Who am I? I’m Joe. – Final

Been a few days, I guess I was waiting on this one.  It’s by far the most painful chapters in my life.   Most of that pain self-inflicted.

I knew moving back here was a bad idea.  Too many memories, too many marital problems and too many ghosts from the past.   My marriage was tanking, for reasons too personal for this blog and I made the mistake of getting a haircut.

I know, right?  How innocent is that?  Unfortunately, the stylist was an old friend who also was not very happy in her marriage.  I also started to hang out with old friends and ended up spending too much time downtown and not enough time at home.

One night, while at my favorite watering hole, I got a text message.  It was the stylist.  She wanted to know what I was doing.   I said I was downtown and as fate would have it, so was she, so we met at a Arlie Muck’s and talked all night, till 5 am.  All we did was talk, but it was wrong and I know that now.  The next day we talked via text and it went on this way until my wife finally asked if I was happy.  I wasn’t, at all.   I tried to avoid the question, but eventually, she got it out of me and she said well, “If you aren’t happy, I’m not happy, we tried to make it work, it didn’t so that’s that”.

Just like that, I was getting divorced.   Now I don’t know if you’ve met too many 31 yr old men who are getting divorced, but they are insane.   It’s a combination of freedom and fear, but we lose our minds.   She moved, I began to go out a lot.  Somehow, the stylist was always there.  Eventually, the stylist and I decided to be together.  She finally left her husband and filed for divorce.   2 1/2 years together, which ironically seems to be my shelf-life as a boyfriend in most cases.

Now, I had no idea at the time, nor did she, but she was bi-polar.  Bi-polar people can be amazing.  When she was depressed, it could be a little scary but all in all, she was down for anything and everything and we had the time of our lives, every night.   It was amazing.  I wouldn’t see the other side for a few months.  She randomly called me and asked me to come down to her work, where she broke up with me.  This was 6 months in, so I wasn’t too broken up about it.  I just thought she was going back to her husband.   I did think the deadness and coldness in her eyes was strange, but other than that, I had plenty of other options to get over it, so I wasn’t too concerned.  It wasn’t until an hour later that I got a phone call from her freaking out, that I realized she actually did have some sort of issue that went beyond cold feet.  She cried and cried and apologized and explained she thought she had multiple personalities.  It was bizarre, if I had any brains in my head at the time I would have run, but, I didn’t and I gave her another chance. Things were good for another 6 months or so until we were going to go on a trip to Florida with her family.  These Florida trips would turn out to be cursed, as you’ll see.

About 4 days before the trip, same thing.  Broke up with me for zero reason.   This time, I was deeply in love and it hurt, bad.  I was not happy.    I started to date again, I was determined to leave her for good.   Then I got a call, of course, as I was leaving to go out with a lawyer no less and like a moron, I answered the call and was at her house.   Now, I’m sure you’ve seen videos of possessions and watched horror movies, right?  That’s what was going on here.  Talking to herself, banging holes in the wall, destroying everything.   She had completely lost her mind.  I immediately got on the phone and dialed every psychiatric facility I could find.  I eventually got a hold of one that agreed to see her at 9 am.  I was terrified.  I honestly didn’t think she would make it through the night.  I had to hide the knives and sharp objects, I mean it was bad.  Luckily her exes had each of her kids.   The next morning, we drove down and they diagnosed her Bipolar Rapid Cycling I.

They wanted to commit her, but she didn’t want to lose her kids, so they left her in my care.  At this point, I’d made the decision to leave her.  This was very heavy stuff and I was very scared of walking in on her hanging from the doorway or dead in the bathtub.  However, I loved her, so I agreed I’d stay with her until the meds began to take effect.  They wanted me there for 72 hours.

72 hours later, the Lithium had taken care of the mania and she was coherent again.  She begged me not to leave her for something she couldn’t control.  We talked, I made the decision to stay.  Worst. Decision.  Ever.   They had put her on a medicine, I believe it was Latuda, and believe it or not, she was as normal as normal can be for almost a year.  It was by far the most intense, amazing relationship I’d had up to that point.  Everything was great.   We were in love, we were happy, she moved in, it was great.

Then she got a rash on her arm.  One of the biggest worries of that particular medicine was that rash.  It was fatal if left unchecked, so her Doc immediately took her off the drug.  This turned out to be the worst thing that could have happened.  I’ll never forget that night, laying in my arms, crying so hard that she didn’t want to be crazy again.   In retrospect, she was saying goodbye, I just didn’t know it and neither did she.

6 months later and it had been a rollercoaster nightmare.  Her mother, who knew she was bipolar her whole life and never got her help because she was embarrassed by it, only fueled her fire.  Everyday was like coming home to a new person.  Sometimes it was great, sometimes it was horrible.  The worst by far was when I had a kidney infection, 104 degree temp and she decided that was a good time to start a fight.  She threw her keys at me and they stuck in my leg and eventually I had to call the police.  They wanted to 5150 her, because she was so out of her mind she was fighting with them as well as me, but I calmed them down and they let her leave.  It was the officer that told me I didn’t look so good and took my temp.  Then they wanted me to go to the hospital.  I declined and they left.   Another jumping off point I should I have used.

Once again, Florida was coming up and two weeks before Florida, I sat her down in the garage and tried to leave her.  I ended it, I told her I couldn’t do it anymore and she begged and pleaded and cried and convinced me she would do better, she’d take her meds on time and she’d make it like it was.   What a fucking idiot I was.  Literally 3 days before Florida, that same dead look in her eyes, she ended it.  Four days later she was back with her ex and that was that.  I had trouble getting over that one.  More trouble than I realized at the time.  It’s very hard when someone just disappears from your life, she did that.  No phone calls, no visits, nothing.  Just one when she was picking up her stuff with her friend.  It wasn’t until 4 months later that I got the call she wanted to meet, thank god, I was strong enough to decline.

I loved her for a year after she left.  It was so hard to get over, ruined so much in my life and my health was going to shit.   Now, looking back, I think I got what was coming to me,  I never physically cheated on my wife, but I definitely emotionally did.  I definitely was a party in somebody else in cheating on her husband and that was wrong.  I felt bad about that.  Understand though, from her lips, he was a monster who threw her around and treated her like shit.   I’d never met him so I didn’t give a damn about him.

I dated a pharmacist next, that ended horribly.   Then a psycho for a few days who robbed my medicine cabinet…. and then her, the one I thought I’d grow old with.

I can’t write about that just yet, it’s still fresh and very painful, but she was the one I thought I’d marry.   Needless to say, wheelchairs aren’t for everyone.  There’s a story there, but I’m not going to tell it right now, it’s still fresh and I don’t want to be bias.  I need to reflect on what went wrong, when, why and how it ended before I write about it.

All I can say is, it ended when I lost my legs and was the most devastating thing I’ve ever endured.  More so than the stylist.   By about a million.  I really loved her and I thought we would go the distance.

And that brings me to now.  Divorced, single, handicapped and going through more shit than anybody I know.

You can judge me for my past all you want, trust me, nothing you can say I haven’t said to myself a 1000 times before, but through it all, I’ve been a great Dad, to not only my kids, but the stylists and the last ones.

I’ve still tried to help people out when I could and I’ve tried, given the circumstances, to be a good person.

Shit happens.  So for all the judgemental people out there, take a look at your own life and give an honest once over, I’m sure if the magnifying glass was turned on, you might not like some parts of your past either.  I’m just not going to hide from mine anymore. I’m going to embrace and learn from it.

No more married women and no more women that can’t handle the chair.   For a long time, no women period.  I have a lot of work to do, physically and mentally in dealing with this new reality where I can’t walk.

I don’t know who I am right now, to be honest.  I need to figure that out and when I do, then I can properly give a relationship what it needs to make it work.

I do wish sometimes I’d just stayed in San Francisco and took that damn job though….

So now you’re caught up, the good, the bad and the ugly.


Mistakes are a part of being human. Appreciate your ‘mistakes’ for what they are: precious life lessons that can only be learned the hard way. Unless it’s a fatal mistake, which, at least, others can learn from.     

AI Franken


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