Chapter 9: I know, I know, I know
Even though there are not many chapters so far, there have been many times where I have just sat here and cried or felt some type of guilt while writing. The memories come flooding back and sometimes they are a bit overwhelming. I was so naive in my thinking about a number of things. I didn’t pay attention to many signs that were pointing in the direction of me just leaving him or not allowing him in my life altogether. Now that I’m older and a bit more wiser and I can look back on my life, I selfishly never really considered my children’s feelings and how they felt about Darnell in general. Being a young mother, I stupidly had this idea that I’m the one going through all this. How are my children being affected in any way? How are they suffering? When in reality, they suffered just as much if not more. Witnesses abuse, unstable environments, countless episodes of homelessness, constantly house hopping between friends and family, multiple shelters to abandoned houses. As we go through the earlier parts of this book, you’ll see how shit got bad, like really bad!
If you’ve been following me, then you know I typically only upload one chapter a week. While writing yesterdays upload, I sort of got into my feelings, so much so that I couldn’t even wait another week to write a new chapter. Although I see a therapist regularly (PTSD from DV), in a way, telling you guys my story has become very therapeutic. It almost feels like I’m washing my slate clean to start over because truly, how am I supposed to start over if I’m still harboring so much hate. That’s too much like giving him control over my life still and it’s about time I take it back right?
So where did we leave off? Oh yeah, what I now consider to be Darnell’s weak ass marriage proposal! At that moment, I was really confused. As I previously stated, if it had been any other time before that moment, I would have definitely jumped all over the opportunity. I had hope for him, I had hope for us. I saw so much potential in Darnell and I wanted to be the one to help him reach those new heights. Sadly, you cant want more for someone than what that person wants for themselves.
I said yes, I did eventually accept his proposal. I know, I know, I know! I already know what you are thinking, after losing countless jobs, flirting with a woman to keep a job, abuse, how could you Liyah? (sigh)I had what I considered to be “valid” reasons at the time, but now I realize, I just kept giving him excuses and room to do what he was doing, I was enabling him to an extent. I thought that maybe this is what he needed for himself, for him to finally get on track with his life. With recent events, maybe he himself saw his own errors and wanted to own up to them and do right by the children and I. So I allowed myself to think that he loved me that much, that he honestly wanted to spend the rest of our lives together, growing old together. I also didn’t want to bring another child into this world and not have his father around.
I can’t even really say that 2011 was one of the worst years of our marriage. Believe me when I say that things got much worse as time went on. I’m not even really sure where to begin. I can say, now that I look back there, I don’t think Darnell ever loved me. I truly believed that our marriage was a way for him to guarantee I wouldn’t leave because he knew he was royally fuvking up.
The date was set for August 2011 and we actually started planning, we got the ring, was shopping for the venue and reception, the whole nine yards. When I said “we” got the rings, he proposed with no ring and I ended up purchasing my own engagement/wedding band set with continued promises of being paid back when he started working. Work for him never came, so in the meantime, the wedding was coming closer and certain things couldn’t wait for a job to pop up. I basically paid for EVERYTHING! We used a friend’s church for the wedding ceremony. I paid for the venue where the reception was held. The invites, I wasn’t into digital then, so they were all hand made by me and paid for the postage, don’t even ask how much that was, I provided the music, the decorations, the things I couldn’t afford, I purchased the materials needed and made what I wanted, my pastor at the time paid for our wedding cake, I paid for the kids clothes, my dress, his suit, his ring and my father paid for my shoes and something else, I can’t really remember what it was. Baby blue, white and silver were our wedding colors. My dress was baby blue, Shante had a white dress, Antoine and Darnell wore white two piece suits with baby blue button ups, while Carter and Jackson wore Navy blue slacks and vests with baby blue button ups. The Groomsmen wore two piece suits as well, but more of Bohemian style and the bridesmaid either wore a white or baby blue dress
The day of the wedding, what didn’t go wrong, lol, it was even signs then that it was a bad idea. The girls and I were running super behind getting to the church, Shante, my eldest girl, the zipper broke on her dress, thank god my youngest sister was there to save the day. My father didn’t show up because I wanted him and my biological dad to walk me down the aisle together, but my father wasn’t feeling it, so he just didn’t come, geez, so my mother was the one to give me away. Not even half of the people who were invited were in attendance at the wedding and I was so nervous that I couldn’t walk in my wedding shoes, so I ended up walking down the aisle barefooted. Thankfully due to the length of the dress you really couldn’t tell.
One embarrassing moment was during the ceremony, when the pastor called for the godparents to come forward, which were my friend Keisha and his childhood friend Walter. The pastor gave his little script about the responsibilities of the godparents, which would include,
“If anything should ever happen to the parents of these children, it’s their responsibility as the godparents to care for the children in their absence.” His buddy Walter says, loud as hell, “What the fuck really”. Darnell quieted him by shushing him with a hand gesture and whispering to him, “Naw man you cool, don’t even worry about it.” Walter says, “Okay cool cuz.” I literally just dropped my head. Last, but not least, the unity candles, the one that he was supposed to light, would not stay lit at all. It took forever for it to finally lasted long enough for us to light the middle candle together.
The ceremony was over and we’re led outside where we all gathered to socialize before heading to the reception. We stayed behind while a few of my family members went ahead of us to set up the area. After passing pleasantries around, the crowd was beginning to thin, so Darnell and I decided to leave as well. We got to the reception hall, smoked a blunt in the parking lot and marched on up in there. It was really beautiful I must say. I did an amazing fucking job with what I had to work with. Me and a couple cousins came in the night before and decorated the walls with streamers, balloons and any other decorations I could get my hands on. The tables were a really pretty alternating colors of baby blue and white with silver accents. Each table sat ten people, each setting included three plates stacked according to size and color, silverware for each course and wine glass. The centerpiece was a fishbowl filled with silver and clear stones, filled with water, a floating candle and four balloons hovering above it. I also placed ice buckets on the table where the ice and champagne would go. All my cousins really had to do was heat the food dishes, fill ice buckets and greet the guests.
The rest of the night really wasn’t bad at all. My uncle Ryan decided to DJ my wedding at the last minute and did a really good job of it. When the reception ended, a group of us went to our house and partied for a few more hours. Our honeymoon? Lol! My mom let us use her house for a week, the honeymoon was just some alone time without children. Hey, what really could have beat that!