can be changed. That we have the power to overcome them and make new ones. But there are some that I think will never be erased and will forever change who you may have been without them.

    I’ve always wondered who I would have become if my peanut story never happened.

    • July 11, 2011 9:26 pm

      Amanalynn,
      I understand not wanting to share your peanut story – this one was actually pretty hard to share. In fact, I’ve only revealed to a few of my closest friends how my ex helped me pay for school and how he got me out of this tough spot. I was embarassed for needing and taking the help. And, I felt a little guilty taking his money – something made me feel like it was wrong to do so (I was being paid to go on a beach vacation with him – isn’t that a little weird?). Anyway, it’s strange that I was finally able to come clean about this story on this blog to my whatever # of readers :).

      Reading through the comments and thinking further, I’m not sure we can change our Peanut Stories. They happened, right? BUT – we can try to change, and evolve, what we learn from them. Nothing is set in stone. Thanks for your comment 🙂

  2. 2blu2btru permalink
    July 7, 2011 9:04 am

    Oh, I can think of a few off the top of my head. The Maya Angelou thing (blogged that), catching the bus to test for an Upward Bound program, how I got my scholarship to private school, how I ended up in Florida. It’s funny, I was just in Bible study last night and we’re reading Esther. There’s a verse in there where Esther’s uncle (I think), Mordecai, tells her (and I’m paraphrasing some) “who knows? You may have been placed here (as Queen) for such a time as this.” All those little defining moments that have and haven’t happened the way I thought put me exactly where I was supposed to be/needed to be at any given time in order to be my best at wherever I end up. At least, that’s how I like to look at it. Too many regrets the other way.

    • July 11, 2011 9:20 pm

      2blu2btru,
      I like the way you look at it. I’m hoping that everything that’s happened all happened to put me where I am. It’ll all become clear in time, right?

  3. July 7, 2011 9:23 am

    Catherine, I don’t know how you always manage to top your previous posts, but here you go again. I think, in the end, we have no choice but to be grateful for our Peanut Stories. After all, they are what shape us — there is no way to know who you would’ve become if you’d never met your ex. There are too many factors involved — too many other peanut stories that might have happened.

    Focus on the good. From him, you learned intimacy. You learned how to share. You learned how to let someone help you when you needed it. These are all qualities necessary to build a healthy relationship. It turned out that the two of you would not have had a healthy marriage, so try your best to be grateful you figured that out before walking down the aisle. Do you want one of those “fake” marriages where he’s paying for your pedicures while sleeping with his secretary? Where your children can’t see what real happiness is? I think not.

    You’re wrong about your most recent peanut story. It’s not how you became dependent on a man — it’s how you became independent enough to end a relationship that was less than you deserve.

    I have a peanut story too, and if you don’t mind, I might steal this (linking back to you of course) and tell my story on my blog, since this comment is way too long as it is. Would that be okay?

    • July 7, 2011 2:11 pm

      LIKE!

    • July 11, 2011 9:16 pm

      Katie,
      I told you this via text, but of course you can steal this idea! I’d really love to read Peanut Story. I loved your comment, by the way. You always have a way of pointing things out that I really need to hear. I do find myself forgetting the things I’ve learned in this relationship, or maybe not valuing them as much as I should. I learned how to be a loving, caring girlfriend. I learned about intimacy, as you mentioned, for sure. I learned about standing by someone through sickness, and how to take care of someone. The lessons are countless. I definitely don’t want a “fake” marriage. And, if I had stayed, our marriage might not have been the way you described, but it would have been fake in another way. We would have been happy on the outside, but on the inside, I would have been untrusting and questioning and always wondering if he was telling me the truth. I love what you said “it’s how you became independent enough to end a relationship that was less than you deserve.” That line alone brought me to tears. Thank you so much 🙂

  4. July 7, 2011 9:45 am

    What a fantastic post, Katherine! I think my peanut story is probably my first boyfriend cheating on me… but peanut stories are only peanut stories if you let them be peanut stories (ie. I still have issues with jealousy and trust because I ALLOW that particular story to occupy a position of significance in my life). Kudos to you for trying to break the cycle!

    • July 7, 2011 1:45 pm

      PS: i can’t believe I spelled your name with a “K” by mistake! I tend to assume that all Kates/Kats/Katherines/Katleens spell with “K”s… whoops! And I totally second Katie’s comment 🙂

    • July 11, 2011 9:04 pm

      Kat,
      “I still have issues with jealousy and trust because I ALLOW that particular story to occupy a position of significance in my life.” Sigh. You are preaching to the choir here. Best of luck to BOTH of us for trying to break that cycle!

  5. July 7, 2011 9:47 am

    Great post Catherine.

    What you experienced is normal. A woman slowly changes when she is married or involved in a steady relationship. However, she usually does not realize it until the relationship ends.

    I experienced it after the abrupt end of my 14 year marriage. Suddenly I found myself wandering aimlessly through life trying to figure out who I am. It has been a very long and painful journey.

    You are a very strong woman Catherine and I applaude you for sharing your story. Enjoy rediscovering who you are and who you want to be. May your journey not be as long or as painful as mine.

    God Bless You,

    Michele

    • July 11, 2011 8:57 pm

      Michele,
      “She usually does not realize it until the relationship ends.” Why is this? I wish these things could be clearer when we are in the throes of a relationship, instead of after, when the dust settles. It’s sort of frustrating that most of the lessons we really need feel like they come too late. (Or maybe we can get all existential on this and say it’s never too late 🙂 ) I’m sorry you’ve had such a painful journey. I hope things get easier for you. I really appreciate your sharing your perspective.

  6. July 7, 2011 10:12 am

    Awesome blog post, girl!!
    I don’t think Peanut stories can be changed…they are already written, but they change us and HOW they change us is dependent upon our perspective. I have at least two I know changed my life….others may be floating around waiting me to recognize them as such.

    • July 11, 2011 8:55 pm

      DC BBW,
      I think you are right. We can’t change the story, but we can change what we got front it and how we internalize it. After the end of a long relationship like this, it’s worth relooking at your stories and seeing if there is anything else that can be learned – or maybe even unlearned!

  7. Zak permalink
    July 7, 2011 10:56 am

    “but also because that was how our relationship was established”

    I’m curious, because I’ve struggled with questions of similar sorts: do you think that if you were MORE independent and your relationship was NOT established on him being your savior, that it would’ve survived as long, as well? If instead you established your relationship on the basis that you were independent, he might never have felt able to HELP you. I’m sure you helped him.

    I guess my point is this: regardless of how independent or dependent or whatever quality you establish your relationship on, things are the way they are. Second guessing them is okay, but it’s not like ONLY one things would’ve changed. Hopefully this makes sense.

    • July 11, 2011 8:54 pm

      Zak,
      I really think that if we had not begun the relationship on somewhat unequal footing, with me depending on him so much, things would have been different. Maybe we wouldn’t have lasted so long. I relied on him so much that I was so scared to lose him. I didn’t know if I could survive. And that all began with how much I relied on him for all kinds of things – from monetary to emotional support. And I also struggled because he took such good care of me…was more than I could ask for… that I felt like I would be stupid to give him up. I felt that way for years. I felt like I had hit the jackpot. Obviously, things weren’t as they seemed, but this situation really did establish some precedents in our relationship. Now that I know I CAN survive, without him or without anyone, I don’t think I’ll make this mistake again.

  8. July 7, 2011 11:18 am

    GEEZLE PETE LADY! This is such a stellar post.

  9. July 7, 2011 12:52 pm

    <3.

    Beautifully stated. It's amazing how certain transitions cause us to look at other transitions in our lives. How did we react? Would we have reacted differently based on what we know now. What if? Sadly, we cannot control the what-ifs. We can only control our attitudes.

    I think those Peanut Stories, though influential, do not define us. WARNING – Oprah quote here:

    "…you are not the product of your circumstances. You are a composite of all the things you believe, and all the places you believe you can go. Your past does not define you. You can step out of your history and create a new day for yourself. Even if the entire culture is saying, "You can't." Even if every single possible bad thing that can happen to you does. You can keep going forward."

    • July 11, 2011 8:42 pm

      KD,
      I LOVE a good Oprah quote! Thanks for sharing it 🙂 It’s a perfect conclusion to my Peanut Story post…damn it, YOU should be writing this blog! 🙂 Speaking of which – when can I get a guest post from you?? 🙂 hehe

  10. Farrah permalink
    July 7, 2011 2:22 pm

    What an interesting idea to ponder! I’ll have to check this book out now, you’ve piqued my interest. I was thinking of what my peanut story would be, and there are a couple of things that come to mind. My father dying when I was small is definitely something that has defined me. And I think the first real heartbreak I experienced, when my college boyfriend ended our relationship. But one of the biggest things is when I realized in college that I wasn’t going to become what I’d always thought I’d be. I planned on becoming a veterinarian, and majored in animal science, but about halfway through my studies, I realized I was not going to be able to get in to vet school. My grades were nowhere near good enough. I truly had no aptitude for the Chemistry classes taht were required, and physics made me cry. Literally, crying as I tried to finish a test in Physics. Reading this post has made me think how much I changed when that realization hit. I gave up, and let so much fear and uncertainty in my life then. I think I’m just now getting my confidence back.
    In regards to your question of can these stories be changed, I don’t think they can. But while I’ve been thinking about it, I’ve decided our lives are short story anthologies. The old stories can’t be changed, but new ones can be added to the book. We’re only about a third of the way through our books! That leaves the majority left to file with new peanut stories, new moments that will define us from that moment forward. Want to leave you with a new quote I came across. “Ever since happiness heard your name, it has been running through the streets trying to find you.” -unknown
    I just like it. And maybe it really is so simple, we just have to stop hiding and let it find us.

    • July 11, 2011 8:40 pm

      Farrah,
      Definitely check out Jonathan Tropper. I really enjoyed Plan B. I also LOVE his book This Is Where I Leave You.

      Thanks for sharing your story. I’m sorry to hear about the struggles you’ve had with your career path. I imagine that was really tough when you realized what was possible for you – and it wasn’t what you wanted. It takes a lot to make it through something like that and not completely lose your self confidence. When we’re told our whole lives we can do anything we set our minds to, it can be really disheartening to realize this isn’t necessarily true. Sometimes our best isn’t enough. Tough stuff.

      I like your theory on our “short story anthology” lives. What I’m beginning to think is that we can look back on these Peanut Stories and try to learn something new/different from them. The stories are the same, but they can come to mean something else to us. Maybe the story about me being jumped doesn’t have to be about my ex any more…maybe I can “rewrite” it to express what I learned about standing up for myself, about how we treat each other as humans, etc.

      I like thinking about my life as only being 1/3 of the way through the book…now, I’m won’t like it so much when I get to be about 1/2 the way or more through 🙂 I LOVE the quote you shared. Thanks so much.

  11. July 7, 2011 10:07 pm

    This is a beautiful and thought-provoking story. I’m trying to think of my peanut story now too….

  12. July 7, 2011 11:09 pm

    Very thought-provoking story, and it reminds me of our similarities. I too was a military brat, as you know, and I too got jumped by a group of people and beaten up once, as you do not know. I wouldn’t call that my Peanut Story, though. I’m not sure what it is…but certain that it pertains to the divorce and my consequent rebirth after.

    Yes…wait…I do know what it is now. And, I was right.

    • July 11, 2011 8:19 pm

      Mark,
      You were jumped too? Crazy!! I can’t imagine how you could tell that story on your blog, but I’d love to hear it. I say I can’t imagine because you write so humorously, I’m not sure how you can find humor in “I got jumped.” 🙂 If your rebirth after your divorce isn’t a Peanut Story, I’m not sure what is! 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

  13. Drina permalink
    July 8, 2011 2:29 am

    Before I say anything, Catherine, your writing is so beautiful and poignant. Your honesty is something I admire. This post speaks to me in a very special way. I believe what I’m going through now is my first real peanut story. I’m 19, and me and my boyfriend of 4 years just parted ways. I met him when I was 14 and we have had a strong bond ever since. We even both attend VCU. Things ended very badly (he said VERY bad things to me and basically downed me in comparison to this girl he barely knew), and now I’m left trying to pick up the pieces and with virtually no self esteem.

    I have ZERO support from the people around me, which is very frustrating. And this is really hard for me, even though I am young, I experienced the type of love that some people never experience. As much as I don’t understand it now, as much as I am hurting, and as much as I am questioning how good of a person I actually am, I believe there is a purpose and a lesson for all of this. I don’t know if I can ever love the same and believe in another person as much as I did. I’m even scared that I won’t ever get married or have a good marriage. But I know I will be okay. Maybe not right now because it’s only been about 3 months but I will, one day at a time…

    I’m just anxious to see how my life goes after my first Peanut Story. But thanks Catherine for doing this. Your writing makes me feel like I’m not alone and has helped me out a great deal. I didn’t realize I could comment here and sent an to the address you provided. I hope you read it.

    P.S. I feel really pathetic for posting all of this here 🙂

    • July 8, 2011 9:23 am

      Drina, you are so wise.

      Just wanted you to know that, although I am a wee bit older than you, we;ve shared a similar experience. You are not alone.

      You’re strength shines through in your post.

      • Drina permalink
        July 9, 2011 12:22 am

        Thank you so much. It means alot.

    • July 11, 2011 8:17 pm

      Drina,
      Thanks so much for sharing your story and you shouldn’t feel pathetic at all – one of the main reason I have this blog is so that people can share their stories and I can learn from them. I really appreciate your having the courage to talk about what you’ve been through. I will check the Simply Solo email account for your message, and I apologize for not replying earlier. Things have been a little crazy over here.

      Heartbreak does not have age limits. Simply because this happened to you earlier in life does not diminish the pain or hurt you have been feeling. I’m sorry that the people in your life do not support you. That’s really not fair and I hope that you will be able to seek out new friendships/relationships that more adquately validate you. You deserve to be respected and have people “have your back” in your life. I started this blog, in a way, seeking that validation that I was OK for feeling the way I felt. I also wanted support of people who had been through something similar. I found that here, and I encourage you to find it for yourself as well. Just talking to one person who gets you and validates you can make a world of difference.

      While it sounds like you are having a tough time, it also sounds like you have a good head on your shoulders. Never question who you are as a person – please, don’t allow this one experience to discolor what you think about yourself. You deserve better than someone who would treat you that way, and someone who would make you question yourself so. Take care of yourself during this tough time… it’ll be okay, I promise. It just takes time (as annoying as that is!).

  14. July 8, 2011 2:49 am

    As a mom, I just want to reach thru the computer and hug you.
    Yes, one thing I know for sure is that I have one too many peanut stories, kind of makes me wanna give up and open a HOT BOILED peanut business on the side of the road.
    I almost killed my baby, now 5, or so I thought cause she at barely two months rolled over and off the bed, making me insane as I scrubbed floors like a maniac till I got the phone call saying it was just a bump, whew. Kat, now 9, was a roller, but with her, she went missing.
    That is, she rolled under the couch causing me to breathe into a paper bag.
    Lost dreams, loves, a marriage and a family later, I do know for sure peanut stories do happen, and if we let them, they can break us, wide open.
    But, being broken, wide open for all to see can feel like a crunch to a shell we hold together with all we can, but if we think about it, it causes something magical to occur.
    The PEANUTS, the yummiest part of a HOT BOILED is what is underneath, and who would we be without the crushing, smashing, splintering of it?
    We know compassion, beauty, joy, and faith by remembering that no moment defines us, it just holds us, until cracked again, we are never the same again, but forever changed, hopefully for the better.
    It is why everyone breaks for a damn good hot boiled peanut, is it not?

    • July 11, 2011 8:08 pm

      Miss Obvious,
      Thanks for your comment. I love how you extended the analogy places I never even thought about!! It sounds like you’ve been through a lot, but that you also have great perspective from it. What I think is that we shouldn’t feel shame related to our peanut stories – as you mention here, they make us who we are. Maybe the only shame we can have is if we don’t learn from these experiences. They happen for a reason, they alter our life for a reason, but we all need to recognize what lessons there are to learn.

      “We know compassion, beauty, joy, and faith by remembering that no moment defines us, it just holds us, until cracked again, we are never the same again, but forever changed, hopefully for the better.” That’s a beautiful quote. Thank you.

  15. July 8, 2011 12:14 pm

    It’s so funny that you would write on this topic today, because I honestly believe my Peanut story is what I wrote my most current blog about a few days before this blog was posted. I lost a lot of my naivety and was forced to grow up really fast by a “relationship” I had when I was 19/20. I definitely think that experience shaped who I am and how I react to things now.

    I love reading your blog. Thank you for writing.

    • July 11, 2011 8:02 pm

      Thanks so much 🙂 I’ll have to go check out that blog post. I appreciate your reading and commenting – it’s nice to hear that my topics are relevant to people 🙂

  16. July 9, 2011 12:00 pm

    Catherine, this is amazing. I mean- really amazing, you should submit it to be published. Your story is beautiful, peanut or not- maybe it shaped you forever, maybe it shaped you for a while, who knows- and it’s incredibly touching.

    Sometimes I think it’s weird to say that we are brave for having survived something because, really, what choice did we have? Isn’t courage related to choice? But then, I read something like this, and I understand. We are brave for not letting it destroy us. We are brave for choosing to keep living, for wanting- even if we’re not sure we can- to believe again in that which was lost.

    I am sure you will not only find real love again, but believe in it. You have too strong and open a heart not to. But you may get still get sad, wonder what if, doubt your heart’s ability. And certainly you are not who you once were, and how you love will be affected by it.

    Thank you for sharing this with us, I’m gonna go think about my peanut story now.

    : )

    • July 11, 2011 7:57 pm

      Larissa,
      Thank you so much – I really appreciate the compliment on my writing, especially coming from you. Your blog is so beautifully written 🙂

      What you said about being brave for having survived something is interesting and I think you are right. It’s similar to what Jaycee Dugart said in her 60 minutes interview (which I watched last night). I don’t have her exact wording but she basically said she survived because she had to, you just learn to deal with your situation and survive it. I look back on some hard times in my life – getting jumped, being abused when I was younger, having to call off a wedding, etc. – as just experiences that I had to make it through. I don’t think, “Wow I was so strong to survive that.” I just think, “This is what happened to me. This is how I dealt with it. This is how I would deal with it differently if I had the chance.”

      I hope you do think about your peanut story – and if you can, please share on your blog! I’d love to read it. Thanks again for your comment.

  17. July 9, 2011 10:44 pm

    I have to agree with Katie on this one, Catherine – it’s the Peanut stories that shape and define us – although it’s sometimes hard to see it that way. The defining moments make us who we are, and one of the precious aspects of single life (especially after a long term relationship) is rediscovering yourself in all your infinite courage and beauty. Keep going – it’s worth it, no matter where you’ve been 🙂

    • July 11, 2011 7:52 pm

      Taradancer,
      I have to say, I agree with Katie too. “One of the precious aspects of single life is resdiscovering yourself in all your infinite courage and beauty.” Wow, that was very poignant. I liked that a lot. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  18. July 10, 2011 3:09 am

    Oh, man – thought provoking post, and such a terrifying intro-story to go into it! That’s horrible, and what a relief it must have been not to have to return there. And how scary-brave of you to report her.

    I think mine, with The Man at least, was visiting his childhood home. It was a window into his past that totally floored me, left me in awe of who he’d grown to be, and set me on a course of being very gentle and hands off with quirks that grew to be much bigger issues. I have a lot of wondering left in me to do about what roles we fell into with the best of intentions.

    The Man was incredibly generous, in everything from bringing me coffee in the morning to giving me foot massages as I fell asleep (I know. Ridiculously awesome). But it was weirdly one-sided, and that was how he wanted it. He wanted there to be that debt between us, and actively turned me away from doing similar things for him. That should’ve been a bigger red flag. And I should’ve insisted.

    I spent a lot of guilt and sadness trying to parse out how it was absolutely the right thing to do, to walk away from such clearly expressed love. Then I had dinner a couple months ago with a dear friend, one of my B’Maids, who listened to me try to puzzle it out for a little while and then said – “You know, there’s a big difference between doing FOR, and giving OF.”

    That pretty much summed it up. The things we do FOR each other are important and telling, but sometimes they mask the lack of what we are able or willing to give of ourselves. And, from the “actions speak louder than words” point of view, it’s hard sometimes to figure out what’s what. I totally get your comment, “I kept parts of myself locked up…” I kept a lot of parts of myself on hold, waiting for his corresponding parts to show up. They never did, and I am bewildered and pissed at both of us about my waiting and his absence.

    Sorry this is so long, but thanks for sharing such a great post! It prevented sleep, which is always a sign of excellent reading material. And take care of yourself on Sunday. Host a water balloon fight. Run through sprinklers. Watch the sunset. Invent a completely new swear word. Whatever you do, be really, really proud of yourself. As you told me – remember the feel of the power of it. Kudos.

    • July 11, 2011 7:47 pm

      Jillian,
      Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. It’s so intriguing what we can learn about a relationship looking back on it. Your relationship with your ex sounds interesting/complicated, and I can imagine your hesitation to end something with someone who treated you with such love. But you are right, I think, that it must say something that he didn’t allow you to give him love back in that way. I think your friend has pointed out a very good distinction. I had a similar dilemma – it would be so much easier if my ex treated me like crap. He was a wonderful partner to me for years and years. I loved him more than I knew how to love anyone. The terrible things he did at the end (and that I realized he was doing for many years of the relationship) can never seem to wipe the slate clean on how great he was to me otherwise. All this to say, it was really hard to leave. I had to leave the person I thought was amazing because of the person who I didn’t feel like I knew/couldn’t come to grips with that did awful things to me. (If that makes any sense).

      As far as “I kept parts of myself locked up”… gosh, how many of us are guilty of this? How easy is it to find yourself holding your true personality/hopes/dreams/whatever back because of the person you are with? I don’t want to do that ever again. I want the person I’m with to love me for me – and even if they only tolerate the parts they don’t like, at least they know every part of me. I don’t mean to suggest I wasn’t myself completely with my ex, I think I showed quite a bit of independence in other areas, but I know that I held myself back sometimes by simply overrelying on him. There are so many things I’ve learned to do for myself this year that I NEVER would have learned if I were still with him. It’s pretty exciting/empowering, for sure.

      Sunday was okay, thanks for your well wishes and reminders of my own words, LOL. What’s strange is I got bummed out Saturday and Saturday night, but then had already planned to spend Sunday with friends so was fine. Went to the pool, cooked out, had some beers… really can’t complain! 🙂 However, a water balloon fight sounds fun…. next weekend, perhaps?

      Hope you are having safe travels!!

  19. July 10, 2011 6:47 pm

    Love your post! It really made me think. The beautiful thing about life is that we have the power to change it whenever we want. My peanut story is extremely similar to yours actually. When I was 17 I met a guy who I thought was the most perfect man in the world. Talk about being a young retard. I dated him for 5 years. He proposed after 3 years and I accepted. It took me five years to get up the courage to change my future and think for myself. I had forgotten who I was because I was living for him instead of me. Plus, I was the most unhappy I have ever been in my life, completely depressed, because this man was so hateful. Finally, one day, and I don’t quite know how but I said goodbye and it changed the entire course of my life. I don’t believe in regret nor do I necessarily believe in spending time thinking about “what if,” but I will confess I think what if often and then think about how proud I am of the decisions I made. Maybe it took 5 years and I was young and way too naive, but I also believe everything happens for a reason and after that situation I grew in so many ways. I am the happiest I have ever been in my life and with a man who I swear is an angel. I think that I owe a lot of my happiness to several negative things that have happened in my life because I had to go through a lot of craziness, tears, and heartache to get to where I am now. Everything happens for a reason and I have learned over the years that it is impossible to have regrets because every situation leads to the next and I have learned something from every situation whether it is negative or positive. One of my power songs is Wavin Flag by K.Naan. Part of the refrain is “When I get older I will be stronger.” Also, my father consistently said something to me growing up and STILL says it to me all the time: You make your bed. You have to lay in it. =) Let’s make it a king size Tempur-pedic with silk sheets shall we.

    • July 11, 2011 7:29 pm

      Habituallearner,
      Wow, your story meant a lot to me. Thanks for sharing. As many times as people tell you that things happen for a reason, I always appreciate it every time. “I think that I owe a lot of my happiness to several negative things that have happened in my life”…. I so hope that I will be in that situation someday too. What a wonderful statement to be able to make. You have grown and learned so much from your experiences; it’s quite remarkable. Maybe it doesn’t matter really how long it took you to learn a lesson…what matters is that you learned it. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing.

  20. July 11, 2011 1:11 pm

    Whew, that was a pretty intense peanut story. Goodness, gracious! I loved this post because it was real, and I absolutely love reading your blog because it is so up front and “this is how it is, bitches.” I was in a relationship once where I completely lost who I was in this guy. Though, I was never close to marrying the kid, I understand where you are coming from. Even though it is hard some days and you think about all those “what if’s” {{because I do too}} we are SO MUCH BETTER OFF without those d-bags! 🙂

    • July 11, 2011 7:26 pm

      Haha, Katelyngarlow,
      I guess I’ve never thought of my blog as “This is how it is, bitches,” but I sorta like that :). A new tagline, perhaps, after “Single girl starting over… follow the journey” gets old? Haha 🙂 As far as my intense Peanut Story, it’s funny, but I’ve wanted to share this story for a while. In my head the only title I could think of was “Remember that time I got jumped?” LOL. It was reading Jonathan Tropper’s book that made me connect getting jumped to how dependent I was on my ex fiance. It’s crazy where inspiration/realization can come from, huh? And naming the blog post “Peanut Story” instead of “Remember that time I got jumped?” is so much less alarming. LOL. You are so right though – we are much better off. Always a good thing to remind ourselves 🙂 Thanks for your comment!!

  21. July 11, 2011 4:24 pm

    I must say, you are a really great writer! I can relate to your story with your ex-fiance, but not in a monetary way. I just relied greatly on my ex-fiance as well and did anything that he wanted to do, but in the end I realized he wasn’t the one for me. My peanut story is more along of the lines of my grandma having cancer and staying at my mom’s house, where I was living at the time. I was staying at his house the night my grandma passed. Instead of being there with me, in a moment of need, he dropped me off, just like that! At first, I was angry, but then relieved knowing that he would never be what I needed emotionally. He couldn’t handle anything involving “feelings.” And although, I seem like a very unemotional person, I love showing affection. I’m learning how to live on my own… without someone to lean on continuously. Thanks for sharing your post. Continue on girl!

    • July 11, 2011 7:21 pm

      luckythirteen,
      Thank you so much, I really appreciate your kind words! Thanks for sharing your story – it sounds like you made the right decision getting out of that relationship. I think it’s so important that we learn to stand on our own – or else we may get too deep into these relationshps and not know that we CAN survive without them. If we learn first to stand on our own, I think we’ll better be able to appropriately lean on someone else (I say appropriately because, there is nothing wrong with wanting/needing support, there is something wrong with not being able to survive without it). Here’s to both of us learning how to live on our own – each and every day 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.

  22. July 12, 2011 8:40 am

    I guess I’ve never thought too much about what my peanut story is, but I’m going to now.

    How awful that you got beat up!

    Thanks for sharing this story!

    • July 14, 2011 9:13 pm

      Thanks, thoughtsappear! It’s funny, it seems most of the commenters missed …. I GOT JUMPED! BEAT UP! 🙂 Lol
      Definitely think about your Peanut Story. I’d love to read it if you decide to write about it.

  23. BeneathTheSpinLight permalink
    July 12, 2011 4:15 pm

    The Peanut Story is an interesting concept. I think I have a few stories, I’m still young enough that a lot of the decisions I make and a lot of things that happen to me are still shaping who I am. I think there’s one thing in particular though, and we know what it is, that’s had more of an impact on me than anything else. Which makes me wonder if the actions of other people have more of an influence on our lives than we give them credit for? Your ex knows how much he influenced you, while you were in the relationship and after the end… does mine?

    • July 14, 2011 9:26 pm

      Beneath,
      “I’m still young enough that a lot of the decisions I make and a lot of things that happen to me are still shaping who I am.’ You know what I love about you? That you know that. So many young people think they know it all, and I know I sound like such an old woman when I say that. But it’s so good that you know you are still a work in progres….but really, no matter what age, aren’t we all?

      Hmm, I wonder if your ex does. He wouldn’t if you didn’t tell him and he didn’t read your blog. I’m sort of glad mine knows. Sometimes it makes me feel vulnerable, but then again, I also hope to God he really gets the hurt he caused me and never does the same thing to anyone else. And I feel like the chance of that is maybe worth the vulnerability I feel. I hope anyway.

  24. July 13, 2011 7:22 pm

    Thanks for sharing this, Cat. I am not sure yet what´s my Peanut Story,but I´m sure if I spend more time thinking about it, it will come to me.
    I can totally relate how you felt about ´being paid´to spend time with him or how it might have felt agreeing to allow him to pay tuition. When men are so quick to offer trips and things part of me is like, ´hell yes! I deserve it.´but then another part is like ´what do I offer in return?´ Then I´m like… I only live once, and overanalyzing is going to keep me from learning a lot.

    • July 14, 2011 9:12 pm

      shetraces,
      Glad someone knows what I mean. The thing is, he had he money, I needed the money, and he was just being generous. I guess I can’t be mad at myself for taking it – I think it was probably a smart decision at the time. It’s possible if I kept going to work something bad might have happened to me. Who knows.

  25. July 18, 2011 4:26 pm

    Love your blog, thanks for the read. Looking forward to more posts.

  26. July 26, 2011 10:10 am

    I think I’ve got two peanuts.

    One is my high-school boyfriend. He wasn’t a terrible person but he’s got a lot of complexes and I was naive and impressionable and I had a lot of pride and bravado… it’s not a healthy mix. It was a very turbulent relationship and it was only in hindsight that I realised just how it scarred me emotionally. These days I wonder what kind of person I might have been if my first love had been a good boy that realised I had issues and tried to help me.

    The other is, of course, the accident. I found a breast cancer survivor’s quote the other day that sums up my thoughts perfectly: “Breast cancer changed me, but it did not make me a better or worse person. I will never know who I might have been had I not gone through this experience. All I know is that the person that I have become has amazing strength and courage mixed with heartfelt sadness and fear.”

    I think it’s true about life generally. You can’t wish something didn’t happen because then you’d be someone else and that’s just scary.

    • July 26, 2011 9:46 pm

      Alexia,
      Your comment is so profound. Those definitely do sound like your peanut stories. it’s a good point about being a better or worse person… it just is what it is. It reminds me a little of how people describe going through really traumatic experiences, and when people ask, “How did you do that?” Often, they just reply that they did what they had to do to survive. It’s nothing special, you would do the same. I think there’s some truth to that – we all just deal with the cards we are handed. And it molds us. Not necessary in a good or bad way… just in a way. It is a little scary to think about being someone different…. although, I do wish I was a little more open with my heart. My life experiences have made me feel very guarded.
      Thanks for your thoughts on this 🙂

Trackbacks

  1. Good Advice Is Only Good When You’re Ready « Simply Solo: Single girl starting over – follow the journey
  2. My Peanut Story. (It’s Not You — It’s Definitely Me.) | Domestiphobia

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