The summer of 2003 was very eye opening for me. Before I was fired I knew I needed to change my life, but I had no idea how I was going to do that. I am now thankful for my boss that did fire me because he forced me to reevaluate my life. The boss that did fire me was gay and looking back I hated him because he was living the life I wanted; I just didn't know it at the time.
I was unemployed for five months. I had a hard time finding a job because the market was horrible. During those five months my family felt like they could tell me what to do without asking. I was told I had to babysit my brothers two little kids everyday without even being asked. I love my nephews dearly, but I felt that someone should have at least asked if it was something I could do. And to be honest I was still severely depressed and babysitting a 6 week old and one year old was hard work.
Finally in December 2003 I found another job. I had no plans on staying at this job because the money was really bad. I was making less then what I made when got out of school with my bachelors, but it was a job. This job turned out to be a huge blessing. For the first time I was working with addicts and I found that I loved this kind of work and I felt like this was where I was suppose to be. I knew this was where I was suppose to be for my career, but I soon realized I was there for more then just my career/job.
I was in a job that I loved, but I was still finding myself very unhappy. About two months after I started working I started cutting again. I had already started distancing myself from the church, but I was still finding myself unhappy. I knew what I wanted, but I was scared to death. The first time I had been kicked out of the church (2000--for smoking) I only lasted a year on my own. I didn't know if I was strong enough or if I could live without my family. The cutting did not last long, maybe a week or two. Somewhere in that week of cutting I realized that if I continued to do this I would not have the life I dreamed about. So I started just accepting my life for the way it was and being thankful for what I did have. It was during this time that I became content.
In the spring of 2004 I was finally content. I was content with my job and my life. I had finally reached a point where I was truly OK with being single and that feeling felt great. It was nice not worrying about who I was going to be with and how it was all going to work out. I had stopped going to church and was loving my new freedom. My Mom was wondering why I was not going and I told her that I needed a "break". Surprisingly she was OK with that. For the first time in a long time I was happy.
I really believe the minute I was content with my life that was when I gave up control and knew things would work out exactly the way they were suppose to. Not two months after I found that peace and calmness, I met Laura.
I met Laura on May 7, 2004 and three weeks later we had our first date. After our first date I knew this was different then anything I had ever experienced or felt. For the first time in my life I felt like I was doing what I wanted and I didn't care what anyone else thought. Before our first date Laura and I talked on the phone a lot. At one point my Mom kept trying to call me, but I didn't answer the call waiting. She must have tried 10 times before trying my cellphone. Boy was she mad that I was not answering her calls. I remember thinking for the first time, "I am 30 years old and she has no right to be so involved with my life".
By late June of 2004 my parents were getting suspicious of this Laura person. They knew I was spending a lot time with her and even at one point had her over for dinner. I know they knew what was going on, but was afraid to admit it. The sad thing is, I think my parents and Laura would have really gotten along if they had just given our relationship a chance.
When I look back on those early days of me and Laura dating they were some great times. I was happy with my life and where it was going. For the first time ever I was living my life for ME and no one else. I didn't care what anyone thought about me or who I loved. It was as if I became courageous overnight. In reality I think I was finally being the Caroline that had been hidden for so long.
Finally on July 4th I had the courage to share the real Caroline with my family. I don't think it is a coincidence that the 4th of July is also called Independence Day.
.....to be continued